For better or worse, Austria is nothing like I expected.
When Austria first came on my radar, there was some hesitancy. “My calling is to the Silk Road and Austria doesn’t exactly fit in that view.” Or so I thought.
In January 2019, Country Reports (a socio/cultural/economics website) released a lengthy report on Austria. To sum up the report: Austria is just starting to get it’s engine going. Between economic investment, cultural and geographic centrality, and a healthy middle class Austria seems like a powerhouse in the making.
So what? I thought. Yet, in the same report a tease of Austria’s desire to be a part of China’s One Belt One Road Initiative caught my eye. Further research led to two articles both written in April 2019. One by ChinaDaily.com suggested that Austria was eager to be a part of the project but had some considerations before diving in. Another article by Bloomberg.com details the meeting between Chinese officials and the Austrian Chancellor. He refused to sign accords with China unless the Asian superpower showed more transparency and put more fair transport rules in place.
These articles showed me that Austria was soon to be a very important place on the New Silk Road. This meant it was an important place to Silk Road Mission.
I began making plans to visit. I had never been to Europe and figured it would be like the states only in German. Oh how wrong I was. For better or worse, Austria is nothing like I expected. The heat (no AC in many many places), the rudeness of service professionals, and the inability to understand why things are the way they are have all coalesced into a low grade stress while I’ve been here.
It hasn’t been all bad though! I’ve had great conversations so far and have met with a few local pastors. Fruitful relationships are definitely forming! There is a great spiritual need here. One local pastor said it best when he told me of Austria’s need for the Gospel. He said that this country is “a place of incredible beauty and incredible brokenness.”
I have seen the beauty and have felt the brokenness. Austria desperately needs the Gospel. In my next report I’ll detail what works are being done and how you can get involved.
Until then, may the Lord bless you and keep you. May He make His face shine on you and give you peace. We’ll talk more later travelers.
- Silk Road Mission