Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Merry Christmas!!!

Hey everyone,

Frohe Weinachten und Prosit Neu Jahr, or Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We found this picture on our friends blog, fellow missionaries here in Wien. Enjoy!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Leaving on a jet plane . . .

Hey all,

Just thought I would give a quick update as to what life is like here at little ole Vienna Christian School the week before our Christmas break.

Truth be told we are enjoying the Holiday season, but not without our own stress. VCS runs on an academic schedule that means students take finals before Christmas but there is still a week and a half after break that is included in the first semester. For my elementary classes this doesn't mean anything but for my 8th grade classes it means that we are not fully done before break although the students seem to act like it is the end. So as you can probably imagine things get pretty hectic here. High school has final exams this week and the whole school has a half day on Thursday and we fly out to the U.S. on Friday morning early.

When trying to figure out how to get to the airport in Vienna Betka and I realized that there were many others from VCS flying out the same morning so we got together and found someone to drive us out to the airport. So, in order to accommodate the earliest flier we are leaving at 4:15am for the airport. Should be an early morning, let me tell you!:) So Betka and I are going to go to bed early on Thursday night and make sure we are packed ahead of time so we can just take our bags and go meet our driver.

Some of you might wonder . . .are we both excited to be home and the honest truth is yes, we are but we are also anxious about it as well. The source of our anxiety is not only my father's health, which is outstanding given the circumstances, but also our current financial situation in Vienna. To be honest the outlook right now on our support level is that we don't have enough monthly support. As it stands right now we would continue to go into the negative throughout this year. Our monthly salary, right now, is supposed to be at least $1550 monthly due to Visa requirements in Austria. My current salary is set at $1400 and I can raise that as soon as we have enough funds to support it. The amount of $1550 monthly is income that the Austrian government requires for a single person to obtain a visa to live here. Because of the situation that Betka and I are in it is a little different than most couples at VCS but it is still a dire situation. Since Betka is an European Union citizen she is allowed to only live in Austria. Therefor we only have to raise support for one of us, but she supplements our income by teaching violin and piano lessons which, if you would like to be extremely technical, is actually illegal. If she ever became unable to teach lessons we would not be able to stay in Vienna without first raising our support level. So that said we are constantly on the look out for others that might be interested in supporting us in ministry in Wien at VCS. If you know someone or a church that wants to find a missionary to support please LET US KNOW!!!:)

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have about us or our ministry. Our upcoming trip to the U.S. is mainly to visit family but we would also like to raise some more support on our trip as well. Please join with us in praying for more financial support for us as a missionary family this holiday season. We are very much looking forward to "being home" and sharing our lives with you all. Be blessed this day.

In Christ,
Brian & Betka

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

December Newsletter . . .

Ok so we just sent out our December Newsletter and we are very happy with it. Producing the newsletters is something that is a real joy for me. Not only is it a great outlet for sharing our lives with all of you but it is also an outlet for my creativity. It is something that I can't foresee getting away from even after leaving VCS someday. I will add the newsletter as two JPEGS in large format. If it doesn't turn out well on the blog just email me and I can send it to you and put you on the list for our future mailings. Also if you would like to receive a hard copy let me know and we can add you to that list as well.

We also made Christmas cards that we will send out in the mail to friends and family. If you haven't gotten one please let us know!:)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Holiday season . . .

I was thinking the other day how amazing this time is that we are coming upon. The CHRISTmas season is a very important one. It is amazing to think that before Jesus came into this world people still had to sacrifice burnt offerings to get in touch or to seek the favor of the Lord. Nowadays because of Jesus' extravagant love for us, we no longer need to win the affection of the Lord . . . WE ALREADY HAVE IT!!!! :)

As Betka and I are still reeling from the amazing blessing that the Lord blessed us with being financially able to "be home" for Christmas this year, we acknowledge that He is Lord over everything in our lives and it is our job to remember to keep turning things over to Him. I was reading a book called "A Walk Across America" by Peter Jenkins. Even though it was written in the 1970s and is about a young man finding "himself" it also has some really interesting points about God and how great He is and how amazing His love for us is. One specific part that I have in mind right now is the part where Peter starts to realize that what he has been searching for as he walked from upstate New York to New Orleans was the God that people he had met along the way worshipped. He writes about an Evangelist he saw named James Robison that was preaching in Mobile, Alabama as Peter walked through on his way to New Orleans and the Gulf. Mr. Robison was preaching at a stadium venue and Peter was drawn inside by the billboards around town. One thing that Peter wrote that Mr. Robison said struck me as so undeniably true, " From the day you were born you wanted to 'do your own thing' and you were rebellious against God. If you want to really know God, you have got to repent of this rebellion, which the Bible calls sin."

As I was saying we need to keep turning things over to Him, because really it is our desire as humans to "do things our way". As Jame Robison so pointedly put it, every time we do something even a tad rebellious and seek to do something our way we are sinning and that requires repentance. Every time we say "I can handle our finances, I just need to get a promotion." or we think "Lord, I think I can handle this, not a problem for ME." we are rebelling against God. Proverbs 3:5-6 says "Trust in the LORD with ALL your heart and lean not on YOUR OWN understanding; in ALL YOUR WAYS acknowledge him, and He will make your paths straight."NIV Every time that I say that "I can do it alone" I am rejecting what the Lord has done for me. I challenge you all to keep asking Him for help and to surrender the ability to do things through you to Him.

Now some of you might say that Jesus died for our sins and that He knows our repentant hearts even before we pray for repentance. I believe that this isn't enough that we must confess with our hearts and lips that we are repentant. I also have come to realize that we are all rebellious against God no matter what our personality is like and that this must always be repented of. A faith walk is learning more and more to submit to the Lord's wants and needs for our lives. It is something thats extremely hard for all of us, but it is possible with the Lord's help and something that brings you great joy when you learn how to run to the Lord with EVERYTHING. Its really freeing.

Well, I have to go now. Just remember that Betka and I will be in the States in 2 weeks and 2 days, see you then!!!! :)

B & B