Newsletter 54a - January 2006
In the church
The main change for me in the past couple of months has been getting the group at Rovereto started again. There was a delay of almost three months after the summer break, due to the people in the group not being present, and then twice it was cancelled for snow, but it did get going again with one of the couples from last year (from Argentina). Then a family from Belgium, who have been living in the mountains nearby for a few years, got in contact with us, and have come to the study. And next week a Portuguese man who lives at Arco (one of the other towns in which we want to plant a church, but in the meantime he can come to Rovereto) has indicated that he will come to the meeting. So there is a good group again – although it would be nice to have some Italians. Keep praying that this group will continue to grow and start to reach out into the city.
After a bit of a period with not many evangelistic activities organised, apart from the twice yearly bookstalls at the town market days, there has been more effort in that area lately by the church. For example, just before Christmas Pippo organised an evening with music, film clips and a talk by him, which attracted quite a few friends who had been invited plus others from the advertising – a much larger turn out than we have had in the past for such events. Most of the cell groups are starting to get mobilised in this direction as well – such a multiplication of effort was one of the reasons for starting these groups in the first place, and the vision of the cells that is being pushed is to multiply them. The Monday group, for example, which is the one I know best, will be organising an evangelistic international dinner for their friends in March – something the church has never tried before. But I'll say more about that next time.
In the family
Stefania continues to grow – especially in length. Her weight is right on the average, but when we took her for a regular check-up at 10 weeks the doctor measured her, looked at his charts and gave a gasp of surprise. Then he looked at Pinuccia, then at me, and said that she definitely got her height from me. She was on the 97th percentile, or said another way had the average height of a baby twice her age. Then again, this was comparing her to the average for Italian female babies, where there is not a lot of competition for the height!
On the computer
As you know, as well as the work in the church, I also produce resources to study the Bible on the computer. But I also help other people and organisations with some computer work, usually as a short term project. I don't mention these other ministries often, so I thought I would take the opportunity to give some examples of current or recent work.
The computer program to study the Bible has just gone to version 6.44, with some new commentaries and other resources available. That part is all in Italian, but I have also been working for the past year or so on resources for studying the New Testament in Greek. Since I realised that that would be useful to all, not just Italian speakers, I made it bilingual, and if you go to http://www.laparola.net/greco/ you will see the result of this work – a fully searchable Greek text (no other Internet site has the ability to do such complicated searches as mine), with lists of variant readings and allusions in the church Fathers.
I also collaborate with the principal Italian evangelical portal http://www.evangelici.net/. My main on going role there is to keep the list of Italian evangelical Internet sites (currently 661 of them) up to date, although in the past I created the section of the site with the searchable list of evangelical churches, and do occasionally some web programming jobs for them. There are a number of other sites around that I have created for organisations, although I am no longer actively maintaining them. For some other sites I help people keep them up to date and to add new content, although I didn't create the site.
At http://www.lc-words.com/ (ex Scripture Gift Mission) you will see that there is the possibility of receiving the Bible verses in Italian – the translation of the site and the creation of the list of verses in Italian is my work, that a colleague had asked me to do for him.
In the past year I have also been asked to translate a couple of books by the GBU Press. One, a series of talks by I. Howard Marshall, is already published. I have just finished translating the other, "Exegetical Fallacies" by Don Carson, which should come out later this year, in time for the GBU conference in December where he will be speaking. Coincidentally, I remember some friends talking about this book 18 years ago, and one said that it sounded like my sort of book. Almost two decades later, not only have I read it at last but I have also translated it.
February 1: Pinuccia returns to work, so I will be looking after Stefania by myself for 3.5 hours a day. February 14-16: ECM leaders' meeting in Spain; Pinuccia will take three days off work to look after Stefania by herself for the first time.