Note: Many of you will remember hearing Patrick speak at our Annual meeting last Fall. He is involved with a fascinating work in Vienna Austria. This post came with pictures (which did not copy). If you would like to receive his newsletters, email him at email@example.com.
Patrick at Projekt:Gemeinde
Quarterly Newsletter: July-September 2019
Greetings from Vienna,
While many in our Projekt:Gemeinde community went away on ‘holiday’ during July and August, I remained in Vienna to continue work on the Donahauf building. We experienced extremely high temperatures for much of July yet did not have the benefit of air conditioning (it is uncommon in Europe). Thankfully the weather has become more moderate as we approach the fall.
Given that the ministry activities took a break during this 2-month holiday, my newsletter will be a bit shorter than usual. That said, I want to share some great news that we have been celebrating since July:
Praising God – Asylum granted!
Parisa (wife), Wahid (husband) and Alex (son) from Iran were granted Asylum on July 30th. This was an unusual case because an entire family requested asylum and each one had to prove their Christian belief to the appeals court judge. Because of this complexity, the hearing lasted 2 days. At the end, however, the judge stood up and said, “Asylum is granted”. This was rare because the judge typically waits several weeks to issue their ruling.
Parisa and Wahid were one of the married couples who celebrated their marriage with a Christian wedding earlier this year in March (mentioned in my first newsletter). Both attended the first baptism class I taught about 18 months ago and were very engaged in the discussions each week. Wahid serves our community by preparing the large quantities of food needed for the Sunday fellowship. Parisa teaches the entry level of discipleship class and is on the preaching team. Now that asylum has been granted, she plans to pursue a seminary education.
On July 31st Kousha was granted asylum (no photo). He has been part of our community for a couple years and helps some of our A/V tech and organizing some of our special occasion events, such as Kirsty and Emmanuel’s wedding (more about that below).
On August 12th our Afghan brother, Abdul, was granted asylum. He is pictured here with Kirsty & Sacha who attended the interview with him.
On August 29th our Afghan brother, Said, was granted asylum.
Lastly, in early September our Iranian Sister, Zagar, and our Iranian Brother, Majid along with his family, all received asylum!
We rejoice that so many of our Farsi sisters and brothers received asylum in the last 2 months and can now ‘walk in newness of life’ with us in Austria. Of course, we remain in prayer for those who are still waiting for their case to be heard before a judge.
Kirsty and Emmanuel’s church wedding
On August 4th Kristy (Pastoral Assistant from Scotland) and Emmanuel (from Iran) celebrated their religious wedding ceremony at the Donahauf (their civil ceremony was held in May). This was a time of great joy where about 180 people came together to celebrate. I see this as yet another example of the beautiful community across cultures and affirmation that we are all one under Christ.
Update on “Anna”: You may recall that in February 2018 I requested prayer for “Anna”, an Iranian woman who was illegally arrested and ultimately deported back to Iran. In my April 2018 newsletter I asked for your continued prayers because our last contact with her revealed she was hiding near the Iraq border.
God is answering our prayers because she escaped from Iran and is currently in a refugee camp in Greece. She reconnected with us and we were able to tell her that an Austrian judge ruled that her arrest was in fact illegal and that her asylum case would be re-opened when she made it back to Austria. We are currently working with the government officials to secure her safe return to Austria. Please continue to pray!!!
Project Vienna, our year-long Bible school-urban mission program, started its 3rd year and the interns recently arrived to begin their year-long journey.
As noted in their recent post on Facebook, this quote from Stanley Hauerwas is particularly relevant: ”You are called to use the opportunity you have been given to learn to construe the world as a creature of a God who would have us enjoy—and bask in—the love that has brought us into existence. God has given your mind good work to do. As members of the Church, we’re counting on you. It won’t be easy. It never has been. But I can testify that it can also be a source of joy.”
I look forward to leading them in huddle as they learn the discipleship language of ‘Lifeshapes’ to process how God is getting their attention, discern what he is saying and how they to respond.
I return to the USA. I will arrive in Virginia on November 18th, right before Thanksgiving, and will return to Austria on January 12th. I would love to see as many of you as possible during this time, whether to speak at your churches, enjoy a meal together or connect over a cup of coffee/tea. I will be in touch with you soon to coordinate calendars.
If you want me to speak at your church or meeting, please email me at Patrick.firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to share the Kingdom stories of Projekt:Gemeinde to as many people possible!!
1. As we ramp up for the fall, please pray as we transition from the holiday/ summer break into a regular rhythm for worship services, discipleship and computer classes. Please pray that I teach the baptism and computer classes with discernment and wisdom, and pray for those who will be learning during these times.
2. Please pray for our continued work on the Donahauf. We are getting much closer to completion of key renovations so that it will be open to the public by early 2020, becoming a place of meeting people where they are with the love of Christ and generating income for our ministry.
3. Pray for the interns and leaders of Projekt:Gemeinde and Project Vienna. May we remain sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit, responding in obedience to his direction. And may we continue to seek out and love our neighbors well.
I remain deeply grateful for your prayer and financial support and appreciate all you have done and will continue to do for my work in Austria. If you, or someone you know, would like to make a financial donation for my support the link is: https://mybgav.org/donations/venturer-ministry-austria-pc/ or you can send a check made payable to BGAV and mail to Craig Waddell, c/o BGAV, 2828 Emerywood Parkway, Richmond, VA 23294 with my name in the ‘memo line’.
If you think someone else would appreciate reading this newsletter, feel free to pass it along. We want God’s story in Vienna to be shared with as many people as possible.
Please know that I pray daily for you and give God thanks for who you are and what you mean to me. Until the next newsletter, I pray viele Segnungen (many blessings) over you,