Our conference in Vienna !

Hi girls !

I am sitting in our hotel room right now in Vienna and I thought I would share some pictures and happenings in Austria. I’m going back to University next Friday God willing, and I have a lot of things to finish before my internship ends… so now is the perfect time to write before life becomes busy again !

We were blessed to spend a week or so in a Christian conference that started after a fun encounter. My parents and my sister, two years back, spent the New Year’s Eve in Vienna and it was in Church that they met a Christian Arabic family living in Israel. Together, they decided to start a conference that would gather, every summer for a week, Arabic speaking believers. It is the second year I come to the conference and I have been enjoying a lot and, this being the second conference I attend this summer (the other one was in Pennsylvania) I was really blessed by the things I have learned.

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Posing with one of those famous horses in Vienna !

Two preachers/missionaries from Egypt preached during the whole week and one of the topic was the justice and the salvation of God in the book of Romans. A lot of things impacted me. I learned that often, when we talk to people about the Gospel, sometimes out of fear and maybe shame, we tend to hide the name of Jesus under a vague, generic name of God… to make it less scandalous and more “acceptable” to people. But as Romans 1:16 says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” We should never be ashamed to present the gospel as it is because though we are privileged to carry the Word of Life, “we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Cor 4:7). The power comes from the Lord, and there is no salvation apart from Jesus !

 

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The legendary Austrian cakes ! Yum !

I was also deeply, deeply encouraged by the love and the work of some brothers and sisters toward the lost, especially the Muslims. Being Arabic, they have that unique opportunity to help Middle-Eastern people, especially the refugees. Some Muslims attended our services, and it warmed my heart to see the brothers at the conference doing everything in their power to help our Muslim friends to settle in Vienna and to assist them both materially and spiritually with a loving heart. I pray that their heart would be opened to the Gospel and that they will come to know Christ who loved them and died for them. We heard testimonies of how some of our brothers and sisters came to know the Messiah, and, while I was playing with a 14 year old girl, she told me that the Lord knows how to refresh our enthusiasm and rekindle our courage by such testimonies. How true !

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Some sisters singing hymns

Also, the conference was a beautiful occasion to spend time with younger sisters and little girls. I noticed that sometimes, I think I am the only one to not have an assembly or Christians friends in the area where I live. I learned that I was not the only one and that from now on, it was important to encourage one another, even if we are a thousand of kilometers apart. Even as Young women, we have the ability to encourage and nurture younger ones (Titus 2:5) in various areas, and to be a good example to them. As we sat in Subway, I really enjoyed sitting with two 18 year old and one 21 year old as we discussed struggles, thoughts and encouraged one another. Pray that the Lord would help you in the life of another girl !

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That gentleman Lazarus caught all the ladies attention ! Can I have an “aww ?”

The last night of the conference, the same brother who explained the book of Romans wrapped up the week by preaching… on the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation. Everyone was all ears while we heard the Word of Life preached on the things to come. The imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The urgency of making the Lord known. And I want to say a few words about this…

I feel like the Lord Jesus is at the door. We all see it and feel it, in view of the events in the world. Even unbelievers can sense something is going wrong with this world. We have been blessed, we sinners, to hear the saving, Healing, powerful word and Gospel, the GOOD NEWS that Jesus-Christ came to die for sinners, horrible sinners as we were. Let us not faint. Let us not be afraid. Let us spend more time in the Word, and less time in things that would make us afraid of what people might say about us. If we are spending lots of time in social media and trying to look cool and to please people, and not to offend anyone by “watering down” the Gospel of Christ, we are making a great mistake. Let us get on our knees, for we have no power in ourselves. The power comes from the Father. Christ’s return is soon. very soon. Watch and pray. I learned that we are not going to change the world by being conformed to it. If today you lack courage, please- go on your knees and in the Word, and ask the Lord that your will would be aligned with His, and that He would give you what you need in order to honor Him: “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 jn 4:4).

This week’s thoughts and happenings

  1. I have sent, a few weeks ago, a handwritten letter to a 16 years old young girl. Her answer landed in my mailbox this week and I learned a lot of things through that. She thanked me because I called her “My Princess” and she told me she was really touched because I thought of her, because she was on my mind. Her letter brought me a lot of joy and it made me more conscious of the fact that we, older women/ladies, can be mentors and friends to younger ones. What a pleasure, too, to receive a handwritten letter ! It is SO much more personal than a mail or a quick “hello” on Facebook Messenger…
  2. It’s almost the end of the year. I have two exams left ! It will be my last year of community pharmacy before, God willing, I start my Master’s degree in immunology next year. I can’t wait !
  3. My friendship with a Muslim fellow student, whom I dearly love, taught me a lot of things. My parents are Syrian and Lebanese so through language and culture, I think it is easier to talk to a Muslim-still, I learned that you might be the only Bible a Muslim will ever read. Arabs are very, VERY attached to hospitality and I remember, when I invited this lady for supper along with other friends from the faculty, that she was touched that I had planned a meal that was suitable for her to eat. She was also surprised that my choice of dressing modestly came from the Bible’s teaching; so I am learning that hospitality, and obedience to the Lord in our daily acts can open a door for a discussion about the Gospel.
  4. Often, we don’t know. That very classy girl dressing in Chanel might have no friends at all. People, at the end of the day, no matter their backround, are in need of the Lord and of love. And we are in society where girls are experts at gossiping and making fun of each other, sadly. Be a lady of integrity. Be known for not having that tendency to gossip, and to divide frienships.
  5. Singleness is not an inferior status. In the past, singleness, for example in Corinth, was sometimes seen as something superior spiritually, and in our times, we often, even in the church, pity singles. I think there is a problem with both approaches. And to be honest, it can lead some who were content with their status to start wondering: “is there anything wrong with me ?”-no. You are not odd. It’s ok to be single, you are not suffering from leprosy, it’s perfectly fine. And I am tired of seeing society and even some Christians depicting marriage as the ultimate goal. Sure it is a good thing. Sure longings to share life with someone are good. But you know ? Marriage won’t last forever. In heaven, we will all be singles. And marriage is temporary, and might be very short ! I have a friend of mine, who after two years of marriage, and one or two msicarriages, her husband died and it made me think: her marriage was “made in heaven”. Madly in love, with each other, and with the Lord. And it ended after two years. As beautiful as it is, as a God given institution, will not necessarily look Pinterest-y and is not guaranteed to last 60 years. I read today, on Desiring God, that, “Christian hope is the confidence that an amazingly good future is securely ours”. Thanks to Christ, that good future is secured. We might not have all what we wish here on earth, but we have received, in Christ, the greatest Good. Eternity is bigger than anything.