Newsletter 32a - April 2000
I have finished the first part of my spring travels, and thought it was time to give a report to those that had been praying for them. Certainly, going away three times in quick succession, with just 10 hours between trips to catch my breath, was a bit heavy, but at least the last one was holidays. After suffering a bit the first day from too much travelling and not enough sleep, I was able to relax for a couple of weeks, having an enjoyable time travelling around Europe with my parents.
The first trip was the annual GBU weekend for Christian students in Italy, held near Rome. For the first time I drove there, since there were three of us from Trento (Patrick, the English exchange student, and Pippo, that gave the talks on 2Timothy). It turned out to be a good idea, since there was a train strike on Sunday, which would have meant being stranded there! For the second year in a row there were about 60 people at the meeting. You might remember last year I said how strange it felt having this number, as is past years 20 had been a good number. I must be getting used to the increased participation now, because it didnít seem so unusual this time. Pippo did a good job with the talks, and from what I heard from the students they were appreciated. This was particularly pleasing because it is the first time for about five years that we have done expository talks in our national camps.
After arriving home on Sunday night, it was off again on Monday morning for a two day seminar on church planting in Italy organised by ECM. At least it was held fairly close to Trento, which meant a drive of only a bit over an hour... until I found the road closed due to a landslide, and had a two hour detour to cross the mountains, go down the next valley, and cross back over the mountains again. The meetings, and speaking with other people involved in church planting in Italy, were useful, especially as this is certainly not a form of ministry best served by my gifts. Following on from this seminar, I am still thinking about how I can best help the group in the Valsugana become an independent church.
With all of my absences lately, it hasnít been possible to do anything at the university for some time, which is something I donít like as I see it as my main ministry as a missionary here. But next week we will be doing some advertising, which still leaves time for a six week series of meetings in Italian and/or English (depending upon the response) before the end of the academic year. So pray (as I always ask!) that we would find people willing to read the Bible with us, and especially for people who want to continue on into next year. With Patrick leaving in June, I need to find new people once again to avoid starting totally from scratch again.
Upcoming eventsThere have been a few changes to the program since last I wrote, but here are the principal dates in the next few weeks that you could pray for.
19-25 April: European Christian student conference in Germany. This will already be going on as you read this, with probably a record attendance from Italy. Patrick has gone from here. Pray that all the students will come back enthused and with new ideas for witnessing at their universities.
6-13 May: Biennial conference of ECM in Spain.
24-26 May: GBU staff meeting at Florence.
30 May: An evangelistic meeting at Trento, with a visiting speaker. This has a secondary purpose as well: we hope to mobilise all of the church members who live at Trento so that, in one way or another, all are involved in the preparation for the meeting.
May/June: The baptism of four people in the church.