June in Vienna

After over a year of praying for our residence permits, God responded clearly.  Here we are holding our 2012 permits.  We get to stay!!!
Nathanael has a hand and mouth full of snacks in that picture, the only way we could get him to look at the camera and hold his permit! :)

Nathanael and I love the mornings when we get to be with our friends.  Here are a few pictures from our outings.
Sunday morning fun at church

Our twice monthly Moms and Tots group at church just had our final meeting last week.  We went to the zoo!!!  Nathanael loved watching the tall giraffes eat from a hanging basket.
 I can't believe I caught this photo before they were off and running around some more.

We love to get away to parks, and that's quite easy to do in this city.  They're everywhere!  Here we are in Prater, one of our favorites, just after a rain.  Nathanael wanted to jump in every puddle.  We stripped him down in the middle of the park and changed his clothes before heading home. 

For a holiday, we took a day/morning trip just over an hour to the Vienna Woods, hills overlooking the city.  Here's a picture looking down on our new home, most notable here, the Danube and the tall buildings on the left around the UN.

I hosted my first afternoon coffee a couple weekends ago.  I made a special Austrian, orange-flavored cake, and it was magnificent!  (I ate way too much of it...)  We had a wonderful time with our friends, and they were so incredibly patient with us and our minimal German.

We're still looking for the right apartment.  One Saturday morning when we were walking around the neighborhood praying, we ran into a festival for our district, held in the square with the huge church in the area (picture below).  There were tons of Turkish cultural tables there, and it was fun to experience all the Turkish food, flags, music. and people right in the neighborhood where we'll live.

Austria is a grilling culture.  We love it.  We finally bought some coals and used our hosts' grill to indulge in some delicious Viennese wursts!  Oh my, they were good.  Nathanael ate two entire hot dogs and was asking for more!  And with the hot weather recently, it was nice to keep the cooking outdoors.


The news we've been waiting for

So much to share here!  Firstly, and probably most importantly, last week we received an invitation to pick up our 2012 Austrian Residence Permits!!!  We had a crazy couple weeks of ups and downs with our residence permits, but then on Wednesday morning, May 30th, Gregory received an email with a letter inviting us to come in on June 12th and pick up our residence permits!  We were and still are overjoyed!  It is amazing how God continues to make a way for us to serve Him here in Vienna.  He has indeed called us to this place, and we are loving watching and waiting as He puts all the pieces together in a way that brings great glory to His Name!

We have also found a great apartment that we're hoping to have.  In the midst of the residence permit drama, thinking we may be silly in even doing so, we visited this apartment and were quite impressed.  The location is better than we could have even asked for, both in terms of nearby amenities and situation in a strategic community.  The apartment is just the right size we were praying for, even right down to the room sizes and layout!  The cost is fair for the market and almost exactly what we have budgeted, slightly under even.  So now we wait to see if God has it for us.  We have no way of knowing who the neighbors are and how God is working in their hearts, so we're thankful that He knows if these are the people among whom He wants us to live and share life.  We hope to know something by the end of next week!

Language learning continues to progress.  Gregory and I are both quite encouraged by our understanding thus far.  We've come a long way in just a month!  But we are still at the very beginning stages of learning this language, and that means lots of misunderstandings and miscommunications and blank stares.  :)  And is typical in language learning, we are so limited in our ability to say much.  Fortunately, we've been through this before, so I think we're able to laugh at ourselves and be a little more patient in the process than before when we were learning Turkish.  I recently started reading my morning devotions in German (with the help of an English translation as well), and that's been such an encouraging source of both linguistic and spiritual growth.

I'm really excited to see how God moves us forward in the next month, in so many areas.  Have I mentioned before that I'm really ready to settle into our own place?  Well, August is looking to be an incredible month!  I hope!