Newsletter 30a - November 1999


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In Portugal

As I mentioned last time, at the beginning of the month I spent almost a week in Portugal to attend the wedding of Paolo, that was a member of the group at the university until last May (actually, _the_ member of the group at the end). The wedding itself went well. What I realised later is that I probably spent more than with Maurizio and Paolo in that week that in the course of a year when they were at Trento. So it was good to get to know them better. And it was particularly good to see them persevering and growing as Christians. This was particularly noticeable in Paolo, since as he had changed country, work, marriage status, church and just about everything else since May, he was applying his faith to these new situations that I hadnít seen him in before. So I was happy to see him settled into a new church, a relationship with Joana based on Jesus and the Bible, and trying to serve God in his work. Maurizio, when we were returning to Italy, asked about evangelical churches at Milan. I gave him the addresses of a few, so he should be trying some of them out in the next few weeks.

Of course, the other highlight of my time in Portugal was watching Australia win the rugby World Cup. What made it more interesting was watching it with a group of Italians on Portuguese television with a German commentary. A sign I guess not only of the political and economic unification of Europe that is taking place at the moment, but also of the cultural unification!

At the university

Since no-one responded to the first lot of advertising that I did at the university for the Bible studies, I put Plan B into effect, and last week offered a course for learning English reading the Bible. I thought it would be interesting to see if the desire almost all students have for learning English was stronger than their apathy towards the Bible! There were three responses, two that can start immediately (Pasquale and Marco) and one that will join in after the New Year break. With Patrick, the English exchange student, as well, we plan to start this course on Thursday.

Upcoming events:

The main reason for this newsletter is to ask for your prayers for some important events next month. The first is an Evangelistic Bible Study we are planning in the church on the 3rd. This is a kind of experiment for us, as we have not tried something similar before. Usually our evangelism as a church has been in the form of leaflet distributions and public conferences, despite the fact that almost everyone that has become a Christian through the ministry of the church has done so through knowing someone in the church, and then listening to the Bible being taught. We also realised that although we believe that the Bible is powerful to save people, we hardly ever used it in our evangelism. Hence, an evangelistic meeting with the exposition of the Bible, to which we can invite friends and relatives. The members of the church have got behind the idea with a lot of enthusiasm, and have invited a lot of people. So pray that those we invite do come, and that they will understand the gospel as a result. Pray also for Pippo, one of the elders of the church, who will be speaking.

On the weekend of the 11th and the 12th, we have a bookstall at the town market days, as every year. But as I said in my previous newsletter, this time it will be a bit different, as we will have fewer books, and a couple will be coming to do a few puppet shows during the weekend. Hopefully this will attract a crowd, and we will be ready to hand out a few hundred Bible calendars and other literature to those that want to take it.

Finally, I have my driversí licence test on the 20th - at least, the theoretical part. The practical part will be a bit later assuming that I pass the first part.

This year one of my aims was to get out more, be involved more in the life of the city, and pick up some new hobbies. I thing I have done to fulfil this was to start learning the clarinet. As some of you know, I already play the piano, and play the keyboard in church, and I thought it would be good to learn another instrument. Through this I have also got to know a few people in the town band, who are offering the lessons. I am still looking at other possible activities to take up.

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