A wintery fall has come to Vienna, like many parts of the US, as well. Leaves are changing and falling from trees and the air is crisp. I personally love this season. As a warm-blooded person, it is nice to move out of the dog days of summer and be able to put on sweaters and long pants. I also love making tea and feeling cozy warm instead of sweltering hot. I am getting carried away here, but you understand where I am coming from.
Another part about fall here in Vienna is that it brings back all kinds of memories for us. We arrived last October and began getting used to life here. Since then, a lot has changed. We have learned and experience so much. It is amazing how God has provided for us. We are so thankful for all the people who have welcomed us with open arms and helped us to understand this new and different world and for those that continue to lift us up back home in so many ways.
Thinking back to those first weeks and months here in Austria, I don't think I could have possibly imagined what it would be like to be where we are today. To be honest, I had a lot of doubts and fears that went along with this. Most of these spanned the unknown between imagination and reality. By that, I mean that we had spent a great deal of time preparing for this transition. We had attended hours and hours of training, read books, and talked to so many different people that had been through the language learning and cultural adjustment process. It is one thing to talk to others or imagine what it will be like, but it is an entirely different thing to strap on your big-boy-boots and get to work. As I think back on that person and that time, I really believe we had no idea what this was going to be like. This is the reality in most areas of life, but after a year in the middle of this transition, I have seen this sharply. My perspective has changed, and yet I am still me. My marriage doesn't feel completely different, but the miles behind us have driven us closer together as we have shared defeats and victories together.
The key phrase here is, "I couldn't have imagined." I couldn't have imagined what the last 12 months would hold for us. And now we stand on the edge of another big step: finishing up "formal" language Formal here is in quotes, because with a second language you never really stop learning. But we will move out of the phase of ministry where our primary goal is learning language and culture and move into the next phase. We'll be talking more about this in the coming months, and we covet your prayers about this, but I (Nate) will hopefully be starting an internship in an existing church here in Austria.
This will be a chance for us to work within the existing church and get some valuable ministry experience before we join up with a church planting team in the future. We'll also have the chance to learn from those that have been in fruitful ministry for a long time here. Needless to say, I am really looking forward to this next stage! But I also know that there is no way I can truly know or imagine what lies ahead.
In the face of all of this, we can finally "see the light at the end of the tunnel." It is both very exciting and a bit odd. It feels like so long ago that we left the States, and even longer still that we began this process. God has been so good and faithful to us. Join us in celebrating what he has done in the past and the wonderful future he has for us! To HIM be the glory!
Photo credit: nazka2002 from morguefile.com