Newsletter 48 - February 2004


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In the family

As I looked back over the last three months, I realised that most of what I wanted to say revolved around Pinuccia probably not a bad thing! At the end of last year I went with her to Sicily for 12 days, staying with her family no doubt the first Christmas and New Year of many with the family and in the church there. We also organised what remained to be done for the wedding. It was great to be with Pinuccia almost all day every day (except for some preparations that I was not allowed to be involved in), talking about different things, working and planning together, reading the Bible and praying (every day instead of every two or three days, that is our usual system) and studying English together. We were a bit spoilt by the experience however, and it was difficult to return to our usual routine of a bit of time together when we can find a common hole in our respective schedules.

The preparations for the wedding and for being married and proceeding well. A big step was finding an apartment, despite a difficult market for rented apartments at the moment. Once again we saw an immediate response to our prayers, as we have for Pinuccia's work and other matters lately. At the moment we are transporting our things and buying furniture and objects that we need. I will be moving in at the end of the month, and then Pinuccia after we get married. So make sure you change your address book, otherwise mail and phone calls will not reach me. The new address is
    via Rosmini, 125
    38015 Lavis TN
    Italy

It is a bit out of Trento, but not much; it has though in a great location directly above one of the classiest ice-cream parlours in the area! Apart from the material preparations, we have also started a seven week course, which so far has been helpful in giving us matters to discuss together that we had not thought of.

As a teacher, Pinuccia gets a two month summer break each year, in July and August. I was due for furlough in any case, so we will coming to Australia together in the middle of the year. It will be good for her to meet my past, and to learn some English, although it means that my usual furlough (one month holiday and time with family, followed by three months of visiting churches and groups) will need to be compressed into two months. It would be helpful for me to know some dates already, as the schedule will be tight and thus needs to be planned well. So if you would like us to come to speak, please get in contact with me by the end of March, or alternatively in May. Since we will be staying at the ECM apartments this time, we will also need a car for our travelling around Sydney and nearby cities if you have a vehicle that you could lend us for most of those two months, please let me know.

In the church

The church life continues on, without any outstanding events lately. The new groups continue to develop and improve, even though there was the usual downturn in numbers attending typical of the winter period once the spring arrives the attendance will improve. At the moment I am preparing the groups for April, when I will be absent for the best part of the month and the group members will have to take on more responsibility. It turned out that the marriage preparation course clashed with the best group that it could have, that of the Valsugana, which is the most developed and most able to look after itself. In fact, there I just do the studies (which Jury and Massimo will do for three months in my absences), whilst they are able to do, and do do, the individual pastoral care and follow-up, evangelism as a group and service in the church as a group.

On the computer

I continue to develop the program to study the Bible this month I released a new version, with a Greek-Italian interlinear of the New Testament included. But in this newsletter I wanted to quote two messages that I have received lately:

I don't know if you remember me, I am Andrea and a bit more than a year ago I wrote some e-mails to you in which I asked you about the Lord and the Bible. Now I know that you were the first (true) Christian that I had known (even if only by e-mail). I wanted to tell you that a while ago I was born again and the Lord saved me and yesterday I was baptised by the pastor of the church that I now belong to.

In my October newsletter, I mentioned someone who had written "Recently, maybe from curiosity or maybe for another reason, I am beginning to browse through the Bible, not even I'm sure why I did, maybe to look for something, maybe an answer to many questions or, better, to many doubts, rather MANY, perhaps coming from delusions or something else, I don't know, I am sure however that I am not a good 'Christian'..." In the following couple of months we exchanged a few messages, and then he sent me a copy of a four page poem that he had written to the Lord, of which this is an extract (and as is usually the case with poetry, it loses a lot in the translation).

I want to always know more, maybe to get back the time lost, it is never too late.
Maybe I want to quench the thirst of my soul, because for a long time it did not drink
from the source of your knowledge, it had become like the desert, arid,
but in the distance I say a mirage, I approached it and I found a green oasis, full of vegetation and with lots of water.
Lord, now I am trying to irrigate this field that had become arid and uncultivated, make it so that one day the grass can grow again, greener and stronger than ever.
Lord, every now and again someone tells me that I am brainwashing myself, but that someone is wrong, I am only trying to wash my soul,
I am using a special soap, it is not a well known brand,
it is a soap that whitens intensely, that creates a shining white
able to take out all of the stains without adding anything,
it is a soap that cleans right to the bottom,
it is the soap of faith, it is the soap of believing,
believing that someone a long time again was crucified
to convince people to repent.

I think that since I get such follow up messages from only a few people, there are probably a lot more that get to know the Bible and God better through my site, my computer program and the correspondence I have, but that I never hear about. Pray that God's Word read and studied on the computer will continue to transform Italians.

Upcoming events

  • 22/3: Afternoon on the snow for the children of the church, organised by the Valsugana group.
  • 10/4: The wedding. We will then be travelling around a bit, before arriving at...
  • 17-24/4: ECM biennial conference in Turkey.
  • 1/5: A celebration at Trento, for friends who were not able to go to the wedding in Sicily.
  • 18/5: ECM Italy field council meeting

Photos

Jury and Samuele (my soon be ex−flatmate) at the church bookstall in December. They are studying Isaiah together through an theological institute a few hundred kilometres from here.
Pinuccia with her parents, ready to go to lunch with the extended family on New Year's Day.
Some pictures of our new house, before we had started to move in - the furniture that you see came with the apartment. There are two pictures, taken from opposite corners, of the main room, which is the combined kitchen, dining room, lounge and my study (under the window where the divan is). It is a good thing that Pinuccia's favourite colour is green! Through the corridor that you can see in the second photo there is the bathroom and the bedroom. The last photo shows the view from the balcony - the mountain is about 50 meters smaller than the tallest mountain in Australia, even though the house is only at 200 meters above sea level. The landlord says that the view is better in Spring and Summer, when there is more colour.

E-mail: info@laparola.net