It has amazed me to see how things are moving here in terms of refugee work. Before we came to Vienna, I expected to go to the refugee camp once a week for a while and perhaps slowly get other people involved in ministry. However, from the moment we landed here, I have been struck with how much is happening in terms of ministering to the “stranger” here in Europe. After only a week of being here, Liz and I were invited to a baptism where seven Afghans and Iranians were making it known publicly that they embrace Jesus as Messiah and that His death alone cleanses them from their sins.
Right after the baptism service we hurried from one church to another, at the very far end of town, to meet some people who had just started a refugee ministry of their own. This married couple, who has been here for nearly 3 years, desires to get the Austrian Church involved in Refugee work. They had just that afternoon trained some girls from their church to teach German to refugees. We also discovered that they were from Texas also and even knew one of my old college friends. We were intrigued, and asked if we could meet again once our trip to Slovakia was done and we had had some time to settle in.
We finally caught up with each other again just over a week ago in downtown Vienna in a Starbucks near the celebrated Vienna Opera House. We had just signed up that day for language classes at a school that they had suggested. They were eager to hear what we thought of the school and who our teachers would be. They were glad to hear that I would have one of their favorite teachers. They shared some more of their vision with us, and it’s amazing to me how similar it is to ours. Not only do they regularly visit the Oasis, the ministry near the refugee camp, but they also do work with refugees who have already been given asylum here in Vienna. They also seemed very interested in our plans as well. Who knows if or how we might work together in the future, but it has been very encouraging to see how God is working here in Vienna through refugee ministry.