Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Family in Vienna

After a morning of doctor's appointments in Vienna, Tyler, Lara, Judah, Asher and I headed downtown to Stephansplatz, the square surrounding St. Stephen’s, the huge cathedral that dominates the pedestrian area at Vienna’s heart.

The posed picture in front of the cathedral is nice...but this one just makes my heart happy. Aw, real life!!

We all needed lunch, and bratwurst and hot dogs was on the wish list! Good thing I've been here enough times to know the place to go.

We then wandered back over to the Christmas market around the cathedral.

The boys had been so good up to this point, enduring the cold and all the walking (not to mention the two hours of doctor's appointments, and the little outing Tyler, Asher and I did) but by this time of the afternoon, they knew it was time to head for home.

So I got one last picture of them before hugs goodbye. What a special day being in Vienna with family!

Dave finished up his meetings these evening with the leadership team for GYI, who sat for two and a half days in this same spot in the hotel, talking, praying and planning what's next for this movement of discipleship of youth around the world!

Thankful for what both Dave and I both got to do these last few days in Vienna!

Son and Grandson

After a forty minute public transportation ride for me, and a four hour drive for Tyler, Lara and their boys from Ostrava, we arrived here at the exact same time this morning.

That's their white car with the brake lights on

They came for Lara and Judah to see the doctor I've been going to over the past couple of years here in Vienna.

Since it was going to be two hours before they were finished, Tyler, Asher and I set off on a little adventure of our own.

We hopped onto the metro and headed down the line to our destination. I think Asher was excited about our adventure!

And...we're here!

This is Schönbrunn Palace where one of Vienna's beautiful outdoor Christmas markets is located!

Despite the cold, we wandered around in search of a treat for Asher....

...and coffee for Tyler and I!

Don't be fooled by Asher's frowny face! It never lasts for long!

We then set off to walk the grounds and see what we could discover that would interest a two year old!

You can't see the one lone duck in the pond, but Asher was quick to spot him!

And this makes me laugh!

We're on these famously beautiful palace grounds, and Tyler's carrying around a bag of bear chips because Asher asked for a 'nack while we walked!! 😂

Having been here before, I knew that there was a fun store at the end of the grounds that I thought Asher might like.

Yes, it's a Lindt chocolate store, with all the Lindt chocolate you could ever want!!

And Asher's good-hearted daddy let him pick out something to enjoy from there.

He enjoyed every last bit of that Lindt chocolate bear!

What a fun couple of hours with these two, exploring a part of Vienna together!

Monday, December 2, 2019

Meeting up in Vienna

This morning I left home in Frýdlant nad Ostravicí, and headed to Vienna where I'm meeting up with Dave who already arrived there yesterday.

He's in meetings these next few days with men from the US, Australia and South Africa! While he talks about youth ministry strategy around the world, I met up with a friend for a long lunch!

Kecia is on our JV team serving in Hungary. When we were at fall conference together in September, we made the connection that we'd both be here in Vienna on this day, so made a plan to meet up.

It's so fun that the plan worked, two and a half months later! We actually arrived at the restaurant within 2 minutes of each other, after both having driven quite a few hours to get there.

We had the most delightful time, catching up and talking about life and ministry. Oh, and we're both Vancouver, Washington girls, which is pretty fun!

Wandering back to the hotel afterwards was a little bit like being in a movie...it's so magical here in Vienna at this time of year.

I'm so glad we had a reason to come!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

OZG: Year Seven

This afternoon I arrived for a concert in Ostrava at what looks like a very unlikely place.

In what used to be the Vítkovice steel factory, there is now a beautiful multipurpose auditorium with 1500 seats for concerts and other events.

When you look outside you can hardly believe that there is such a beautiful space in what was once a fully functioning factory!

I came back from Prague on the train today so I could meet up with two dear people here for a concert in what is now called "The Gong"!

Claire and our friend, El, met me here for the afternoon concert of Ostrava Zpiva Gospel!

This is a concert put together by some of our JV staff, as an outreach to the community...both to those in the choir, and to those who come to the concerts!

In their seventh year, this choir is a "first come, first served" group, made up of 170 people from the community who register online each year for the group - it usually fills up within 15 minutes after the registration opens as it's very popular!

They rehearse only six times before they put on the concert, but by the sound of it, you'd think this was a professional choir who rehearses year round.

For the past four years they've also included a children's choir from a local elementary school, and they too are incredible, along with all the musicians who come in for this event too.

My dear friend, Amy, was a soloist again this year and did a beautiful duet with one of the other women in the choir.

And she also sang with her husband, Mel, in a gorgeous choral arrangement of "What a Beautiful Name".

Terry English leads this event, with help from Shelby Flowers who helps arrange the music and lead the band, and Bara Filipová who takes care of all the logistics and many other things.

All of them, along with Mel, Amy and a few others in the choir, serve in JV and use this as a means for outreach to teens and adults.

Terry has a magical way of getting people to participate during the concert - this was SO fun!

As always, Terry shared the Gospel during the concert, and mentioned that there was a gift for anyone who wanted one after the concert: the Gospel of John, which he encouraged people to take on their way out. I watched many take one as they left, and prayed that seeds were planted tonight in the hearts of the sold out auditorium!

I'm so proud of our friends who are part of this amazing endeavor each year, sharing their lives and the Gospel!

And Claire, El and I had all agreed that it was an amazing concert that we loved being at tonight!

Once in a Lifetime

When Dave and I arrived in Prague yesterday and checked into our hotel, we received a surprise.

I had booked this hotel a year ago, using points I'd collected on Expedia, so it was free to us. Free is great!

But a free UPGRADE? That's what we found out about when we arrived, and that's something different altogether!

When Dave asked why we'd been upgraded she said it was because we were returning customers. Which is funny...because I don't think I've ever paid for a night here, though we've stayed several times using points. But we'll take it!

But the most fun part of it for me was not the room, but the balcony! Did you notice anything in those first two pictures??

Yes, it's me way up there, channeling my inner Royal Family from Great Britain with a wave that I hope resembles the queen's!  😂 😂 😂I figured this was a once in a lifetime opportunity I didn't want to miss out on.

I don't know why, but I got such a good chuckle out of that!

When we'd arrived from last night's concert of Andrea Bocelli, a crew was decorating the hotel for Christmas. It was all finished by morning!

This was just one tree of many in there!

Dave and I took a quick picture together in front of the tree, and then headed out from the hotel.

Dave says he looks like he just woke up...which is pretty much true!

We both had morning trains to catch; me back to Ostrava and him on to Vienna.

I'm so thankful for our memorable 24 hours together, celebrating his gift from last year's Christmas!