Monday, February 26, 2018

Meet the Kosses!

Many of you may remember the Kosse Family. They visited in the fall of 2016 for a vision trip, and then began raising support to join our team with WorldVenture here in Austria. They recently had the video below put together to communicate their vision for ministry and how/why God has called them here. We are excited to share this - it not only allows you to get to know them, but also so clearly communicates the needs here in Austria. Take a look and pray for the Kosses!

Meet our New Intern!

We are very excited to have a spring intern joining in April and May this year! She will be a very unique addition to our team, coming to Austria not only with cultural understanding but also German language ability! Praise God for His provision! Take a look below to get to know Kendra!

"My name is Kendra and I will be interning with the Johnsons this April and May! 

A few basic facts about me are:
- I am 20 years old
- I have one younger sister who is 17 years old
- I am a dual citizen of both Austria and The US
- I study Fashion Business and International Marketing in New York (I want to use this degree to pursue a career in Ethical and Sustainable Fashion)

As you might have guessed, I come from a bicultural household, where my Dad is fully Austrian and my Mom is fully American. My sister and I were both born in Salzburg, Austria, but we all moved to the States when I was 7 years old. I was blessed to be raised in a Christian household, and I first began to realize my passion for missions as I got more involved through volunteer organizations at my high school, in my youth group, and even as a Young Life Leader in college. Everyone I volunteered or came in contact with was searching for something, and many were looking in dark places. Specifically, my family and friends back in Austria each have had issues with substances such as alcohol, nightlife, black magic, or simply believing they are completely self-sufficient. Over the years, it has broken my heart to see the disconnect between the "religiousness" of Austrian culture and actually developing a relationship with the Living God. 

I have felt God put a burden on my heart for Austria all of my life, but especially this past summer, when I was doing a two-month missions trip in Bulgaria and Romania, I very clearly knew God was calling me to come back to serve in Europe. Through a great deal of prayer and trust, I found this amazing opportunity to serve with the Johnsons in Vienna. I am already extremely expectant and excited to see the type of work I will be able to do with the refugees and locals in the city. I know that no matter where God takes me, he will provide a way for me to reach my people either through direct mission work or just being a living example among them.  "

Please pray for Kendra as she prepares now to serve in Austria by raising support and preparing for her various ministry opportunities here. She will be with us March 31 - May 20. We are excited to see how God uses her here and what she learns through the experience!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Visas and Health Insurance

The last few months have been a journey, and we thought we give you guys an update. (We apologize for the long blogging hiatus...) I'll do my best to keep the story compact, because I feel like it could get away from me.

Recently, I had heard from some other field leaders and workers here that visas were becoming more complicated. There were questions about health insurance and coverage and needing to provide additional documentation. We knew of people still waiting on their visa renewal applications to be processed, and it seemed like we could also face these challenges. We took a "we'll see" sort of attitude because living in the "land of worry and what-ifs" is not a great place to be.

Last fall, we had our first new worker come to Austria since we have arrived. We were so excited to have her here and get her settled in. She started German classes, found an apartment (something needed for her visa) and started to figure out cross-cultural life. We started to get an idea that things could get complicated when she received a letter asking for more documents. One of the issues mentioned in this letter was about health insurance. Bureaucracy is a regular part of life here, and so gathering documents and submitting them has become a normal part of our life. First, we made sure we were reading the documents correctly, because legal German is a whole other language. After that, we gathered the necessary documents and brought them back to the office.

In the meantime, we also were facing a visa renewal. We now live half a mile from the Vienna city limits, which places us in a different province. We went to drop off our documents at a local office and received similar questions about our health insurance coverage and the need for more documents. We submitted everything and waited for a response from the office.