Category Archives: Austria – May 2011

TPCC Arrives In Austria

The rest of Traders Point’s mission team has finally arrived on May 13, bleery eyed but excited to get started after traveling for two days to get here. Tricia Fortin, Paul Hagan, Andy and Tracey Hensel, and Greg and Karlene Kashman came through the gates of Haus Edelwiess at 1:30. It’s good to see reinforcements, even road weary as they are for the mountain of work ahaead of us.

Paul writes of their their trip:

“Our ten-day TCMI short-term mission trip to Haus Edelwiess started on Wednesday, May 11th.

Our flight from Indy to Washington DC (Dulles Airport) was scheduled to depart at 2:25 PM. After boarding and deplaning from two different airplanes and waiting on repairs to be completed on the second, we finally departed Indy at 9:20 PM. Missing the final flight for the day over the Atlantic, we overnighted outside of DC. We then were rerouted from our original itinerary and arrived at Haus Edelwiess Friday afternoon. OUr original itinerary had us scheduled to arrive the day before around 10:00 AM.

Though late in arriving, we were thankful for the travel safety God provided. Through the challenges put before us, it was readily apparent how God answered each one of them. Now the challenge is to recover from the jet lag and prepare for our time of service.”

With a graduation taking place and people arriving from all over Europe, it’s no time to sleep now. There is work to be done. As John Wayne would say, “Saddle up and ride. We’re burning daylight.”


Delayed Getting To Austria

Part of the Traders Point short-term mission team has arrived in Haus Edelwiess on Thursday, May 12, one day later than planned but ready for the first day of training and working with TCM‘s staff. Word has gotten to us that the larger group will be coming in tomorrow. Until then we will learn the history and logistics of this forty-eight year old ministry that has been equipping Christian leaders in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Northern Africa and what is expected of us during our service here.. We have been told that in 2008 TCM International Institute was granted accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

On the outside it’s a quiet piece of heaven located approximately sixteen miles outside of Vienna in the foothills of the Alps. Inside the activity happens at a feverish pitch. There are classrooms to prepare, grounds to manicure, facilities for the graduation to be set up and furnished. Meals have to be prepared and support staff to be assigned to the various needs surrounding the ceremony. In the midst of all this activity, the Murphy’s still manage to do some souvenir shopping for their (our) granddaughter back home in Indiana. The staff here is so appreciative, professional, and just plan fun to be with. The team here from Greenwood Christian Church are well matched to the needs here as well.

Where is the rest of our group from Traders Point? Stuck in the Dulles International Airport. Maybe we’ll see them tomorrow.


Vienna – here we come?

It’s Monday morning, May 9, and Glenda and I are flying “stand-by” to Vienna, Austria to serve at TCM’s Haus Edelweiss for two weeks. It seems that the combination of the Kentucky Derby, the 500 Mini-marathon, and Mother’s Day have filled the flights between Indy and Philadelphia. Waiting and praying for seats to open up. It’s always an adventure traveling this way. God builds patience and character through this.

The rest of the team will be leaving on Wednesday. With confirmed seats. There are eight Traders Point people, and nine from Greenwood Christian Church. What a neat group of people that have been brought together for this trip. And what a privilege to serve God this way. We as a couple have talked about serving as short term missionaries to TCM for many years, and now are seeing God taking us there at last. We just don’t know when we will arrive. It’s in His hands.

Bumped off of two flights today, but looking forward to repacking, rearranging, and trying again on Tuesday. What an adventure God has started us on.


The Blessing of Freedom

Each morning after breakfast, we break into our assigned work teams.  Our team always begins with discussions, devotions and prayer.  At the beginning of each discussion time, we learn about a couple of countries where TCM has students.  It is interesting to learn the basics such as the physical layout of the land, population, the types of crops grown, the weather and other general information.  Often times, the conversation then takes on a somber tone.  Today was one of those days as we listened to and discussed the oppression some believers face in their homelands.  After our work time began, I found myself reflecting on just how much we have as Americans, specifically our freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  We can openly and freely talk about our beliefs and can sing songs of praises and not have to fear for our safety.  We are truly blessed.


Random Pictures from The Haus

 


Supporting one another

New Signage at Haus Edelweiss

It was a bittersweet time as we headed in for our evening meal.  All the graduates have departed for their home countries to continue their ministries.  Many of the country directors have left as well.  The conversations tonight centered on the graduates, the week’s activities and the country reports.  One theme that kept recurring was the overwhelming sense of community here at Haus Edelweiss.  All of those here – staff, short-term workers, long-term workers, students, educators, directors – are focused on spreading the Good News regardless of the roles they have.  Whatever is needed is done.  Each person supports each person here.  It is a delight to watch the exchange of ideas, people lifting each other up in prayer, people serving one another.  There is true joy in this Haus and it comes from complete focus and dependency on God.

Exciting things are happening in several countries in the name of our Lord and Savior through the work at TCM.  It is satisfying to know in some small way as short-term workers this past week that we have all had a part in this effort.  We may not be running the front lines and facing the tough, everyday challenges that these graduates and country directors face, but we can continue to provide our support through prayer and also through giving of our time, monetary gifts or other donations.  Won’t you please take a moment to lift up all of those working through TCM, and ask God for His blessings upon them and their ministries?


Came to serve, but ended up the one being served

“Let go and let God.”  I’ve heard this expression on other mission trips – one’s I’ve taken where we were not surrounded by the conveniences of home.  It seems to be a thought kept close at hand when in unfamiliar territory and situations where we are clearly reminded we are not in charge – like when serving on a mission trip in a third-world country.  We are God’s children and He is in control – always.  We sometimes forget this and try to take charge on our own.  When things are going well, I can sometimes drift toward relying on my own power to accomplish the tasks at hand when I should be totally reliant on God.

“Let go and let God” is not a phrase I’ve heard spoken on my two trips to Austria, but it is one that kept replaying in my mind yesterday.  The Haus Edelweiss trip doesn’t always resonate the words “mission trip” as we have all the conveniences of home at the Haus . . . clean water to drink, comfortable beds in which to sleep, wonderful meals three times per day, electricity and so forth.  It is easy to go about the daily responsibilities without a thought from where our provisions are coming, which doesn’t seem to happen as much when serving on a trip to a place not similar to our daily living conditions.  Our tasks here in Austria are much like those in our daily lives: painting, cleaning, dishes, repairs, gardening.  It’s easy to fall into a routine.  Easy, that is, until something happens to get our attention.

I started having indications that something wasn’t quite right after arriving last Friday.  By Monday, I couldn’t ignore the symptoms any longer and needed to seek medical attention.  It’s frightening being in a strange land, not knowing the language, relying on the mercy of others to care for me.  I was powerless and wondering why this was happening to me.  While waiting to be seen at the hospital, I was praying and trying to understand the meaning of why this was happening.  I not only was unable to serve at the Haus at that time, but two others who were caring for me weren’t able to perform their duties at the Haus either.

The phrase “let go and let God” came flooding into my thoughts.  I had to let go of the situation and let God be rightfully in control.  I knew that; I just needed to be reminded again.  We are powerless on our own, but with God, all things are possible.

It was incredibly humbling to come here to serve and end up the one being served by others.  It was touching to see my brothers and sisters in Christ, some who I didn’t even know before this trip, come support me and walk beside me on this journey by being the hands and feet of Jesus.  No matter where we are, we are never alone because God is with us, and we just need to release our circumstances and let Him provide for our every need.  As always, it will be sweeter than anything we can image as He loves us beyond measure and wants to be there for us in all that we do – we just need to let go and let God.


Country Reports

The initial evening of annual country reports took place at the Haus.  Four national/assistant national directors spoke.  TCM International Institute has relationships with many countries, and Monday evening, we heard about the advancement of the kingdom in three countries.  I sat in awe as I listened to the stories describing the impact on people’s lives through TCM.  It’s always uplifting to hear one person’s testimony, and to hear example after example is amazing!  It is also fun to watch and experience the interaction among of all the people here at the Haus.  We truly are one family under God and that is overwhelmingly evident in this place.  Walking in the door feels like coming home again, even if this is a first visit.  It is wonderful to be a part of this ministry and to realize that through our actions here as short-term workers we are helping to provide the same for others.  It is both a pleasure and a privilege to serve at Haus Edelweiss.