Newsletter 43b - March 2003
I am temporarily at home between various trips, but wanted to write briefly about a few recent events, and to ask you to pray for a couple of others that I will not have time to write about after today.
I have just come back from the Festa GBU, the annual weekend for students that the Christian student movement puts on. This year it was a bit different to normal, with less time for the students to interact and encourage each other in their evangelism at the universities, and more time dedicated to a serious of seminars on how to exposit the Bible. It was important spending most of the time on that, and I noticed a few students changing the way they thought about teaching the Bible. And it was helpful for me as well – although nothing was said that I had not heard before, it was good to be reminded of some things that I realised that I had started to neglect in my own preparation and teaching.
It is hard to keep up with the happenings in the Valsugana group this year. Every time that I write, something else happens shortly afterwards that renders it out of date. In fact shortly after I wrote my last newsletter, Flora did a couple of studies with Massimo and Ester that she has missed out on in order to catch up, and during these studies became a Christian. At the next meeting of the group in the valley, I could see the change in her attitude towards the Bible, her desire to learn and in the way she talked about her own spirituality. So pray for her. Pray also for an evangelistic Passover lunch that they will have on the 13th. They have invited a few friends, we will have some lamb, unleavened bread and bitter herbs, and Massimo will explain why the Jews celebrated the Passover in this way and why Christians celebrate Easter at the same time. It helps that in Italian Passover and Easter are the same word!
The other news for this week is that the first meeting of the third cell group at Trento will be on Thursday. I have worked with Andrea and Daniela to get a group of eight people together, including a couple of peripheral people in the church. So pray that this new group might have a good effect on the members of the group, as well as on the life of all of the church, just as the group that was started in October has had.
It is also likely that another group will start up in April. Two Sundays ago an English lady, that just arrived to teach English here, started coming to church, and this week an English student arrived to study at the university on an exchange program for second semester. Since they do not understand Italian yet, we are thinking of starting up an English language group with the other English speakers in the church (Ellenor, Yvette and myself) and some Italians that want to at least hear some English.
Finally, next week (from Saturday to Saturday) I will be in Germany for an ECM leadership conference. Pray that it will be useful for me and the mission as we think about the direction of the ministry at Trento, in Italy and in all of Europe. After that, I have a couple of nights free, which are starting to become quite rare creatures given a few extra commitments I am taking on at the moment.