Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Its really amazing that Christmas is just around the corner. This year is definitely not the usual in that I might not have gifts for everyone that I want to give gifts to. I have been trying to make my gifts cheaper and thriftier this year. Mainly being because I am a little short on money this year what with the wedding coming up and all, plus not having any income other than support.

Other than lack of funds, life is really good. The simple fact that having so little money affects me so much has really made me think alot about where my faith truly lies. Sometimes I think I find my joy and contentment in money or the stability that it brings. I didn't know this about myself until I started trusting the Lord to truly bring in all that I live on. It is a pretty difficult lesson that the Lord is teaching me right now, but I know that it isn't more than He knows I can handle, and it is for a better good. He has "plans to prosper me and not to harm me." I might feel sometimes like He is really not pleased with me, but then again is it really my job to please Him, should that be my only aim? If I am aiming to please Him and do everything for Him, then there is no room for accepting His grace. I have been reading True Faced by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John Lynch. We're going through it in our small group and its really thought provoking. The synopsis on the back cover describes it best,
"Truefaced draws a clear distinction between two very different motives: my determination to please God or to trust Him. The resulting difference from these two starting points could not be more profound. One results in a striving that never feels it has done enough to please Him. The other results in a trust that experiences His full pleasure. Our motives as followers of Christ will either keep us in unresolved sin and immaturity or free us into God's astonishing dream for our life.
I am really enjoying it. Great discussions also.

The following picture is quite funny I think. They are clockwise from top left: Phil Seimer, Chad Elwell, John Householder, and Matt Klein. This might need some explaining. I will start by saying that this was their Christmas card for this year, of which I took the picture. The explanation is that some of the girls they know made it known that they think mustaches, tank tops on guys, and ugly sweaters are not cool. So in protest and just to get on a nerve or two the guys have always, for the last few years, dressed up weird like this for Christmas. I am proud to call these four men my friends.



I mustache (must-ask) you to have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Love you guys!
B

Friday, December 15, 2006

This weekend . . .

Hey there everybody! Thought I would update you as to the activities that I am up to this weekend.

But first I must do a bit of venting. For the past month and a half I have had to go elsewhere other than my apartment to wash my clothing due to the fact that my 2 month old washer that I bought brand new decided to dump water on my kitchen floor and then stop working entirely. To make a really long story short. BD, our librarian was a wonderful Deutsch liason throughout the process. My machine had been checked out by the service company which is entirely different from the company I bought it from. The service co checked it out a month ago for the first time and then they said that there was an electrical defect and they would call me to make another appointment sometime the next week. Well, two weeks went by and they still had not even called me. At this point BD called again for me and the earliest that they could come was 2 weeks later still! At this point Barbara got ticked at Cosmos the company and she looked up a government funded consumer rights bureau. Turns out I have consumer rights here in Austria and we sent the manager of cosmos a letter stating that they would make sure that my machine got fixed or replaced ASAP or they would be required by law to give me a full refund on my purchase and they would collect the defunct machine.

So in the mean time during the time all of this was happening, M our tech guy, was getting rid of his machine, the same one that was in my apartment with the previous family. I asked him to hold on to it and he did. I though that if I could get my money back from the broken machine and get his for free then things would be ok. Turns out they fixed mine and his is chilling on his balcony. So I am thinking oh, we need to junk his then. I had promised to do this for him if I didn't end up using his. So another teacher's machine breaks after 5 years. same brand as my new one. Just remember Indesit is indecent as far as washing machines go. Anyway she decides that she wants it so Sunday we are going to M's to get the machine that I might have needed and deliver it to the other teacher's place. Should be a fun Sunday, washing machines are dang heavy! :) (Just in case anyone reads this particular post thinking that I wrote about someone, they can try to prove it, I dare you! :) Also I want to make sure that everyone that cares knows that I never actually helped move the machine because of a slight miscommunication between the other teacher and myself. Consider this the fine print.)

Tonight should be a wonderful time as well because Betka and her mom are coming for a visit to Vienna. They will be arriving tonight in time for the Christmas concert. VCS has an amazing jazz band I would like you to know. Hopefully I will have some more pictures to post soon.

So all in all it should turn out to be a good weekend. Then next week we are finishing this semester and go on Christmas break Thursday the 21st until January 8th. I think Thursday evening I will head to Brno to visit Betka and then we'll head south to Lednice to spend time with her family for the holidays. After Christmas I will go back to Vienna and spend a couple of days with my brother Matthew as he gets here to Europe, then we will both be going back to CZ to hang out with Betka and her family. For New Year's hopefully B, M, and I will be going to the Sumava mountains. We will see how it looks logistically and all but I think it would be really cool! :)

Love all you guys. take care this holiday season, God's blessings to you all! :)

In His grip,
Brian

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

December Update . . .

I wanted to include the text from my most recent newsletter that I sent out in an email yesterday. Enjoy! :)


Brothers and sisters in Christ,

In the building at Wagramerstrasse 175/Panethgasse 6a teachers
and staff are all busy getting ready for the holiday season. Some of my
colleagues are going home to the United States for the Holidays, some
have family coming here to visit, but we all are busy getting things
ready for these next couple of weeks. The first semester of school will
finish at VCS on December 22nd. With the end of this semester comes
two musicals, one for the high school and one for elementary. I
helped with the sets for the elementary so I personally am excited
about that one.

Another thing that always happens at the end of the first se-
mester every year with a school as international as ours is that some
students leave our community, usually for good. This is never easy
and we want to make sure that the students that have to leave do so
on a good note. It’s not easy to leave your friends and go towards an
unknown. I have been privileged to have many of these students.
Please pray for them and their families during their transitions. Some
names that you can pray for specifically are my students in ESL, In
Kwon, Da Som, and Akhona. They will return to their respective
countries with their families at the end of this semester, Akhona will
be flying out on December 12th. We will definitely miss those three as
well as their brothers and sisters that I have not had the pleasure of
teaching personally, but have been a part of our community here.
Another person that you can keep in your prayers is Michael. His
sister Natalie is in my 8th grade art class. Michael decided to drop
out of school and join the military. Please pray for the Lord to take
care of him and grant him wisdom to choose the path the Lord has
for him.

Just a quick note in regards to what my support situation is
currently at. Right now my constant every month support is at
about $650. God has been really amazing in that He has moved cer-
tain people to give very big and I am extremely grateful for their
generosity.

I have really been used here at VCS and I am hoping to
continue to serve here for the remainder of the two year commit-
ment that I am serving. To successfully remain debt free from being here serving I need to have around $1400 monthly
coming in. I as well as the rest of the staff and the administration are constantly looking for ways that I can reach more people to let them know about the ministry at VCS and how they can help support me in the work I am doing there. That is also another way where you, my current supporters can help me If you know of anyone that might be interested in supporting me,
please tell them about what I am doing and how they can get involved
and get their contact information to me and we will let the Lord take it
from there. I am so blessed to have you all, not only for the prayer and
support that you are to me, but also for the possibility of new supporters
that just might lie in the form of your friends and family. Please spread
the word.
As the weather gets a little cooler (it still isn’t equal to Chicago
cold) and the lights go up and people are buying their Christmas trees I
would ask again for your prayers this holiday season. Christmas is the
day our Lord Jesus Christ was born starting a path that would lead Him
to the cross to die for all of us. So for us as Christians it is sometimes
easy to remember what the real meaning of Christmas is. Please pray for
the students at VCS that haven’t heard the real reason for the season.
Pray that Jesus would enter their hearts this Christmas and they would
understand that Christmas is really CHRISTmas. I would ask also
for your prayers for healing, that the staff at VCS would be healthy
and ready to minister to these kids at such a wonderful time of the
year. Many of us are sick, including yours truly, and we need to be
healthy to minister most effectively.

That about wraps up this edition of the Reynolds Wrap, but let
me say once again that I am truly blessed that all of you are my faith-
ful financial supporters and prayer warriors. I pray that this newslet-
ter finds you and yours well . . . Oh one more thing . . . sometimes a
person can get lonely here in a city like this and it helps to get an in-
spiring note or care package sometimes. I am not saying that you have to
do this, but it really does pick me up. I received a postcard from a sup-
porter the other day and it literally was the highlight of my day! In my
journal online I am trying to depict the way Vienna looks this time of the
year. No snow yet, but it sure is beautiful. Check it out at http://
brianreynolds.blogspot.com
You can also check out the school’s website
at www.viennachristianschool.org

Betka would love email and letters too. If you want to send a letter via snail mail to her go ahead and send it to me and I will make sure that she gets it. Also make sure that if you send anything to us here in Europe that you mark the customs form as “gift” and that its value is $40 or less. That way we don’t get charged for a gift by the Austrian government.

Please feel free to contact us to see how things are going, what
you can do, how you can pray for us better, or even just to even share
your own prayer requests. We look forward to hearing from you all!

May God bless you all for your continued support,
Brian Reynolds

Hope you enjoyed it. If you didn't receive the email and would like to be on the mailing list please send me an email or comment asking so and I will make sure that you get it next time.

God bless!
B