Emily Niehoff, Baptist Union of Austria - February 07, 2019
Project:Vienna, a year long Bible school in Vienna, Austria, was started by Projekt:Gemeinde, a church in the Austrian Baptist Union in 2017. Its second year is in full force the past 6 months. In September 2018 we saw the arrival of 6 new participants all eager to begin the new semester.
If the past few months could be described in one word it would be growth: growing in community, growing in friendships, growing in knowledge and growing in faith.
A few months ago Vienna was a foreign place to all of them full of new people, a new culture and, to most, a new language. The beginning of semester 1 saw the introduction of theological classes, the selection of focus projects, and the start of an internship with Projekt:Gemeinde, a local Baptist church.
Participants began their mornings at breakfast with devotions and prayer, and would end days with group dinners and time of reflection. Classes have been a treasured highlight of every week with subjects ranging from hermeneutics to ethics of the Kingdom of God.
Participants have experienced the beautiful, chaotic and varied aspects of ministry and learned so much along the way.
Semester 1 ended in late January 2019 with the presentation of research papers. These papers were the culmination of a semester's worth of researching, reading and exploring the depths of theology. Participants researched about the similarities and difference regarding mercy in Islam and Christianity, mental illness in the New Testament, and the paradox between the soul and the flesh in the book of Romans.
Now that the semester has ended, each participant has embarked on a new adventure. During February which serves as a month long study abroad (period between semester 1 and semester 2) participants have the opportunity to go and serve in other Baptist churches all over Europe and even all over the world. Last year we had participants in the UK and Italy. This year we have participants in Bosnia, Scotland, Norway, Mexico and Mozambique.
This month is a treasured part of the Project:Vienna experience because it allows participants to see what church can look like all over the world. As Project:Vienna also seeks to be a blessing to our EBF family, it allows them to get to know local contexts across the EBF. Being able to meet other brothers and sisters in Christ and assist them in their ministry has always been and will continue to be a time of deep reflection, humility, discovery and service to our fellow Baptists.
We are all looking forward to participants returning back for semester 2, but in the meantime hearing stories and receiving photos of their various adventures has been incredible.
We are also processing the first applications for next year’s Project:Vienna. If you know someone for whom this would be a great opportunity, we’d love to talk with them! In the meantime, we sit in wildly enthusiastic expectation to see what the next 6 months will bring. We cannot wait to see what God will do next!