Monday, May 26, 2014

Video Update

Hi friends and family!

This video update is long overdue. Obviously, the new addition to our family has made it a bit more challenging to record videos this year! Take a look and listen to what's new in our life and ministry and how you can be praying for us. Thanks!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Reformation Church History, or the Deep End of the Pool

Spring time requires a spring / summer illustration, so here we have it. I jumped into the deep end of the pool, and it was really refreshing and reminded me that I can least enough to not drown.

Two weekends ago, I took part in a class at the EVAK (Evengelikale Akadamie), which is an small evangelical bible school here in Vienna. I was graciously allowed to audit a block course on church history taught by the pastor of our church. More precisely, it was Church History III, which started with the reformation and Martin Luther in the early 1500s, went through the counter reformation and ended in the 1700s with the Pietistic movement.

As a block course, it took place over a single weekend. This made it more of a sprint than a slow hour-long jog for three months. It started at 3:30pm on a Friday afternoon and we finished that night at 9:30 pm. The next morning we started right in at 9:00 am and with a few breaks made it all the way to 4:00 pm that afternoon. If you are keeping track at home that is 12 hours (including meal and stretch breaks) of church history in just over 24 hours. It was the definition of the deep end of the pool, but it was really good. There were only 4 people in the class, which meant it was the perfect size for discussions and exploring concepts together.

No matter what language the class takes place in, the problem with history is that it is often boring. It is easy to have a big list of dates and people and just go through that list. The great thing about this class was we weren't just concerned with the dates and actions of the individuals, but also the main ideas that characterized their lives. In the section on Martin Luther, his view of justification was a huge topic of discussion for us. We looked at how he came to this view and how it has impacted generations of Christians.

This leads into another very fascinating part of the course for me. We saw over and over how major emphases of a specific reformer or pastor have stayed within the church for the last 500 years. We saw that we are not just an isolated island, but we stand in a great tradition of faith. This course was a great blessing to me, as well as a huge challenge. I am looking forward to more challenges like this along the way.

Photo credit: pedrojperez from

Sunday, May 11, 2014

My First Mother's Day

My first mother's day didn't really turn out as I had envisioned. Nate did a great job by cooking me breakfast and getting me gourmet chocolate (he knows me well), but from there, it went downhill. Nate was sick and needed to rest in bed much of the day. Ellie was protesting taking naps and getting overtired, so I spent the day rocking her to sleep and walking around Vienna in the rain with her in the baby carrier (with a very large umbrella). I had to miss church and was disappointed. It was a day of frustration and tears, rather than laughter and fun celebrating with family.

It's days like today - the nitty gritty of parenthood - that people don't usually post to facebook. On social media, you see everyone's beautiful, happy families and joyful children. You see positive, happy status updates and assume that they have everything together. And the danger with this is the danger of comparison. When I have a difficult day like today, I compare myself to others and wrongfully assume I'm the only mother who is struggling. I assume that everyone else has happy, perfect children who never do anything wrong, and I'm the only one who can't figure out how to get her daughter to sleep.

All this is a lie and Satan uses it to divide and isolate us. We all have struggles in parenthood, like we have struggles in all areas of life. We don't always post them to facebook, but that doesn't mean they're not there. Social media is a great way to stay connected, but it's also a great way to always put your "best foot forward" and avoid being honest and vulnerable about where we are struggling. It's also a great tool to make us feel inferior, as we compare ourselves to the perfect images we see posted.

Mother's Day wasn't what I was hoping it would be, but God used it to remind me that I'm not alone. Everyday has its struggles, some days more than others, but God walks with me through them. And everyone has their struggles; no one is perfect. Perhaps rather than only showing the best parts of our lives, we can all pursue honesty, vulnerability and encouraging one another, sharing in each other's struggles.

"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." - Galatians 6:2

Photo credit: GaborfromHungary from