Friday, August 11, 2017

Returning to Vienna

Lydia and I are now back in Vienna, Ada returned a week ago, and I have a few observations:
  1. First, air conditioning is nice.  That statement speaks for itself but we don't have air conditioning in our apartment in Vienna. Bummer.  It is not needed here for nine  out of 12 months but it was in the 90's in our apartment yesterday.  There is no good way to look at sitting in your apartment and sweating.  Just saying.
  2. Good byes don't get any easier.  As I will mention below I don't really enjoy international air travel.  To be fair, this probably has a lot to do with it.  Leaving Vienna to go to the states is difficult because we are leaving our Vienna family whom we love.  Leaving to come back seems to get harder every year.  Without question the most difficult part of our jobs here is being away from family, especially during the holidays. I don't expect that to ever get easier.
  3. International air travel seems to get less and less enjoyable.  We go to a lot of trouble to get the lowest cost airfare when we travel.  This usually means extra connections and time spent in airports.  Security in airports has increased considerably. Don't get me wrong, security is good. I like planes, especially the one I'm on, to stay in the air while it should be there.  Further, not to state the obvious, it is good not to have terrorist attacks at airports.  That said, it has become almost painful to move around international airports.  That, coupled with airlines fighting to make ends meet, makes for crowded airports and planes with long lines and grumpy people.
  4. Sometimes people shine through traveling challenges.  Lydia and I had a delay getting to Atlanta from Jacksonville.  The people with Delta in Jax did all they could do to help us make our connecting flight in Atlanta and with a good run through the airport in Atlanta we made our flight with about a minute to spare.  Yes we were praying.
  5. The airport in Paris, Charles de Gaulle, is often mentioned as one of the worst airports in the world.  Our experiences have been mixed and it definitely has its problems.  Still, as a continuation of people shining, two Air France employees went out of their way to help resolve a ticketing problem with our flight to Vienna.  This was well appreciated as we were tired and needed help or Lydia and I wouldn't be making it to Vienna that night.  We made it due to their assistance and slept in our beds that night.  Yes, as before, we were praying.  
  6. After living out of a suitcase for 5 weeks it is nice to sleep in your own bed.
It is good to be back.  Each year I wonder what God will do here and each year I am amazed by what He did do in the previous year.  God is good and I believe, with anticipation, that He will continue to do Great things in Vienna.  May God smile on each of you in the coming year and bless you and yours.


Friday, July 7, 2017

The Pilgrims' Process
David is one of the pastors at our church. He does a very good job describing the church we attend and discussing his heart for ministry.
David is a Baptist pastor and missionary in Vienna, Austria. Originally from the UK, he now works with Projekt:Gemeinde (Project:Church) as well as being involved in the year-out bible and mission school Project:Vienna and the Austrian Baptist Union’s home mission.

Sunday, November 15, 2015


You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. -Matthew 5:43-45

What a difference a night makes. Friday night after a busy week Billy and I went for a walk around Vienna. It's one of the things we like best about living so close to the city center. We walked to dinner and then on into downtown. The weather was cool, but not too cold. I snapped pictures along the way of some of the sights we saw as we strolled through the city. We enjoyed seeing the canal, window displays, cathedrals, and Christmas Markets. It wasn't until later after we returned home that we heard something was happening in Paris. We began seeing initial news reports about attacks there, but it wasn't until we awoke early Saturday morning to notifications on our phones that we found out how bad the attacks were in Paris! This was within a day of very serious suicide bombings in Beirut Lebanon where many were killed and injured.  

Thankfully we heard that Billy's cousin and his wife who live in Paris were safe!  
Sometimes it is hard to know how to respond, but as Christians we are to respond in a uniquely Christian way, we are to pray, pray for Paris, France, Muslims, Families, Government Leaders, Refugees, the World, our Enemies.
Heading toward the city center.

Window display at a 5 star hotel.

Donau (Danube) Canal

Stephansdom Christmas Market

Demel cafe window display - Apple Strudel

Rathaus Christmas Market - Pre-tree lighting
Rathaus Christmas Market

Back in our neighborhood.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Enjoying Fall

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!  The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us.  God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!
Psalms 67:5-7

We are enjoying the fall weather in Vienna!  This week it has been sunny with temps in the 60's!!  Fall means soccer, volleyball, pumpkin soup and beautiful colors on the trees!

Happy Fall Y'all!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


The past few weeks have been exhausting with our return to Vienna and the start of a new school year.  We are finally settling into a routine and the pace is slowing a bit.  Fall is in the air today as we awoke to temperatures in the 40's.  Throughout the past few weeks God has graciously provided others to encourage us and breaks for rest and refreshing.  During the first week of staff orientation we were treated to a wonderful luncheon prepared by several of our student's parents.  

Billy and I have been walking home from church on Sunday afternoons.  It provides the perfect opportunity to get a little exercise and then enjoy some ice cream!  The weather has been lovely and the flowers beautiful.  One Sunday we enjoyed a free "open house" at the Rathaus (city hall).  The interior was beautiful and it was such a treat to see inside the building we pass each Sunday on our way to church.  We only stayed a short time as it was very crowded.  Once outside and in front of the building, it was funny to see a circus tent and palm trees.  Of course as the weather cools, the palm trees will be stored away for the winter.

Mitchell and Lydia are staying busy with school and enjoying time with friends.  Lydia is playing volleyball this fall and also has a part in the high school musical, Fiddler on the Roof.  Mitchell is back to playing soccer along with being part of student leadership and high school praise band.  

Recently we have had the opportunity to spend time with friends from near and far.  Ada's friend Julie and her husband were in Vienna for the night last week and we enjoyed a perfect night walking in downtown Vienna.  We got to see many of the historic sights at night while catching up with each other.  The conversation flowed just like always.  This past weekend was especially relaxing and refreshing!  Friday night we enjoyed dinner with close friends and their new baby.  Saturday was spent with friends relaxing and sharing a meal. Then on Sunday we had friends, Ted and Mary Lou Strawbridge from Ocala, show up at our church!  What a surprise!  That evening we got to have dinner together before they left town the next day.

Lydia with Baby Mateo

We were so encouraged from this time spent with friends.  As I texted to say "good-bye" Sunday evening and thank Mary Lou and Ted for dinner and the encouragement, she responded "God is so kind!!  Yes, yes He is, most gracious and kind!  May you experience the rest and refreshing that only He can give!

Love and Blessings from Vienna,
Ada (aka "Miss" Clair)

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Very Full Week!

It’s Saturday and the first official day of our Spring/Easter Break!  We have had an unusually busy week so I’m looking forward to a little down time.  Last Saturday, Billy left at 6:00am to fly to London until Thursday.  He spent Saturday through Monday sightseeing in London before heading to Oxford for school related training.   Lydia headed to volleyball by mid morning while Mitchell went to show choir practice and then met up with friends.  Mitchell’s friend Josh was staying with us for the week and he had a Romania mission team meeting along with chores to do at home.  I got up early to see Billy off and then get the required grocery shopping done so I could spend a leisurely afternoon with a girlfriend sipping tea and visiting the Easter markets.  Later, Lydia joined us and we had a girl’s night out for dinner!

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I worked from home while  2 repairmen fixed our leaking shower.  We discovered it was leaking into the downstairs apartment about 5 weeks ago, not good and have not been able to use it since then.   Thankfully we have a second shower, just in case you were wondering.   I’m pleased to report the shower is now repaired!!  

Lydia had 2 volleyball games this week. So Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon I enjoyed watching the games and visiting with her teammates’ parents.  I’m pleased to report that they won the game on Tuesday, but were not as fortunate on Wednesday.  Following the games, I hurried home to fix dinner for 3 and some days 4 hungry teenagers.  In addition, Mitchell and I ran errands to prepare for his France mission trip.

Thursday after school I had a staff meeting and then headed home to cook dinner and help Mitchell and Josh get ready for their trips.  Mitchell would be leaving Friday morning for France while Josh wouldn't leave until Saturday morning. The family room was filled with suitcases, clothes, and a drying rack full of laundry.  We double checked packing lists and made sure they had their important travel documents.  Everyone stayed up until after 11:00pm to greet Billy when he arrived home that evening.  

Click here to read more about the France Mission Trip

Following a late night, 5:00am Friday morning came early to get Mitchell up and to school by 6:15am.  After getting him off, the rest of us headed out to school at our usual time.  That evening, Billy and I helped with the International Family Fun Night (IFFN) at ICSV.  For IFFN, our student’s and their families wear international dress and bring food common to their home country to share.  There are various “country” rooms set up for everyone to visit and learn about the specific country.  After visiting the room, the children get their “passport” stamped.  It was a fun night visiting with our school families and a great way to learn about the different countries and cultures represented at the school.

We headed home after a fun evening to a slumber party with 3 girls and a boy doing his laundry and final packing.  Saturday morning Josh headed to the school at 7:30am to leave for Romania, while the girls all  slept in. We are thankful for a quiet day of rest and glad it is Spring Break! We hope  you all have a blessed and wonderful Easter!

Love and blessing from Vienna,
Ada (aka "Miss" Clair)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Missing Home

When we moved overseas, we knew things would be different and we would miss many things from home.  I remember someone saying to me when I shared that God had called us to Vienna that "Vienna is not a hard place to go."  And while this may be true, my response was that "our home in Florida is not an easy place to leave."   We miss many of the comforts, conveniences, and yes foods of our home country, but what we miss most are not things at all.  It's WHO we miss most, our family and friends, people!   We miss being there with them in times of celebration and times of difficulty.   The realization that there are people we will not see again this side of heaven is hardest of all.

This week has been especially difficult to be away from family.  Billy's cousin passed away this week and it's hard not to be in Florida to personally express our love and seek to comfort his family during this time of great sorrow.  We wanted to say our "good-byes" to Kyle in person, but that was not to be.  Kyle lived in a way that honored God regardless of his circumstances.  His faith, courage and unselfish love is an incredible example for us. Our hearts are heavy as we pray for his wife and children.  He will be greatly missed, but we find comfort in knowing he is rejoicing in God's presence.

We are grateful that in the mist of a difficult week, God sent one of Billy's second cousins and her husband to visit. Following their mission trip to Romania, Karen and Andy spent last week with us.  They were a delight to have visit! They are young newlyweds and soon to be parents.  We enjoyed sightseeing, sharing meals, and just talking and laughing together.  They were such an encouragement and blessing to us during this difficult time. 

We are truly blessed with a wonderful family!  As we watch and pray from afar, we witness the love and support of Billy's family as they celebrate the life of his cousin Kyle.  While we cannot be there in person, our hearts are there with them, crying, hurting, rejoicing, and loving!  In the mist of sorrow, we rest in the hope that we will see him again one day.

Love and blessings from Vienna,
Ada (aka "Miss" Clair)