Saturday, February 25, 2012

Restoration and Renewal

Almost 3 years ago we rented our first storefront for the church.   It was a great place to meet for worship and outreach.  We had our first Christmas service there, 3 English Camps there, our first membership class there.  Luke took his first communion there.  Throughout these 3 years, through many joys and trials, God has grown our congregation to the point that we need to move to a bigger place.  

After much prayer and searching, God led us to another storefront in the same district, right on a tram line, with a much larger meeting room, for the same rental price.  There's a catch though.  There's always a catch, right?   In order to get this place the way we want, there's a lot of renovation work we need to do.  We began working in mid-January and are diligently trying to finish before Easter. In the mean time we're still meeting at our old place.

A couple of decades ago someone thought it would be a good idea to cover up a beautiful historic ceiling with drywall.  (see below)

Daniel, our faithful project manager, thought it would be a better idea to rip the drywall ceiling down and restore the historic ceiling.   (We all agreed!)  

While we were at it, we thought knocking down a brick wall would be a fun thing to do.   Two full dumpsters later, we've still got one more dumpster's worth of debris to go!

It's been great to see so many from the church help out.  Luke's been doing the work of a grown man.  Can you spot him? 

There is a bit of buzz in the neighborhood.  Many people stop to ask what we're doing.  When we tell them we're starting a church here the responses have been all over the board.  Some are very guarded and tell us blatantly that they'll won't be attending, while others have commented that it's a great thing what we're doing.

In a way, the work on our new church facility is a good metaphor for the ministry here in Vienna.    We want to see lives restored and renewed.   People have walls that keep them from God--whether it's alternate worldviews or comfortable lifestyles or maybe just tradition.   He created us, and He's tearing down those walls one by one to restore and renew us.

Please pray for us--  
that God would continue to keep all of us safe
that we'd finish up and move in by March 31
for good relationships with our neighbors and landlord
and most of all, that God would us this space to build his kingdom in Vienna.

For information about how to make a donation to the building project, please CLICK HERE.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hanging on...

A few days ago I went upstairs to find one of Levi's stuffed animals just barely hanging on...
I had to laugh, because it was just how I was feeling on that particular day.  In recent days I have been a bit weary and sad, having to say goodbye to some dear friends, feeling the weight of a new building project and having a sick kiddo at home.  Nothing that Jesus can't handle...I just wasn't asking for help to carry these burdens.

Then I read this on a friend's facebook status...
"You give and take away for my good, for who am I to know what I need? For You alone see the hidden parts of me that need to be stripped away, and as You begin to refine, I'm learning to let go, to rely on One who walks with me, as hard as it may be, you're teaching me all the while to say, 'Bless the Lord, O my soul, all that's in me bless Your name. Forget not Your power untold, not Your glory or Your fame, for You came to heal the broken, to redeem and make me whole, bless the Lord, o my soul.'" 
 Such a great reminder of his love for me!  Refining hurts and relying is hard at times-but He will heal all that is broken and redeem what is His, just keep holding onto Him.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bakin and Makin...

We have been baking and eating a lot of sweets in recent days...and hearts have certainly been an inspiration in honor of Valentine's Day!

:: These cookies were a hit and so easy to make :)
(I just used a Devils Food cake mix)

:: Banana Bread Hearts

:: Herz Torte (from the bakery)
:: and yesterday we made Grandma Pearl's "Self-filled Cupcakes"

Here is the recipe...

Self-Filled Cupcakes

1 package of chocolate cake mix
1 8 oz. container of cream cheese
1/3 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 cup chocolate chips

Mix cake mix according to pkg. directions. Fill paper cups in muffin tins 2/3rds full.
Cream together cream cheese, sugar, and egg.  Stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips.  now drop a rounded tsp. of cream cheese mixture in each cupcake.  Bake as pkg directs. (about 15 minutes)

We had a lovely Valentine's Day, sharing dinner with some friends.  Then the kiddos started getting all crafty... making heart animals and people (thanks for teaching them Sarah Clark!)

and then they took to making things with duct tape that Memoo sent them...
Did you know you could Youtube how to make a pencil case? (too funny)

Here is Abby's pencil case

  And Levi made an i-pod touch case

Hope you all loved on someone yesterday :)

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Another Adventure...

This week the kiddos have NO is called "Energy Week", and most Austrians head to the Alps for skiing.  Mainly we have been laying/lying (can never remember which is right) low this week.

But today, Brad is taking the kiddos sledding just outside of the city...
here he is posing for the Best Dad award :)

I found a random video on You Tube and I am assuming that their day will look a little like

Looks and sounds fun (yoy!)...but I have laundry, cleaning, cooking and baking to catch up on :)

Friday, February 03, 2012

Recent Days...Randomness

It's finally Friday!  We have been going, going, going and after two fun weekends away, we are staying put this weekend.  It's  really cold here. This was yesterday's temp, and this morning it felt even colder when I took the kiddos to school.  Tonight we are having yummy chicken pot pie for dinner.  Nothing like a little comfort food to make you warm :)

:: We are in the process of renewing our visas.  Always a bit stressful.  Here is Levi getting his fingerprints scanned, something that we all had to do this year.

:: Hofer had orchids on sale for 8 Euros...I couldn't resist

:: Every Wednesday we host a bible study in our home.  I haven't snapped any photos, but imagine us all eating together, discussing the previous Sunday's sermon, sharing, laughing, praying and eating some more!  On a normal night, we have 6 nationalities represented...Austria, The Netherlands, Turkey, Germany, New Zealand and of course, America. Love it!

:: Can't seem to get enough of this band... NeedtoBreathe (I bet they are awesome live!)

:: A friend told be about the app, Phonto for my i-phone, and I think it is pretty cool that you can add text to your photos :)

:: Some of our best friends are returning to the States soon, so we have been squeezing in some extra moments of fun together... last night we spent a few hours at Family Fun!  Here is Evangeline in the ball pit, and contrary to her face in this shot, she actually really liked it!  We are going to miss them soooo much! :(
Welp, that's all I got for now...
Have a great weekend and stay warm!