Newsletter 39a - February 2002
Since the last time that I wrote, we have passed through the Christmas and New Year pause, as well as the usual general slowdown in activities due to the cold, winter sicknesses and people going back to their home towns for holidays. By now it is back to normal, although it does mean that there are few events to report on from the last few weeks. But looking back now, I can see that there was growth in relationships, both mine with others, and others’ with God. For example, I have been able to spend more time with the sisters Lydia and Miriam since Christmas, and Lydia especially is becoming more committed to God and to the church. She will start attending the English language Bible study at the university this week, which I pray will help her growth as a Christian. I have also visited Claudio and Nicol, a new couple, and will start to meet regularly with them soon to read the Bible together.
The university at the moment is in an exam period, which is good news for me because it means that there are no timetable problems to worry about. So Miriam has been able to come lately, and in general there has been a more regular attendance. As I mentioned last time, now that the group is better established I hope to get the students more involved in the ministry of the group, and aim it more towards doing evangelism on the campus.
In January I also had a series of trips away, for FEMI (a group of missionaries that support and help each other), the GBU (staff meeting and the AGM) and ECM (planning day). As a result I have a few jobs to do for these organisations as well. Whilst I am happy to be able to help other missionaries and ministries around Italy in this way, it nevertheless reduces the time I am at Trento and how much I can do here, so I need wisdom to balance the various demands on my time.
On the computer
I have been continuing to work on the resources that I provide to study the Bible on computer. For example, within about a month’s time, I will finish the dictionary of Bible names, writing about the last few towns that I have not yet included. I started this dictionary way back in early 1995, and have been gradually adding names in the meantime, never thinking that one day it would include descriptions of all the 2700 or so names, nor that about 10 people a day would be taking copies of it. In fact, after continuing to grow for years, the number of downloads has stabilised, with about 65 people every day receiving a copy of the program, and an average of two translations of the Bible each. On the other hand, as my site for on-line Bible study (http://www.laparola.net/) is getting more well-known, its usage is still increasing; at the moment there are about 250 visits a day. I have been also getting more questions lately on the Bible and Christianity. Just this last week, for example, I have replied to questions on:
as well as various technical questions on the use of the program.
Last week there was also an interesting testimonial. One of the directories of Italian Catholic sites sent a message to the other directories, warning them that my site, which they had listed, had “a clear evangelist [sic] inspiration”. One of these others then replied to everybody, and sent me a copy, saying:Among the many sites with the text of the Bible that are on the Net, laparola.net is the site that I habitually use for my researches on the Bible. You can’t pay to get the functions that have been activated. Thanks to Richard Wilson for the service that he renders to the ‘Word’ and to all of the Net (and not only in the Evangelical world).
15-17/3: National student weekend for the GBU. The theme will be “Mission”, and as well as the Bible talks we hope to have an Italian that has served as a missionary overseas, and displays from various organisations that send Italians as missionaries. Pray also that the students from Trento (Miriam and Robyn) will be able to go, and that it will help and encourage them in their evangelism at the university here. The same weekend there will also be the biannual Youth Rally for northern Italy, and the church bookstall at the town market day, both of which I will have to miss.
With sincere thanks for all of your prayers,