Newsletter 37b - June 2001
I have been back in Australia for almost a month now, which means that my holidays are rapidly coming to an end. It has been good to stay with my family and spend time with them. I have been able to immerse myself in Australian culture, going to the theatre a couple of times, the cinema to see movies in English again, the Olympic Stadium to watch a State of Origen Rugby League game, playing bridge, and eating lots of Vegemite. I have also been able to visit a few friends around Sydney for meals or a coffee - although I am missing a good cup of real Italian espresso coffee. (If you are in Sydney or one of the other cities I will be visiting and I have not caught up with you yet, send me a message, I would love to see you again.) I am enjoying being back in the church I grew up in as well, although it has changed a lot. Or probably I have changed more; I am not used to congregations in the hundreds, but I am able to participate in a weekly small group, which is a size more akin to my habits.
Life does not end just because I leave, and in fact there was a big weekend at Trento on the 3rd and 4th of this month. On the Saturday there was the end of year festival at the university, at which Marcus organised a bookstall for the GBU, and at which a couple of visiting GBUers from Perugia helped out. They had a few good conversations with students. Caroline (from Perugia) spoke with Mario, a friend of Marcus, who felt let down by the Catholic church and decided he must be a Protestant, and with a girl who studies at Padua and who took a lot of the literature. My flatmate Samuele was also able to help out in practical ways with the bookstall, although he went because he was supposed to play at the festival. Unfortunately for him the rain came down just as his group was about to go on stage, so his concert got washed out.
On the Sunday morning there was a baptismal service for two people. One, Amed, is from Tunisia, and is part of a group of Arab Christians around northern Italy, and so a few from this group came for the service. The other, Elleonor, is the English teacher at the university who has been a part of the GBU group this past year. She invited lots of her family and friends. With other visitors from nearby, and not so nearby, churches, from the GBU at Perugia, and elsewhere, I am told that there were almost 100 people there. This certainly strained the meeting hall to its limits. It was standing room only. You will be able to see this from the photos that I got sent to me, and that I have put on my site at http://richardwilson.interfree.it/photos.htm. It is not often that people at Trento get to be a part of a "big thing" like this, so I am sure that the people in the church were encouraged by it as well.
Something you can pray for now is the Summer Evangelism Team at the universities of Perugia, which started on the 20th and goes until the 10th of July. This is the mission I have been to three of the last four years; obviously this year I was not able to. But there is a representative from Trento in any case, because Marcus is participating. Well, two representatives if you count my car, which I have lent to them to carry people and objects around the city.
I guess it still counts as 'in Italy', as even though I am in Australia my computer ministry continues regardless over there. People are still downloading 100 copies of the Bible every day, and people are still e-mailing me with various questions. I hope to use these months away from my regular activities at Trento to be able to get a lot of work done on what others use. For example I want to improve the computer program, add more names to the Bible dictionary, and completely redo the Internet site to focus on the tools available to study the Bible and make most of them available on-line.
Since my future will be full of visits to other churches and groups to talk about my ministry, I have listed these meetings for your prayers. Apart from those listed, there are also many small groups that I will be going to around Sydney on various weeknights. Don't forget the summer team at Perugia either.