Archive for the ‘Daniele’ Category

5 minutes of fame

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

Lavis was on the world stage last night, as it hosted the Italy-Finland test match, one of the qualifying matches for the 2017 World Handball Championships. With about 1000 people present, it was a much bigger event than the Italy-Germany cricket match I went to almost 20 years ago, when most of the time I was the crowd. As Daniele plays for the local handball club, he was part of a group of children who accompanied the players onto the field. So he had his 5 minutes of fame, as the photos I grabbed from the telecast show. Stefania, by the way, got hers a few years ago, as she is on Google Maps playing in the courtyard of the school with her friends (https://goo.gl/svykud , with the blue pants). For the record, Italy won 27-19.

Good things happen in threes

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

A couple of years ago Daniele was diagnosed with a relatively bad case of scoliosis – his back bone was both curved and twisted. So he has been wearing a back brace since then, and having regular physiotherapy appointments. We were told that at his age the brace did not actually do much, but it was important to wear it now so that everything would be ready when he would have his teenage growth spurt. However, when Daniele had a radiography in June, his back had straightened, so he did not have to wear the brace over the (northern) summer holidays. Yesterday he had an appointment with the specialist, who confirmed that the back bone was straight, although it is still slightly twisted. So Daniele can continue without the back brace, and also without the physiotherapy, and will have another check up in June. When I asked the specialist if it was normal that the back straightens up like that, he only said that the brace had done its work. This despite the fact that we had been told that the brace was not supposed to have such an effect until adolescence, and that we had been regularly rebuked at previous check ups because the brace had not been worn enough and was not tight enough. A couple of times we were told that, since the brace had not been used correctly, Daniele might just as well not worn it for the previous few months – the brace could not have done its work properly. And yet, it did… For Daniele, it is the third time that he has seen a big answer to his prayers, after the cases of the non exploding balloons and the little brother(s).

Church camp reboot

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Next weekend is my biggest event of the year in church, at least in terms of how much of my time I put into it. From Friday to Sunday there will be a church children’s camp that I will be leading. This is actually a “reboot” of the camp ministry. In July there will be the 8th edition of the classic series, where the participants have all become teenagers or almost by now. So we will be starting again with a new group of leaders, and with the next generation of children. We are starting small, as we did 7 years ago, with 10 children (including Stefania and Daniele) and only 3 days, and the idea is to grow in number and length over the coming years. You could pray for this camp, for the children and for the leaders. Pray also for the half of the family that will stay at home. It will be our children’s first time sleeping away from their mother, although it will probably be harder for Pinuccia to cope with than for them. Looking after Luca and Mattia by herself will not be easy either.

The family highlight this week was getting back the results of Daniele’s radiography. His spine, which 18 months ago was quite badly both bent and twisted, now shows no sign of problems. So he will be having a break from his back brace that he has been wearing for more than a year, at least until August when he will have his next check up. Since it is very uncomfortable to wear in summer, it was good timing. We are very thankful to God for this unexpected development.

The photo I’ve been waiting for

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014
Pinuccia, Mattia, Stefania, Daniele, Luca, Richard

Pinuccia, Mattia, Stefania, Daniele, Luca, Richard

Finally all together (Mattia on the left, Luca on the right).

Sandwiches for India

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Last Sunday there was the Sunday School’s annual fund raising event for a school in India. But more than fund raising, the aim has always been to have the children give what they can offer for the good of other children. This year we did something new, transforming the monthly church lunch after the service into the Sunday School Sandwich Shop, with the children busy making bread rolls and waiting on the tables, and the “clients” making a donation for the lunch. The church hall was nicely transformed into a restaurant for the occasion, and unexpectedly more people turned up than usual for a church lunch, which stretched our resources. But we found enough space, even though not enough tables, and had enough food, with a little left over which we could give to a couple of homeless people who have been attending the church lately. We raised over €400 for the school, but more importantly it was the children who, indirectly, gave the money.

Daniele and I however had to leave half way through the event, for his first chess tournament, which he was excited and enthusiastic about. He had two draws and five losses, which is not bad considering all the others were 3 to 6 years older than him. He proudly wore his medal (which all the participants won), and was really happy to win a Christmas bag of chocolates as the youngest player.

In local news this week, Trento topped the table this year as the best Italian city to live in. And there are lots of events in town to celebrate the 450th anniversary of the end of the Council of Trento. It is indeed a great place to live, where we can proclaim the grace alone of God in the place in which that doctrine was cursed.

Two almost empty nests, and a dream

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

When I wrote last week, Pinuccia had a job, but for after-school care, which she wanted to avoid in order to be with our children. On Tuesday night so got an offer from another school for a job during the day, so she gave up the first and took that one. Then on Wednesday night came an offer from our local school at Lavis, so she gave up the second job to take up that one. The job is not perfect, in that it is full-time and we prefer part-time. But that means that its other imperfection – only for a month and not a year – is actually an advantage. At the beginning of October she should be offered another job at Lavis, which we hope will be part-time. So on Thursday Daniele and Pinuccia went to pre-school together for their first day, and I had an almost empty nest at home. “Almost”, because infants’ school does not start until the 12th, so I look after Stefania (and try to do a bit of work) whilst the others are at school for another week.

Today there was the first morning service of the church at Rovereto. Having 15 out of about 70 adults leave the church should have left quite a few holes in the hall at Trento for our service, and maybe a feeling of emptiness. But quite a few new people have started coming in the meantime, so although the numbers were a bit down on the average, they were not much lower. So there was not much of an empty nest feeling at all.

Another highlight of the week was participating this afternoon in the anniversary celebrations of the federation of the bands in the province of Trento. Not all the bands could come, but in any case being a part of a parade of 60 bands dressed in various colourful uniforms was fun. And then the final concert all together of well over 1000 people in the main square of Trento was spectacular. It made me dream of a future event, when all the 60 churches that will have been planted in all the small towns spread out in the province, will come together at Trento one Sunday for a celebration together and to worship as one.

This week about half of the church groups will be restarting, including for us the Wednesday night group and the Sunday School. Pinuccia is also running a Sunday School teachers’ meeting tomorrow night, and I will have a meeting for the Youth Group leaders later on. So pray for this restart of activities as well.

Transition time

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

This week was a bit of a mix. It is the end of the school holidays, so there were trips to the lake, swimming pool, and park with the family. But it is also preparation time for me, so I was able to work on some Bible studies and do some computer work. And there was also some summer church activities, with a prayer meeting instead of a Bible study group that some of the church members have been running during the summer.

The next few days will be continuing the transition, with a bit more holidays until Daniele and Pinuccia return to pre school on Thursday. There will also be a couple of preparation and planning meetings to go to, before the church activities begin. And then the following week the groups I lead will be starting up.

Pinuccia was offered and accepted one job doing the week, at a school that is fairly close, although in the afternoon which we want to avoid if possible. Then at Lavis, where we live and where she hopes to work, the teacher before her on the list took the last available job. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it means that Pinuccia will be first on the list for the second wave of offers, after some who have already accepted a job get offered something better and change their mind. This is what happened last year. There are also a few other schools which will be offering jobs this week, so we are still unsure where exactly she will be working this year. But we should know by this time next week. So keep praying for the perfect job!

Next week will be another historical moment for the church, as the Rovereto church will be beginning weekly services in the morning. We will suddenly find ourselves at Trento with twenty less people, including the children. I’m sure it will be a bit of a shock to everybody, even me, even though we have been preparing ourselves for it for months. The exciting news at Rovereto is that they have found a room that they are able to rent for all their meetings. Having a permanent place where they can be easily found should be a great help in getting themselves known and for their witness. It would be great to have our own place at Trento as well, although a lot harder since we need a larger (and so much more expensive) place.

Meetings, meetings, meetings and party, party, party

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

Another big Sunday today, with three sermons (at least it was the same sermon three times, which was a bit easier) and a presentation to do, and two trips back and forth across Sydney to get there. But it was good to be able to thank those who have been supporting me for so many years, and report back to them how God has answered their prayers for us lately.

It is also celebration time for us, with Daniele having a long weekend of parties for his fourth birthday tomorrow. On Saturday afternoon he got taken out by his uncle, and that evening there was the extended family party. Today he was given a cake by the church that we were visiting. Then tomorrow there is our family time, and then a small party in the morning with a rent-a-crowd of party goers. Since Daniele’s birthday is always when we are away, either in Sicily or in Australia, he never celebrates with his friends, but just as we do in Sicily we have managed to get together some children and other people that he knows for a party. Now we just have to figure how we are going to get the presents into the suitcases to take back to Italy.

With 10 days to go until our departure, we have finished our major meetings now. However, there are still 6 small groups where I or we will be talking at during this coming week. Then we will have finished all our presenting. You could also pray for Reachout, an important missionary conference next weekend. I will be going on Saturday to help out at the ECM stall, to talk to people who are considering missionary service.

Children’s highlights

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

Today was the biggest event for the children of our whole trip to Australia. We took them to a children’s festival at the Olympic Park, where they had fun for hours listening and dancing to the music, playing games, making crafts, etc. And the highlight of the highlight was that Hi-5 appeared and sang during the festival. Hi-5 is one of the major parts of their (small) Australian children’s culture. They enjoy the DVDs they have in Italy, and Stefania even dreamed about them last night, even though she did not know that she would be seeing them today. So when she and Daniele saw them live, they went wild from the excitement and enjoyment.

Another highlight this week for them was the four days of prayer for the mission that we went away to. Usually such a time would be difficult for them, as they would have had little to do and their parents would have been busy most of the time. But there was another family of small children present, and that made all the difference. Because for all the time that they are in Australia, they do not have any friends their own age. They meet lots of children, but going to a different Sunday School every week, and visiting lots of people once, means that they do not form any decent relationships with them. So four days for almost all of the time with other children was just right for them. It was also the first time I have heard them speak English to someone who is not a member of my family, as the friendship formed with the children was enough to overcome their shyness. We are all looking forward to going to visit the other family again whilst we are still in Sydney.

An important meeting to pray for this week is at Sydney Missionary and Bible College on Tuesday morning. As I talk about church planting in Europe, it is an important time to contribute to the students’ reflections on where they might serve God after they finish their studies. And who knows, maybe to do some recruitment as well. Then on Sunday there will be a long day to Newcastle and back to visit friends. There are three other meetings during the week to speak at as well.

A play on words 17 years in the making

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

I had a lot more time with the children this week, as Pinuccia had a meeting after school on Thursday, then on Friday when there was no school so the children were home, she had to go out both in the morning and in the afternoon, and then on Saturday another 5 hours in the afternoon/evening for a church meeting. So it was fun doing things with Stefania and Daniele in these last few days, especially as they regularly get new interests as they come across something different. Last week it was astronomy, this week it was firemen, and tonight they started on fashion shows. And today it was also Sunday School, which was gratifying for us. Stefania had her usual lesson this morning, whilst Daniele, who had a slight fever from a cold and stayed home with Pinuccia, had a personal Sunday School class. At lunch time they asked for another Sunday School class, so in the afternoon we did the lot together: prayer, singing, lesson, craft, prayer. It meant that I was able to repeat the lesson that I had done with my class this morning. Hence I was finally able to teach, not once but twice, on Luke 5, which is a great passage in Italian. Peter says, “I am a sinner (peccatore), leave me”. Jesus replies, “No, I won’t leave you, you instead follow me and I will make you a fisherman (pescatore) of people”. So Jesus changes everything: instead of being sent away he invites us to him, transforming us (as is needed to come to him) from peccatore to pescatore. I first thought of using this word play more than 17 years ago, when I heard someone that was learning Italian mix up the two words. And I have been waiting since then for an opportunity to teach Luke 5 and use it. Finally I’ve done it. Even better, the children understood and appreciated it.