~ Visa News
On August 26th I was supposed to fly out of Austria because my three month tourist visa would be coming to a close. However, on August 26th, instead of flying back to the U.S. I received my student visa! Isn’t that crazy?!? The exact same day… so right now I can gladly say that I’m still writing this blog from Austria ; ). This student visa is valid for one year, but if I continue to pass my tests and stay enrolled in the University, then I just can renew my visa year after year (which I have heard is very easy : ).
~ Current and Future Plans
My German classes will start on October 3rd and will be for a few hours, 5 days a week. This month I am still taking care of some logistical things such as transferring my U.S. Drivers license to an Austrian one (sounds more simple than it really is…eye appointment, doctor appointment,…). Also I am trying to stay on top of my German learning so I will continue to get together with a few people who are giving me one-on-one lessons. Yay!
But now a more personal note..In these past two weeks, I have been introduced to an Austrian family through a mutual acquaintance. We are doing a German-English trade. I am helping the Grandmother touch up on her English because she is going to Australia for 6 months, while her granddaughters are helping me practice my German. This has been a really awesome opportunity to get to know a local Austrian family outside of the church. I am usually meeting up with them twice a week which has allowed the relationship to build fast. Naturally, the Grandmother and I have already talked about her past experiences with religion and where she stands today. She grew up in a strict traditional Catholic home and currently doesn’t see the need to go to church. I can tell that she is thankful for our times together and I’m excited to see how this relationship will grow.
~The Need for Prayer
Just to give you an idea on the church community over here….I am going to the only Evangelical Free church in the whole district, which is about 150,000 people. According to statistics 59.9% of Austrians are Catholic, 6% are Eastern Orthodox, 4% Protestant, 6% follow Islam, and 24.1% follow other religions or none at all. Christianity, outside of Catholicism and the 4% Protestantism, is so rare in Austria that it didn’t even receive a category. And truly, I’m not going against Catholicism or Protestantism but from what I have seen and heard from the people living in Austria is that recognizing themselves as Catholic is more of a tradition than a personal relationship with God. This same thinking has shown itself in American Christianity, where some would say that they are “christian” but to them God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit have no part in their everyday life. All I am really trying to say is that Austria outwardly looks like a religious country but in reality, people’s connection with God has gotten lost. So please pray for Austria and the people here. Pray that they would seek God no matter within what “christian” walls they are surrounded by, but that they would truly seek Him and His Word. Also please pray for the relationships I have started to have outside of the church. That I would be wise, gentle, loving, and truthful as I would like to communicate to them the hope of the gospel.