Newsletter 49 - May 2004
It is a bit over a month since our wedding, and after a great couple of weeks living in our own world, reality has hit as we try to live out being married in the midst of daily commitments. Especially as Pinuccia is at work most of the day, whilst most evenings I go out. But I should start from the beginning
April 10 arrived with a bit of wind so much so that in the video I have seen of Pinuccia leaving her house there are pot plants flying in the background but it calmed down and for the rest there was a fine, calm and sunny Sicilian day. The wedding ceremony itself was a mixture of cultures, part northern Italian, part Australian and part Sicilian and a wedding in a Sicilian evangelical church is different from a normal Sicilian wedding. As an example, the pastor of Sicilian church did the service, our friend Pippo who is one of the elders of the church at Trento preached, and Romeo Dinale from Australia translated them both. It did at least keep me on my toes, as I never knew what exactly was happening and what I was supposed to do next (and I wasn't the only one), but with some whispered suggestions along the way we managed to do all the right things at the right time. This mix of cultures meant that our wedding was like none anybody had every experienced before, which was good, and many people mentioned that they enjoyed it, especially what was new for them.
Since we had got married in the one month of the year in which Sicily is green, we then had our photos taken in some fields in flower and around some ruins and the vintage car that we were using. Then it was back to the reception hall, where all the guests were waiting for us, for lunch. Eating is of course an important part of an Italian reception (all of any Italian event); in fact, it was really the only part of the reception, as there were no speeches, no toasts, no formal part at all. Except for the cutting of the cake, which I was surprised to find put in front of me the moment we entered the reception hall and it was only to have some photos taken, it wasn't eaten and most of it was fake in any case. After saying goodbye and giving a gift to all of the guests at the door as they left, Pinuccia and I found ourselves alone at 5.30pm. (Having a short reception is Sicilian, not generally Italian towards the end of the year my ex-flatmate Samuele will be getting married in Puglia, and we should start eating around 1pm and finish the lunch some time after midnight.)
The next morning (Easter Sunday) we flew back to Trento, then had a day at home before travelling to Paris a city that Pinuccia has always wanted to visit, and where her fluency in French certainly was useful. Then on Friday afternoon we went to London, where we basically saw just the airport and a hotel, before catching a plane to Turkey for the biennial conference of ECM. I must admit that I attended a lot fewer of the meetings at the conference than I usually do, but it was good to go to the Bible talks and then discuss them with Pinuccia in the morning, and spend the rest of the day with her, with friends in the mission, and going to some of the other meetings as well. One of the other highlights was spending an afternoon at the ruins of Ephesus especially after studying the book of Acts with three different groups this year. In fact the week after returning I did Acts 19 with one of the groups, so could explain had happened a bit better to them, with the help of some photos and videos as well.
During our absence of three weeks, including four Sundays, quite a lot happened in the church. The most noticeable change when we returned was a large number of new people five seem to come regularly now, whilst a few others have made a couple of appearances. The group in the Valsugana also moved forward on its puppet project in part in order to use them to do some evangelism on the shores of the lakes in the summer, in part to get the children involved with most of the children of the church, and half a dozen children of non Christian friends in the valley, helping to make the puppets one Saturday afternoon. The monthly soccer games have really taken off as well, with not just a good group of players from the church who also invite their friends, but quite a few people coming along just to watch and be with the others. On the other hand, the four cell groups that I lead suffered a bit, not meeting at all or just rarely. It was not always the fault of my absence one group had an outing to the cinema to see "The Passion", another to a park with their children, another was decimated by a flu virus but I will have to work more on the groups' independence from me when they restart after the summer break. In any case, they are still doing their job of welcoming new people two of the new couples are already attending one of the groups.
I have just got home from one trip away, and have to start working on the next. I have most of the program for our time in Australia worked out and booked, now we need to start putting together the material that I have collected over the past three years to present in the various churches and groups that we will be speaking up. Since I need to do in two months what I usually do in four, it will be quite a busy schedule. For those who can pray for the meetings, or like to come to hear me somewhere, the main dates are:
Apart from these official dates, there will be as well many mid weeks meetings with Bible study groups and prayer meetings, time with my family and going tourist to show the delights of Australia to Pinuccia. Although I'm sure one of the highlights for her will be a trip to a large shopping mall which the female members of my family have booked with her!