Reflections On My Time In Vienna
Dr. Claudia R. Wintoch
January 5, 2004



More than 3 days after leaving Vienna, I have arrived safely in Bamako. It was quite a journey. I enjoyed a lot seeing my good friend in the far West of Austria, where I also spent my first night, and then my Swiss friend, which whom I spent the second night, and then went to church with. It was precious time with friends I rarely see. The last part of the journey was the hardest. I got on the train in Geneva Ė with my bag of 46.5 kg (103 pounds). And I had to change trains in Lyon which was quite an ordeal. Then I finally arrived at the airport, half an hour late. Again quite a long way until I got to my terminal and found the table of the cheap airline (charter) I was flying with. I finally understood why we had to be at the airport four hours before the departure. It took an hour to be ticked off a list and receive a ticket, two hours to stand in line to check in my luggage. And I praise the Lord for answering my prayer and giving me favor! Normally, every kilo above 40 would have cost me 10 euros each, so 70 euros (90USD) altogether. Thank you, Jesus! And my carry-on had 12 instead of the allowed 5 kg (they weigh them), but she didnít say a thing. Finally at the gate, they soon announced weíd leave at 3 a.m. instead of 2 a.m. Time was simply insufficient. Some time later they announced weíd leave at 4:30 a.m. because of technical problems (I later heard they had to change a tire). When we finally did take off, it was 6:15 a.m. They had also had to de-ice. That way, I arrived in Bamako with a delay of 4 hours, and got home by taxi at midday.

Thank you for praying for my journey! It is not evident that everything went as smoothly as it did! Now, itís time to readjust to life in Mali. The two weeks (not even) in Vienna were so rich and full that it feels as if it has been a month rather. Itís good to be home now, but it will take some adjustment. Iíve already seen some of my neighbors which was good. But Iím hoping for a quiet remaining day, and tomorrow morning I already have to teach.

Iím so thankful to the Lord for the time in Vienna He has granted me. Really for many reasons. I have to say, I was looking forward to going to Vienna (as you know), but I really went without any expectations. However, the Lord knew what I needed and GREATLY blessed me in every way!

I had the opportunity and joy to share in two services during my one weekend there. I shared about the joys and difficulties of being in Mali, about Simeon and Emmanuel, school, also the darkness. I told them about the ďWhy hereĒ question Ė but I wouldnít wanna be any other place in the world than where God wants me to be. I also told them about the ďWhy meĒ question and how unqualified and incapable I feel. And I told them that all I have and all I need is Godís love. I need to stay close to His heart, in His love, and then His love can pour through me to others. Thatís the only requirement, and only secret.

I also shared three ways they and you can partner with me and support me:

Prayer - without you praying for me there is no way I could be here and do Godís work. His peopleís prayers make all the difference! I also shared how precious emails are, and that writing me would also be a great way of supporting and encouraging me.

Provision - Iím still about 200 Euros (250 USD) a month short to cover just the most basic needs (not included transportation, malaria tablets, etc.). I was very blessed and humbled to find out not only how much my church in Vienna loves and supports me in prayer, but that they will also support me financially now. May they and everyone else who has given reap an abundant harvest in return!

People - I just invited everyone to come. It made them laugh, but I was serious. I want those who just come to visit, those who come to do ministry, and there also those who are called to come long-term. Please pray the Lord will send workers into the harvest, because it is truly ripe in Mali.

It was a great blessing to share in Vienna, and to meet so many wonderful people. I tell you, after three months alone in Mali, it was even more precious. The worship was so glorious, with all the people, and not having to do anything Ė how could I ever keep standing in Godís presence? I was overcome by His goodness and His love and His presence. When I got up on that stage both times, I was still so moved by God I had a hard time talking. I just had to remind everyone what a privilege it was to know Jesus and to come into His presence, while so many out there donít know Him. And what a privilege it was to come together and worship Him together.

All people I met were just wonderful and blessed me so greatly. From the pastors to old friends to new friends. I found out that even though many donít write, they do read and follow and do care. What a blessing it was to see them and talk them. And I could also see where God had changed me just in those three months, the dying that had happened (will it ever end?). I just felt so small, so blessed, and just wanted to pour out His love on all the others. There are still too many people that donít have an intimate relationship with Jesus, where there is just them and Him!
And how that message is burning within me!

New Yearís Eve was spent with the Austrian fellowship of my church. And again, God blew me away. The whole first day of this year was so significant, as if every little thing was a prophetic sign for what is coming this year. And Iím expecting great things. Whenever Iím discouraged I remember a life-changing prophetic word I had in 2002, part of which also said 2004 would be the big year of breakthrough. That first day was significant in terms of Godís presence, in terms of the anointing, and in terms of relationship. Twice that day I was anointed with oil by a friend, both times unexpectedly. Twice that day I was so filled with the Spirit you could have called me drunk. My first one plus hour of this year I was on the floor with the Lord, deep in His presence, as He filled me and spoke to me. And I had the joy of spending much time with a good friend that first day. And, somebody I didnít know gave me a big financial gift.

I was also blessed because I could stay with a friend of mine who is such a wonderful woman of God. She spoiled me and put up with my nightly phone calls to the US. Most of the time I was not at home but meeting with family or friends. I got to spend much time with my family and had a good time, especially with my brother which was a special blessing from God I had not expected.

And finally, though nothing compared with the blessings above, I greatly enjoyed all the good food, none of which I can get in Mali.

In summary, I had an awesome time in Mali. I was refreshed, blessed, able to renew friendships and share, and hopefully I was also a blessing to others.

God is so awesome! Now itís time to look forward with all the great things ahead. I told people, in Ephesians it says we are seated with Christ in heavenly places. If I donít go there every day, where I really am and live, where it doesnít matter where am I on this earth, I canít do it. The more I live where I am, the more I am filled with Him and His love and can be a source of life and love here in Mali. I just have to go there every day, which I havenít been doing. I long to go deeper still, to know Him more, and to be more like Him. These next few weeks I want to take time to fast and pray and seek His face. This is a significant year, and much work lies ahead.

As I said earlier, I couldnít do it without you all. Thank you so much for partnering with me! May the Lord bless you abundantly!

All HIS,



Ask of Me, and I will make the nations your inheritance. (Ps 2:8)

Dr. Claudia R. Wintoch
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