Tuesday, November 30, 2010

WorldVenture Appointment Service

As part of our 2 weeks at the WorldVenture headquarters last month in Littleton, CO, Nate and I participated in an "appointment celebration service". All of the newly appointed missionaries were given the opportunity to briefly share their story with the WorldVenture staff, family, mentors and some retired missionaries living in the area. It was a wonderful time to celebrate God's work in the lives of each of the new missionaries and pray for the journey ahead. Our appointment class of 15 people are headed all over the world - Africa, Europe, and southeast Asia - and it is exciting to think about where we will all be in a few years time.

Here is a video from the service, including an introduction from Linda Gawthrop (from the HR/recruiting department of WorldVenture) and our 3-minute presentation:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankfulness and Other Things

Today is Thanksgiving and we had the traditional meal with the family.  We ate turkey (and my fav stuffing), we watched football, we looked at Black Friday specials in the paper, and we watched grand kids dance or walk around in the center of the circle - all the important thing.  It was a special time! (I have included some pictures after the jump)

One thing I heard, that is something you really only hear around this time of year - Happy Thanksgiving!  It is a great encouragement to enjoy being thankful!  

I don't think I spend enough time being thankful, so with that in mind here are 5 things I am thankful for based on today's adventures...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thoughts on Austria...

It's finally official - Austria is the country! For the last few years as we've been preparing for this major life transition into missions, we were moving towards commiting to moving to Austria. However, I was purposely holding back until it was official. I know myself well, and I know that when I get excited about something and it doesn't pan out, its really hard for me to let go and move on. So until Austria was officially the country to which we were being sent, I completely held back on letting myself get "emotionally attached" to this new nation. I didn't research it, I didn't look at it on a map, I didn't teach myself anything new about Austria.

Now that we know we are going to Austria, I've begun educating myself. Here are a few things I've learned...

1. The official language of Austria is german, but I have heard from the missionaries that live there that the german spoken in Austria is slightly different than that which is spoken in Germany. Austrian german is a bit of a dialect.

2. Austria borders Italy. I am horrible with geography and until a few weeks ago, all I knew was that Austria was somewhere in central Europe. Now I know that Austria borders Germany and the Czech Republic to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Switzerland and Lichtenstein to the west, and Slovenia and Italy to the south. I absolutely adore Italy (only been there once and can't wait to go back) and I'm excited to be so close to gelato, tuscany, and Cinque Terra.
3. The Austrian flag looks like this. I embarassed myself when we were out in Colorado when I saw this flag on someone's paper and asked "which country is that?" When they told me, "Austria", I quickly backpedaled and explained that I still had a lot to learn about the country I am moving to :)

4. The spiritual need in Austria is huge. I had a sense of this going in, but the more people I talk to who live in Austria, the move amazed I am at the spiritual darkness that exists there. Things like alcoholism, abortion and suicide are prevalent, and Austria is becoming a hub for sex trafficking from eastern European nations. The population is less than 1% evangelical Christian. Most Austrians appear indifferent to religion and spirituality, and others are dabbling in the occult or converting to Islam. Living and doing ministry there will be hard and slow.

That is only the beginning. I have so much to learn and I am excited to see how God will shape my heart with a love for this beautiful, culturally-rich nation.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

We have been appointed as missionaries to Austria!

It's official! On November 2nd, we completed our final interview and were officially appointed as missionaries with WorldVenture, on our way to Vienna, Austria. We are thrilled that our journey is just beginning and are excited at what God has in store for us!

(And to prove it is official...check us out on the WorldVenture website, with an official personal ministry profile!)

After we completed our in-person interview, we spent 2 weeks at WorldVenture's headquarters in Littleton, CO for our first training session. We laughed, prayed, ate a lot of food, digested large amounts of information, cast a vision for the coming months, and bonded with a great group of 13 other appointed missionaries preparing for the field. It was a memorable time! (Photo highlights can be found below.)

We would appreciate your prayers as we begin preparing for the field. Please pray...
  • that God would draw us closer to Him as we experience significant transition and times of uncertainty
  • for protection against discouragement and weariness when the road seems long and difficult
  • that God would raise up a strong and diligent prayer team to partner with us, both now and once we arrive in Austria
  • for the church in Austria and its great spiritual need
  • for financial provision, including monthly support and one-time gifts to enable us to relocate to Europe and begin ministry
More info to come...until then, auf wiedersehen!

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More from our time in Colorado after the jump

Monday, November 1, 2010

On Crazy Love Pt. 1

Or Why Francis Chan Can't Use Inflammatory Statements

In our small group recently we have been reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  I think over all our group has 'enjoyed' this book.  I put this in quotes because our group has enjoyed thinking critically about books before and we are glad for a book that is spurring on some real conversations in our group.  Some of us have more issues that others with the book.  The major issues seem not to really revolve around what he is actually saying, but in the way that he says it.  Here are a few quick examples:

"A relationship with God simply cannot grow when money, things, activities, favorites sports teams, addictions, or commitments are piled on top of it." pg 67.

"To call someone a Christian simply because he does some Christian-y things is giving false comfort to the unsaved." pg. 88.

"It is a remarkable cycle: Our prayers for more love result in love, which naturally causes us to pray more, which results in more love..." pg. 104

I tried to pick out a few - even though I didn't get to all of them.  The first two seem to fall into the category of  "extreme statements" while the third was critiqued on its basis in the reality of the Christian life.  For the sake of this post not going on and on, lets tackle the first idea and get to the next thought later.

So, who gets to make extreme statements? ...