Monday, May 27, 2019

Wheaton College Women's Chorale

When I was a student at Wheaton College, I sang in the Women's Chorale for 3 years. It was a really memorable experience singing in such a talented choir and getting to not only perform concerts but also go on tours as a group. In 2003, my first visit to Vienna happened on a European tour with the Women's Chorale (along with the Men's Glee Club). We visited Slovenia, Prague, Moscow and Vienna. I loved my time in Vienna, but had no idea that God would lead me back here someday!

Over the years, I stayed in touch with my choir director, Dr. Mary Hopper (whom I try to call Mary now, but most of the time, only "Dr. Hopper" comes out of my mouth!). She stayed up to date on our ministry and really displayed a heart for ministry in Europe, cultivated by quite a few trips she'd taken to Europe working with missionaries in various cities. The concerts performed in Europe would often be used as outreach opportunities by the local missionaries Mary was in contact with.  About 18 months ago, Mary wrote me and said the choir would be coming to Europe again for a tour and asked if they could come to Vienna and be used strategically by us for some outreach concerts. Of course, I took her up on the offer and began planning concerts for May of 2019!

This month, the weekend finally arrived and the choir performed at a variety of venues - a women's fitness center (owned by a Christian woman from our previous church), two churches on Sunday and even our kids' kindergarten! Their performances were really amazing and everyone who attended gave incredible feedback on the quality of the music. But what we hoped would really make an impact on the listeners were the words shared by several students in between songs, testimonies of how God had been working in their lives and how those experiences tied to the meaning behind the songs they were singing. It was very moving to hear and many people heard this message that don't have a relationship with Jesus. We are praying that these concerts bear fruit!

Here are some photos from the performances. It was such a special time, and we look forward to having them back again someday!

Singing at a Mrs. Sporty Fitness Center

Performing at our church, Evangelikale Gemeinde Floridsdorf

Singing at the International Chapel of Vienna

Posing at the Kindergarten with their mascot stuffed animals (which they gave to the kindergarten kids)

Saturday, April 20, 2019

2019 WorldVenture Team Retreat

We just got back from our annual Spring Getaway, a 4 day retreat for our WorldVenture Team Austria. We were blessed with several special guests at our retreat this year...

  • our speakers for the week were former missionaries to Austria. They were a big surprise for our supervisors, who are retiring this year!
  • a visitor on a vision trip who is considering long term service in Austria
  • a couple who works at WorldVenture headquarters in CO but was travelling Europe visiting community centers. This couple also used to serve in Germany and attended the Austria Team retreat!
  • a couple from Ireland who will be our new supervisors when our other team members retire
It's a tradition for our team to keep the schedule light, so the week is truly restful for everyone there. We spent the mornings hearing from our guest speakers and then taking turns sharing with each other about our previous year and praying for each other. Afternoons and evenings were free for outings and games. The weather was beautiful, and it was truly a wonderful week together. I am so thankful for our WorldVenture Team!

Here are some highlights from our week together:

Joe and Calla Jean Wright, our speakers for the week

Team prayer times

Our sharing time

Playing near the lake

The girls loved just throwing rocks into the lake over and over again!

There's a special bond between these two!

My favorite little people being themselves!

The whole group!

Mütternander 2019 - Changing the World

After 9 months of planning and preparations, this year's 2019 Mütternander Conference was a huge success! This year's "Mama's Day Out" brought together 250 moms for a day at a church in Baden. The theme was "changing the world" and the main speaker, Jill Savage, how we can influence the world through our relationships and parenting. It was truly a blessed day, and it was a privilege to watch women connect and be encouraged. I am especially thankful for the chance to work together with 7 other amazing moms in putting this day together. I'm so thankful for our team and the great way we collaborated together on this conference, as well as the friendships that have come out of it!

Here are a few photo highlights from this great day!