Spring greetings from Austria, where the weather has finally turned to more spring-like temperatures after a very, very cold winter in Europe. We are all more than ready for warmer temperatures and sunshine, which the Lord has provided recently!!
I returned to Austria in late January after a wonderful visit to the States. I split my time between Kentucky with my family over Christmas/New Year’s and Virginia with my church family and friends. It was a very encouraging, fun, restful time, and a good reminder of how blessed I am — beyond measure — by my family, friends and supporting churches. Just what I needed :-).
My ministry as the Communications officer for OM’s Central Europe Area has taken off and is keeping me quite busy…mostly on the road. In March, I traveled to Hungary and the Czech Republic to work with the teams there. I leave today (April 16) for Moldova to spend time with the team during their missions training program for Moldovans. My job is to interview the participants and write stories about what they’re doing, for the OM team to use in their own newsletter and/or to distribute inside or outside the OM world.
My time in the Czech Republic was very enjoyable…it’s only a 2.5 hour drive and one border crossing! OM has had a team in Czech since Communism fell and they are doing some amazing things, despite the fact that 80% of the population is considered atheist. They have two long-term families that are doing church planting work, several staff teaching English and German classes and many programs for teens and young adults. They also have a new young Swedish woman on their team who is an aspiring journalist and said she was “inspired” by my visit! I paid her afterward….
During the summer floods in Europe last year, the OM Czech office was heavily damaged as the flood passed through their town, Ceske Budejovice (it took me 5 days to learn how to pronounce it!). They have been repairing the basement, but have recently run out of money to continue. With a struggling Czech economy (average income is less than $500/month), this is a critical problem for the team, as well as for the Czech nationals on the team trying to raise financial support. If you’d like more information about how to help this wonderful team, please contact me.
I made a big cultural faux pas when I was in the Czech. I stayed with a German family from the team. One morning for breakfast, they served what I thought were hard boiled eggs, which were placed in these cute little — albeit impractical — egg cups. I watched the man cut the top of the egg off with a knife, which I thought was a strange way to uncrack a hard boiled egg. I took it out of the cup holder, cracked and tried “rolling” it on the plate in order to get the egg shell loosened. Imagine my surprise when the yolk came pouring out, all over my hand and the plate! They both just kinda looked at me in disbelief. I was so embarrassed and tried to act like I did it on purpose! Needless to say, I “passed” on the egg and now understand why the eggs are placed in those cute little, practical egg cups.
Back to the travels…after I return from Moldova on April 21, I have a few days in Austria and then “hit the road” again to a country near you:
April 29-May 8 Bosnia -driving with a co-worker
May 9-12 Hungary – driving with a co-worker
May 21-26 Vacation – flying
May 27-31 England for OM communications meeting -flying
June 14-22 Albania – flying
June 26-29 Hungary – driving
July-August Croatia, Bosnia, Romania and possibly Bulgaria – planes, trains, automobiles, and possibly a Ship…still working out details.
Whew! I get tired just thinking about it…
What Does the Future Hold?
As my two-year term with OM is completed in August, I am at a point now where I must decide what to do in the future…stay with OM in Europe or return to the States. I haven’t decided and would appreciate your prayers for the Lord’s plan for me beyond August 2003.
Oh, yes, I now have a web site, www.rebeccabarnhart.com, thanks to some long-time friends (notice I didn’t say “old friends”), Steve and Mike, who are hosting it for me. There’s not a lot of information up there yet, but I’m hoping to add pictures and other goodies within the next few weeks. I’ll keep you posted.
As always, I appreciate your friendship, prayers, support, letters and e-mails as I journey down this path….
1. Pray for the ministry of OM Czech Republic…that they would have open doors to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ; for the team’s financial situation, especially for Czech nationals on the team trying to raise financial support.
2. Pray for safety and good health as I travel to these different OM teams and that I would be productive and effective for them in their communications needs.
3. Pray for the 11 Moldovan participants in OM Moldova’s training program, which runs through mid-May.
4. Pray for the Lord’s clear direction regarding my future.
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ ” Isaiah 30:12