Newsletter 58 - November 2006
Since last I wrote there has mostly been a time of consolidation in the various ministries that I have been involved in.
In the Monday night cell group, one of the co-leaders started doing a course every night for three months, which has given the other co-leader more work to do (which may be a good thing, as he was the one of the two who needed more experience), although I will do more in the group than I was expecting to in these months as well. The group is already considering how it can evangelise as a group, and in their next meeting will be doing some detailed planning. They have also been working well at incorporating some of the people in the church who did not belong to any of the cell groups.
The Wednesday night group is the most difficult to lead, with very different people and not much sense of identity or unity as a group, although that has grown during the last 12 months and I can see a big improvement now compared with a year ago. There have been some good meetings with good attendance lately, and it was good to see the return of someone with many difficulties after a self imposed absence of a few months. I would still like to see them work together in some activity as a group, but have not yet decided what would be most appropriate for them.
Both of these groups have started praying regularly for one aspect of God's work outside of Trento, the Monday group for an Italian missionary in China, the Wednesday group for the university Christian work in Italy and especially for an Italian that is very involved in the movement.
The Thursday meetings continue to develop the leadership of the church, although I have not been to any since last I wrote. I missed a church committee meeting when my flight back from an ECM meeting in Spain was cancelled, and Pinuccia is going to the general leadership training this year instead of me. But next Thursday there will be the next meeting of those for which I am responsible, the coordination and training of the cell group leaders.
Apart from the doubling in size of the group at Rovereto, but partly also due to it, there is a totally different spirit there this year. There is more sense of working together in the group for the mutual well being of its members, and with an eye on reaching out as a group to the local area. Despite the distance for me to travel, it is where I get most encouragement at present seeing God work to create something new.
The Youth Group at our house continues with a study in Luke each week, except every four weeks when we have a social activity together. Although the group has grown from three to four youth, we still have not had all four of them present at the same time yet.
On the home front, we are still working on fixing up, modifying and adding to our apartment to make it more how we would like it, and useful for ministry. We put it through a "stress test" at the beginning of October with a party for Stefania's birthday, and it coped quite well with almost 40 babies, children, parents and other friends and relatives, which not many houses around here would have been able to do. Stefania enjoyed being the centre of attention, although she did not learn to blow out a candle in time.
Finally, for those who are interested in more frequent updates than these roughly 6 weekly e-mails, and would like to have more concrete prayer and praise points, I have started a blog at http://richard.laparola.net/. I hope to write in it once or twice a week, with an emphasis especially on things to pray or thank God for, even though I will not always say explicitly what to pray for.