Well, after 3 months of being in the U.S., after pages and pages of emails and many conversations with lawyers, embassy employees and Memorial Road staff and elders, and after hours of prayers and waiting, we are back in Vienna at last.
And we couldn’t be happier. In some ways, it’s like we never left. Our apartment is still here, complete with half-finished projects we abruptly left behind (and our cat). Our friends are here, as well as everyone in the church. Some things are different, like the snow, the lack of Christmas decorations and the knowledge that three months have passed by in this city without us, but in reality, we’ve jumped right back in like there was no break. You can read about some of the things we’ve gotten back into right away in some coming blogs.
We’re sure most of you are aware, but our situation is not yet resolved, although it is somewhat close to being so. We are here in the EU as tourists again, leaving us 3 months before we have to leave again. We’ve had a couple of meetings with our immigration lawyer here and will be applying for a 1-year social worker permit very soon. We hope to have our permit before we have to leave again in May, but it is much more likely that we will have to leave and wait outside of the EU for our permit to be issued, which could be anytime from May to August.
However, if we do have to spend time away from Vienna, we do not want to spend it in the US like the last three months. We’re working through a couple of possibilities for us to visit another mission field during any forced time away from Vienna. Instead of feeling like we’ve essentially wasted 3 months of our 2 year commitment, we’re excited to be useful and help out another mission field in any way we can while we wait for our permits to be issued to us.
In the meantime, we are so thankful to be back, as well as thankful to everyone who thought about us, prayed for us and supported us these last couple of months. On that note, please continue to pray that our residency permit application goes well and is filed quickly, and that we receive the permit in a timely manner so that we ideally do not have to leave Vienna again in May.
Like I said, we’ve jumped right back into our work like we were never away. Part of the work we did while in Oklahoma was plan English Kids Club’s curriculum for the remainder of the spring semester, which we have now launched into action. So far the kids have learned about the solar system, mountains and the rainforest, going off of this spring’s theme: “Our World – Air, Land, and Sea”. English For Adults (EFA) began (again) March 5th, and was very successful. This spring is kind of a learning semester for us, where we will see how our class goes and the best ways for it to work before we hopefully expand to even more students in the fall. We returned to Vienna with very helpful materials and are looking forward to not only teaching English, but getting to know our wonderful students as well. Please pray for this new project that we are trying to grow.
Well, Vienna is a lot more like Oklahoma than I thought. 3 weeks ago it was snowing, last week it was about 60 degrees, and today it’s snowing again. So, something familiar for us, I guess? Whatever – we’ll take whatever we get, as long as we’re back here now. Plus, it’s beautiful.