Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!!!

John 1:14 
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 

Merry Christmas from the Wiisanens in Vienna!  We pray your Christmas is blessed with the peace, joy, and rest that comes from knowing our Savior who was born on Christmas day!  

November flew by and we received a few early Christmas presents:
  • Mitchell received German tutoring and passed his German A1 Exam!!!
    • He more than passed, he made a 92!! 
    • He also now has his visa!
  • Nonnie (aka Ada's Mom) arrived December 9th!
    • We are so blessed to have her here!
    • It feels more like Christmas with family around.
  • God continues to provide for our family and ministry here in Vienna, for which we are ever grateful!!
  • We are thankful for the new friends God has provided here and we are gradually settling in to our new city.
  • We are grateful for a couple of weeks rest during our Christmas break to focus on our Savior's birth and re-energize for the new year.
We are including a short video to wish you all a Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!!

Christmas Blessing and all our Love,
Billy, Ada, Mitchell, and Lydia

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fall Break, Zagreb, SEW!

Morning sunrise reflecting on the buildings outside our apartment window.

Psalms 28:7 - The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.

Much has been happening since our last post, so I thought I would try to catch you up on the Wiisanens in Vienna.  October 26th was the first day of Fall Break for the school.  The kids were out that Friday through the following week.  It was a much needed break for all of us.  Our break began with Billy and Mitchell taking an unscheduled trip to Zagreb, Croatia.  On November 2nd our 90 day tourist visa were going to expire, we found out that Mitchell would not be getting his resident visa and was required to leave the country (actually the European Union) for 2 days in order to renew his tourist visa for another 90 days.  So what does this mean.  Well, the rest of the family got visas on Friday November 2nd, but Mitchell will not get his until he passes the German A1 language exam.  This requirement applies to anyone 14 or older, however because Billy and I have college degrees, we do not have to pass the exam right away.   We are working with the school to come up with a plan to help Mitchell accomplish this.  He is currently enrolled in German class at school, but it will not get him to the level he needs to be at fast enough.  This is a little unnerving for us and has been weighing on Mitchell also.  We continue to trust God and pray for wisdom and discernment for His plan in helping Mitchell meet the German language requirement.  Billy and Mitchell enjoyed their little vacation, but decided that the train was the preferred mode of transportation over the bus, especially when it started snowing on the bus ride home (they took the train to Zagreb).  Before this trip, we really did not even know where Zabreb was. :)

Zagreb, Croatia

Also during Fall Break, Billy and I attended several days of Professional Development for the school staff.  It was nice to have a break from the classroom and lesson planning and to receive valuable information to help us teach.  The main focus was Biblical Integration, how to integrate the Bible into our lesson plans.  In addition, we were given teaching techniques to help with English Language Learners (ELL students) and teaching to various learning styles.  It was a very productive couple of days with a fun Staff Talent Show for entertainment.  We are blessed to work with a great staff at ICSV!

We had our first snow during Fall Break!  It was beautiful!  Needless to say it didn't last long, but for Floridians it was very exciting!  Lydia and I also enjoyed a visit to the Technisches Museum Wien (Technology Museum on Vienna). We also experienced our first club hockey game. Our friends' daughter Emilie is playing!!

I also got to bake and try some new recipes over the break.  It's a challenge to find easy recipes and new thing to make that I can get all the ingredients for.  We had cookies, enchiladas, and white chicken chili! YUM!

Spiritual Emphasis Week (SEW) began at school following Fall Break.  During the week, the students had chapel daily.  They got to hear powerful testimonies from both staff and other students.  I was impressed by a student who shared that she was a former Hindu and now a Christian, but that the rest of her family members are not believers.  She became a Christian at ICSV!  The focus of the last chapel of the week was the gospel.  Please pray the hearts of the studenst would be open to the gospel and that the seeds of faith would be planted.  Also pray they would see Christ in us and the staff of ICSV and commit their lives to HIM.

Fall is beautiful here in Vienna.  The colors of the leaves are beautiful, but it is definitely getting colder.  This weekend we attended Mitchell's soccer tournament and it was very cold and windy. They got third place!

By 5:00pm it is very dark and cold.  It is a hard time to be here, especially for Floridians who are used to the warmth and sunshine.  We tend to miss home, family, and friends more these days!  But as Lydia reminded us on her Facebook today, we are not alone!!  Never!  We have Christ with us!  May He give us wisdom, strength, and energy.  May we be filled with His joy and shine His light to the dark world around us.

Thank you for your support and prayers!!  Please continue to pray for Mitchell's visa and language learning. Also for our witness to the student at ICSV and our community here in Vienna.  We love you all so very much!

Love and Blessings to you all,
Ada (aka "Miss" Clair)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Quiet, not really.

Jeremiah 10:12 - It is He who made the earth by His power,
Who established the world by His wisdom;
And by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens.

While the blog may have been quiet for a few weeks, our life here in Vienna has been anything but quiet!   We are enjoying the cooler fall weather and the beautiful colors all around us.  Next week is the end of the 1st nine weeks of the school year! Wow!  We can hardly believe it.  
Our days are filled with school, teaching, lesson planning, testing, grading, grocery shopping, washing, cooking, helping with homework, parenting, grocery shopping, going to soccer games, meetings, German classes, grocery shopping.  Did I mention grocery shopping?  With two teenagers in the house, I have to go 3-4 times per week to keep up with all they eat!!
We are truly enjoying teaching at ICSV and getting to know our students.  God continues to confirm that we are right where He wants us to be. We are learning so much and He is growing and stretching each one of us.  We still have lots to learn and often things we knew how to do at home without thinking, takes much longer here.  

I thought I would share some of the highlights of the last few weeks.  We celebrated Mitchell's birthday on October 2nd with a "snicker-doddle cake" and later a cookie cake with friends!  The cookie cake overflowed the pan, but thankfully tasted good!  Mitchell and Lydia sure do miss Nonnie's chocolate cake!   Mitchell's birthday dinner was our first time having guests over for a meal (spaghetti, not too difficult).  We had a great time!

I was so excited to see my Mom's cousin, Charlie and Louise, vacationing in Vienna!!  They were on a river boat cruise that was docked within walking distance to our apartment.  

Learning to cook and trying new recipes!  I'm so glad I brought a few spices from home.  This is the makings for chili in the crock pot.  I've also made lasagna, chicken cordon bleu, and white chicken chili in the crock pot.  The crock pot is definitely becoming my friend.  "Clever" is the store brand which is less expensive and taste good too!!

Fun with friends!!  We are so thankful for the friends God has brought into our children's lives here in Vienna.  The girls enjoy shopping of course!  They are able to go to the mall by themselves here!  The boys play video games and skateboard together.  What a blessing, it makes our hearts smile to see them hanging out with friends.

This is the view out our windows this morning.  It's a foggy Sunday morning.  The weather is ever changing. Below are similar views on a clear day.

As I look back over this post, it seems a little sporadic and random which may just be a true reflection of our last several weeks.  We are looking forward to fall break in a week.  We hope to get some rest and catch up on things around our home.  Maybe even get ahead on our lesson planning too!!  

Thank you again for your prayers and support.
God is good!!!

Love and joy,
Ada (aka "Miss" Clair)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Guten Tag

Wie ist dein Name?
Woher kommen Sie?
Wo wohnst du?
Our handy German-English dictionary.

If you can't tell, we have entered the land of German language learning.  These were a few of the questions we had to answer last week during our first class.  Not sure what the question is?  We weren't sure either last week.  Fortunately the teacher has slowed down a little and thrown in a few English words to help.  Needless to say, this is a new challenge.  We (Billy and Ada) have German class after school on Monday and Tuesday each week for the next 10-13 weeks depending on how fast we learn.  Mitchell and Lydia are taking German classes in school and Mitchell also has German tutoring to help accelerate his learning.  This is part of the requirements for our visas.

Yummy sweets that came in the mail!

We are settling into a routine now that school is underway.  Our days are full of lesson plans, teaching, meetings, preparing tests,  and grading with helping Lydia and Mitchell with their homework.  We still have lots to learn, but are grateful for the Lord's equipping each day.

 Ada's learning to bake in Vienna. 

Billy and the children head out to the school each morning around 0700.  Ada does not have to teach until 1:30pm, so she usually stays home until about noon or so.  Her morning is filled with lesson planning, grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, and various other errands.  They are enjoying Ada's experimental cooking.  Our meals are actually starting to look like meals!  She has made bread, snicker-doodles, chocolate chip cookies, and cinnamon rolls to name a few.  Cooking takes a little more planning without some of the convince foods we used at home.   Also our refrigerator is about half the size of what we are used to so we have to shop more often instead of stocking up.

 Things are not always as they might seem.  She bought these thinking they were blueberries to make cobbler only to find they are tiny grapes with seeds :)  Thankfully the corner grocery store had frozen blueberries and she was able to make the cobbler.

Lydia and a friend heading to a birthday party.  No car so we carry everything on the Ubahn.

We continue to be amazed at the city we live in!  Vienna is beautiful!  We are trying little be little to get to know our city.  Everywhere we go there is something new to see.

Just outside the building where our church meets.

Near the museum quarter.

Just outside the Hofburg Palace.  

We came upon a "sports exhibit" on Saturday!  It was funny to see the blow-up football player with the historic building in the background.  It was advertising the Austrian Team for the International American  Football League (not sure that is exactly what it is called, but you get the picture).  We do miss football at our house this fall.  We have listened to some games, but most start after midnight our time so we are often asleep.  Oh well, we just wake up and check Facebook and easily get caught up on the games! :) LOL

Well I hope this catches you up a bit on The Wiisanens in Vienna!  Thank you for your love and support!!  

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

Saturday, September 1, 2012

First week of school!!

Joshua 1:9 - Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Sorry we haven't blogged in a while.  As you can imagine, the last 2 weeks have been quite hectic.  I'll try to catch you up on the happenings with the Wiisanens in Vienna!  We just completed our first week of school at ICSV!  It was a really good week.  We had some ups and downs, but overall a good week.  Prior to school starting we had a week of staff orientation/pre-planning week.  We had lots of meetings, learned about school policies and procedures, learned how to write lesson plans, wrote lesson plans, set up classrooms, made copies, made class syllabus, learned how to take attendance.  Well you get it, a lot of the behind the scenes, technical stuff that goes on at school.  Because Billy and I are teaching for the first time, we had lots to learn.  We have received so much help and encouragement from the ICSV staff and our friends here in Vienna.   We are grateful to God placing us here and providing the support we need to accomplish the His work.

Fun at all staff picnic before school started.

In addition to preparing to teach, I continue to learn how to cook, clean, do laundry, etc here in Vienna.  If you saw my Facebook post this week, you already know about my school supplies shopping adventure.  I successfully bought the supplies my children needed (woohoo!), but it was a challenge.  School supplies like many other things here are just "different".  So you go into the store with an idea about what you need and are looking for and it may or may not exist.  Then you must figure out what does exist and what will work in place of what you were hoping to buy!  That seems to be how most of our shopping trips have gone early on.  However, as I have become more familiar with things here, it is getting easier to shop!

School started on Tuesday, August 28th.  Billy and I were so excited to meet our students.  Our classes have gone well this first week and we have enjoyed getting to know the students.  The students in my 9th grade Health class are interactive and fun to talk with.  God continues to stretch me and grow me and cause me to rely on Him as I prepare to teach each day.  He has faithfully equipped me for each class!  Billy has a diverse cultural cross section of students in his Bible classes.  He loves the challenge of studying the Bible with his students.  He began by showing a video to his classes discussing New Testament manuscripts and why we could be confident in the Bible not just being a 'religious' document but also an accurate historical document.  Billy is also teaching a Physics class and administering a computer lab.

Family time at the Prater
 (amusement park near our apartment)

Mitchell and Lydia had a good first week of school too.  While they would always rather have vacation than school, I think they were glad to finally start so they could meet some other students.  Mitchell has had several opportunities to play soccer after school and is getting to know some of the other players.  He is also hoping to play in the praise band for High School chapel.  He has had a great attitude!  His biggest challenge right now is to learn German to satisfy his visa requirement.  Thankfully, along with his school German class, he will be getting German tutoring during his study hall (we thought he was going to have to attend a 3 hour class every evening for 8 weeks).  We are praying that this will meet with the approval of the visa office.

Lydia is making lots of friends and enjoying her classes.  She is excited to have "musical" as one of her electives!  I can't wait to see what they do for that class.  She is also taking German in school, but does not have the same visa requirements as Mitchell.

Last night (8/31/12) was the first "coffee house" at the school.  It is a time for the High School students to come hang out together, drink coffee, and play games.  For the kick off we also had hamburgers (yum!).  It was a great opportunity to interact with the students and get to know them outside of class.  I enjoyed watching Mitchell interact with the other kids.  Lydia stayed home with the daughters of another staff family and watched movies.  It made my heart smile when we came home and found the family room piled with blankets, pillows and sweet girls (6 total including our neighbor who is in Lydia's class and a friend) watching The Sound of Music!  God is good!

 Thankfully it's rainy and therefore cooler today!  Perfect weather to go hang out later with our friends, the Hooks, eat chili, and watch some college football!   Hope you have a great weekend!

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