Newsletter 63 - February 2008
In the church
The church continues to grow. There are almost 20 people that have started coming to the church more or less regularly in the last year. And then there are the eight babies born in the last eight months as well. These changes of course create some good problems to have, but the cell groups, as well as the English language group and the young adults' group, are working well to include these people in the life of the church. The increased numbers are showing the limits of the hall we use as well. It will probably not be possible to rent the place that we had been looking at; keep praying that we would find something appropriate and affordable, that can help us in our witness in the town and province.
There have been some good changes in some of the groups that I am leading as well. The Youth Group has changed a lot recently, with the three members being a bit older and knowing each other better, and there are interesting discussions and questions from them during the studies, and also when we talk together afterwards. The occasional combined meetings with the young adults' group have been good as well, helping them to know other Christians not too much older than them. But it has created a problem in the transition; they want to spend more time in the older group, probably more than would be good for them at this stage. So we are still thinking about what to do with them, especially in September after the summer break when we start a new year of meetings.
The Rovereto group had a night out recently to eat a pizza together – the meetings in Italy always go better when there is food. It went really well, building up the group togetherness, and it was a good opportunity for inviting a couple of people who are interested, but who do not attend the group.
Another recent event is that a photographer/cameraman in the church had an exhibition of his photos at a cultural centre/cafeteria at Trento, on the theme of "Food in the Bible". (He had already shown this exhibition at a religious film festival here.) At the end of the exhibition, one of the elders of the church conducted a discussion at the centre on "Spiritual Food", making the connection from the photos to what the Bible teaches. The centre has asked us to hold more such discussion meetings in the future.
In the family
Over the end of year break, we went to Sicily to visit Pinuccia's family. Since we will be in Australia this northern summer, we brought forward our usual trip there. We were quite busy there, spending time with the extended family and friends, and of course showing off Stefania and Daniele to everybody. The children did not have any problems with the change in environment either. The irony of the trip was that after almost two years without seeing snow at Trento (although we can of course see snow on the mountains around us), a couple of hours after arriving in Sicily it started snowing, so Pinuccia suddenly found herself driving at 1am in a snow storm on a not very good road with no visibility and a hungry baby crying in the back. To even things up, on the return trip as I was driving in the early morning, just as we got to Trento it started snowing.
When we returned from Sicily, Pinuccia when back to work after her maternity leave. She has two or two and a half hours each afternoon, although as it is a school in the middle of Trento she has to take public transport, which means that she is away four hours each day. So I look after the children then, taking them out to do the shopping, and keeping them amused and trying to do some work the rest of the time. They are well and growing: Daniele turned six months last week and is getting quite big for his age, whereas Stefania loves anything to do with Winnie the Pooh.
As mentioned above, we will be in Australia this year, from early June to late August. As well as time with my family and helping the children to get to know their other patria, we hope to be visiting lots of churches and other groups to talk about what we are during at Trento, and what we pray that God will do in the future planting new churches in the province. We will also need to be raising more financial support, because we currently have a shortfall of about $650 per month. So you can pray now that we can effectively communicate the situation at Trento and how people in Australia can partner in the work here, and that we find some who respond.
If you would like to see us in that period, let me know as I want to create a program in the next few weeks. We already have two bookings, so be quick before all the dates are taken!