Newsletter 55 - February 2006
In the church
One of the aims of the cell group structure that we created in the church was a multiplication of effort. And almost a couple of years later, now that the groups are established and are a stable base to work from, we are really seeing fruit in that direction. And it is interesting to see each group reach out in different directions, depending upon the characteristics, gifts and interests of the individual group. The Saturday afternoon group, which is predominantly families, is organising an afternoon of games to which people can invite their friends (especially those with children). The Monday group is organising an evangelistic dinner for their friends. And the Valsugana group continues working on a new puppet show for the parks this summer, and in the meantime organised a romantic dinner for their friends near St. Valentine's day, with a talk on our love as a copy of God's love.
Another one of the aims is the development of leaders and the mobilisation of more people in the church. Through this multiplication of effort we are in fact seeing more people mobilised in serving God through the church, as there is more to do, each group chooses what to do in based on their interests, and there is a feeling of "ownership" of the activities. The leader training is also going well, with Carmelo especially always doing more in his helping/apprentice role in the Monday group, and he should be ready to take it over after the summer break.
Another aim was the creation of new groups, and Rovereto is the one must recently created. We continue to find new people interested in the group, and there are now seven adults in the area that come to the church. It is a bit hard bringing them together however, as they are in any case dispersed over a wide area with mountains to traverse for some of them, others having to work in the evening, and the fact that all the snowfalls this winter have happened to coincide with the Fridays that we were intending to hold meetings has not helped. But there is a base to work from, and it is the group that I want to dedicate more time to now that the others have less need of me. And my passion remains the starting up of new groups, especially in new areas where there is little or no evangelical witness.
In the family
Pinuccia started work at the beginning of the month. In theory it is for two and a half hours a day, but she gets time off for feeding so only has to go for two hours and doesn't have to attend extra meetings. With half an hour's travel each way, that means that she is away for three hours each afternoon. Stefania and I are coping well with her absence so far – we go out to do the grocery shopping together, sometimes she sleeps the whole time and lets me work, and sometimes she insists that we spend the whole time together. Pinuccia is enjoying, after this long break, being back at school again. Stefania continues to grow and is happy, and we have discovered that she likes singing. With only one vowel sound so far, the lyrics are a bit monotonous, but the melodies are good.
With the growing family, we knew that we would not be able to stay in our three room (one bedroom, one bathroom, one everything else) apartment for much longer, even though it is very nice and in a great location. The ideal was to move in July, when Stefania will be nine months old and Pinuccia and I would have more time due to the summer break. So we began reconnaissance last month to see what was available, not expecting to find something now for six months later. But we did see one place that we liked, and the owner was prepared to hold it for us until July (despite receiving two offers for it the same day as us, after having been on the market for a few months). So in July we will be moving again - my seventh home in less than 14 years in Italy, but we intend to stay there for a while now, unless God has other plans for us. It is in the same small town of Lavis, that is just outside the edge of Trento, but only 15 minutes from the centre of Trento and 10 from the church. The location is not quite so nice, and does not have the best ice cream parlour in the area downstairs, but it is very large, especially by Italian standards. With three bedrooms, I will have a separate office, but the best part is that not only is the apartment itself large, but the owner had put a hole in the roof to reach the attic and made it liveable, which gives a lot more space and flexibility to the house. It will be great when we have guests staying, for holding the youth group meetings, I might move my office there when Stefania is a bit bigger, and when she is bigger still we can make a play room out of it. In other words, it is a great ministry and family orientated apartment.