This newsletter was written using a Commodore 64 machine, then copying, literally cutting and pasting the pictures into it. It was then photocopied (explanation for bad pictures) and mailed by postal service.

The original wording has not been changed, nor English mistakes been corrected.


News from Vienna 4

Vienna, 12.12.1994


As Christmas is coming nearer life in my family is getting harder and harder. So it might be possible that my newsletter sounds not so positive this time.

First a little correction to the timetable in "News from Vienna 3". The service at Grace Church starts at 10:50 a.m. and ends at 12:45.

Another thing to mention: Please don't be surprised when you see a "5" or a "%" somewhere between words. This key is broken and I can't control it.

A short review of what has happened last month: I had three more Bible studies with my grandparents. It's so encouraging to see how the Lord is working especially in my grandfather's heart! I gave him some copies about catholic doctrines and what the Bible is saying. Later he came up to me and said that he had looked it up the verses and that it's true what is written there. He also said that he is reading different passages of the New Testament himself. Once I felt I could be totally open with them. So I told them my reasons to become a missionary and why I know I can totally rely on God. Immediately they said I'd have to distinguish between the tough reality of life and "our" faith. They said they would pray for me that I would stop being so fanatic! My grandfather recently told me that he really appreciates that I'm taking the time to show them what the Bible says. On the 22nd of December is my grandfather's 77th birthday. I will give him a Bible so that he can read in his own one.

The 3rd of December there was an evangelistic breakfast in a big Viennese hotel, just for women. I was singing there with the VCC international choir. That was a good reason to invite friends. I was glad when my grandmother told me she would come. First we had breakfast, then we were singing two songs (one was an international Christmas Medley and I had the privilege to sing two lines solo in French), and finally there was a short message: "Christmas giving and the perfect gift". My grandmother became rather nervous and rejecting when she heard the gospel. Then she immediately left at the appointed time of end.

I've recently finished reading the book "Too Busy Not To Pray" that led me to start again writing a daily journal. I'am very glad about that because it's always a pity not to record what God is doing in one's life. So I can look up now if there was something of special interest for you during the last month.

The 15th of November I passed at my church to speak with my pastor and to tell him tat I would leave. I was quite nervous. I began by saying that he probably already knew why I wanted to speak with him. He didn't. So I told him that I would leave the church. He asked me why and I explained him everything, about the way I feel in this church and how the Lord had led me to Grace Church. He was obviously moved. After half an hour we finished our conversation and he prayed for me. He was hardly able to pray and I thought he would start crying at any moment. The main focus of the church is growing and now I left! After this conversation I felt guilty. I didn't want to hurt anybody! But I knew it was God who wanted me in Grace Church and who had been leading me in all things. My new pator then rang up my former one who had whished that what comforted him a little, just to know more about the church I'm in now.

The 20th of November I was quite nervous before going to Baptist Church for the last time. I had prepared the beautiful song "Step By Step" to sing back-up. Before I sang, the pastor said about the following words: "We want to grow as a church but the Lord leads people to other places like XY e.g. who has just left Vienna or Claudia whom the Lord has led to another, English-speaking, church. She is going to say good-bye with the following song." I hadn't realised before that the words of the song were so convenient. Chorus: "Step by Step you show us the way. It's not the norm we know it all as you lead us on. We're looking forward to what's ahead as we live in the now." At the end of the service I said good-bye to everybody. Some of them told me their opinion as I expected it, others supported me fully. Then I quickly drove to my chruch. I can't tell you how glad I am to be in a church now where I can identify with the teaching, where I can worship the Lord form the buttom of my heart, where I can grow and where I can serve in evangelism. When I came to Grace Church, I got rid of a big burden and I discovered a new freedom in prayer. The Lord really worked in a mighty way in my life since then by giving me such a compassionate heart for the world that hurts so much. One night e.g. in our house-group we watched a film about New Age. These 100 min. were simply too long for me. At the end I couldn't say a word, all I wanted was to cry, to cry to the Lord for mercy and His power to come. I myself really can't understand how any Christian can stay indifferent by watching such a film. I think it would be good to show this film to all Christians.

Recently I think more and more about not finishing my studies again although everything is going well; I like the courses I have and they are interesting. But I feel so limited in my possibilities to serve the Lord. I always feel discontent because I don't serve the Lord a hundered per cent. I can't study 4/5 more years. That's impossible. At the moment I think of studying two more years while growing as His child and in experience, serving among my family, my friends and in the ÖSM. I think I'll never be happy before being on the Bible college. Anyway, it's all lying in God's hand and he'll lead me the way it is best.

Recently my heart is really burdened for the ÖSM. The 26th of November all Austrian groups met in Salzburg. I was the only Viennese besides two IFES-teammebers, and Fred, the "boss". We werer talking about the different situations in the seven cities with universities. In Vienna, Graz and Innsbruck we have very strong groups and it was encouraging to hear what the Lord is doing there. On the other hand it was sad to hear about the situation in Klagenfurt (possibly one student after Christmas), Salzbrug (an IFES-couple, one student, no regular activities), Linz (4 believers) and Leoben (no believers known). Somebody made the joke that we should send People form the big cities to study there but Fred picked up this Idea earnestly. Since then I've been thinking and praying about the possibility to study a semester in Klagenfurt (where I could study French). I don't know yet if that would be possible without any problems. I just feel that would be something I'd love to give, supporting the Christians there and serving the Lord in this way. I would have much more time for the Lord there.

The 4th of December we had a prayer and fasting day for these groups in all of Austria. Some were already praying for them during the regular prayer meeting on Saturday but I had to organise a special prayer meeting on Sunday. So we were four people and intensively praying for the ÖSM. I would love to continue these meetings and so I announced a prayer meeting for the following Sunday again. The day before that day I fell ill (caused by lack of sleep). I decided not to leave in the evening because i has 39°C fever. But it couldn't prevent me from going to Grace Church. i just decided to be reasonable and to leave out at last the prayer meeting in order to stay in bed for some hours. Then I left for the service at VCC, followed ba choir's practice for the Christmas service. The next day I learnt that nobody had come to the prayer meeting. It's my prayer that the Lord would pour out His Spirit to revive His church again an dto fill all ÖSM-workers with new love and zeal to preach the gospel with boldness.

When you look around, there is so much need in our cities! Some weeks ago I was attracted by a homeless person lying behind a warm ventilation flap in a park. I felt compassion for him and thought what I could do. So I went into the nearest shop and bought two sandwiches. Then I laid them together with a tract beside this poor lonely man who needed Jesus so desperately. I was glad to have followed this urge to do that although it was just a drop in the ocean. The next day I passed again and the food was gone, he himself was sleeping again. One week later I again brought him sandwiches, an Austrian kind of cake and a chick-tract ("Somebody loves me"). My heart contracted when I saw him lying there shivering all over his body. I could just picture in my mind his reaction when finding the food. I've never liked giving money to the homeless because they either spend it for alcohol or drugs. It's much more useful to give them food. I think especially now during the Christmas time we shouldalso think about all those needy people while we are buying one present after the other and having big meals.

In my family, Christmas Eve is the most important day in the year. It's a tradition that my grandparents and Heinzi's mother are coming to celebrate with us. It's also a tradition that I'm preparing the Christmas program. We are singing several songs with piano, recorder, guitar and eventually viola (my grandfather is in the Viennese Philharmonic Orchestre). Then there is a story or a poem and a solo, something classical etc. Las year I read out of Matthew's gospel about Jesus' birth (everybody is familiar with this story - it's nothing special) and I had an evangelistic story. Heinzi always started talking with someone when I was reading and spoiled the whole program. I was sad last Christmas about the meaning Christmas had for my family and longed to celebrate together with brothers and sisters in worshipping and prayer.

This year I already have an evangelistic Christmas story but the rest isn't planned yet. Please pray for the preperation and that the Lord would open the heart of each of the listeners, especially my grandparents'. Please also pray for me for the Christmay time till I leave the 27th. The last month was very hard and it's getting worse. Tears were flowing sometimes and I had to leave home hastily some days. Sometimes I'm nearly desperate and don't know what to do. I'm still looking for accomodation but it's so expensive. Additionally, I've recently neglecting my quiet time what makes it even harder to cope with the situation. But I'm so glad that I can always come to the Lord, that He understands and comforts me! Another thing that makes it more difficult is that I still have no prayer partner and no very close friend in Vienna. So when I onve left home desperately, tears running down, I didn't know whom to call although I have so many friends in Vienna.

Back to November:

In the afternoon of the 20th of Yvonne and me, we again went to "foundations of faith"-course at the VCC. The topic was: "What has God done for us?" Again she heard the gospel very clearly and again I didn't get a feedback. Unfortunately she "couldn't" stay for the baptism right afterwards. The following day she came to the ÖSM-evening, as she did the following and the following Monday and she will this evening. Today's topic is "Hope and fulfilment of the Advent". She is also going to come to the ÖSM-Chrismas Party on Thursday. Possibly she is also coming to the "English Club" on Saturday and to the Christmas selebrations on Sunday although I can hardly imagine that. On Sunday, we w'll first have our Christmas service in Grace Church. We'll have a special program and I'll sing in the choir (that's the reason why people would come). In the evening we have the Chrismas celebration at VCC. Our international choir is going to sing the two songs we sang in the hotel, that means also my solo again and a good reason to invite people. At the moment, Yvonne intends to come to both services as she has never been to any of the two churches. It's a pity that you did't receive my letter in time but it's my prayer that this Sunday will be life changing for her and that she will truly celebrate Christmas the 24th.

Last Saturday my brother, my mother and Heinzi went to the catholic church because my brother's girl-friend was singig there. that made me very sorry because they would never come to see me singing. That's also what I told them. My brother and Heinzi admitted that. That day I had given my mother three roses. I had just seen them and thought it would be nice to bring her some. Then, in the evening, she indirectly said she would maybe come next Sunday. I pray that she will, and Heinzi and my brother too! Unfortunately my grandparents already have a Christmas party and are not able to come, neither in the morning nor in the evening.

What else is there to say about the last month?

One Monday night I had to translate the whole ÖSM-talk simultaneously form German to English. I was suprised how easy it was and really enjoyed it.

The following day, the 29th of November, I saw the musical "Grease". The music and the performance were greate - I love this music and dancing. Nevertheless I left the theathre rather depressed. The message of this musical is simply terrible - and when I think what impact the musiacal and the film had!

The 7th of December the people of our final class at school met again. We were just 10 people in our final year and nine that day. I realised that there is nothing we have in common any more.

Petra was also there. She has been living with the father of her seven month old son for two years now. Her boy-friend Peter is a drug addict who can't get rid of it. Petra is supporting him in every possible way but can't stand the situation any longer. We recently had an ÖSM-talk about a Christian drug ministry in Vienna. I immeadiately told Petra about it and that I believe it would be the only way out. Although she usually doesn't want to hear anything about my faith, she somehow saw anything else didn't work. In January they will meet with people there and hopefully he will soon be in the program.

Our Bible study group meanwhile disabanded because of the numbers of participating students. So we put three groups together and it's not possiple for me to come that day at that time. Ansbert, our only faithful, was very glad about that. He was really excited about the real discussion with more people. Tomorrow we'll have lunch together. At our last Bible study Ansbert couldn't come. Instead we had a member of a sect, the "true Christians". She had come to evangelise us, so it was quite hard to discuss with her. We haven't seen her since then. We were so grateful that God had protected Ansbert!

What is going to happen in the time to come?

There is no new date for the trial yet.

Next Monday Christmas holiday wil start. Then I'll have to prepare the Christmas program and to study for university. I also want to visit my father. I'll just go there by chance. I hope he is in Vienna. The 27th I'll leave Vienna for the conference in Germany. Unfortunately I didn't find anybody to travel with me. So I'll drive 900km there and the 1st/2nd back alone. The conference is about world mission and I'm looking forward to the Lord's working in my heart.

After coming back I'll have some more days for studying before the courses start again the 9th. January will then be a horrible month! I'll have several exams at university, the preparations for Mittersill, an ÖSM-evening to lead, special music in church the 22nd (my grandparents will come!) and so on. At the moment I really can hardly imagine that I'll have the time to write "News from Vienna 5" (althogh- knowing myself I'd say I'll take the time). So if it lasts longer this time, don't worry. From the 4th to the 11th of February I'll then be at the ÖSM-week in Mittersill (topic: freedom). The 13th I'll leave Austria to come to England again! We'll be about 11 Austrian students and we'll be travelling from city to city to participate in CU's activities. The 22nd the Austrians will return but I'll stay till Saturday the 25th in London and if you are also near London at that time, I'd love to see you!

It's incredible how much time it takes to write the newsletter. I've been writing for about 7 hours (two sessions) to be able to present this detailed newsletter. By your reactions I believe it's worth. Now it will take about another hour at university to make all the copies (meanwhile only about 35 because I don't send it anymore to those who have never reacted), then addressing the envelopes, writing personal lines and all together it will have taken me about 11 hours and a lot of money. So I hope you will take the time to write some lines back.

Summary of prayer requests:

  • my situation at home, my grandparents
  • finding a flat for my own
  • meeting my father
  • the ÖSM - new fire and groups in Klagenfurt, Salzburg, Linz and Leoben
  • my consideration of going to Klagenfurt for one semester
  • Yvonne's conversion, Ansbert's conversion
  • the time in Germany, strength in January

I hope you don't feel forced to pray or anything else by reading all my prayer requests. I would be glad if you just pray for one thing the Lord lays on your heart.

"I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to herm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I woll be found by you." (Jer 29:11-14)

May the Lord bless you through this time of thinking back to the great day when Jesus left His glory to give us life.

With love in Christ,

Merry Christmas & a happy new Year!

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