Friday, April 13, 2018

Kendra's Thoughts

Our 6-week spring intern, Kendra, has been enjoying her first two weeks with us serving in Austria! We would like to share her recent newsletter, as it provides a great overview of what she is learning and how we've been spending our time the last few weeks. Enjoy!

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First off, THANK YOU for taking the time to follow me along during my time in Vienna. The fact that you wanted to be on this newsletter list really touches my heart. Knowing that I have friends and family across the globe praying for me is the most encouraging thing!

Since Austria is stereotyped as the land of Schnitzel, Lederhosen, Sound of Music, and Mozart, I want to give you guys a deeper look into the needs and culture of this amazing country ;)

As most of you know, I was born in Salzburg, Austria, so the fact that God opened a door to go back to Austria to serve the people in Vienna and practice my German was an absolute dream! I arrived in the city the Saturday before Easter, and since then, it has been a complete adventure with many ups and downs. I have seen beautiful architecture, tried incredible food, and meet such beautiful people...but I have also gotten lost more times than I care to admit (in forests and the city), gotten frustrated with my German language skills, and experienced deep bouts of loneliness and sadness. However, God has been using this time to teach me about REST and what it means to rest in him throughout the day. Even when I am working or volunteering, I am learning that nothing has to be perfect as long as I am trying to do everything for HIS glory...and let me tell you that is the most relieving concept in the world.

My hosts, the Johnsons, are a missionary couple from the US, who have two sweet little girls and a crazy cute pup. They have not only made me feel extremely welcome in their home and community, but they have already taught me so much about what it looks like to serve as a missionary in Austria! In Austrian culture, it takes a long time for people to warm up to new ideas and strangers. Because of this, missionaries might have to live in a community for years before they see progress in their ministry. It was so encouraging to see their perseverance and trust that God had placed them in this culture for a specific purpose, even if some days it seems hopeless.

So much has happened in the short 10 days that I have already been here, but a short list of my activities have included:
  • Meeting other Christians in the community
  • Working with refugees at a Christian outreach center
  • Ministering to prostitutes and their children in the center of Vienna
  • Attending German class
  • Discovering the city and going on prayer walks
  • English tutoring outreach at an international church
  • Rediscovering my Austrian roots

Although there is incredible sadness in the stories of the refugees and prostitutes we come in contact with, it is such an honor to be able to be God's hands and feet and serve them in any way possible! 

Prayer Request:
I want to ask you to please pray for the people of the city of Vienna. Many have completely rejected the idea of religion or are very ingrained in old, cold traditions that are very far from a personal relationship with the Lord. Please pray that they will be open and given the opportunity to see what Christ's love really looks like.

Also, please pray for my emotional health while I am here Austria. Going back to the country I was born in has brought up nostalgic and sad memories I thought I had dealt with long ago. I am so grateful to have the Johnson's to mentor and disciple me during this short time in Vienna, and I have already experienced incredible freedom in understanding what happened in my past to help me learn and grow for the future. 

I hope you all have an amazing rest of the week, and if I can be praying for you in ANY WAY, please send me a message!