Newsletter 60 - May 2007
We have just come back from nine days in England, principally for an ECM leadership training and consultation meeting. But we took the opportunity to spend a couple of days in London on the way there. Before going I was not sure how Pinuccia (her pregnancy does tire her out) and Stefania would cope. We did have to scale down our activities a bit, compared to what I was used to doing when I was alone. However we did see quite a lot of places, including a few places that Pinuccia particularly wanted to see, like Notting Hill (as in the film) and the National Gallery, where there was an exhibition of impressionist painters (Pinuccia's favourites). Pinuccia certainly enjoyed herself, and even said that she might have liked London even more than Paris, which for her is a big compliment. We did have quite a few rest breaks for her, and all the stroller pushing in the fine English sun meant Stefania got a few good naps, so she was very well behaved considering the lack of her usual environment and meals. We found a children's playground in St James' Park, so every day we went there which kept her happy as well. The other highlight for Pinuccia was seeing squirrels all through the park - she had never seen one before and thought they were cute.
The conference itself went well; it was especially good for Pinuccia to see how this mission that she "inherited" works and what its vision for the future is, although having Stefania there limited her participation a bit. There was someone to look after the two children who were at the conference, but during the afternoon naps and for going to bed at night one of us had to be with Stefania. Pinuccia had lots of English practice as well. She even dreamt she was speaking in English the first night back in Italy, and when she was speaking in French to some missionaries from there, she couldn’t remember some simple words because the English equivalent kept coming to mind.
Stefania enjoyed herself, and as usual stayed with anybody who wanted to hold her or play with her, which gave us some breaks. I could see over the week that she became a lot better at feeding herself (getting the spoon from the plate to the mouth without spilling anything); hopefully she won’t forget that now at home. She took the change in the diet in her stride as well. In fact, her Anglo-Saxon genes got a chance to show themselves, as she really loved the baked beans which are unfindable in Italy.
Now we at home for just two weeks before heading to Sicily to stay with Pinuccia's family for three weeks. With the birth due at the end of July, we could not go during the summer as we usually would have done. As one of Pinuccia's cousins is getting married in mid May as well, it worked out well that we could go down for the wedding and spend a couple of weeks there, and then remain at Trento for all of the summer. In a way these trips create a bit of a problem for the regular ministries that I am involved in (the cell groups and the teenagers' groups), but in another way it works out well, because it gives an opportunity to those who have been helping me in the leadership for the past year or two to take on these responsibilities.
There was another important event in the church whilst I was absent, in that the Young Adults' group (18-29 years) was restarted after a pause of almost a decade. This pause was mainly for demographic reasons (there were not many in that age group for a while), although it did mean that the majority of the children of church members did lose contact with the church when they reached the later teen years. Marcio, that came to Trento from Brazil about a year ago, has taken the initiative to get this group going, with the help and encouragement of the church leaders. The first meeting was whilst we were in England, and there were nine people present. Then on a public holiday they had a picnic and video night together. They do not have a fixed program yet, but the desire is to reach out as a group to the youth of Trento; pray as they work out the best way to do this.