Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Long Term Focus

There are parts of life that are easier to assent to intellectually than they are to experience. Simple statements with a great deal of meaning behind them, like "early parenthood is hard" or "moving is usually stressful" are true by themselves, but fail to encapsulate the difficulty of the actual experience. The simple question "how?" unlocks so much of what is hidden behind one of these statement. For example, if you ask the question "How is early parenting hard?" one way you can simply answer that question is with one word: SLEEP.

The same has been true for us with church planting. We came to Austria with some very key values and things we didn't want to be. We value partnership and submission to national churches and leadership. We are not the solo rogues out on the end doing whatever we want to do. We are not the people that come in with money and say that it is "our way or the highway" just because we can fund our own work. We also value team and want to see a church planting effort here in Austria that is not just German and American missionaries running the show, but is truly a partnership, a cooperation between churches across borders and continents. Additionally, we know that we have to have a long-term focus in this culture. Austria is a history-focused culture (compared to American forward thinking - When's the next iPhone coming out?). So we know that we have to maintain a long-term focus.

It is this last statement, this "long-term focus", that we have started to realize is different to pay lip service to versus actually living it out. We have started to ask the question, "what does it mean to have a long-term focus?" or simply "how?". We are realizing it is easier to say it than it is to be in the middle of it. We are living this out and experiencing it in an existential way, which is far more complicated than simply saying that it is true. We know it objectively, but the subjective experience is different and difficult.

The short answer to the "how" question is: "slower". Slower than it would probably go in the States. Slower because relationships take time. This doesn't mean that things are on pause, but simply that we aren't starting tomorrow or the next day. We know that this process will take time and we accept that. We live in this tension of wanting things to move faster but knowing that there are no short cuts. We know that if it is worth doing, it is worth doing deliberately and in God's timing and not our own.

This leads the second answer which is, it may be slower, but it is also in God's timing. We have seen God on the move and we are continuing to pray that he will reveal himself and his timing. We know that our desire to "get things moving" can move us outside of God's timing. Our desire is not to run out ahead of God.

Ultimately, we continue to seek God and work towards the church planting project, but we recognize that it will happen in His timing and at His pace. It can be hard to wait, but we eagerly await God's work and are excited for how He will move in our community. The church here was founded as a prayer movement, and we want to see another generation of young people encounter God in prayer and in His word.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Why Does Austria Need Missionaries?

Emily Roth visited us as part of the WorldVenture Media Team
We spoken and written a lot over the years about why Austria needs missionaries. It's a topic, though, that we regularly come back to because European countries are still in desperate need of more workers and for many Christians, it is still a new idea to consider Europe a mission field.

Last summer, a 2-person team of media interns from WorldVenture visited us and put together some great videos for use in recruiting and getting the word out about our ministry. (You can watch them here and here.) Emily from the team also took a lot of the ideas that we discussed and put them into a great article about Austria, which just went live in the WorldVenture website. We will post the beginning of the article here, but encourage you to read all of it by clicking the link at the bottom!

Why Austria Still Needs Missionaries
In a historically-Catholic country, WorldVenture workers follow God to plant a church.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Calling All College Students!

We have an important announcement! As of today, there are still 4 spots available for our summer intern team here in Austria. Our summer internship program is an excellent way for students and young adults to serve here in Vienna, as well as get exposed to the spiritual needs in Europe and discern if God has a future place for them in cross-cultural ministry.
The summer intern includes:
  • 5 Weeks in Vienna
    • German classes with other foreigners and the opportunity to reach out to these students in English via relational evangelism
    • A tour and prayer walk of a local refugee center
    • A weekly English cafe ministry, where relationships are developed in English through a local church ministry
    • The opportunity to attend Austrian churches and interact with Austrian believers
    • The chance to meet a variety of missionaries serving in Vienna to learn more about the unique needs of this huge metropolitan city
    • Other ministry opportunities, as they arise!

  • 3 Weeks in southern Austria in English Camp Ministry
      • 1 week of training to serve as a English camp counselor, a program where students are reached with the gospel message, as well as given the opportunity to improve their English language skills
      • 1 week of middle school English Camp and 1 week of high school English Camp
        • Teaching English courses
        • Developing relationships with the kids in your cabin
        • Helping with music or cooking, as giftings allow
        • Sharing testimonies 
        • Working alongside Austrian counselors and students 
    • Several days of debriefing in Vienna to conclude the internship
    The internship runs from approximately June 1 - July 31 and total funds to be raised is between $4,000 - 5,000. Our English Camp ministry here in Austria is especially in need of counselors for this summer. Please spread the word! You can express interest emailing Bethany at bethanyjohnson83@gmail.com OR using the contact form here on the WorldVenture website.

    If you would like to contact one of our previous interns from last summer to get firsthand input on their experience in Austria, email Bethany and she will put you in touch.

    Do you know a college student looking for a summer internship or ministry experience? Do you know a young adult considering missions but not sure where or how God is leading them? Are you, yourself, looking to serve and make an impact this summer? Contact us or pass along this post to the right person!