Gianluca and I have officially accepted to lead the couples ministry at our church in Modugno. This will include organizing and planning how to minister to all the different age groups of couples- from dating to elderly couples. Pray for us as we take on this task. We are excited about it. It is a great need in the church here (and the church today in general). Pray for people who will want to partner with us in this as well, so that we can train various couples to eventually take over various sectors of the couples ministry. We are also excited about it because we see how God continues to grow and prepare us for each new step and pahse of our lives. It will be a great opportunity to minister to people in need and to learn more and more how we can help future missionary families and marriages as well through our Mission i6:8 missionary care.
We are enjoying the premarital course which is going very well. It looks as if there are another 4 or 5 couples who will be getting married next year as well (2008). So we will have another group beginning the course later on this year. We will begin a “follow-up” ministery right after we finish this round of premarital courses. We will provide support for the couples who have gone through the course as they begin their first year of marriage. This will be very exciting and important! We are also looking at how to begin the other age groups, such as young families, as well.
The course this week was on communication. Probably the most important issue in marriage! We all need to learn to communicate effectively with our mate! We are always encouraged and blessed in our own marriage through these classes. Pray for this ministry and our involvement in it.
These last several days since Gianluca’s return have kept us very busy. The Sunday morning after his return we faced two departures- my mother left to return to the USA and Gianluca’s brother, Mirko (the youth pastor of the Modugno church), preached that Sunday in church sharing about his departure for Australia that upcoming Wednesday (I stayed home with Aurora as she was still recovering from a difficult bout of the flu).We spent the week preparing for our premarital class, Gianluca’s i6:8 meeting, and for the Mission i6:8 presentation in church. Monday Gianluca had a meeting with the core leaders of the Italian national youth organization Generazione Scelta to talk about the upcoming year and what it holds. Gianluca was able to share about Mission i6:8 and the upcoming plans (our goal, for example, to take 4 trips this year). Tuesday Gianluca had a men’s meeting in the evening (and Rory was finally getting back to her old self). Wednesday we spent together with Gianluca’s family before Mirko left for Australia that evening at 12. It was both a sad and exciting goodbye. Mirko will be going to study youth ministry at the Hillsong school in Australia for the next year. We are excited for this opportunity for him and for the blessing that it will be to the church. Thursday evening we had our premarital course, which Carli taught this week. Praise the Lord that it is going very well!
Friday Gianluca had an i6:8 meeting and Sunday the team from Morocco presented at both church services in the Modugno church their experiences on this mission trip (unfortunately I came down with the flu all over again on Friday and Saturday).
We are happy to all slowly be getting back to health and even happier to hear that we should be able to move into the house that we have found in a month (longer than we would prefer, but thankfully not too long!). God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.
This year ended and began with a couple days of time with the family. Christmas eve, Christmas day and New Years eve and Day we spent at Gianluca’s parents house. We laughed a lot and ate too much and played games too. We watched a fireworks display from the roof of Gianluca’s parents’ house that the city of Modugno had put on New Years eve.
The end of one year and beginning of another is always a time to reflect upon the year that you have just finished. It was a challenging year for our family and ministry and we are glad to be branching off onto a new road in our lives and ministry this 2007.
My mom arrived on the 28th after a very crazy and very long journey- unfortunately without any luggage. The kids, EJ in particular, were thrilled to have grandma here and demanded her full attention! We enjoyed her time here and only the Lord new how much I, Carli, would need it!
Gianluca left on January 3rd for Rome and began an equally crazy journey to Morroco for the Mission i6:8 winter missions trip. The team led the church services at the Modugno church the Sunday (New Year’s eve) before their departure- sharing about their upcoming adventure and what each person hoped to give and gain from this experience. The church comissioned them and prayed for the wives who were holding down the home front too!
After the fireworks of New Years Eve our own little firework, Aurora Zoe, was admited to the hospital for 3 days after a severe allergic reaction to the penicillin she was taking for her bronchitis. Unfortunately upon her return home three days later she and mama came down with the stomach flu. She is still recovering from this 3 week bout of multiple sicknesses and is pretty week from not being able to keep food down.
We said hello to Gianluca and goodbye to my mom within a day of one another- Gianluca arrving the 13th and my mother leaving the 14th. EJ was happy to have his Daddy home, although sad to see Grandma go. It was a tough 2 weeks during Gianluca’s trip and so I, Carli, was happy to have him home again with the family. So we had a bit of a bang and a boom to the beginning of our new year. Trials have begun to surface, but we have faith that 2007 has many blessings in store for our ministry, our family, and those we minister to here in Italy and around the world. [On a side note: please forgive our lack of updates recently. We have once again been without internet for an extended period of time]. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to those who have begun this new year with us in prayer. We know many of you have been praying for Aurora and for Gianluca’s trip too. We feel them…they sustain us.