Thursday, December 31, 2009
I had to wait outside because they were only letting so many people in at a time (because the stores here are pretty small). I had to slowly inch my way into the middle of the mob and wait for them to open the doors. They only opened half of the door so there wasn't a mad rush. As they opened the door there was a lot of pushing and shoving until the current of people finally swept me in.
Once inside, the lines were all the way to the back of the store. When you found something you wanted you had to ask the person standing in line to hand it to you. “No, no, that one…no over…yeah!” I saw one man join his friend towards the front of the line. It was funny to see all the people in front of me giving a disapproving nod.
Usually we stock up before a holiday, but I was in Paris for a week so that was not possible. Facing the mob was they only option. I'm in the middle of the mob pictured above.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
On Thursday, I was helping my middle schoolers with a project they had. They were to compare Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity. We made posters and when we got to Christianity I asked them what made a person a Christian. One said, “Well, at the end of your life if you’ve accomplished a lot I guess you can go to heaven.” Another said, “Well, if you do good things, I guess?” So, I took out the Bible and shared Ephesians 2:8-9 which states that salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done instead it’s a gift. Then I turned to Romans 3:23 that says we all fall short of God’s standards. They were stumped. “I don’t know, I guess” they replied. So, from there I was able to show them Romans 10:9-10 “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.” Truth is, its not a complicated process at all. So, from that we were able to finish our project AND learn about salvation.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
The hard part of this year was leaving my two jobs that I loved so much. I came here and wasn't sure what my purpose was. I went through many tears and frustrations. I had expectations that weren't met. I realized that I had a lot of pride in my old job. And I brought that pride here thinking I would be able to bulid this program with no problems. The Lord really streached me and taught me that I needed to rely on Him and that I wasn't as great as I thought I was. And for that, I'm thankful. I'm also thankful for my first graders who are the smartest and cutest first graders in the world! They keep me on my toes and they keep me laughing! I'm also thankful for my 3 special needs students...I pray that the Lord will allow me to show them they are able to succeed and there is no better way than to show them Jesus in the process!
I'm thankful for my family that I left behind. My dad had surgery a few weeks ago where they found some pre-cancer. He also got some skin cancer removed. I'm so thankful that they found it and got rid of it! I'm so thankful for my Dad! I'm also thankful that my mom was able to get her knee replaced. It was a long stretch of pain for her but I'm thankful the surgery went well and that she is walking again without a walker or cane. I'm very thankful for for my mom. I'm also thankful for Dustin (my brother). He and his fiance, Alex, are getting married in June. They just moved to a nicer part of WI and have a puppy named Molly. Dustin was able to get a keyboard and a computer to set up a new music studio. I'm thankful for my brother. Alex has been a blessing to our family. She is such a sweet girl and I'm thankful that she will be my sister!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
On Friday, I gave a detention to one of my middle school students for not turing in homework. When she came to serve her detention I told her I gave her that detention because I cared deeply about her and I wanted the best for her. She rolled her eyes (she's in 7th grade) and said, "I know Miss Braun...I know, ok?" This student is so far behind in school she has given up trying. My goal is convince her that she is capable of graduating and show her God's love in the meantime. This student's father is Islam and her mother claims all relgions are right. They have decided to let her choose whatever she feels like...and then put her in a Christian school. What an opportunity we have!
Please pray that the Lord would continue to open doors of conversation to share about Him.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
Last weekend, Reesa and I did an outreach at our church (Calvary Chapel of Wien). The goal was to pass out free coffee to people in the third district of Vienna. We just wanted to serve them and be a blessing to them...no strings attached.
We had two tables set up. One was by a strassenbahn (train) stop and another by the airport. As people walked by, we offered a hot cup of coffee. Many were skeptical and asked why. My friend Nate would tell them, “two things are free today: coffee and God’s love.” Some would just smile and take the coffee others would stay and talk. Some wouldn’t even make eye contact and walked quicker if you tried to offer them a cup. J
Saturday, August 29, 2009
The toilet is never in the same room as the shower and the toilets are very different here. For everyone's sake, I won't go into detail.
This was me riding the U-Ban after shopping at Ikea for the last of our house decorations. I have my purse held over my right shoulder, my teacher bag with two teacher edition text books, a large plant and an over filled bag with two pillows some fake flowers, candles, and other decorations. Try hanging on to all that and not topple over as the U-Ban starts and stops!Here I am carrying groceris home. Trust me...they were much more heavy than they look. The camera takes off about 20 pounds. :-) OK we are 2/3 of the way done...
Friday, August 28, 2009
I have never taught first grade before and didn't know what to expect. I thought they would come in not being able to read at all. So, I sat down to see what words they did know by giving them an easy book with only 2 words on each page. The book was called "I Go." I said, "Can you read this to me?" and the little boy says "Benchmark A." Which was written on the top of the book in smaller letters. My mouth dropped open. Some of these students are almost a grade level ahead in reading.
The first day I had the students doing some writing. The project they were working on said I like _______. I thought, "Oh, I hope they can write at least one word." They wrote a paragraph! I told them I have the smartest 1st graders in the world.
We start off each morning with "Community Circle" where we share something about ourselves and then we have prayer time. It is so sweet to hear these little people pray for each other and praise God for each other. Truly amazing!
I will start up with special needs next week. I'm excited to dive into that. I have an hour and a half in the morning that my kids are at specials, German, and Bible. I have three students right now that need my help for sure, one middle schooler and two elementary. Others are going through the process. Please pray for me that I can juggle both positions well and that I'm not cheating my first graders or the special needs students.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Well, if you like people watching you would have died to have been a fly on the wall in this waiting room. We had one couple making out (hope she doesn’t catch what he has!), a mother and her baby, one man who was so high on drugs he couldn’t sit up or hold his paper, a mom and her baby, an old woman, a man talking to himself and hoping everyone else would listen to him, and many others. I knew we might be here a while but thinking that each visit should only be 10 minutes like they are in the states I thought we would be out of there in a jiffy. Little did I know, each apt lasts 20-30 minutes. But this left many hours of entertainment for Judie and I…well, until Judie fell asleep.
The drug addict starts sweating and falling over and realizes he might not make it to his turn so he starts asking people if he can go before them (in german of course). Well, here in Austria you better follow the rules and no one likes waiting in a line. So the man would argue but no one would let him cut in line. Well the man talking to himself thought this was a great opportunity to strike up a conversation with the man. This was hilarious to watch because the druggie would get annoyed with the man who couldn’t stop talking and roll his eyes and yell at him but the man would keep talking to him even while he was passing out. I don’t think the man ever stopped talking the entire time! Here in Austria, you greet the entire waiting room when you come in and say goodbye when you leave. So it was funny to watch all the madness stop when someone would leave and say “auf Wiedersehn” and everyone would say it back and the madness would all start up again.
After four hours it was my turn and I got to see the doctor. Here, seeing your doctor is like going to visit your accountant. You sit behind a desk and talk about sickness then she gives you some options and you pick which one is best for you. At the end of the visit she would not let me pay her because I had to wait so long. So, all in all, it was a good visit, I got what I needed, and saw what seemed like a reality TV show.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Three weeks ago I stood in front of Community Bible Church (my home church in Omaha) and told them I was at 68% of my support and needed 80% to go. I prayed that I could just be at 80% so I could go and continue to raise support while I was there. But, the Lord has went beyond my request and I now stand at 98.6% of my support! Can you even believe it? I only need $32 a month to be fully funded! That's only $768 over the span of two years! I'm praying that that money would come in today or tomorrow. I know it's possible!
There are two girls that were planning to go to VCS this fall and are not able to because their support has not come in. Please keep them in your prayers so that they can be at VCS soon!
I remember when I was meeting with the recruiter at VCS and I had told her that the church I had grew up in was unable to take me on as a missionary and I was not well known at my home church. During the four years I went to church there I was either in grad school or working as an adjunct professor on top of my full time job. I feared no one would give to someone the did not know. She was honest with me and told me I'd have to work really hard to bring the money in. I sent out letters and that brought in some donors but not enough. I started calling churches and all but Sully Community Church told me they only allowed members to raise support at their churches. It was looking dim but I stepped out in faith and quit my job. My family and friends thought I was crazy and often times I feared that maybe I HAD made the wrong choice. I did many fundraisers but still did not have enough. I made phone calls and flat out asked people for support. That was the hardest thing! About a month ago the church I grew up in let me come speak at church and I sent out more letters. Even THEN I wasn't sure I would be able to go. In the last two weeks, people have called, emailed, facebooked, or sent in commitment cards. The Lord has truly done all the work!
But the thing I don't understand is why me? Why are there people who couldn't bring in the money but the Lord has allowed me to be so close to fully funded? I don't even have to raise support once I'm there. I was probably voted least likely to succeed when we all started raising support. I'm not the the strongest, wisest, or even the best teacher! I don't know why He chose me but I'm so glad that He did!
John Janett (the elementary administrator) called me a week ago and let me know I would be teaching first grade. Although I was recruited to go to VCS to set up a special ed program I am excited about this opportunity. He or someone else will come teach a class or two to allow me to get out and help those who need extra help. I will be assessing students and finding their needs. I will then get to the students when I can and be a resource to their teachers. Please pray that those students who need my help will get it and that I can be the best first grade teacher to these students.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Yesterday, we got the very good news that all the staff for Vienna Christian School were approved for our work and residential visas. Once we are there for 2 weeks we will all go as a group to file our paperwork right there in Vienna. Praise the Lord, I don't have to drive to Chicago once again to apply for my visa before we leave!
In 8 very short days, I will be boarding a plane from Milwaukee to Chicago where I will meet up with Reesa and head to Vienna, Austria. I will be there for two years as I help set up a special education program.
Sunday night my friends Dawna and Tammy threw Reesa and I a going away party. I have also been slowly saying goodbye to my Omaha friends. Tuesday was a hard night as I said goodbye to Dawna and Tammy for a long time.
I'm submitting a plan to my mission organization that states how I will reach 100% of my support before December. If I'm not able to make it they will start to recruit for my position. Please pray that the remainder of my support comes in before I leave so that I will not have to raise support while I am overseas.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Luke 22:31-32 Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, THAT YOUR FAITH MAY NOT FAIL, and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.
Matthew 6:34 Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.
Hebrews 12:1-2 Run with endurance the race that was set before us.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Friday night was the Royal's game concession stand fund raiser! Our stand sold over $5,000 and I will get 10% of the profits. It was a lot of work but I had a great group of helpers. Thanks to Jean Vacha, Alissa King, Andrea Clark, Cody Bittner, Matt Paul, and Dan Bundrick!
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Things have been different being back in my empty apartment. I wanted to flip the chicken I was cooking and had no flipper. I can't open my cans because I don't have a can opener, and it didn't dawn on me until my chicken nuggets and french fries were done in the oven that I had no hot pad to pull them out. It's been a hoot to find new ways of doing things. :-) But in all honesty it's been nice not having a TV or the Internet. It has given me extra time to read books I've been wanting to read and delve into the scriptures more.
After my second presentation, a couple I did not know came up to me and introduced themselves and told me they would like to support me $50 a month! What in the world! Who would have guessed! An old youth leader said, "Of course we are going to support you!" Then, one of my high school friends dad said he'd like to help monthly. One lady I didn't even know slipped me some cash. I also get a large sum of money from the church. I thought, wow! 3 new donors and money from the church I can split up into monthly support! Then, Christy (one of my best friends and the one I was staying with) went to HyVee to grab something and we ran into my school secretary from elementary school and she TOO said she and her husband would like to help.
It's like the Lord bonked me on the head (as they do in the V8 commercials) and said, "What are you worried about? I have this all under control!" I'm at 100% of my set up costs and over 53% of my monthly. (I still have yet to find out how much 5 couples are supporting me.) Oh, the Lord is good to me!
Friday, June 26, 2009
There was around 15 people there that night. I wasn't expecting much but during the offering they gave $675. What a blessing! God provides for me in such surprising ways. A few weeks ago, I worked so hard on this Rummage Sale and raised a little money. Here I was not lifting a finger, just sharing my passion about this ministry, and people opened their wallets and wanted to be apart of it. Then about a week ago, I open my donor report and there was an anonymous gift of $1500. I can't even believe it! I'm now at 89% of my set up costs and 50% of my monthly. God continues to do amazing things and open doors that I never thought He would.
Thank you Sully Community Church!!!