both my friends and I slept in, which was nice. I've been going
to bed really late, and Friday night was no exception. We had
breakfast late, and enjoyed talking with each other. At 2 pm friends
of theirs showed up, and we all had lunch together, which was
nice. Then it was time to leave. My friends had to go to a family
get-together, and so their guests took me one last time to a supermarket
with them, and then dropped me off at the train station. It was
so rainy and cold! I was freezing! I had just missed a fast train,
and so I took the next one, which was a slow one, stopping at
every little village on the way - but at least I wasn't in the
cold. I enjoyed catching up with reading in the empty train. Back
home, it was time to start packing - a major task.
Marathon & Packing
had gone to bed a little earlier, knowing I needed to get up at
7:30 am this morning - very early for me. I woke up by myself,
and left home at 8:15 am to be at church at 9:30 am. Thankfully
my grandmother has been lending me her car.
joined the pastor and assistant pastor for a time of prayer, and
was given advice as to not having a 10-min video presentation,
since that's supposed to be too long. I had 10 minutes in total,
and so I wasn't able to say anything, but I believe pictures say
so much more than words.
service started at 9 am, and after announcements and other stuff,
it was my turn. I showed the presentation, and then just told
them about my flyers and DVDs on the back table, as well as the
sign-up sheet to get my email updates. Several people talked to
me afterwards, and a good number signed up for the emails.
was the first of three services - the international service. At
11:30 am the African service started, and everything was repeated.
Their worship lasted for an hour, and with the other stuff, it
was only 1 pm when it was my turn. As soon as I was done, I went
out the door with my friend Nadine to quickly get something to
eat and be back for the third service.
become a tradition for Renate and me to go to the really good
Austrian restaurant near the church one time, and on a day like
that, that's the perfect opportunity. Unfortunately she couldn't
come. Gladly Nadine wanted to get together one more time anyway
and was in the morning service, so it worked out well.
had a great time eating a traditional Austrian dish and talking.
Time went by too fast, since we only had about an hour. I was
back at church at 2:30 pm for the Filipino service. Thankfully
they only do one song before the announcements and stuff, and
then go into worship. So my turn came very early, which allowed
me to leave church at 3:20 pm. It's a shame of course that I wasn't
able to talk to anyone after their service, but I was sure tired
and glad to get home.
home, it was time to continue packing and finish packing. Thankfully
I already did a lot of that yesterday. But first I just had to
lie down for a nap - I was exhausted, and ended up sleeping for
over an hour. It was then I was ready for some physical labor!
spent the rest of the day packing and getting ready for my trip
in the morning, watching TV at the same time, going through some
computer magazines, and talking to my grandmother. The month has
passed quickly, and I haven't seen everyone or done everything
I had wanted to do/see. On the other hand, it feels like I've
been gone for months. I'm very much looking forward to seeing
my kids, and being back home, though I'm a little apprehensive
since I haven't talked to Paul in quite a few days, and don't
know what's been going on, and what surprises are ahead
of me, since we're in this time of transition with the kids and
Fanta moving back in, as well as our driver's wife. So please
pray for my arrival, for the capacity to cope with everything
and react right (without discouraging Paul).
I don't have to get up early tomorrow, but I'm still heading to
bed now, at 1 am already.
enjoyed sleeping in and having a quiet morning, while my friends
were at work. Before noon my friend Beate returned from school
where she's a teacher. When her husband came home, we had lunch
together, and then we went downtown for some errands. It was extremely
cold and rainy, and I wasn't properly dressed for that. I was
glad when we returned home. They've actually turned on the heating
again, because it's that cold!
husband had returned to work, and Beate was tired and went to
take a nap, and I did the same some time later. I actually slept
for an hour, and could have gone on sleeping! But we left home
at 5 pm to go have some ice-cream in town. It was still cold and
rainy - probably not the best weather for ice-cream, but it was
home, we got ready for the evening meeting. I was still very tired,
and only got over it during worship at the church.
Meeting In St.Pölten
left home at 6:30 pm; the meeting was at 7 pm. It was the church's
youth meeting, and the youth leader invited me to come (again)
and share with them, opening it up to the whole church.
started with a
time of worship - absolutely crucial before sharing. Then I shared
about Mali - there were a few people who didn't know me.
showed my presentation, and then answered the questions people
the leader said that they would like to pray for Mali, and formed
small groups to do that. One girl came up to me, wanting to pray
then the leader had everyone gather around me and pray and prophesy
over me, which was great. Then the meeting was over.
talked to a few people, and then we decided to all go out to eat.
However, it's hard to find a restaurant that's open at 10:30 pm
in this little town! We ended up going to a Greek restaurant,
that was really good. I enjoyed talking to the young people, and
it wa midnight before we left there. We took this picture before
every person went his way. And... once again it was far too late
before I went to bed. I guess I'm getting ready for the Malian
time zone ;-).
has been passing like crazy - where has it gone? Why is it not
there when you need it?
gone to bed close to 3 am last night, I got up at 9:30 this morning,
knowing I had a few things to get done before taking the train
to St.Pölten. I felt somewhat stressed, wondering how it
would all get done in time.
first thing I did was go to a shopping mall with my grandmother
- she needed something, and I had one more thing to purchase for
Mali. It took us 90 minutes. And I don't want to spend ANOTHER
DIME!!!! It's gonna be a major challenge packing for my return
to Mali on Sunday. I already see myself having to take a third
suitcase (which costs extra) since there is so much stuff to take!
burned the last few DVDs, packed again, and tried to get everything
done. I had wanted to go to the gym one last time, but there simply
wasn't time :-(. I ended up leaving the house just before 4 pm,
walking to the bus station, then taking the bus to the subway,
and the subway to the train station. I purchased my ticket and
was able to catch the 4:40 pm train to St.Pölten. It's only
40 minutes away, and there are lots of trains going that way.
arrived in St.Pölten at 5:20 pm, and it was pretty cold.
The weather forecast is lots of rain and cold weather for the
next few days - great; but I guess I should be thankful since
I'll be returning to intense heat and humidity on Monday.
friend's husband was waiting for me on the platform, and together
we started walking towards their apartment. My friend Beate joined
us a few minutes later. It was good to see her again.
walked to their house, and sat down to talk, enjoying catching
up with each other. I've known Beate since I got saved 16 years
ago, and she's seen me change over the years. She's one of my
most faithful friends.
husband came back from some errands later, and we all had dinner
together. We could just continue talking forever, but I do hope
to get to go to bed earlier than 3 am tonight ;-).
News From Mali
talked to Paul today. Yesterday he talked together with Fanta
on the phone with Seybou, and in the end he relented, understanding
that it would be best for the children to be with us. I WAS SO
RELIEVED! My little ones are coming home!!!! I can't even tell
you what this means to me!!! HALLELUJAH!
Paul has finished all the preliminary work for a US visa, and
now has his interview on June 17. Please pray for favor so that
he's granted a visa. We will have to move forward in faith with
all the preparations, as the interview date is still a few weeks
remember also that he has his end of High School exams around
the same time; he's preparing for those now. Last year he failed
them, and so he's doing them again this year.
had gone to bed far too late, and heard the children in the morning,
slowly waking me up. My friend Peter was able to go to work later,
which gave us a little time together, while I was having breakfast.
I enjoyed talking with Peter and his wife, and their 3-year-old
son. Peter then went to work, while I was able to connect to their
internet, which was finally a fast connection rather than my late
night session due to my own slow connection.
11:45 am I said good-bye, loaded up the car, and went on my way
to the next town, Steyr. It was a 45-minute drive. I had printed
out directions, and did well until I got there. However, I got
lost then, and thanked God for cellphones, as my hosts directed
me to their house.
was very pleased to finally meet Franz and his wife in person;
we'd been emailing each other occasionally for nearly a year,
and they had wanted to meet me, and then I was even invited to
do a meeting in the evening.
had lunch with them, and enjoyed getting to know them. Time went
by far too fast. We each went on our way for the afternoon, and
I decided to take a nap since I was pretty tired. I'm glad I did.
5:45 pm we had dinner together. We had to leave at 6:30 to drive
to the church. Since Regina couldn't come to the meeting, she
asked me to pray for her before leaving, and so we took a few
minutes before that.
arrived at church early, already finding the worship team practicing.
It was a nice little church building. I set up my DVDs and flyers
on a table by the door, and set up my computer. I was glad that
they had been able to find a projector to use for my presentation.
was told that a group from the local church there, and two groups
from another church would show up instead of their weekly home
group meeting. Wonderful!
started the meeting with Franz introducing me (picture). Then
there was a time of worship for 30+ minutes. God's presence was
there, and He touched me so beautifully as I basked in His presence.
So I knelt down on the floor, simply enjoying being with Him.
There's no place like that place! And no other way to minister
than from that place!
got up, and we got the projector and sound system ready for the
presentation. I said a few introductory things first, since nobody
there knew me yet. Then I showed them the presentation.
the presentation I shared a few more things, and then opened it
up for questions. We had a good time talking and connecting with
no more questions came, the worship team came back. We did one
song, and then I prayed. It was already pretty late, with only
a few minutes left. I wouldn't be able to say very much.
kept it short, sharing my heart, and inviting them to come up
for prayer if they wanted more intimacy with the Father or prayer
for physical healing. One by one they came forward, while the
rest of them continued worshiping God. Once again, I was amazed
at how broken people are, how much they need the Father's healing
touch! And He touched his children, with many tears flowing. It
was so beautiful!
one person, I couldn't not hold back from sharing a vision I had
a few months back. I had wanted to share it before starting to
pray, but time seemed to short. Afer having prayed for a few people,
I knew I had to share it with everyone, and so I did. Then I continued
praying for more people. Many came, and they encountered their
the time I was done, most people were gone. I talked to a few
people, greatly enjoying the conversations. And then they said
they wanted to pray for me, which was wonderful as well.
few people had signed up for my email newsletter, and they had
given generously to support God's work in Mali. One church leader
took a stack of flyers and DVDs with him. Praise God!
was 10:30 pm when I had to say good-bye to the last few people,
including my wonderful hosts. Everyone was excited, and already
talking about me coming back next year! I was also pretty wound
up, so excited about how wonderful our heavenly Father is! I had
had a wonderful time, and would have loved to stay rather than
having to drive back to Vienna.
I got into my car, and started the long ride home. It took me
1 hour 50 minutes before I pulled up at my grandmother's house.
And I wasn't ready to go to bed yet. And so it was once again
VERY late before I finally went to bed. It had been a great day.
Malian lady yesterday told me that I'd have ten minutes with the
president today to present my project to him. That was exciting!
So I printed out some pictures and information last night to give
to him. And I had to change my plans around again, as I should
have taken the train to Upper Austria in the morning. I was speaking
at 7 pm there, and had to be there by then. How would it all work
grandmother was so kind to allow me to borrow her car - that was
the first solution. The payment for using the Autobahn was still
valid until Wednesday. So I would have to drive back home Wed
night, after the house group meeting.
new Camerounian friend called me at 2 pm to tell me the meeting
at the chamber of commerce started at 3:45 pm. We decided to meet
at 3:30 pm to go the rest of the way together, since she knows
the place well.
left home at 2:30 pm - with all my stuff for the church meeting
in the evening, and for one night away. I packed the car, and
drove off to the terminus of the subway station that would take
me into town. It was also just before the entrance onto the highway
to leave town.
was little traffic, which was great, but then suddenly, a traffic
jam. There had been an accident. We were only creeping along,
and I was getting nervous about the time. I FINALLY arrived at
the station, and found a good (payable) parking spot. I put payment
in for an hour (we fill out papers), thinking it was for two hours,
which is all I needed. I was away for two and a half hours, and
thankfully there were no consequences for this mistake.
quickly got onto the subway, but it was already after 3 pm. I
knew I wouldn't make it in time, and sent a text message to my
friend. I hate being late! I got off, and walked to the tram station.
It took another few minutes before the tram arrived. I thought
I knew how many stops I had, but then I saw my destination right
after continuing from one stop! Oh great! I didn't see Dorothée,
however, and so I called her. Thank God for cellphones! She told
me that the meeting was at a different location, and she had nearly
arrived there. I asked her the way, and just about got off at
the right station. From there it was quite a walk. Thanks to the
phone, we finally found each other, and continued on together.
arrived at this other building of the chamber of commerce and
asked at the reception where the meeting was. We saw no one around
at all, and were finally told - after a few phone calls - that
the meeting was at a different location. Again! It was already
close to 4 pm - we'd miss the meeting.
off we went again - walking, subway, walking, tram. As we were
approaching the building at around 4:15 pm, the presidential motorcade
was just arriving. We had to wait for them to pass, then rushed
towards the building. We happened to walk into the building just
behind all the delegates having arrived in the motorcade! One
person asked whether we belonged with them, and my friend just
said YES. I wouldn't have had the audacity to respond that way.
we weren't late - a miracle - but I would be late for my evening
meeting. How would all this work out? I was torn between not wanting
to miss a conversation with the president, and keeping my speaking
engagement in the evening.
timidly followed my Camerounian friend up the stairs. People were
already sitting in a big conference room up there. We went inside,
and she took a seat. I sat down beside her. Then she saw her Malian
friend, who came over to greet us. I gave her the materials I
had prepared for the president, and asked her to give them to
him, since I had to leave early.
official meeting then started at 4:30 pm. First the Austrian chamber
of commerce president spoke, then the Malian president, and then
some Malian presented his power point presentation about Mali,
and how investments could be made. This is the beginning of some
economic ties, and they want Austrian investors to start doing
stuff in Mali. That was the purpose of the meeting.
had planned to leave at 5 pm, and decided to wait to the end,
so I could catch the Austrian consul in Mali before leaving. The
meeting was very interesting, in any case. I wished I had money
to invest! What was also weird is that it felt so "right"
to be with presidents and ministers - I had already felt that
way yesterday. You'll think I'm weird!
meeting ended at 5:15 pm, and picked up the materials they had
prepared for the audience. Then I rushed to the Austrian honorary
consul who does know me, but we haven't spent time together in
years. It's ABSOLUTELY HIGH TIME! I gave him my brochure and DVD,
and he asked me when I was returning to Mali. He returns a week
after me, and he said we'd get together then. It's time for him
to come visit us at our base!
rushed away the president, saying he had another appointment.
Looks like I wouldn't have been able to talk to him after all.
But the ministers and all the other people moved to the banquet,
and would be talking there. I had no choice but to miss that opportunity.
rushed out of the building as fast as I could, and walked to the
tram station. Three trams leave there to go the same direction;
surely one would come right away.... wrong! I could not believe
it, as I watched more and more people crowding around waiting
for the tram. Where was it? How would I make it even remotely
in time? At least they knew I'd probably be late, and for a good
the tram came, and I went the few stops I had. I got off, and
walked quickly to the subway, and thankfully it came quickly.
It was a long ride to the terminus, though. Even before arriving
I sent a text message to my friend at the church I was heading
to, telling him I was leaving town now.
arrived at the car around 6 pm, and was thankful not to find a
ticket. How would I be there at 7 pm, the start of the meeting?
According to the internet, it would take 1 hour 35 minutes. And
I wasn't on the Autobahn yet.
it turned out not to be that easy to get there. I couldn't believe
how long it was taking me! It was 6:10 pm when I finally got onto
the Autobahn. And I ended up driving faster than I ever have since
becoming a Christian 16 years ago! There were no speed limits
for me tonight - unless there were specific ones. And I made it
in record time.
7:30 pm I pulled up at the church. At least I had found it alright.
My friend had told me that they would be singing longer, until
I'd show up. I placed my materials on the table there, and handed
the flashdrive to the technician. I walked in, and was handed
the mic a few moments later. While the technician was getting
the presentation ready, I needed to talk, and so I did. It was
weird because everyone just stared at me without moving, as if
they weren't alive.
the presentation came on, and then I gave them the time-sensitive
prayer request concerning Fanta and our three little ones. Then
I opened it for questions, as I've done the past two years I've
come here. Great questions came, and I gave them comprehensive
answers. I love it! I had a lot of fun, and everyone lightened
up, some of them really getting into it and asking more questions.
no more questions came, the leader sang a song while sending the
offering basket around. People were truly generous! Thank You,
God, and thank you, people of God! Then a few people prayed for
me, and it was over.
spoke to a few people, before leaving at 10 pm. One is a young
lady who wants to come to Mali for a year, starting this fall.
That would be great! She had emailed me, and I had told her I'd
be here tonight. Which just HAPPENED to be close to her, and HAPPENED
to be just before I come here!!! Austria is big, and then this!
was raining, and dark, as I followed my friend Peter to his home.
I've known Peter all my Christian life. Today he's married with
3 kids. We parked at his house, and his wife welcomed us. We sat
down to talk and grab a bite to eat, and time went by fast. At
11 they went to bed, and I turned on my computer. Once again it's
very late as I go to bed. But it was a wonderful day.
the meeting with the Malian president really happen? In the morning
I had my doubts, and then after my new Camerounian friend called
me to confirm, I became nervous. I didn't bring any Malian clothes
- I would have to come dressed like an Austrian.
was too nervous to eat lunch, and left home at 1 pm to meet with
Dorothée at 1:45 pm. She came on time, and together we
went to the hotel Imperial where the reception for the Malian
president would take place.
were the first ones there. The hotel had already put up a Malian
flag, and picture of the president, as you can see.
good Malian friend showed up a little later. She's the one who
opened the door for me to come, and was excited to hear what I'm
doing in Bamako. We were actually speaking in Bambara, as she
was asking me questions about what I do. She was also excited
about my language skills. She was even excited to introduce me
to the president of her country! I immediately connected with
Ma - what a wonderful lady!
standing a long time, we sat down when we heard it would be another
two hours before the president's arrival. On this picture, Dorothée
is next to me, and Ma in blue.
4 pm was approaching, we were told the president was late, and
wouldn't be here until 6:30 pm. Great! The nervousness had long
passed (and never came back), but now I started to be hungry.
Plus, I still needed to buy a Bible for one of my boys - I had
totally forgotten that his Bible had been stolen. It seemed that
there was enough time to do that.
Dorothée and I went to the MacDonald's just around the
corner and had a bite to eat, all the while having a great time
talking. I really like her! She might actually become the next
Camerounian ambassador to Austria.
half an hour there, we took the tram to go to the Bible House
to buy the Bible. As we passed the hotel Imperial, we saw that
soldiers stood guard, and the police was everywhere! Was the Malian
president coming now after all?
immediately got off the next stop and walked back to the hotel.
We went inside and were informed that the Malian first lady was
arriving soon. We were glad not to have missed anything.
her approach, all the Malians gathered (there aren't many in Austria)
got in line to shake hands with her. Unfortunately the person
taking pictures with my camera missed the right moment, and took
the picture with the next person in line.
first lady went to her room - everything had gone really fast,
without opportunity to talk. We were told the Malian president
was coming at 6:30 pm. We still had two hours, and decided to
go to the Bible House.
wasn't too far away. I didn't get the Bible I wanted, but got
another one. Then we returned to the hotel. We still had plenty
of time, and enjoyed our time of fellowship. The only person among
the Malians that I knew was a Malian who teaches Bambara conversation
at university. He wasn't my teacher, as he came after I graduated,
but he once visited me in Bamako, and I sometimes see him when
I visit my old university department in Vienna.
was 6:45 pm when they announced that the president was coming.
Finally! He went down the line, shaking hands, and this time I've
got a picture!
thought that it would all be very organized, with person after
person getting a minute with him, but it wasn't. Suddenly everyone
was crowding around him, wanting to talk to him and have a picture
taken with him. Amazing!
new Malian friend Ma wanted to introduce me, and nearly boxed
her way through. She succeeded. And voilà - photos with
me and the Malian president! I got to say a few words to him about
what I do, and he was very kind. He's very much loved in Mali,
and I liked what I felt when I met him. He's very favorable towards
Christians, and has pastors pray for him and advise him.
minutes later the president also went to his room, and it was
all over. My new friends were very geared up, and giddy. We went
outside, and had a picture taken with the president's car that
had Malian flags all over.
and I left together, having the same direction to go in the beginning.
Tomorrow, I have the change to present what I do in Mali to him
for a few minutes. I had to totally change my schedule because
of all this, but it's sure worth it.
home, I started printing some pictures and information for the
meeting tomorrow, as well as more flyers for the meetings I have
this week. I feel a little stressed right now, and am going to
bed FAR TOO LATE once again.
weekend was the yearly gathering of the pentecostal churches in
Eastern Austria. They started with activities on Friday, going
through Sunday night. Last night I went there to put my stuff
on my church's booktable there - the DVDs and flyers - as they
set up last night, before a Christian concert. I stayed for a
while, but not for the concert. I wanted to be home for a change,
and watch a great German entertainment show on TV - for the first
time live, together with my grandmother. However, the show lasted
until 1:30 am, so you can imagine how tired I was this morning.
I had to leave home at 9:15 am to be there early, at the booktable.
the conference center wasn't far, and I could use my grandmother's
car. I was surprised how full it already was when I got there.
I got a seat in the middle, reserving one for my grandmother in
the afternoon as well, since she had agreed to come to the healing
service. It was better for her not to be upfront anyway, since
she hasn't been to any meeting like this ever before, never having
stepped into a church in her life (except for catholic churches).
had some people from my church sitting around me, which was nice.
The service started at 10 am. My church was the one responsible
for this morning's service.
we had a long time of worship in English and German; they did
a great job. Then the president of the association of pentecostal
churches in Austria spoke, and someone did a special song, and
a little video clip, and then the guy responsible for missions
within the pentecostal churches came up to present their missionaries.
a year, they have a missions conference that took place just before
this conference. Many of their missionaries come for that. However,
I'm not one of "their" missionaries; I'm simply sent
out by my church.
called up all the pentecostal missionaries, and I hesitated; I'm
not an official missionary of the movement. However, the Austrian
pastor specifically called me up as well, and so I joined the
others. I did feel a little out of place up there, especially
as the missions guy had never met me before, and then he started
introducing each missionary, and where they are and what they
do. When he came to me, he asked whether I was the VCC missionary,
and as I answered with yes, he went on to the next person. After
he was done, the Austrian pastor of my church introduced me himself,
using kind words. Then we went back to our seats.
the Austrian pastor introduced me to the missions director, and
I talked with him for a few minutes. Now that he's met me - and
got my materials - there's a good chance I'll be allowed into
all the pentecostal churches in Austria to share about the work
in Mali. That would be good. He also told me that he works in
an organization helping persecuted Christians, and Mali was one
of their countries. He told me he'd talk to the person responsible
to find out more about what they actually do in Mali, and see
if we can connect somehow.
picture shows the Austrian pastor Gerhard (right), who interpreted
the senior pastor (left).
I had planned to go home for the break - since it's not far -
and then come back for the 3 pm healing service, together with
my grandmother. However, the morning service ended at 1 pm, and
I then went to the booktable to talk to interested people and
get my stuff out. Time went by fast. And then the Austrian pastor
gave me a meal ticket for free - I was very thankful.
up I went to the cafeteria to stand in line for my meal. I was
amazed at how long the line was. Most everyone was already eating
or done, or in line ahead of me. But I happened to stand in line
with a few people from Großrust, where I had been last Monday,
and I enjoyed talking with them. I ended up sitting with them
and a family from my church, enjoying our time of fellowship.
we were nearly the only ones left, and the meeting had actually
started. I had missed the opportunity to talk to arriving people
at the book table. Oh well. Thankfully I knew that my grandmother
was coming late, since she was coming straight from a hospital
went towards the book table, when my grandmother called me, saying
she was here, and where I was. We found each other, and I showed
her where our seats were. It was already around 3:45 pm, which
ended up being really good, since worship was over an hour, and
I think she would have had a hard time waiting for over an hour
for it to be over.
then had a healing testimony which was great. To my disappointment,
my grandmother was falling asleep, and was asleep for much of
the sermon :-(.
Fillafer (left)- the famous Austrian evangelist who came to Mali
last Nov and who's coming back to Mali again - was the speaker;
I knew it would be good for my grandmother to hear him. He preached
for quite some time, presenting the gospel and sharing healing
testimonies, and then he had us all stand up.
told everyone who needed healing to lift one hand and put the
other on the sick part of the body. When my grandmother stood
there, and I asked her, she said she didn't need healing for anything.
What a surprise! I could tell she wasn't feeling very comfortable
at all, and was rather tense, being in this unknown situation.
Erwin called the people who had been healed or wanted healing
prayer to come forward, and he started praying for them. My grandmother
took advantage of the situation by introducing her to some leaders
from my church. They all spoke very kindly with her, but I could
tell she wasn't comfortable.
wanted to talk to Erwin before leaving, and introduce my grandmother
to him. We waited patiently for him to be done praying, and he
soon came over to us. He took my grandmother's hand and started
sharing the gospel with her, and offering to pray for her, but
she didn't want to. She listened politely to all he was saying.
Then we said good-bye, and left, being among the last ones to
the way home, she told me that she had seen too much in her life
to believe, but it was "good for them" that they could
believe. It was not for her. Back home, she told me that her eyes
were in so much pain, she absolutely had to get a doctor's appointment
tomorrow. I told her not to complain to me - she'd had her chance
to be healed, but hadn't taken it. I made her aware that she'd
had nothing to lose, but all to win, if she had accepted the many
offers for prayer and be healed. As we say in German: SSKM - meaning:
your own fault, no compassion.
glad though that she came, and that seeds were sown into her life.
She's 80, and who knows how much longer she has on this earth.
Maybe the purpose of my staying with her was just that!
have waited too long to give you a detailed report of this day.
highlight was meeting my friend Vroni who's spent more time with
us in Mali than anyone else; two and a half months. We went to
the best ice-cream place in town, and enjoyed our short time of
fellowship together. I also got to meet her boy-friend for the
excited because there is a possibility that she can do a university
internship with us next year; in any case she's gonna try to be
able to do that. That would be so wonderful!
is also a young man coming next year, and he wants to stay a full
year with us.
there is another young man who wants to come for three months.
then there is a young girl who doesn't really know Jesus yet who
wants to come for a couple of months even this fall.
excited to meet people rather often who want to come to Mali,
even if few actually do come. Send the right ones, Lord, but DO
5:30 am my alarm clock rang this morning. It was after midnight
before I had gone to bed, and I had not slept very well, not wanting
to overhear the alarm. I was ready to leave within a few minutes.
was glad when I got my passport back at check-out, and everything
went quickly and without problems. I still had half an hour before
my bus was leaving from the bus station.
roads were pretty empty, with a few exceptions, as I was walking
towards the bus station. My bag is not easy to carry, as it really
hurts your hand to pull it, but it was okay. Ten minutes later
I arrived at the station, where there was much more activity.
I had twenty more minutes.
were several busses and many people. But which one was my bus?
And was it already here? I looked at my ticket, and it said the
same the bus here had said "il fonzo". When I had left
Rome, the person at the ticket counter had told me that would
be written on the side of the bus. However, today I did not see
a bus with that writing. I guessed it wasn't here yet.
went into the waiting room, where there was a screen with the
busses listed, and where they'd leave from. It said "20",
and I looked on the map where "20" was. I wasn't quite
sure where that was supposed to be, but I knew it wasn't the two
busses loading people in front of the waiting area.
kept passing, and I got a little nervous. So I decided to ask
the ticket vendor where my bus would leave from. He told me, "It's
this bus right in front of the door!" Really? That was "22",
and not "il fonzo". It was 6:10 am.
went ouside and asked the driver standing by the door whether
he was going to Rome - he said yes. So I went to the back with
my bag and the other driver. He opened the loading area. I was
waiting for him to put my bag in, but it seemed that he was waiting
for me. They always do that for you! Finally he lifted it up,
immediately put it down, and started cursing in Italian because
it was heavy. I was perpexled! I wished he'd understood English,
I would have asked him whether he wanted me to put it in! Finally
he grudingly put it in.
again I was shocked at the unfriendliness of Italians, as I had
already been at the reception desk of the hotel. Looks like my
opinion of Italians is changing!
I walked towards the bus door, a Chinese guy addressed me in Italian.
I told him I don't understand, and in English he asked to buy
my bus ticket, and he'd even give me 30 euros for it. I told him
sorry, I had a flight to catch. He asked some other people as
well, but without success.
got onto the full bus, and found a nice seat upstairs, at the
window. There were still other free seats, but we did have another
stop in the neighboring town before going straight to Rome.
minutes later we pulled up at that bus stop, where many more people
were waiting. And to my surprise, that Chinese guy was there too.
He asked person after person who got on, but to no avail. Poor
guy. I wonder why he needed to get to Rome so urgently, and he
couldn't drive with his own car.
seat beside me was taken right away. A few minutes later a lady
came up and started speaking Italian first to my neighbor, then
to me. I told her I don't understand. She seemed to claim my seat,
and was angry I was sitting there. I didn't know the seats were
numbered?!? But then she asked me for the number on my ticket.
Number? I got it out and showed it to her - it said 53. I expected
her to tell me I was sitting in her seat, and to find another
one. But to my great surprise, she walked away. ??? What kind
of system is this?
only idea I have is that if you buy your ticket earlier than the
other person, you get to choose your seat. On the way here from
Rome, I sat that happened to, as a guy came onto the bus and chased
a lady away. Still, it seems weird. Good thing I bought my ticket
yesterday; this morning I wouldn't have even gotten one any more!
trip to Rome lasted three hours. I got tired pretty quickly, and
fell asleep, and so time passed quickly - thankfully.
woke up as we pulled off the highway, and got stuck in traffic.
However, it didn't take that long, and we weren't delayed by much.
In any case, I was glad I had taken the early bus with plenty
recognized the train station next to the bus station where I'd
have to take the train to the airport. Just a few more meters,
and we'd be at the bus station and getting off. And then the bus
hit a car! Unbelievable! The bus pulled over, and you could hear
a loud Italian discussion between bus drivers and car driver,
and then the police and some soldiers came over. In the meantime
some people started getting off, as we were already basically
at our destination. I joined the crowd, but then the bus drivers
told us to get back on, and we continued on our way.
minute later they pulled up at the bus station, and everyone had
to get their own luggage out of the luggage hold. Great service.
At least it was easier to get it out than in.
then started the walk back to the train station. My next task
was to get a train ticket. I stood in line at the counter, and
got it easily. I also knew when and where it would leave from,
and made my way there. I really needed a bathroom having been
on the bus for 3 hours, but that would have to wait.
waited for a few minutes on the platform, before my train arrived.
I got on, and sat down, ready for the 40-minute ride. For the
first 20 minutes there was a very annoying Italian guy right next
to me; I was glad when he got off.
was 10:15 when I arrived at the airport - I had over 3 hours until
my flight. I went to the screens, and my flight was not on there
yet. But it was obvious that it would be listed any moment; I
needed to know what terminal to go to.
few minutes later it told me; I was glad I had a cart for my luggage,
and got on my way.
knew I could only check in two hours before my flight, and so
I had one hour to kill. I was hungry as it had been too early
to have breakfast at the hotel.
have not at all been impressed with food in Italy, even been negatively
surprised. Even at the airport, there were two places, and only
one really that people went to - and it was crowded. I got
a sandwich and hot chocolate and found a seat.
I was done, I was still early. Still, I started walking towards
check-in, where people were actually already checking in. I stood
in line, and everything went smoothly.
went through security without any problems, and started walking
around, looking into stores, as I still had over an hour until
boarding. I didn't buy anything.
finally sat down at my gate, where I started writing all this.
And now it's time to board!
LATER - Or so I thought. They told us that the flight would
be delayed. Great! I had a meeting to do in the evening!
hour passed, and we finally boarded the plane.
5:40 pm Alex came to pick me up. I was feeling better, and ready
to go. I was actually looking forward to what God was going to
do. I didn't really know what the pastor expected, but was ready
for everything - whether preaching, ministry, or just sharing.
had a good time talking in the car during the one-hour trip. Twenty
minutes before the beginning of the meeting we arrived at the
church. It was good to see the pastor again and talk to him. He
told me what he had in mind for the evening.
people started showing up. Many already knew me from my previous
visits. The pastor had called an extra-meeting for his church
to get to know me better, since they are organizing a benefice-concert
for Mali in June. Only a few showed up, but it was still a good
started with a time of worship. Suddenly the presence of God got
intense, and God started giving me a prophetic word for the pastors
and the church. I knelt down on the floor, enjoying His presence,
and listening. Wow! I had been totally unprepared for this! I
also felt that the Lord wanted to give a release/impartation to
worship, I sat down, trying to "return to earth", while
the pastor introduced me. He then handed it over to me. I told
them that the Lord had given me something for them, and asked
the piano player to come back.
I prayed. Then I asked the pastor and his wife to come up. I first
tried to give the word in German, but it was simply too hard,
and so I switched to English.
started releasing the prophetic word, and then I laid hands on
power of God hit them immediately, as they started laughing and
falling over. I was hit as well, and was amazed at the powerful,
unexpected release. WOW! God's gonna do great things there and
I had a word of knowledge I passed on. As soon as I had stepped
into the church, this weird pain hit my back. I don't ever have
backpain! So I asked the handful of people if anyone there had
backpain. There was maybe around 10 people there. And then the
piano player came forward, and I prayed for her. She said it felt
better, but that that was always the case when she was standing.
So time will show.
it was time for the presentation. We watched the 10 minutes, and
then I sat down for a question & answer time. It was a very
informal way of talking and sharing, and I greatly enjoyed it,
and so did everyone else, it seemed.
talked for a long time, and I also showed them the property plans.
Then the pastor suggested that they'd pray for me, and so they
surrounded me and started praying for me. Then the night was over.
It was already 10 pm!
said good-bye to all the wonderful people, and the pastor, and
we left to return to Vienna. We dropped off two people, and drove
through McDonald's to grab a quick dinner, and continued on our
way. It was raining. Again I enjoyed our conversation in the car.
It was about 11:30 pm when I arrived back home. I felt great,
and happy about the way the night had gone. It had been a long,
but good day. I relaxed by watching TV for a few minutes before
going to bed, looking forward to a good, long night's sleep.
was glad the service only started at 10:30 am, which gave me plenty
of time to go have breakfast - though it's not fun to sit in a
restaurant all alone.
10 am I was down outside the hotel, waiting for my ride. I had
my DVDs and flyers with me. A few minutes later the pastor and
his wife showed up, and together we went ot the location of the
service. They are renting a place, but it's clearly too small
for them, and they do have plans to build on land.
put my materials on the back table, and was introduced to the
tech guy - who spoke no English. I had to bring my own laptop,
and connected it to the projector. After some time, it was all
had been going since our arrival. Since Hungary a few years ago,
it was the first time to be in a European church where I don't
understand the language, though I do understand a lot. Some of
the songs I knew in English. Understand or not, the Spirit of
God was there and I simply entered in. His presence was so sweet,
I even knelt down on the floor at one point.
pastor was saying different things from time to time, and had
one of his members interpret into English for him, since both
me and their guest speaker did not understand Italian.
it was already my turn. I said a few words, and he interpreted
for me. Then I showed the video in English, and the pastor translated
the written words. Unfortunately, the projector cut off the words
on the bottom, and so most of the explanations were gone. That
was annoying as it would have made a big different to know what
they were seeing.
the visiting Sri Lankan pastor came up to preach. I was very impressed
with him. The pastor interpreted into Italian.
the service, two ladies came up to speak to me - one actually
couldn't speak English. Both gave me their email address to stay
in touch, and expressed interest in coming to Mali to help.
it was time to leave there and drive to the pastors' parents'
house for lunch. Their parents are also part of the church, and
prepared a great Italian meal for us. We had pasta first, and
then breaded meat with salad, followed by a dessert and fruit.
I enjoyed the conversation at the table.
we left at 3 pm, we took a picture of everyone - the whole family,
plus me, and the Stri Lankan pastor. It was time to drive back
to the center of Pescara, as we were out in the country side.
had to say good-bye to the pastor's wife Sandra, who's really
a sweet lady. A few minutes later then to the rest of them. They
dropped me off at the bus station so I could buy my ticket for
the 6:15 am bus tomorrow morning. Since it wasn't far to the hotel
from there, I walked back home - through a little market.
Few Hours In Italy
still had a couple of hours left, but what do you do when you're
by yourself? I actually caught up on some work, and a few hours
later I left to at least have a pizza once in Italy. I picked
a restaurant, and asked whether I could take it with me. They
said yes. However, they had a hard time with English! They had
to call the boss's wife, because they couldn't understand the
word "garlic" - neither in English nor French. The lady
understood, but - there was no garlic on my pizza :-(.
said it'd take 10 minutes, so I continued on my walk during that
time. It was after 6 pm, and the beach promenade was crowded with
people. I was glad when I got my pizza, and returned to my room.
However, it wasn't really worth the calories it put into my system.
My favorite pizza place in Vienna is a lot better!
few hours later I decided to go for a little walk on the beach
in the dark. See the sea one more time! And wouldn't it be nice
to see it at night!
walked over to the beach and all the way to the water. I love
the sound of it! There were a few other people around. I started
walking in one direction, being rather pensive. Why do I have
to walk here alone? Where is the man God has prepared for me?
didn't walk for long, and returned to my hotel room. I really
should go to bed earlier today, as I have to leave the hotel at
6 am tomorrow, for a long trip home to Vienna, and then on to
Großrust, a 1+ hour drive away where I do a meeting in the
prayers are much desired, especially as I still have this cold,
and it won't be fun flying with that ear ache and congested nose.
woke up early, and then over and over again. I felt rather miserable,
couldn't breathe, and needed a tissue constantly. My head was
all heavy. Just after 9 am I finally got up. Would I want to go
have breakfast? I guess so. So I got dressed and made my way to
the top floor where the restaurant was.
view was beautiful - you could see the beach and sea. I sat down
at a table so I could see it. Unfortunately my room is on the
back side of the building. Singles are always disadvantaged! The
picture shows my hotel.
breakfast buffet was decent, though the bread was stone-hard.
The water for my tea was lukewarm, but they brought out hot water
after I asked them. I really don't like eating in public all alone.
It's not fun.
breakfast I felt better, and having seen the beach from the restaurant,
I really wanted to go for a walk on the beach. It was 10 am when
I left my room, with just a little money, my camera, and my key.
crossed the road and was already on the beach. I took off my shoes
and walked towards the water. It was really cold, but beautiful.
I started walking in one direction, enjoying the sand, water,
and sound of the waves.
found myself wishing I had someone special walking by my side,
and felt rather lonely. When, Lord? How much longer do I have
also remembered how I spent a few weeks every summer in Italy
as a child. I started picking up shells and putting them into
my pocket, to take home to my kids. They'll like them!
Italian man saw me doing this, and gave me all the pretty shells
he had collected. How nice of him!
were also those little crabs I remember too well from my childhood.
They were all dead though.
pictures are a few impressions:
- A chinese man selling his goods on the beach - with one kite
in the air.
- Taking off the plastic of the parasols, with heavy machinery.
boats on the beach with a person each sitting on the them - a
guy in the picture to the left, and a pensive lady to the right.
one point I turned around and walked back. What would I do now?
I would never go eat in a restaurant by myself. Maybe I could
find something decent to take to the hotel with me. I kept walking
past my hotel, by many restaurants. I'd been noticing the many
Africans trying primarily ro sell sunglasses to people. One approached
me, and I addressed him in English. He didn't understand, and
so I tried French. He understood. I asked him where he was from
- he said Senegal (neighbor to Mali). He's been in Europe for
6 months, and is miserable, and wants to return to Africa. When
I left, he said that I was nice.
I continued on my way, walking past other Africans, I was thinking
that if I was back in Europe, I'd start a ministry reaching out
to those Africans.
was pretty unsuccessful trying to find something to eat, and tried
that Italian pizza take-away again, but again, it didn't look
inviting. I didn't want Turkish food two days in a row, and so
I went to the little fruit & vegetable place to buy peas and
didn't see any peas, and the owner didn't understand what I was
talking about. I did understand him asking the other customers
if anyone spoke French! Nobody did. Oh well. I got my half-kilo
of strawberries and returned to the hotel. That was my lunch!
afternoon went by quickly. At 4 pm Pietro & Sandra came to
pick me up. First, they gave me a tour around town, driving by
different sights, and explaining everything to me. There wasn't
really that much to see since the town was completely destroyed
we parked the car at the harbor and went for a very short walk
before sitting down to have Italian ice-cream. It was good though
my taste-buds weren't working that well because of the cold.
sitting there with our ice-cream, it was our first real opportunity
to talk. I was the one doing most of the talking as they wanted
to learn more about what I do and what God's doing in Mali.
we got back into the car and drove to their office - that is Destiny
Image Europe's office. Pietro is the founder and head of Destiny
Image Europe. In fact, that is how we connected, and one of the
reasons I'm here.
sat down and ended up talking "business" for one hour.
He told me the story of the publishing house, their vision, and
the process of publishing a book with them. I have to say that
I really liked everything I heard. I'm excited about this divine
connection, and can only hope and pray that they'll accept my
book. He told me that they receive hundreds of manuscripts, and
only publish 2 books per month. So, we'll see, but I do feel it's
no coincidence I'm here.
there we went to a special, local restaurant that they obviously
loved and whose food they wanted to show off - it was all traditional,
local food, and they ordered it for all of us. It was really good!
And I enjoyed our time of fellowship.
was pretty late - nearly 11 pm - before they dropped me off at
the hotel. It had been a wonderful few hours.
a short night I woke up before my alarm went off, which was a
good thing. I got everything ready, and checked my mail. I decided
to book a hotel after all - that way I got to choose myself where
I'd still. But that took some time, and suddenly it was time to
Mom was so kind to come and pick me up and take me to the airport.
I had a quick bite to eat first, and said good-bye to my grandmother.
I was going to fly with a lowcost airline, rather than my Skyteam
group; I didn't have a choice. So it was weird to be "unfaithful"
to my airline, and not be a VIP frequent flyer. I checked in quickly
anyway, and my Mom and I had another half hour to sit down and
chat. Then it was time to say good-bye.
was walking towards my gate, and arrived at security. Things are
really different in Vienna, with security at EACH gate. I don't
know where my head was, but I forgot to empty my water bottle,
and did not take my computer out since there were no signs saying
you should do that. I felt like a flying rookie!!!
got to the gate just in time for boarding - and it was boarding
by bus. The plane itself was middle size - three people on each
side, and looked pretty nice. The flight was only 1 hour 15 minutes,
and we were served a drink and sandwich, which is pretty good.
I have to say, I'm positively surprised about this low-cost carrier.
arrived in Rome a little late, since the waiting line for take-off
in Vienna had been long. I found the baggage claim belt, and ended
up waiting VERY long until my bag finally came out. That was a
setback time-wise, since I had a bus to catch.
it was time to master the challenges of making my way to another
city, in a country where I don't speak the language. Yes, I HAVE
learned Italian, but it's all gone. Thankfully I understand a
lot, I just can't speak it. But I do speak English, French, and
German, so I did expect to be able to ask for directions as necessary.
first, the signs were international, with symbols of busses and
trains, so that was easy, no need to ask. I followed the train
signs, since I had to take a train into Rome, to get to the bus
arrived at the train station, and was confused to start with.
There were three platforms, and two ticket counters, on opposite
sides, very different looking, as if it was different companies.
there were machines, and so I headed there, thinking that might
be easiest, especially as the lines in front of the ticket counters
were long. I got started on the machines, but did not see my train
station as destination, so I gave up and got in line.
took quite some time, but finally it was my turn, and the guy
spoke English. I got my ticket, and asked when the next train
was leaving, and where from. He said, one leaves now, and the
next in 15 minutes. So I left, and literally, as I turned to the
platforms, the train was pulling out. Very funny. I walked over
to the other platform to wait for the next train.
sky was very overcast, and I could tell it had rained - just the
way it's been in Austria. In fact, yesterday I was walking around
Vienna in the rain, and now I've got a cold. This morning I woke
up with a sore throat, and had pain in my ear as we landed in
Rome. And then later, I was suffering from not having any more
tissues in my carry-on, as I constantly needed to take care of
my runny nose....
train arrived, and I got in. I had no clue how long it would take
for me to get to my destination, but I knew that time was short
to catch the 2:30 pm bus. Everything had simply taken too long.
train kept going and going, and I carefully read the name of every
station we stopped. A group of Italians was around me, and I noticed
how loud they were - and they were in their 60s or so!!!
about 40 minutes I arrived at my destination, and it was already
after 2:30 pm. I knew that the next bus was at 3:45 pm.
got off the train, and now the challenge was to find the bus station.
I looked around, but this time there were no bus symbols, and
nothing else indicating a bus station at all. What to do? Where
to go? Who to ask?
walked outside, and finally adressed a young Italian guy in English.
At first he said I was at the wrong place to take a bus to leave
the city, but I told him I was told it's here. And then suddenly
a light came on in his mind, and he showed me the direction to
started walking that way, and soon saw a good number of busses.
And then the ticket counter - with long lines again. I chose one
of the lines - and of course it was the slowest. I don't know
what was wrong, but it wasn't moving. Thankfully I had plenty
of time, and so I didn't care THAT much.
when it was finally my turn, the guy had the audacity to tell
me I have to go elsewhere to buy my ticket! WHAT? He told me there
was another ticket counter inside. I had even seen the name of
the city I was going to right there on their boards!
was annoyed to have stood in line for nothing, and went off to
find the other counter. There were busses, lots of people, and
shops. Where was the ticket counter? I asked one person, who indicated
the direction, and found it. I got my ticket, and the lady told
me that my bus was leaving from 13 and 14. What? How can the bus
leave from both parking spots? Or is it 13 OR 14? And then she
said an Italian word. I had no clue what she was talking about,
until she finally told me that that would be written on the bus.
made my way to 13 and 14, where people were sitting everywhere
- no benches, but on a little ledge from the shops there. I got
something to drink, and found a spot myself. I still had a long
time to wait.
looked at the two busses at 13 and 14, and nothing indicated either
one was mine. And then they pulled out before it was my departure
I saw my bus with the Italian name in big letters on the side,
and the name of my destination - Pescara - clearly in the front.
Everyone made a dash for it!
bus driver was putting the suitcases inside the bus, and said
something to me that I didn't understand. Finally someone translated,
telling me that the suitcases for Pescare are put in on the other
side of the bus. Okay!
changed sides, got my bag in, and went inside the bus. It was
already crowded, but I got a window seat. The bus ended up full!
trip was to take 2.5 hours, but actually took 3 hours because
of the intense traffic. I was tired, and felt a little sick with
my runny nose and three soaked tissues that were all I had. I
did get a little nap in, and looked out the window the rest of
the time. I was crossing Italy from the Western coast - where
Rome is - to go to the Eastern coast. I didn't know that there
were all those mountains to go through, and even saw snow on some
of those mountains. The view was nice, with little ruins from
time to time, and mountain villages. In many ways, it looked very
similar to Austria.
arrival time came, and the pastor in Pescara called me to find
out where I was at. I did not know that I'd have a half-hour delay.
first time the bus stopped, I thought I might have arrived, and
went to the driver, stating the name of where I needed to go.
I understood his answer that I wasn't even in the right city yet!
Since it was my arrival time, I thought I had arrived.
stopped a few more times before he clearly arrived where I had
to go, at a big bus station, his finaly destination as well. I
stepped out and immediately recognized the pastor from his picture.
His wife was right beside him. They greeted me warmly, and showed
the way to the car. They even wished me Happy Birthday.
drove me straight to the hotel, and time was far too short to
really talk in the car, though I enjoyed the few minutes we had.
They dropped me off, saying they'd pick me up tomorrow afternoon.
was looking forward to the nice hotel I had booked. I had taken
one a little nicer, making it my own birthday gift. However, I
was a little disappointed, since this hotel can't live up to American
checked in, and the Italian guy there wouldn't tell me ANYthing
by himself. I had to draw it all out of him with my questions.
He even kept my passport!!!
I took my bag and made my way to the fourth floor. There were
no signs indicating what direction to go to find your room numbers,
and so I didn't go the straightest and shortest way.
stepped into my room, where the air was very stale. I immediately
opened the door to the 1 square meter balcony. I was very exhausted
from the long trip, and felt sick. Finally I could get my tissues
out of my checked-in bag! There weren't any tissues in the bathroom,
and no bath tub (sigh).
immediately noticed how tiny the TV was. Then I got my computer
out - I hadn't been online all day. When I wanted to plug it in,
I was totally shocked to find that Italy has its own kind of plug!
What? Since when?
was a bummer. I didn't have any adaptors with me. What to do?
Then I thought of the bathroom, where they often have different
plugs for razors, and amazingly, it really fit! So now I'm sitting
on my bed, with the cable running into the bathroom. You
can tell now, the room isn't that big.
was tired, but I also wanted a bite to eat. I was tired enough
to order from room service. So I looked at the menu - and was
shocked to find out that ALL the dishes they had to offer had
sea food in them!!! What? I'm in Italy, and there's no spagetti,
lasagne, or pizza? Disappointment.
I decided to leave the hotel and find some food to take back to
the room. The pastor had told me there are lots of places to eat
around, and I could tell it was a tourist part of town.
head heavy and the skin of my nose red, I took some money and
my camera with me to try to find some food. I saw a few restaurants,
but wanted a take-away.
then I saw this place (picture), and was excited. I'd have some
original Italian pizza! And this would be my only picture of the
day - which is not great, I know.
went inside, and was shocked at the pizza choices I saw there;
nothing really that I liked. So I finally decided to not buy anything
but find something else.
continued walking and saw a Döner Kebab place - Turkish food.
I hadn't had that in a long time, and decided to go for it. It
was a tiny place, and Döner was all you could order! I'm
in Italy, eating Turkish food! How ironic!
continued on my way, towards my hotel, when I saw this little
fruit/vegetable shop. I immediately went inside, and saw those
beautiful strawberries that I bought. And then I saw fresh peas
- I love those, and bought half a kilo as well (the ones you have
to open to eat the peas inside). Now I was a lot happier. A few
minutes later I was back at the hotel, and then in my room. I
was ready for a restful, quiet night of watching THE BIGGEST LOSER
finale online (now that I had free internet, rather than paying
a lot in Austria).
feeling pretty miserable physically, and was going to go to bed
earlier to get some much-needed rest. However, it's after 1 am
now. Thankfully there is no program in the morning - except for
making it to breakfast before it's over. Please pray for my healing!
is my 36th birthday, and if the prophetic word is true, my last
one as a single. May it be so!
I was invited to come to a Bible study at the UN in Vienna. My
good Filipino friend Pinky works there, and leads the Bible study.
I've known her for many years, and have ministered to the different
groups she leads before.
it was my second time to visit her at the UN, and my last, since
she's quitting her job there to start a church in Switzerland,
together with her husband.
came to the entrance, and together we went to her floor, at the
atomic energy department where she works. We went to a conference
room where the Bible study would take place, and conveniently,
there was a projector, and so I set it up to show my presentation.
started showing up, most of them also Filipinos. They brought
sandwiches, and then they surprised me with a birthday cake with
three candles. How sweet!
showed them the presentation, and then shared my heart, as did
Pinky. We had a really good time. Since it was their lunch break,
the time went by far too fast. It was time to say good-bye to
the ladies, and my friend Pinky.
was after 3 pm before I got back home. It's been raining all day
today, so I didn't enjoy the walk home. I really wanted to go
to the gym, but there was no way I could have gone by bike in
this weather, and time was also rather short.
party was to start at 6 pm. I was curious how many would show
up as I had invited EVERYONE. However, a good number of people
had already told me that they were unable to come, and now more
than I can handle want to get together with me next week, my last
week in Vienna.
good friend Nina was the first one to show up, and she had to
leave an hour later. More arrived later, and in total, seven people
seven were all from different seasons of my life - even one from
before I knew Jesus; my first dancing partner in dancing school,
when I was 15 years old!
thought I'd treat you to this picture from January 1990, when
I was 16 years old, and had a very expensive ballroom dress to
open balls with. That night, with the young man who came tonight.
He's now married with two children.
other six included a friend I knew before I met Jesus and who
came to know the Lord two years after me, and then a couple I
knew right after I got saved, and a friend who I met at university
and worked together with in a student ministry, and then my very
good and faithful friend Renate, and a new friend from a church
here. What a mixed bunch of people! But we had a good time talking.
were all so kind to bring birthday gifts, though I had not requested
that. We also watched my presentation together.
10:15 pm before the last ones left, and then my grandma and I
put the house back in order for the next 45 minutes. My grandmother
had been great all evening, serving food and drinks and participating
in the conversation.
it's after midnight, and I'm still typing. Tomorrow morning I'm
leaving the house at 9 am to go to the airport, take a plane to
Rome, and then a 2.5 hour bus to Pescara. Please pray for safe
travels, and safety on the whole, as I embark on this adventure.
Hopefully you'll hear from me again from Italy.
morning I went to the dentist for the second time. I went last
week, and have had pain since then since the fillings are very
deep. Today he did the other side, and again, it was hurting pretty
bad. In the evening, I finally took some pain medication.
the dentist, I went to do some shopping - for clothes; something
I don't usually enjoy. But I found some dresses, which was great.
I went on to meet with my friend at her workplace. She had a one-hour
lunch break, and together we went to eat at an Austrian restaurant.
I had an awesome Austrian dish I hadn't had in many years. It
was wonderful! And so was the time of fellowship that passed far
there, I decided to go to the movie theater to watch the new STAR
TREK movie. I'm a Star Trek fan, and was excited to be in the
Western world for the start of the new movie. It's hard to find
people to go to the theather with you, and so I decided it was
the right time. I arrived at the theater just in time for the
3 pm movie. And I loved it! I'm glad I went.
it was time to return home where I arrived at 6 pm. I had been
gone all day!
Monday I went with my good friend Renate to the hospital to pray
for her Dad who has been there for 3 weeks and is not doing well
at all. Please pray for him.
Tuesday evening it was time to celebrate my birthday with my family.
We went out to eat together. Sometimes it's hard to be with your
family whose life is so different when they are not believers.
had told my Mom that I was preaching in the afternoon and couldn't
come to celebrate Mother's Day. She was pretty upset about that,
and so I decided to surprise her and come over for an hour. My
brother had invited them over to his house for a barbeque, since
there are no more grandparents.
bought some red roses for my Mom, and arrived at my brother's
house first. I hid in the house, and then stepped out surprising
my Mom. She was very surprised! I told her that the Bible says
to honor your parents so you'd have a long and good life. We then
had wonderful meat from the grill, and a good time together. An
hour later I had to leave and go back home.
Corners Christian Fellowship
wasn't much time left at home before I had to leave for the service.
I got to the church at 4:30 pm. My good friend Renate (picture)
came shortly afterwards. I saw the pastor's wife Angela, and prayed
with her before the service. Her husband Wolfgang and son Chris
(worship leader) were in Redding, CA, this weekend.
got all the tech preparations done, and then worship started,
and was a good time of entering into His presence.
Angela spoke about Mother's Day, and each lady received a rose.
it was my turn. I showed my presentation, and gave a quick update.
Then I prayed before starting to preach. I gave the same sermon
as yesterday, except that it was much easier to do it in English
than German, and I felt that it flowed a lot better today. God's
presence was tangible! The crowd was small, since the weather
was nice and it was Mother's Day.
I was done, I showed THE FATHER'S LOVE LETTER, and then put on
the song. I prayed and then invited them forward to encounter
the Father. I started praying for them. Again, one lady prayed
with me to become a child of God, which was wonderful!
then I prayed for physical healing, and again, several were healed.
was among the last ones out the door. However, I did not go home
but went to MacDonald's with a friend of mine who had come to
hear me preach. I had a wonderful time talking with her, and it
was really late before I got home! It had sure been a wonderful
day, and worth it all!
the morning I went to the gym, but before and after I spent the
hours with the Father to prepare for the service at 6 pm. I got
all excited in the afternoon, becoming more and more joyful and
giddy, like a little girl who's so excited about her awesome Daddy.
I was looking forward to what God would do in the evening.
left home at 4:30 pm since I knew they were praying for the service
from 5 to 5:30 pm. It was great to be there again, and see old
friends again. We prayed together, and I was informed that there
was a visiting orchestra that would be playing after worship and
before the sermon. They were going to leave all their instruments
and chairs there, but thankfully they agreed to remove everything
so that I'd not be hidden from the people's view, and that there'd
be space fo the prayer time at the end.
enjoyed the worship time, and the orchestra was good as well.
After the announcements, it was my turn. First, I wanted to show
my video presentation. There were some technical problems, so
it didn't work out the way it should, but it was still okay.
I came up, and added a few more things, in terms of update. Then
I started praying, and knelt down on the stage. That's the most
precious time, so crucial before starting to preach, to just focus
on HIM, and pour my heart out to Him. I also asked Him to help
me preach in German - something that's challenging for me.
I started sharing my heart, from my own life, and from the Word,
talking about our wonderful heavenly Father.
the end, I showed them THE FATHER'S LOVE LETTER in German, and
then played the powerful song DON'T YOU KNOW THE FATHER LOVES
YOU as I started praying, and then inviting people forward to
encounter the Father. I then prayed for people, and also prayed
with one lady to accept Jesus. Yeah, God!
I told them that I'd love to pray for the sick, and many lined
up. Several were healed instantly. Praise God!
I was finally done, many were already gone. But I enjoyed talking
to the people that were still there. Like the boys in the picture
who were questioning me about Mali. I loved it!
time went by, I got really tired and was barely hanging on. It
was after 11 pm before I left there, tired and happy, having met
with God and seen Him touch His people.
I had some great Italian icecream with a dear friend of mine.
I enjoyed our time together, and was very excited when she handed
me four laptops to take home to Mali. Yeah God!
talked to Paul again today, and he gave me some news.
the good news. He's given away more 50-kilo bags of rice, and
some of the women are so touched that they start crying. Like
the lady today, who is Muslim, but who now wants to come to our
some bad news. Abdias continues to cause problems at school. And
Bakary - our five-year-old boy - was severely beaten by his teacher.
She took a stick and beat him on the head and back, to the point
that his head is swollen and he has blues all over. Paul got really
angry and went to the school to talk to her, and she said it won't
can't wait for our kids to go to Christian school next year!!
Pray that it works out! I also can't wait for our own school to
be up and running!
someone seems to have stolen the key to my side of the house -
not a good situation. They have to exchange the lock now.
they had a snake wanting to get into the house. As they were working
on killing it, they smashed the glass door.
other good news - we had a donation towards construction which
comes at the right time since we have to pay $4000 for our solar
power system by May 20. There won't be another container for the
next three years, so we have to get our shipment in.
I feel like Paul should accompany me to the US this summer, to
go to the clinic in Wichita since he's been having major health
issues, much of it due to stress in my opinion. The clinic is
willing to give him a considerable discount, and I can use my
frequent flyer miles to get him a free ticket. The big hurdle
is the visa. Please pray for it to come through! Paul is very
excited at the prospect of going to the US. We also need to find
someone who can run the center while he's gone. Unfortunately
the summer camp many of our kids will go on is later in the summer,
when Paul is already back.
I rescheduled my appointment at the dentist's on Monday when there
were too many people there, I now had an EARLY appointment which
wasn't easy. I worked late last night, and so it was difficult
to get up early. However, I managed to have a bite to eat, and
then my grandmother dropped me off at the subway station.
arrived at the denist's on time, at 9 am. Ever since I go there
- the past three years - I have no more fear or apprehension of
the dentist. This man is a wonderful Christian, and since I have
no insurance, he even treats me for free. He's a great blessing,
and intends to come to Mali and help us. After all, we'll have
a dentist's room in our medical center. Even now, several of my
kids complain about aching teeth, but the cheap dentist is horrible,
and the expensive one we cannot afford.
got an x-ray, and then he exchanged several fillings; next week
he'll exchange the ones on the other side. He said he'd come on
Saturday when I preach.
there, I decided to take care of another item on my list - refreshing
the yellow fever vaccination. You have to do it every 10 years,
and it was 10 years ago that I first went to Mali to visit. It's
required for entry into Mali, and so specialized that only recognized
centers can administer it.
arrived at the tropical institute, and it didn't take long for
my turn - one more thing ticked off, for another ten years.
I was already on the move and in town, I spontaneously decided
to go to the Christian Media Production's office and
pick up the TV program they did as a file, since you cannot download
it online. You can watch it by clicking
here. I think it's GREAT! I wanted to include it on my DVD
that I give out to people, and so I needed the file. It was only
just broadcast on "Bible TV", a German Christian station.
They did the interview a year ago, and the filming a year and
a half ago.
I got there, they could not find the video file, and so they were
going to render the whole thing again - a process that would take
about half an hour. I was a little anxious to get home and get
some things done, and so I left to return another time and pick
it up. However, walking away, I ran into a friend and started
talking with her. So much time had passed that I decided to walk
back and pick up the file.
rendering was just done, and he needed to burn the CD at another
computer. However, the computer would not recognize the hard drive,
and then the previous computer refused to recognize it as well.
The guy became distressed at the prospect of having lost the data
on the harddrive, and I left empty-handed. I can only hope they
can fix it. In the meantime, if anyone has software to download
the video as a file from that site (link above), I'd be thankful.
returned home where I went straight to work, doing my English
presentation all over again due to a computer problem. And then
I started working on the German version. I spent all day doing
that, but was glad that I got it done. Now only the French version
is left to do, but right now I'm in no rush to have to get that
done - contrary to the English and German versions which I need
a regular day in Vienna? In the morning I went to the gym - I'm
enjoying every minute of this special treat! Back home, I cooked
lunch together with my grandmother. Then I worked a little on
my presentation - I'm starting to get nervous, wondering if it's
even possible to get it done by Saturday.
was not regular was that I had an appointment at the dentist's.
However, when I got there at 4 pm, there were so many people that
I rescheduled it for a morning. I didn't think I'd make it to
church on time if I stayed and waited. So I returned home.
had an hour at home before it was time to leave. I was really
tired and lay down for a few minutes. Just after 6 pm I took my
grandmother's car keys and got on my way to church. It was rush
hour, and I didn't want to get there too late. They say that they're
into the 8th week of revival, and so I was curious, and didn't
know what to expect. In any case, there was absolutely no need
to be there early as it was still pretty empty at the time the
saw a few people I know which was great, but many more I didn't
know. I saw a good Filipino friend I hadn't seen in quite some
time, which was great, and she invited me to come to her UN lady's
group that meets during lunch hour. I'm gonna go there on my birthday
& worship lasted for about an hour, and I enjoyed entering
His presence, and asking for what He has for this place when I
preach here on Saturday. That was one of the reasons I wanted
to come - I wanted to take the temperature.
speaker was from Sweden and was very funny. I left the meeting
a little early, and got home at 10 pm.
then I continued working on my presentation, and worked most efficiently
until 2 am.
had two wonderful days in Graz, and now it was time to say good-bye.
I had slept 3.5 hours when I woke up before my alarm even went
off. I got ready, and a few minutes after 6 am my ride already
young guys were taking Charles to the airport in Vienna, which
is a two-hour ride, and I was blessed to get to ride along. We
had a good time talking in the car, tired or not.
were making good progress, and so we stopped at a rest stop just
before the airport to have some coffee/hot chocolate, which was
nice. Then we continued on, and it was time to say good-bye to
Charles. He's such a wonderful man of God, and I'm excited about
him coming to Mali in November.
guys were so kind to drive me to my grandmother's house where
I arrived at 9:30 am. I had breakfast, and then just had to lie
down. I slept for two hours - and could have slept longer - and
was woken up by my alarm clock at noon.
half past noon my grandmother and I left together to drive to
the restaurant where my brother was celebrating his 33rd birthday.
He organized a big get-together of 30 people because last year
he didn't celebrate at all because of the complications with his
firstborn son who was born just two weeks before his birthday.
got there on time, and thankfully the weather was beautiful and
warm, so that we were able to sit outside. I couldn't wait to
see my little nephew again! It's been so long! I wanted to be
with him as much as possible. He's one year old now.
to say, I took lots of pictures :-). Enjoy!
sat near my Mom and my grandmother, and also had a chance to talk
to my brother a little bit. Also, my stepfather's granddaughter's
boyfriend is a computer expert, and since I had my computer with
me, he was able to take care of some issues, which I was thankful
4:30 pm my grandmother and I left to go back home. I was pretty
tired by then. I really wanted to go to the gym - since it's been
a few days - but knew I needed some rest first. So I lay down
for 20 minutes without sleeping, but that was enough. Then I got
on my bike and rode to the gym, where I spent a wonderful 90 minutes
home, it was already going on 9 pm, and I felt refreshed and ready
to get some things done. Hopefully I get to go to bed earlier
tonight, and sleep in in the morning.
was at 9 am this morning, and so I had to set my alarm. I enjoyed
having a time of fellowship with my host family, as we took an
hour for breakfast. They are Germans, and had a father visiting
from Germany, and we had an interesting conversation.
then had an hour to get some things done before Steve & Charles
came to pick me up at 11 am. We drove straight to the offices
of the Vineyard Church - except for a coffee stop, typical Americans
;-) - where we had a meeting with one of the staff members of
the church. He presented to us the details of their building project,
and I also learned more about the history of the city and their
church. It was very interesting!
there the four of us went to a pizza place for lunch. I enjoyed
the opportunity to talk with Charles a little more, about me visiting
his church this summer, and also his trip to Mali in November.
Time went by far too quickly.
after 2 pm Steve left to take Charles home, while I talked with
the staff member, waiting for Steve's return. I then helped Steve
buying something specific at a store (since he doesn't speak German)
before he dropped me off at home. I only had an hour left before
we'd leave for the service at the Vineyard church.
very tired, I knew I had to lie down, and ended up sleeping/resting
for 40 minutes, which I really needed. I could have slept on but
the alarm woke me on time.
4:15 pm we left for church, the service starting at 4:30 pm. I
was amazed at how full the place was. I was also pleased that
I was allowed to put my flyers on the back table.
found a seat, and was suddenly approached by a lady. To my amazement,
it was an old acquaintance from my time with Intervarsity. She
immediately recognized me - I didn't recognize her at first. It
was exciting to meet somebody from my early Christian days, and
I enjoyed talking with her. She's now married with three kids.
service started, and this time we sang many German songs, which
is rather foreign to me, with my church in Vienna being English-speaking.
they had several testimonies, and then Steve introduced me wonderfully,
and I came up to share for 5 minutes. I hadn't even talked to
the pastors yet!
it was Charles's time to preach, and I enjoyed listening to him
again. After he was done, he started praying for people, and God
really showed up. It was awesome, and even more awesome for me
to see God move this way in Austria. Yeah, God!
the service, I talked with a few people, and a few signed up to
get my email Newsletter. I also talked to an American girl who
was doing an internship in the church here. In the end, I went
home with her and a couple, who were all staying in an apartment
over the church offices. Steve, Charles, and the pastors, had
a private meeting.
had dinner together, and I greatly enjoyed our time of fellowship
with these missionaries. The couple was American/German and missionaries
had to wait for the Steve and the others to return and take me
home to my hosts. The tiredness really hit me, and I could barely
stay awake. I was glad when they came just after 10 pm, and enjoyed
a few more minutes with everyone in the car. Then it was time
to say good-bye to 3 out of the 4.
was home, and went to work on the computer, and so it's 1 am before
I go to bed, and I have to leave the house at 6 am already, to
catch my car ride to Vienna with Charles!
train was leaving Vienna at just before 10 am, and so I had to
get up early to get ready and make it. Too bad there wasn't time
to go to the gym before leaving.
woke up before I was supposed to get up, and took advantage of
the additional time. I also had breakfast together with my grandmother
- she enjoys taking her meals with me, which is quite contrary
to my own nature.
was so kind to drive me to the train station, where I arrived
plenty of time early. Since the train started there, it was already
waiting there, and I was able to take my time to find my reserved
seat. I was looking forward to using the two and a half hours
in the train to do emails and get things done. But at first I
was too tired to. However, I spent most time working on the computer
- except that I didn't have internet most of the time because
it kept losing the connection.
arrived in Graz at half past noon. Charles and Steve were going
to pick me up. Charles is a pastor in Pennsylvania who's been
coming to Austria for the past 20 years, and who's coming to Mali
in November. Steve is from his church, and ministers half the
year in Austria. I hadn't met him before.
was so good to see Charles again - a wonderful man of God - and
meet Steve. We parked the car near the town center, and the first
stop was a coffee shop. I don't drink coffee, but they enjoyed
the coffee very much - you can see them with their cups in this
then walked downtown and sat down in a little restaurant, outside.
The weather was beautiful, and it was warm. It was wonderful!
We had a great time eating our Austrian dishes, and talking.
there we walked towards the "Schlossberg", the little
mountain in downtown Graz, with a little castle and the famous
clock tower on the top. We met another friend of Steve's there
who joined us. Together we were going to walk up to the top of
the hill, using the staircase and little pathways.
kilos ago, I would have shuddered at the prospect, but now I was
excited that I would get a workout in after all - since I wasn't
able to go to the gym today. I enjoyed the climb up with my new
friends, and we talked and had much fun. In this picture they
were threatening to throw each other down the mountain :-).
enjoyed the view on top of the mountain, and then walked back
down. We passed by a bakery from the 1500s, where I took a picture
of Steve & Charles. Then we went to an icecream shop where
we had delicious Austrian icecream. There's nothing like it!
was time to go home, and they dropped me off at my hosts' place.
They are a very nice German family who are looking for renters
for their basement, and so I got to stay in there for the two
nights I'm here. I had 90 minutes before I'd be picked up for
the evening meeting, and I was very tired. So I decided to lie
down for a little bit. I had half an hour of much-needed rest.
6 pm Steve picked me and another girl who lives here up to take
us to the meeting. We picked up Charles on the way as well, and
got to the meeting place about half an hour before the start of
the meeting. It was held at the EXOUSIA church - a church I've
been to once over 10 years ago. I haven't even been back in Graz
since. One of the church leaders I talked to told me that there's
really been an awakening happening in the city - praise God!
7 pm the meeting started. There were young people from a good
number of different churches, which was exciting to see. A local
worship team started off, followed by an American team that has
been traveling around Europe; they are from Charles's church,
from their ministry school.
lasted for over an hour, and it was wonderful. It was all in English,
and I soon knelt on the floor, enjoying God's presence. I then
lay facedown before the Lover of my soul, pouring myself out to
Him. How much I need Him! How I long for Him! I'm so hungry for
His presence! I lost myself in His arms, and just wanted to stay
we stopped singing, the American team did a skit that was very
powerful, illustrating the gospel. Then Steve made a call for
salvation/rededication. After he had had every church represented
say their names, he introduced me and called me up. I was humbled
by his kind words. I could feel the hand of God on me, and just
the right words flowed out of my mouth. It wasn't even hard doing
this in German, though I had thought it would be!
few times people applauded. I told them my story in short, and
what God is doing in Mali today, and they were amazed. I told
them God could do anything with them as well.
Charles came up to preach - much of it was giving his testimony,
which was great. I love Charles's ministry style. I can't wait
to see him in Mali.
thought time passed very quickly, but the meeting had lasted three
and a half hours. Charles ended with a ministry time. God's presence
was so tangible, and I would have loved to go around pray and
prophesy for the young ones. Instead, I offered myself to Charles
as a catcher, which wasn't really needed very much.
he was done, a few people approached me for my flyers or to sign-up
for the mailing list. One lady wanted me to pray for her. I did,
and God touched her mightily! Thankfully a guy was watching and
lowered her to the ground. Awesome God! I love this! I'm looking
forward to preaching & ministering twice next weekend!
talked to different people, and waited for my ride home. We'd
be going in different cars this time. It was pretty late before
we left, and I was glad when I was home. I was too tired to write
my blog, and only took care of some basics, before going to bed
after midnight - too late. There was no heating in this place,
and so I was rather cold and glad for a warm blanket.