A Busy Couple of Koois (Continued)

Last week we wanted to hit the big time highlights of this month, but now we need to fill you in on everything else!

OC students singing at Grillfest.

OC students singing at Grillfest.

To begin, we must mention the arrival of the OC Summer Euro students. What an incredible group of people. The students arrived on June 4th and we met up with them later that night at one of our favorite restaurants, Pizza Bizi. We walked with them to our favorite gelato place, Zanoni & Zanoni, and I was able to direct everyone towards the best gelato flavor in the world – Biscotto. I think 18 out of the 22 took my suggestion. It was a proud moment for me and my gelato knowledge. On the following Sunday was Grillfest which we described here for those of you who aren’t sure what Grillfest is. We had a wonderful time of worship then heard a beautiful testimony from Daniela. While the guys got the grill ready, we spent a little while longer singing worship songs that we love to sing in the States. This group has plenty of talented singers which made singing all the more of a moving experience. We ate together, answered the questions the students had for us during our Q&A session, then closed with a prayer walk around the neighborhood. The students have of course been very busy themselves with travel and class, but we have been extremely blessed by their willingness to help plan our End of the Year EKC Carnival as well as new games for Sports Kids Club when they are not studying or traveling. Students have taken turns visiting June in the nursing home, and they’ve done some babysitting too. We love it when the students are here!

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Bart working in the kitchen

Then earlier this month we were presented  with an amazing service project opportunity. Hermine, the elderly woman who visits our office every morning and was baptized this last February, has lived in the same nearby apartment for years and years. Though her apartment is cleaned by a cleaning woman every so often, there has never been any kind of an apartment touch up. The walls desperately needed a paint job, so that’s what we did. Our congregation split into teams, one team in the living room and one in the kitchen. After several hours of chipping away the old paint and painting on the new, Hermine was left with a newly painted living room. Due to the amount of work the kitchen required, it wasn’t able to be finished at the same time as the living room. Some of the men went back last weekend and finished it up, and now Hermine has two freshly redone rooms. We’re praying God will direct our congregation towards more opportunities like these in the future.

Clayon and Jeremy!

Clayon and Jeremy!

We’ve also been blessed by having quite a few visitors come our way this month. The first to drop in were Dale and Vicki Hawley. They were scheduled to be here with us the first week of June, but due to the floods in Germany they were delayed a week. Fortunately we were able to sit with them and the team one morning and spent a wonderful time together sharing stories about where we were when we all first decided to move to Vienna, how we’ve been blessed by Vienna, and what has/is keeping us here. Though our time with them was short, we very much enjoyed their visit and look forward to more in the future. Next came friends Clayton and Jeremy, both students at Oklahoma Christian University who are currently involved in a missions internship in the Czech Republic. The guys wanted to see as much of Vienna as possible as they only had a couple of days with us, and I’m one hundred percent sure we made that happen. We took them all over the place and by Saturday evening we were completely exhausted. We thoroughly loved having them here, and can we just say we love having visitors in general? It’s so much fun; you’re all invited!

Enjoyed the company of the Hensals one evening last week.

Enjoyed the company of the Hensals one evening last week.

To close, we’d like to ask you to join us in prayer over the city of Vienna for the 2013-2014 year. Last Wednesday, we got together with Jake and Amanda and did just that by stopping at various locations in the city for a moment of prayer. We prayed over districts, people, businesses, programs, congregations, and eventually the entire city from the top of the Donauturm (Danube Tower) where we were able to see all of Vienna.  This is something we’d like to do more often as the power of prayer is incomprehensibly strong and beautiful, and we want as much prayer pouring into this city as possible. So continue to keep the city and its people in your prayers, as well as the sweet Hensal family who now have under two weeks left with us before they head to the States.

Hope everyone has a fantastic week!

A Busy Couple of Koois

This month has been one of the busiest we’ve experienced since we’ve lived here. It’s been absolutely crazy. A good crazy, of course. There have been end of the year parties, service projects, fests, outings, dinners, celebrations… And it’s only mid-June. But through all that has gone on, there are two events of importance that will always stick out in our minds when we think back to June 2013.

IMG_5924Tuesday, June 11th was a momentous day in the life of English Kids Club as we celebrated the last EKC of the 2012-2013 year. It represented endings as well as new beginnings, and we watched God go to work as He always does when we least expect it. Will and I began planning the End of the Year party several months back. Since it was our first time to plan the party we weren’t entirely sure what it was going to look like, but after some idea swapping with Mendy Kooi, we decided to bring the Oklahoma Christian University Study Abroad students on board and before long we had the makings of a carnival. The students paired up and planned various games and challenges for our EKC kids to do on their last day, activities like Sack Races, Candy Walk, Face Painting, and several more. The carnival was supposed to take place outside the office, but we had to scramble and change plans due to the downpour that began before we got started. We were sure our regular kids wouldn’t show up because of the rain, but like I said, God worked in a way we weren’t expecting and all of our regular kids plus a few more came and our carnival was in full swing. God is good.

The kids and the students played together for about an hour while Will, Kim, Josh, Jake, Amanda, and I chatted with the parents. Once we noticed that the majority of the kids had taken an interest in the giant puddles outside instead of the carnival, we brought the carnival to a close and had the kids come inside for their performance. The kids sang “In the Jungle” to the parents as a cute demonstration of what they learned during our “Jungle Week”. After the performance, we graduated 8 kids – 7 boys and 1 girl – and gave them all a graduation certificate and a frisbee (which they later used as buckets for the puddles outside – whoops) as a way to remember their time at EKC. We ended the party on a bit of an emotional note as this was the last English Kids Club for the Hensal family. Kim was the brains behind the program so EKC has always been especially close to her heart. As a way of saying thank you, the kids as well as the rest of the team signed their names on a yellow canvas that reads “We Love You”, and the kids presented it to Kim. It was a tearful yet special moment, and a very sweet end to the EKC year.

IMG_2513Another event Will and I worked on was what we called “Hensal Sunday” which took place yesterday. Hensal Sunday was a time for everyone in both our congregation as well as the congregation across the river to come together and celebrate the good and missional works of the Hensals’ 6 years in Vienna. We began the day singing the Hensals’ favorite worship songs on blankets under the trees in Hirschtettner Badeteich, a park that is especially close to the hearts of those in our church as several baptisms have taken place there. After worship, anyone who wanted to was given the opportunity to share memories and give well-wishes to the Hensal family. During that time, a German Bible for Josh and Kim was passed around for people to sign and highlight favorite scriptures, and a journal for the kids was passed around for note writing. The time of sharing brought forth lots of tears as the church family expressed their deep love for the Hensal family. Once everyone had shared, we brought the Hensals to the middle and prayed over them and their upcoming journey. Then to conclude Hensal Sunday, we picnicked together while the kids took off to the lake for an after-lunch swim. It was a beautiful day.

IMG_6047Since most of our programs and events have ended or are winding down, most of our time this week will be dedicated to helping the Hensals pack. We ask that you be in fervent prayer for our church and especially for the Hensals during these last few weeks of transition.