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 5

Vienna, 13.-15.1.1995


WELCOME to all those who receive my "News from Vienna" for the first time! There are more than 6 new people on my list, mainly due to the conference in Germany. I hope you will be able to understand what I'm writing without having read my previous ones. If not, just ask me.

There is a lot that happened during the last month and a lot to tell you. I should have written the first part two weeks ago but so I can try to keep it as short as possible. I was glad to receive so many letters at Christmas with several reactions to my newsletter. Forsome of you I write too many details, others are interested in those as well. I just continue writing the way I did, that means telling you what happened as detailed as I think it has to be. I thank you for your cards at Christmas and the positive reactions to my News. It was good to read that it's worth investing so much time for them.

Now let's go back to 1994. When I wrote my last News on the 12th of December, I was in a bad condition and it was still getting worse. I had a lot of troubles and at the same time I was struggling with keeping my Quiet Time. So I was going downhill. The 13th I found an invitation to the Vineyard celebration on the 16th. As I didn't have any plans for that evening, I was looking forward to worshipping the Lord for an evening and to get to know a Vineyard church myself. (There have been small gropus for three years but the church actually exists since October. They meet once a month for a celebration.)

The 15th we had the ÖSM-Christmas Party. Yvonne was ill and couldn't come. The program lasted for nearly two hours. During all that time i was really down and wished that there were no Christmas. At the end of the program, they read the gospel about Christmas. While listening I was praying; I was thanking Jesus that he had come to earth and praying for joy and relief. After the program I sat down in a corner, the guitar in my hand, and playing "Father, you are my portion" all the time, totally indifferent to anything. I just wondered if anyone would realise. It was just Stefan who came and tried to make me smile. (He knew my situation at home best because one night, when I had to flee from Heinzi, I went to his house (i.a. because he lives the nearrest).) He didn't succeed. I then stayed as long as possible, helping to tidy up the room, before having to go home.

The next day I was going to the Vineyard celebration. I was looking forward to it, to fixing my eyes on Him and not on my problems. During the worship.time we had at the end, the girl sitting beside me (who I hardly knew) started praying for me. Afterwards she asked me if there would be something special to pray for because she would feel an urge to pray for me. So I shared my family problems with her and she prayed for me again. During the worship-time the pastor said that the Lord will somebody, who is just in the desert, lead out from there soon. Somehow I felt addressed and was getting hope.

The next morning I didn't really feel better. There was just one highlicht: I think I haven't mentioned beofre what happened on the 27th of November. After having practised with the VCC international choir, I felt I'd have to ask if I could join VCC's worship team. Actually I couldn't go home before asking (I returned halfway home). So that Saturday (17th of December) I received the invitation to the VCC-worship team-meeting. I had so been looking forward to it that I was really happy for some time. IN the evening I was at the English CLub for the first time. Two Americans are organising these informal evenings where we are just having fun together and discussing things. That evening we watched two Christmas cartoons. I was still down and didn't like Christmas at all. There was nobody to talk to about my problems and I returned home. The enxt day, there were the two Christmas celebrations in my churches. In the morning, the Grace Church choir was singing. Although I was singing myself, no-one came (my grandparents couldn't, my parents didn't want to, Yvonne was still ill.) I didn't enjoy that at all. I was still desperate because of my family situation and especially afraid of the coming week. Everybody returned home that weekend, so who would stay in Vienna? Where should I go when having to flee form home? I felt like being left alone by everybody.

In the evening the VCC choir was singing two songs, and I even had a asolo. Again nobody came (for the same reason as in the morning). During that service, in the worship time, the Lord "turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. he put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God." (Ps 40,1-3). Oh I was so happy after that service! What should I fear with God on my side?!

The following week I already had Christmas holiday. So I enjoyed having so much time with the Lord every monring. It was great! The Lord had given me so much joy again, so that I was able to bear my family more easily. Then that Friday (the 23rd), Heinzi had drunk a lot and was starting accusing and insulting me again. I had to flee for the second time before CHristmas, tears running down. Where should I go now? None of my friends was in Vienna. Just one American (who is co-leading our Bible study group) came to my mind. I didn't know him too well and it was already 9 p.m.. Nevertheless I went to his house and was able to spend some time with them talking and just having felloship with people who were "on my side". When I returned home (at 11:30 p.m.), my mother was angry because we had intended to practise the Christmas program. Finally she changed her mind the next day and did do what she was supposed to do in the Christmas program.

Now back to the 17th of December before I continue with Christmas. That evening I was talking with somebody who knew about a flat I could easily rent. I'm still considering taking it. Its location and its price is perfect, but there is no heating and no water. That's why I'm not already living there although I'm pretty sure to take it. The problem is that I haven't reached that person yet to see the flat myself. There will surely be some adjustments but I believe it will be a good training for my future ministry. What counts is that it doesn't cost much, that I will be able to invite friends, have prayer meetings, etc., and especially that I will have the possibilitiy to praise the Lrod whenever Iwant! I hope I'll soon see the flat. Please pray that I'll take the right decision. I won't change there before March (I've no time in January and I'll be away most of February.).

Some of you have also been praying for the relationship with my father. There was also some progress (?) in this area: It was the 22nd of December. I had bought a little stone/crystal called "pyrit" which looked like gold: I put it in a beautiful little box, together with a sheet of paper with the following words: "No stone in the world can replace you. No stone in the world is more precious for me than you are. No stone in the world can express how much I long to see you again." and on the back: "Happy Christmas. I love you, Daddy. Yours, Claudia." Then I wrapped it up with Christmas paper. In the afternoon I left to visit my father, after having prepared it in prayer. I had never been there before. It took me an hour to go there, for it's on the other side of Vienna. During that time a lot of thoughts came to my mind. As I was coming nearer and nearer, several strange feelings came. I hadn't seem y father for about 7 years. What would he look like? What would his reaction be? Finally I was standing in front of his door, "my" name written there. I rang. Nothing. I rang again. Nothing. He wasn't at home. A feeling of disappointment overwhelmed me. How had I waited for that day when I would see him againa, and now, so close to it, no chance. What should I do then? I rang at the neighbours'. Nobody at home. The same with two more neighbours. Finally the fourth neighbour opened. "Excuse me. There is nobody at the Wintochs. Could you give this present to Mr. Wintoch, please? I will leave a message at the door to pick it up." "Which Mr. Wintoch, senior or junior?" "I don't know." "How old is he?" "44" "So the senior." "Yes, thank you." I went back to his door and wrote a short message that I had come to visit him and that the neighbour would have something for him.

Then I left the house and returned home. A lot of feelings were confusing me. I was disappointed, hurt, longing to know my "Daddy". Who was "Mr. Wintoch junior"? His new wife's - or is she just his partner - son? Or could he be my half-brother? What was his age? Are there more children? Do I have more sisters and brothers? What kind of life was my father leading? Was there room for me in his life? Would I be able to build up a relationship with him? Will his "wife" allow that? And so on and on. Many thoughts came to my mind. I can't actually do much more than pray. Only God can heal our relationship and before make him ready to start one, and even to write me back. Recently I discovered some new things about my father. We don't ever talk about him at thome, especially about the time before he left us (when I was five and my brother two). The "official" story always was that he left us because he couldn't bear two little children. Now I was told that he had deceived my mother during their whole marriage. (They married, after having known each other for five years, when my mother was 20 and my father two years older; I was born when she was 21, and he left us when she was 26.) He had also tried to commit suicide several times during their marriage. The few letters I received after he had left always showed me how depressive and desperate he was - like his father and like myself before I became a Christiasn. Praise God that He breaks chains! The more I wanted to build up a relationship with him after my conversation. It hurts when I think of the darkness he lives in. Please pray that I will get to know him!

Meanwhile my grandparents and I, we had four more Bible studies: "What is Man?", "The Problem of Sin", "About Eternity" and "Jesus, the Messiah". They often answer like CHristians would, but still they have no personal relationship wtih Jesus and see no necessity for it. They always say that that's wuite interesting but that I'm too fanatic and not facing reality. After the Bible study my grandfather often starts a discussion and then it is as if he had laide the "Christian" aside and now he were the realistic man of today's world. Then every religion is as good as the other and they try to "wake me up". They are turly worried about my inteiton of being a Wycliff-Bibletranslator after my studies. They always say that they hope I'll change my mind by then. Last itme I told them very clearly that the Lord wouldn't withdraw His call which I was sure of and that I wouldn't lack anything (they have many problems with the financial side). My grandfaterh always says that I would have to build up an existence instead of living like that. Those conversations make me really sad. They will never understand b efore they don't know God's great sacrifice and His amazing love for themselves.

The 21st of December we were celebrating my grandfather's birthday. I gave him a Bible because he hadn't had one before. Some days later, when we were alone, he came up to me and told me how glad he was about my present. He was really happy about having a Bible himself now. He also told me that he had read some passages which were really interesting. I'm always emphasizing the importance of reading God's word for oneself and he tells me from time to time that he has read a passage.

We'll have two more Bible studies before I'll be away: 17th of January - "Jesus' Cross" and 31st of January - "New Birth". Please pray for those evenings that the Lord will open their eyes and talk to them clearly, especially when we'll talk about new birth. Pray also that they'll start reading their Bibles themselves and they wouldn't want to stop again. An important time will be their holiday from the 18th of February to the 4th of March, when they'll have much time to read.

Now to Christmas Eve: My mother was really calm this year which is really unusual. We could even practise our Christmas program. The celebration started at about 6 p.m.. There were my mother, my brother, Heinzi, his mother and my mother's parents. First we light the candles on the CHristmas tree and then we start the program I prepared. This year we had some songs my mother (alto) and I (soprano) were singing together (my grandfather at the piano), then we were playing just one classical piece (my mother - piano, I - recorder); the rest of the songs accompanied by my mother on the piano and me playing the guitar or recorde, the rest of the family singing. In between I had the gospel of christmas and a "Dialogue with the Child in the Manger". I had learnt this evangelistic dialogue by heart so that it would be more effective. Unforutnately it was a flop. Due to the problems the night before, I finished learning it the same day. After some sentences I struggled. My mother was prompting. At the same time Heinzi started talking (like always, also when I was reading the verses) and I really lost the thread. So I somehow came to the end but nobody really listened. Generally they all found the program O.K., just my borther didn#t even want the gospel of Christmas.

The evenign was quite nice although I would have loved to celebrate esus' birthday differently but I did that the following day. The service in VCC was absolutely great! We were worshipping Jesus the whole two hours in the darkened church. At the end all of us, about 350 people, had a lightened candle in the hand while we were singing "Silent Night".

From the 25th to the 27th we usually have family celebrations (the 25th with my mother's parents, the 26th with Heinzi's family, the 27th with my father's parents). This year I had to visit my father's parents as well on the 26th of December. I see them about there times a year. The relationship between them and my mother's family is terrible; it's based upon hypocrisy and lies. Every time we had left them, my family was talking about them in a terrible way. It's my desire to build up a relationship with them based on truth and love. So I was at their house the 26th without my brother. We had a quite good time but afterwards I was sad about the "quality" of our relationship. I want to changet that and to show them that I care for them. Besides I also learnt that they usually don't hear anything from my father for months and that they even don#t know where he is working now.

The next morning, the 27th, I finally left for Germany! I was really glad not to be with my family for some time but to have a lot of time with the Lord. I expected the Lord to lighten the fire in my heart anew and to give me some direction for the following years. So I left at 7 a.m. by car and arrived 900 km of rain later in Wiedenest. I was glad to see Elisabeth again who had been living in Austria for two years and who is a pupil at that Bible College now.

We startedin the morning with one hour of prayer before breakfast. Then we had a Bible exposition before the 1.25 hours of Quiet Time (great! - but still too short). After lunch we had some freetime before the program started again at three. Then we had some small groups where we could e.g. ask the missionaries any questions. After dinner the program continued with the missionaries talking about their work what was very intersting. They were more or less all Germans, sent out by the missionary society connected with the Bible College, working all over the world. I especially talked to three of them and I'm glad to have the privilege from now on to support them: one in Brazil, one in Pakistan and a couple in France.

So generally I had a really good time, quite different than I expected it to be. I enjoyed the time with the Lord, speaking to missionaries and learning more about missions. The Lord also made it very clear again that I'm called to serve im as a Bibletranslator. Most of the missionaries there were working in the medical area, others as teachrs or in their profession. I had been considering using my formation as a teacher for the Lord and I realised that I would love to do that short-term but it's not my calling for the whole life.

During that week the Lord also showed me in His great mercy some areas with sin in my life so that I could change that and lead the holy life I strive after. I was very greatful for His work in my heart.

New Year's Eve: This year it already came pretty close to my ideal way of steping into the new year. We first had a big dinner with a lot of good food. Then we had two hours of program with a lot of fun. I was for example in a group where we wrote a song based on Isaiah 45:22 (the verse of the year). At a quarter past eleven we started with a time of praise and prayer up to five past twelve. It was great to start the new year like that.

The conference ended in the afternoon of the 1st of January but I could stay to the following morning. I enjoyed that additional time a lot and spent most of it in the library. It must be great to be able to make use of whenever you want. I discovered some very good books.

The following morning I left at 7:30 to drive back to Austria; it was snowing heavily. Throughout the whole voyage there and back, I realised God's protection on the road. There were some delicate situations. I arrived home at 5 p.m.. At 7 p.m. we had our first meeting for the organisation of the ÖSM-camp in the new year. The planning is going on quite well. The theme of the week is "Freedom" and we have a speaker from Germany. There will hopefully be a lot of people (last year we were 120!); Ansbert is also coming. I gave him the book: "Following Jesus" at Christmas and he was very happy about it.

The 6th of January my parents and I, we left at 6 a.m. to drive to Tyrol, in the west of Austria. In the afternoon there was the national dancing competition, where my parents were dancing (they were 3rd). I then spent the night with a friend in Innsbruck before returning home the next day. The countryside was beautiful - the sun was shining and the mountains were covered with snow. But it was cold: -18°C.

The 9th courses at university started again and with them a very busy month. More details later.

In the evening of the 9th we had the VCC worship team meeting. We were organising the following three months. I will sing the first time the 12th of February. For me it's really something very special to be in that team, with a big responsibility towards the conregation. As I said before, there are between 300 and 400 people in one service. I have been attending VCC for 10 monhts now. I meanwhile know a lot of people there and really feel at home, more than in Grace CHurch (where I have been going for three months now), also on the theological level. I hve to admit that now, I don't want to "hide" my charismatic side any longer and to be ashamed of admitting it. My spiritual home is in the Vienna Christian Center (Assemblies of God) which is healthily charismatic (I also know extreme charismatic churches where I wouldn't go to). I think it should be called my home church. I will soon apply to become a member of the church. Surely I'll continue being part of Grace Church were I learn a lot theoretically and practically. (A short explanation for the "new receivers": I converted the 15th of July 1993, joined a Free Baptist Church a month later before going to Paris, returned in February 1994, started going to VCC in April (Sunday night/English speaking), left the Baptist Church in November and joined Grace Church (English speaking).) I was sad to hear recently that my former Church (Baptist) still has some problems. A couple, that was to be sent out with Wycliffe by the church, left the church shortly before leaving Austria. I don't know the reasons and if they go anyway. It would be a big loss for Wycliffe.

The 11th was another special day I had been looking forward to for weeks. A minister, who had been to Toronto several times and whose church meanwhile experiences revival as well, was coming to lead the Vineyard celebration. We had great three hours of praising and worshipping the Lord, but none of the higns experienced in Toronto had happened. It was "just an ordinary" celebration.

Now to the university: I have a lot of work to do this month as the semester is approaching its end. Next Wednesday (18th) I have to give in a seminar paper I haven't started writing yet (because of my News), the 19th I'll have an exam, the 21st two exams, the 23rd one exam (probably), the 24th one exam, the 25th one exam and the 1st of February the last exam before the holiday. So I'm very busy at the moment, for I still have my 28 hours at university, about 6 hours of teaching during the week, preparing the ÖSM-camp and the England-visit,... Shall I tell you something? I enjoy it! The danger is only that I have troubles in keeping my Quiet Time because of the tiredness and I couldn't manage all those things without God being near me and supporting me.

So after my last exam I'll leave Vienna the 4th of February for the ÖSM-camp and I'll be back the 11th. The 12th I'll sing for the first time at VCC and the 13th I'll leave for England (HURRAY!!!). We'll be 10 people from all over Austria who will visit different CU-groups (Christian Union) in South-Central-England for 10 days. I'm looking forward to coming back to Bournemouth again and to seeing some "old" friends! Please tell me if you'll be near. I'll then stay three more days in London, from the 22nd to 25th, visiting friends and the Christian bookshop. Patrick and Carol are so kind to host me again.

Coming back, I will have to go to the court finally. The trial will be the

2nd of March, 9 a.m.

We were told that it will last about two hours!

As you can see, I won't be able to write "News from Vienna 6" in the middle of February for I will be in England then. So you'll receive it later, in the beginning of March.

Please pray as you feel led and have the time:

  • Yvonne, Ansbert, my grandparents
  • coming in contact with my father
  • To take the flat or not to take it, that's the question.
  • strength for the exams and discipline for my Quiet Time in spite of tiredness
  • the ÖSM-cam - Ansbert and other non-Chrsitians will come
  • our stay in England - protection and new impulses for the ÖSM-work
  • the trial the 2nd of March

So - now I'll really have to start writing my seminar paper. It was great to write to you about all that happened during the last month. I hope you all had a good time around Christmas and - all the best for your exams (for students)!

"The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace." (Ps 29:11)

May you experience His extraordinary peace!

With love in Christ,

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