Newsletter 59a - March 2007
The first few months of the year are usually a time of consolidation, and it has been no different this year. Most of my time in the church has been committed to preparing and leading Bible studies – nothing different from the regular program, but it is exciting to see people think about, understand, and be changed by reading the Bible together, and I have been seeing this lately. Now that Spring is arriving, there will be more special events happening apart from the regular program. For example, the church has just started two courses (although I am not involved in either), one for two couples of new believers and one for more mature Christians to deepen their theological understanding. Other events are mentioned in the "Upcoming events" or I will talk about in future newsletters.
The Youth Group has also kept me (and all of the leaders) busy. As well as the usual studies in Luke, we have had a trip to Merano to meet with the youth there (where there is also a small group) and gone ice skating. We have also started our end of the academic year project. Each June the Sunday School has a recital, and last year the youth produced a magazine to explain what they had done during the year which they distributed on the day of the recital. This year we have gone technological and decided to produce a film. Most of the script is written (mostly written by the youth), and we have started doing the filming.
On the computer
One new ministry on the computer side of my work is that with another missionary I have taken over the Italian web site of Operation World (http://www.owitalia.org/) – he looks after the translations of the text for each country, whilst I look after putting the texts and photos on the site. I probably had enough computer ministry to do already, but I believe that this site is too important for creating world Christians out of the Italians to let it pass by. I have already seen the site's positive effect on people, as I have used its information a number of times in prayer meetings in the church cell groups. And each time the members of the groups have been surprised at what they read and did not know, and have prayed better as a consequence.
In the family
Pinuccia's "at risk" pregnancy came through, which as I said last time doesn’t mean that there is any risk, only that she is allowed to have an extended paid maternity leave. It came just at the right time, when I was about to leave for four days of ECM meetings in Spain, and we were not sure what we would have done with Stefania whilst Pinuccia was working. Since then she has been making good use of the time off, resting a lot, but also preparing a number of studies for the women and the youth, meeting with her friends, and mending clothes (both ours and of friends). The fact that Pinuccia is not working now means as well that we can all go together to England for the ECM leadership training and consultation meetings there – usually it is impossible for Pinuccia to go to such meetings, and even to some ECM meetings in Italy (and difficult even for me, as I have to do the babysitting whilst Pinuccia works), so it will be a good opportunity for her to get to know the mission better. We will actually be leaving two days earlier, to have a quick tourist trip around London as our late anniversary present to ourselves.
The latest news is that we have just found out that Pinuccia is expecting a male, which after a girl was naturally our preference. It looks like the church tradition (of more than 90% girls) has been broken, as another pregnant lady due in July is also expecting a male. The third lady expecting in July, who already has three daughters, will be happy if this new pattern keeps up. Now we have to start thinking about names…