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.
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?!
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
I will have to go to the court finally. The trial will be the
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.
pray as you feel led and have the time:
Ansbert, my grandparents
in contact with my father
- To take
the flat or not to take it, that's the question.
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)!
LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people
with peace." (Ps 29:11)
May you experience
His extraordinary peace!
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