Newsletter 43 - January 2003
5 out of 5
In the last couple of newsletters I have mentioned how for each of the past four years I have prayed for, and asked you to pray for, one student for the Bible studies at the university, a request to which God has always responded positively. And how this year the group in the Valsugana decided to pray specifically for a new person in the group. Once again, God has answered this prayer. My flat mate Samuele invited Robin, a friend of his, to church for our Christmas service, and since then he has been coming regularly, gradually getting to know other people in the church as well. Since he lives in the Valsugana, he started coming to the studies last week, and said that he wanted to thank God that he had never stopped looking for him. So pray for him and his spiritual growth – and that there will be another new person in the group.
I wrote that last paragraph last week, whilst doing a draft of the newsletter. Then last night at the study we had another new person, a friend of Ester's called Flora who I mentioned a couple of newsletters ago. So with these changes in the group, I have got Massimo to lead a series of four evangelistic studies, based on some studies that I had and that I have translated for him.
The new group that was formed at Trento this year has also been growing lately, with a couple of peripheral people in the church starting to attend. But it has also been growing in fellowship and in learning the Bible. I can also see it having a good effect on the life of the church as a whole. It might be a bit more difficult to manage the group now – there are already three children under three years of age, and as I write one of the members of the group is in the hospital close to giving birth to her first child. At least it is a male this time – there are currently 12 girls 10 years old or less, and he will be only the fourth male. It is of course quite a high number of children for a church with only just over 40 adults, so pray also for them and their spiritual growth, and those that teach them – their parents, Massimo, Mariangela and Pinuccia for the older ones, Elisabetta and Melina for the younger ones.
The town council recently restructured one of their buildings to create some space for local associations, which includes the church, so shortly we will have an office of 18 square meters on the edge of the town centre, paying a lot under market rates. We do not need an office that much, in fact I wonder how we will use it, but it has some advantages, like being able to have a church phone number and so get in the phone book, as well as some visibility in the city and being known and accepted by the council, which may help when in the future we try to get a place to hold our services and other meetings.
On the computer
With most the my regular activities – for example Bible studies and the band – having a break for three weeks over Christmas and New Year, I managed to get a lot of work done on my computer ministry. Now I will reduce my time commitment to it again, until the summer which is the other period of increased computer work. During this period I completed the first version of the program for Linux – it will be interesting to see how popular it is compared to the Windows version. I have also almost completed completely redoing and improving the text of the Old Testament in Hebrew. Together with the Septuagint (the translation of the Old Testament in ancient Greek), which I added to the program at the end of November, it was one of the most requested improvements. I have noticed that, having all the basic features of a Bible program, apart from small improvements to the interface, my program is moving more towards an instrument to study the Bible more in depth. Which is actually what Italians are looking for – after the main Protestant and main Catholic translation, the next most popular versions are the Hebrew OT and Greek NT (both downloaded by about 15% of users), then a second Protestant translation, then the Septuagint and Latin Bible (taken by 13% and 11% of users). I can not imagine getting such figures in Australia! But the classical languages are appreciated and studied a lot more in Italy than they are in Australia.
Anyway, here are some other figures on the use of the program and of the site:
For a couple of years now there has been less support coming in for me than what ECM has been sending to me each month. In that time, the positive balance that had been created when I was over supported in preceding years has been reduced, to the extent that it no longer exists. Pray also therefore for new supporters for my ministry here.