Tuesday, September 15, 2009
At staff orientation, director, Ken Norman, announced that VCS does not have the funds to provide the staff with a fall retreat.
Over the last several years, VCS staff has gathered at the Lindabrunn Sportschule for a restful and blessed weekend away. The retreat serves as a great way to connect with new staff, to laugh together and enjoy a weekend away from city life. Everyone sat disappointed, but Ken continued to explain that Barnabas International, an organization that provides pastoral care for missionaries offered to give us a two-day “retreat,” including food and a speaker at the Romanian Baptist Church just on the outskirts of Vienna.
So, Lareau Linquist and his wife Evie, founders of Barnabas, joined us this past weekend. Lareau encouraged us to find joy in “all things” from Romans 8. His words were quite applicable as many of our staff feel the burden of these things. Some with financial strain, marital strife, work-related stress, emotional baggage and lose of dear friends. I’m sure that you all can relate. Whether troubles- common things, hardship- long lasting difficulty, or famine/nakedness- going without, nothing can separate us from God’s love. God did not spare his own Son from tough stuff, and neither will he spare us. I looked around at cheeks wet with tears and praised God for working with eternal goals and for my VCS family ready to stand and support those in need.
Though we gave up a beautiful retreat center, we can see God moving and taking care of in his unique ways!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Each year, I have a theme for my classroom.
My first year's theme was "TRUTH surpasses culture" and we discussed how the the big "T" Truth surpasses culture, just as the little "t" truths in mathematics surpass culture. Last year's theme was to "discover INFINITY" and we learned about God's vastness and other character qualities in the Old Testament and in mathematical thinking. So, as I was brainstorming a new theme to tie all of my subjects together, I thought about the complexity of God and how I think I've learned a simple truth about God and then I realize that the truth has a whole new dimension. God is quite complex but he's given us simple facets of Him to study and discover that he is something incredible and worthy of our trust. Trusting in a God who we do not fully understand is part of the complexity in life.
I'm looking forward to many conversations about concepts we do not comprehend! Already, students have so many questions; If we need materials to create, what does God use to create with... himself? Does that mean that God is made of the same elements we are? If there was only darkness in the beginning, is God darkness? How come there is water in the beginning... where did water come from?
What do you think?
Monday, March 16, 2009
I love teaching at Vienna Christian School. VCS is a unique place where I can teach students from across the globe about my heavenly Father and his incredible plan to redeem the world. Vienna Christian School appeals to missionary, international business and UN embassy families living in and around Vienna. VCS offers American-based English education to students from over 30 nations with over 10 claimed religions, yet our teachers are free to proclaim the good news.
Three years ago, I never anticipated becoming an overseas missionary or teaching students for other cultures or sharing an apartment with a Swiss Austrian, but I can say with confidence that this is right where God wants me to be. God revealed some of the puzzle pieces of my life- committing to follow God wherever he might lead, growing in my love for international students, traveling to Europe and desiring to return. So after graduating from Moody Bible Institute, I took a job teaching Middle School math at Vienna Christian School and now, I am enjoying life as I teach what I love: Math, Old Testament and Publications. I also coach Middle and High School volleyball and I’m involved with a youth church started by VCS teachers.
I am amazed at what God has taught me from being here. God has become so much bigger and stronger and more reliable then ever. He often reminds me to seek his perspective and view life in light of eternity. Though, living overseas and working in close proximity with others has its share of frustrations, the joy of being at the center of God’s will is worth all the struggle. The devil fights to break up our school, but God prevails.
One of the joys of my second year is teaching the 8th graders the Old Testament, some of which have never opened a Bible before. In this class, I have three students who are Muslim, one who is Russian Orthodox, many who are Catholic and some who claim no religion. It’s an exciting class. I’ve heard questions from, “What is sin?” to “Why would God kill the people in the land of Canaan when he just told them not to murder?” I love it. I love being in a place where I can walk some of them through these rich stories for the first time as well as point them to the redemption that is continually promised.
In math, we are discovering God’s infinite nature and our finite minds hurt when they are stretched to the max. In publications, we are working hard to use the creative side of our brains and keep a teachable spirit.
God has blessed me in so many ways. I live here on financial support from friends and family in the States and God has provided every cent so far! Living in Vienna on a school schedule has also had its perks. I’ve been able to travel inside and outside of Austria, including Germany, Hungry, Slovakia, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Italy, France, Malta and Israel.
I am so thankful for this place and I am looking forward to the years ahead!