Austrian Alps – June 29, 1978
From Passau, Germany I took a boat down the not-so-blue Danube River to Linz, Austria using my Eurail Pass which was also good on the boat as well as trains. I met two American ladies and two German ladies on the boat, so I was their go between and translator! They seemed to understand my German and I understood the German ladies which was so exciting! From Linz, I took the train to Salzburg, site of the Sound of Music film. I enjoyed staying in an Austrian guest house for $6 per night which included breakfast. It was fun to chat with a Swedish girl who was spending the summer there while studying music. I took a fabulous “Sound of Music” tour through the Alps, enjoyed a chamber concert in Mozart’s house, and toured Old Salzburg which is very quaint and charming. This is my favorite town by far!
After two days there, I came to visit the two American families who are sharing God’s Word with the people near Innsbruck, Austria high up in the Alps. They are in the middle of a fellowship week with several Swiss Christian believers who have joined them. They all meet together every morning for Bible study, singing of hymns, and prayer and then go out in the afternoon to share the gospel in the various neighborhoods. I was so blessed in going with a Swiss nurse door to door. She shared the gospel as I prayed silently for each person to open their heart to the Lord. I learned so much from her, and my German is improving daily. I understand much more than I can express in German.
Mrs. G., one of the American ladies, shared with me about Derrick, a single American Christian man who is working with them. Derrick’s fiancee came to visit him at Christmas time, but when she saw how difficult it is to live here, she broke their engagement and went home. They do things quite a bit differently here than I am used to in my home church, but the fellowship has been very refreshing.
I must admit I shed a few tears when I left Austria. I have such a burden for the people of Tyrol to receive Christ as their personal Savior, and just feel like I am meant to be there. But I’m not sure I would be comfortable working with this particular group of Christians.
France – July 3, 1978
It took me 20 hours on the train to get to this city in France! I felt so badly that I arrived at 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning and had to get the Pastor and his wife out of bed to come walk with me from the train station to their apartment. But they were so gracious. We slept a few hours and then got up for church which was held in their living room with about 20 people. We had such a precious time of fellowship as they shared with me the joys and heartaches of starting a church from nothing.
Mrs. K. and I talked many hours about my options for returning to the German speaking people. She said the nurses work 12 hour shifts in the hospitals and they are rather archaic compared to American hospitals. She said I would be so exhausted, that I would have little time after work to minister to people. The other option is to work with a married couple, but this also has drawbacks. Mrs. K heard of an older couple who totally ignored the younger single lady who was trying to work with them. If it is a younger couple, jealousy could develop. So I guess the only other option is to wait for God to give me a godly husband who is led the same way as I am.
And therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you; for the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all they that WAIT for Him. Isaiah 30:18
Reflection – 2014
I spent my third week of my journey in northern Germany visiting a cousin of my friend. I have to admit I was rather travel weary by then with sleeping in different beds and began longing to return home where things were familiar and I could freely speak English. It was also rather anticlimactic after the sweet fellowship with the believers in Austria and France. When I arrived back in the USA, I continued with my job as a diabetes hospital nurse on evening shift.
The Lord has continued to use me as a single lady over the years and has taught me to simply be content with Him and live in the moment. I used to wonder why He never chose to give me a godly husband, but now I simply concentrate on enjoying Christ and growing in His grace. I can only see my little corner of the world, but He has the grand picture for all eternity! I take great comfort and delight in knowing that His ways are so much higher than my ways.
“….for I have learned, in whatever state I am, in this to be content.” Philippians 4:11
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9