*This is a reprint of an email sent on May 14, 2018
Greetings Co-Laborers in the Faith,
I hope you had a blessed Mother’s Day yesterday. It was an honor to pray with and celebrate with the mothers of VCC (Vienna Christian Center) but at the same time I was missing my own mother back in the USA. I hope you all took the time to honor and remember the women in your lives and for those who have lost your mothers. My heart goes out to you in sympathy and I pray the Holy Spirit continues to comfort you in your loss and challenges you to continue on loving others the same way they loved you.
So, far the trip has gone rather well but it has come with its mounting challenges along the way. For example, the church campuses I minister at are further in the city and the place I’m staying at is on the outer rim of the city. So, I am still learning how to navigate the public transportation system, in German, while trying to acclimate to everyday life here. And speaking of everyday life…working nights shifts back in the US has finally caught up with me. I’m waking up at 2 am (we’re 6 hours ahead of you) and finding it hard to go back to sleep. Not to mention it has been a bit more humid than the forecast lead me to believe, so now I’m wishing I had packed some shorts instead of all those jeans. On the plus side, that means I’ll loose that 50 pounds I always wanted to!
All that aside, God is good! No, God is great! I have a great host that I’m renting from through Airbnb and he has been very hospitable. I don’t know where he stands spiritually, but I at least got a chance to introduce him to Shawn Ginder, my missionary pastor, and tell him a little about why I came here for a month. He seems very interested in wanting to talk to me so I will let the Lord shape that as it comes.
This is a big challenge for me. Despite what many of you may think, I am not as outgoing as I appear. Yes, I can become comfortable around people I have gotten to know, but I am not the type of person who goes out and just starts conversations with random people about their faith. I’m no Billy Graham by any stretch of the imagination but I do love to engage people in the word and talk about their purpose and calling in life.
And so I’ve been praying that God would not only pull me out of my comfort zone in respect to evangelizing, but that it would be in line with my personality and that I might gain boldness in my approach with each interaction. I’m a farmer, and I plant seeds. And I allow the Lord to water those seeds in a way that if they pass me again then I get to help cultivate what was planted. But If I don’t, I want to leave them with enough of the presence of God that they want more.
God has done just that. I sat with a lady in the Boston terminal and shared why I was going to Vienna and then I handed her a copy of Joseph the musical and said she should come visit Sight & Sound sometime. I sat with an Irish woman from Dublin who had to take care of her husband and his health wasn’t fair. I shared a word with her and gave her a copy of Ruth the musical. Her face just lit up. Then on the final flight to Austria a young African mother was traveling with her infant and was rather distressed. I offered to hold her baby while she got up to stretch. I began singing, “It Is Well” to the baby to rock her back to sleep and before I knew I was sharing the gospel with those in the seats around me. It’s only God. I would not have done that on my own and I give him all the glory for what he is doing and is about to do.
My encouragement to you is just plant a seed. Doesn’t have to be anything extraordinary. Something as simple as smiling at someone whose having a bad day at work. Or helping your neighbor with a house project out of the blue. I’ve learned very quickly that sharing the gospel has to first be a reflection of the way you live for Christ before anything say. God bless you all.
In His service,