So, its been a very different week for us - wonderful to relax and see a little more of Austria, but we have missed our refugees hugely, and are really keen to get 'back to work' as the planning and preparations intensify towards Christmas.
We have much to look forward to. Our dear friend Joan will be visiting with us next Sunday for a few days, and straight after that we're hosting a young man from Australia for a week. In addition to all the 'normal' Oasis programmes, we have our team Thanksgiving Lunch on Saturday 25th November, followed by a busy week decorating the building for Christmas, and beginning the Christmas Gift Bag hand-outs. During December we have another Christmas Ladies' Night planned, and a special Christmas afternoon presentation, including a Nativity Play to which all refugees are invited on Friday 22nd December.
Please, please keep us all in your prayers, that God will bless the team with good health, stamina, wisdom and patience in the weeks ahead. Its getting very cold here now, and the refugees are often from very warm countries. They don't deal with the cold very well at all. We still urgently need more men's and women's warm winter clothing, particularly coats and footwear. Which has reminded me of a very funny and totally true story from two weeks ago ....
A young German intern from a local church was visiting the Oasis on Thursday Coffee House Night. He soon got chatting with a couple of the young male refugees. They played some games together before they all headed off into one of the video rooms to watch the Jesus movie together. He'd left his warm winter jacket hanging up in the main hallway (not somewhere Oasis staff generally leave their belongings). I bet you can guess what happened next ......
A young refugee from North Africa arrived, shivering with cold, asking if we had a coat that he could take. One of our team took him into the clothing room to look, but could find nothing suitable. In the hallway outside the clothing room she noticed a coat hanging up that looked a perfect fit for him, he tried it on ...... and very gratefully nodded his thanks. Before long he left, warm and happy, to return to the camp. Our intern friend however, was rather surprised to end his first night at the Oasis frantically searching in the clothing room & basement to find himself a suitable coat to wear for his train ride back to Vienna. Fortunately, he took the experience in good spirits, being especially grateful that he hadn't left any personal belongings in his coat pockets!
Well friends, on that note I'll end this week's blog. I'm sure there'll be many new stories to share with you next week. We love and miss you all very much indeed, but despite the homesickness we're still confident we're where God wants us to be right now.
So until next time may our Lord watch over you all, comfort those who are hurting, inspire those who are searching, fill those who are hungry and encourage & strengthen those who are weary. Its all for Him dear ones, nothing else in this life compares to serving Jesus.
In His love always
Neal and Lesley