Archive for the ‘ECM’ Category

Prayer and worship

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Last weekend there were the annual prayer days for ECM in Italy. It was a good time, in fact, for praying – certainly to help each other in our ministries, but above all to ask God’s help.

Next weekend there is some more training in the church, especially but not only for the young adults. This time it is on worship, in the morning for everybody, and in the afternoon for those who lead others. Pray that this time will be a helpful time for our church.

ECM Europe, ECM Italy

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

This week I was at Madrid for three days for ECM meetings. The highlight of the trip was celebrating together 10 years of these meetings for all the country leaders of the mission, which we have all benefited much from, and recognising the service of the person who has led us in this period, who will shortly be moving to another ministry in the mission. This coming week will be the turn of ECM in Italy, with three days together from Friday to pray together and help each other in our various ministries in Italy. So in the next few days I have a few things to organise for the week-end. Pray that it will be a beneficial time for all of us.

Travelling

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

October is going to be travelling month for me, and mostly for us as a family as well. I don’t think I have had this many trips away in a month since I got married, and greatly reduced my travelling. This week I will be in Madrid for three days for a meeting of ECM leaders. Pray for a productive time together, as we think about what structures help best the planting of churches in Europe, and for good relationships between us as we discuss together. Pray also for Pinuccia, who will be looking after the children and the house by herself. Then in the middle of the month the whole family will be away for three days for the Italian prayer days for the mission, and at the end of the month for a week in Portugal with the Australian ECM missionaries. More on those trips later.

Wednesday: a new year

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Although some activities have restarted after the summer break, on Wednesday a lot is happening that will mark the real beginning of a new year. It will be a first day of school for Stefania, in the morning I will have the first of a few two hour Skype meetings for ECM work, and in the evening there will be the first Bible study of the year. So it will be really back to the usual routine and activities on Wednesday. All this will also be to celebrate the beginning of a new year in my own life. Not quite a round number this year, but a square one instead.

During the week, it was decided to change the hours of Pinuccia’s job slightly, so it is now from 9 to 11.30am instead of half an hour before. So a good job got even better, and we are thankful for that.

Conference ending

Friday, April 20th, 2012

It is now the last night of the ECM biennial conference in Spain which has been on all this week. Pinuccia is at the final meeting together, whilst I am in our room with the children as they sleep. It has been a good time, although having to look after the children does limit our interaction with the other missionaries. But of course we would not have it any other way! The children have had a great time in the children’s program, after a bit of unease on their part on the first morning, and it has been a privilege for us to be able to leave them with some capable people during this week. They learnt about transforming the peoples of the world (which was the adults’ theme as well, although we were limited to Europe), and I have already heard some changes (for the good) in the way that they verbally express their relationship with God, and what God wants them to do. It was also good for them to renew friendships, especially with the other Australian children. They might have only seen each other once two years ago, but our children have been looking forward for weeks to seeing them again. It will be good to have these peers in the future as well, to build up these relationships so that they can help each other in their similar situations.

For me, the best part was reflecting on what I and the church do at Trento, looking at the examples of others places in Europe and at the teaching of the Bible on what God’s mission for us is, and being challenged to do more and better what God wants us to do. But also being able to thank God for the church, which is already doing a lot of what ECM is moving towards, for example in collaborative church planting and integral mission. It has reminded me of how much God has blessed us, with a healthy church and a leadership that is following God’s heart for the province of Trentino.

We should be (volcanos permitting) home late tomorrow (Saturday) night, but not too much time to rest and catch up. The ex International Director of ECM, who was an important part of the planting of the church almost 50 years ago, will be travelling with us, staying with us until Monday and speaking at the Trento and Rovereto churches on Sunday. It will be great for the churches to hear a bit of their history, to realise the great sacrifices many made in the past so that we could benefit now. On Monday night there is a church committee meeting, and then on Tuesday others guests will be staying. Wednesday is a public holiday, and we would like to travel to Milan with the rest of the church for a meeting with the network that our church belongs to, but I think we might have to rest and catch up on the washing instead.

Stay home for holidays, going away for work

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

We are enjoying our Easter holidays with the family. As with all families, the holidays do a bit tiring for us since we have to be constantly present for the children, but having my parents here helps. Pinuccia and I even get some time off by ourselves, more than in the rest of the year put together. My parents leave next Friday, and the day after that we all leave as a family to Spain for a week, for the biennial conference of ECM. Pray that it will be a good time together as a family, with other missionaries and supporters, and that each one of us will grow in our relationship with God and ministry as a result. This last point will be hardest for Pinuccia, since the children will have their own special program and it will be easier for me to follow the missionaries’ program that for Pinuccia.

Snow business

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

The false spring has arrived, as it often does around this period. So we have a few days of sun and relative warmth, and have been taking advantage of it after a several months of mostly indoor activities. So yesterday for example there was a trip to the snow, which is always great when the sun is shining as well.

In the church, there is the annual meeting coming up next Sunday. Always a good time reflecting on God’s work in us in the past year, and talking about where we want to go with God’s leading. I am also busy with ECM business in this period, with a Skype meeting last week and one for each of the next two weeks with some of the leaders of the mission. Being the “secretary” of these groups means that I have also some work before and after these meetings to prepare them and get their decisions implemented.

Meeting week

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

This coming week there are a few special meetings to pray for. Tomorrow night Pinuccia leads a meeting to plan for the children’s camp in June. I should be at the meeting as well, as I will be one of the leaders of the camp, but I will be staying at home with the children. I have already written up my contributions, which Pinuccia will take to the meeting, and I hope that the others will not decide in my absence that I will have to do most of the work to prepare for the camp. On Tuesday there will be a meeting of most of the ECM missionaries in Italy at our house, until I have to leave to pick up the children from school. Then on Thursday evening a church committee meeting, which always has interesting and important issues to think about. I am also looking forward to making one of my bimonthly visits to the Valsugana group this Friday: it is a group that is still special for me after having led it for many years, and is always an encouragement for me. Together with those there are the regular Bible study group and band practice for me, and two extra meetings at school for Pinuccia, so we will have a lot to do.

In Austria and at the university

Monday, October 10th, 2011

I am back from a flying visit to Austria. Not flying like an airplane, because although it was one of my regular ECM leaders’ meetings that are using held at Madrid, there was a change this time, and I went to a place which is only 200km away. That is, if you walk straight across the mountains that separate Trento from the meeting place. So it actually took 4.5 hours driving going around to the nearest pass through the alps. But it was flying in that I could get it all done in a weekend: leave at 4am on Saturday, arrive, get a coffee, be video interviewed, and be ready for the 9am start. Then meetings all day Saturday and Sunday, leave after dinner and be back just after midnight. Since I have become the secretary to this group of ECM leaders from each country where the mission works, I also have a fair bit of documentation to write, collect and distribute as a result now.

The most exciting moment during the weekend was however receiving an e-mail from someone whom I had asked to consider restarting the Bible study group at the university. She said she will do it! There are three post-graduate students in the church, who were all part of the group previously, as well as a couple of people who just started university this month, and a number of international students currently in an English language Bible study group. So I am excited that the witness at the university, that I came to Italy to be a part of 19 years ago, will be returning.

On the other hand, there was also the sad news a couple of weeks ago that one of the church groups I was leading was folding. The six families with small children in the Valsugana valley just could not get together any more, now that the children are older, so the group stopped and the members have gone to other groups. These two changes have made the changes in my ministry this year even more evident. Now I am leading only one group in the church, but visiting four others, and helping the leaders of four other groups, many of whom are leading for the first time. So there is a lot more mobilisation, encouragement and training of people for me this year. And I have found it exciting so far, and a pleasant change from the pattern of regular programmed groups and Bible studies.

Celebrating outside

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

We are enjoying an extended summer at the moment, with temperatures well above the average. When October arrives I am usually already wearing a jumper, but this year I still have my T-shirt on. So yesterday we took advantage of the good weather and brought forward Stefania’s birthday party. This has been the first year she has been able to have her party in the park, and will probably be the last for a while if the weather patterns return to normal. It was just as well that we could go to the park, because Stefania’s circle of friends has roughly doubled in the past few weeks. As well as inviting the friends from pre-school, there was a new group of friends that she has met in infants’ school in these three weeks. Too many friends for our lounge room now. So we spent 4 hours at the park on Saturday afternoon with them all.

Next weekend I will be going to Austria for some meetings with all the country leaders in ECM. I should actually be going for the whole week, but with Pinuccia’s work and the children to look after, I will have to miss the training part of the week (from Monday to Friday), and just go to the meetings on the weekend, where I also act as secretary to the group.