Tonight is the student’s last night at the Haus and it is always bittersweet. We had a special meal with candles for them. Every time the students leave they take a piece of my heart with them. Saying goodbye to sweet friends, old and new is hard. There are many miles between us and we are not assured of being able to see each again. At least here on earth. But Lord willing, I will be back next year.
Each year, even though I am not the student, I am so very surprised by what I learn while I am here. This session I believe we had 14 different countries represented by the students. It can be a little overwhelming to hear of all the needs from each of them. Here are just a few things I found out. During our church service, one of the Russia pastors told us that there are at least 120 different languages in Russia that there is no New Testament translation. 120! I just assumed everyone in Russia spoke Russian. He and his wife were the two people I had the privilege to pray for during this session. He also gave his testimony Sunday evening. It was a funny and interesting story. He is celebrating his jubilee year…25 years of being a Christ follower.
During one of the meals I talked with missionaries from Kazakhstan that are originally from Russia. They have been there 12 years. Not too long ago the government took their building because they were a church. He told me most anyone could have used the building but when they asked what would take place there and they told them “church,” they were told they had to find another location. Their church membership has dropped to nearly ½ of what it was because the new location is away from the city and not in a convenient area. I pray that God will move in their hearts and they will go to this church no matter how inconvenient the location may be. He and his wife have been to Atlanta to attend the Passion Conference. They loved it so much that as each one of their 4 children graduate and get ready for university, they send them to it so that they can get filled and fired up for God.
One meal I spent with a couple from Wroclaw, Poland that know our friends the Pacyniak’s! They were pleased that I could say good morning and thank you in Polish. Our world may seem big but in some ways it is indeed small.
There is much that still needs to be done to spread the gospel. I am so very thankful for the ministry here in Austria. To be able to train up Christians and to allow them to go back into their own environment is a great investment in God’s kingdom. Tomorrow we will tell our new and some old friends goodbye. I am sure there may be some tears. I pray for safe travels for all of the students. We do not know when we will see each again, but the awesome thing is we will!