Today is Sunday; it is our day of worship and our day of rest. Interestingly, it was also daylight saving time here in Austria so we got to set our clocks back an hour. Between setting the clocks back and breakfast occurring ½ hour later this morning we got an extra 90 minutes of sleep which was definitely quite welcome.
The weather is quite unusual: very windy but not too cold with overcast skies. I love seeing the trees sway with the wind; it is one of my favorite things. The window in our bedroom is on our celling and so we can open it slightly, hear the wind and see the effect of the wind on the trees. It makes me feel quite peaceful and definitely is in tune with a day of rest.
After breakfast I worked in the kitchen to get lunch ready—always quite yummy meals: key lime pie, roast beef, mashed potatoes, salad, mixed vegetables, bread. A meal quite fit for a Sunday. Then it was time to attend the church service; people from so many different countries worshipping our Lord and Savior together. It just doesn’t get better than that.
The service today was almost indescribable. We worshipped in different languages, some singing in Russian, some in Czech, others in English. The songs were familiar and meaningful and united us all as one body of Christ. I was so moved by the presence of the Holy Spirit in that room; many of us were moved to tears. We saw a video of Russia and learned about Christianity in that county. There is so much work to do there; there are so many people to reach; so many people who have not heard the Gospel. The sermon was given by one of the professors, Jim Buckley. His message was titled “When Tragedy Comes…” and he cited Esther 4:14 where Modacai tells Esther, “and who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” He spoke of tragedy and how many of us experience tragedies but how those tragedies can be used for God’s glory. I was so touched by his message because of a personal “tragedy” in my family’s life that actually brought us all closer to God. He spoke of turning to God, of trusting God, and of reaching out to him for solace. He spoke of being there for others in tragic times—of reaching out and providing support and comfort. We took communion and heard the prayers of the attendees in many different languages. It was a wonderful service and everyone came away from it feeling grateful for what Jesus has done in our lives.
After lunch, we had the opportunity to travel to a nearby town called Baden. We had a lovely time just walking around and enjoying the blustery afternoon. We took a long walk up some trails in a park where we were able to take pictures overlooking the city. It was quite beautiful. We also visited the cathedral, passed by Beethoven’s home and had some excellent coffee and dessert.
The day culminated with a gathering to sing praises to God and listen to anyone who wanted to share their testimony. Kendra, a TCM staff person, led us in many familiar songs. Again, it was so heartwarming to hear everyone singing familiar songs in different languages. I am always surprised by how popular the American praise songs are all over the world. It was fun to see everyone finding lyrics to songs on their phones and singing along. The joy of the Lord was palpable in that room; it was a great way to end the day.
I am grateful for a day of rest and a day to really reflect on what our Lord and Savior has done for us. I am grateful to be among so many believers who are on fire for our God. I am grateful to be a small part of helping to deploy individuals to do Kingdom work. I am grateful for a God who facilitates opportunities for believers to do His work. I am grateful for TCM, an organization that has impacted so many people for the Kingdom. I am grateful for the people that I have encountered and the relationships that I have developed. Mostly, I am grateful for the freedom that we have to worship our Lord and Savior.
It just doesn’t get better than this. Feeling abundantly blessed.