In September we had a lot of new, interesting, sometimes a bit tiring, but overall very fun adventures. From sewing dresses for dolls and building LEGO towers to picking grapes and climbing to the highest peak in Lower Austria! We met September in the small Austrian town called Trumau and greeted October in the small Hungarian town of Tóalmás.
First of all, we are really thankful to God for the opportunity to serve in Austria and for the wonderful family that accepted, fed, and loved us the whole month! I won’t lie saying that we got attached to the little ones. Pretty quickly games and other activities became a fun time not only for children but also for us and when the time came to say goodbye, it was like saying goodbye to the closest family.
While being in Austria, every day in the mornings we worked on a farm. After lunch, Arnas worked remotely on his marketing job and I spent time with the children at the same time. In the evenings, when all the work was done, we were all together again: sometimes we went to see surrounding areas (because of COVID-19 we didn't go where it would be unsafe, we were usually outdoors or in large spaces). Sometimes we went out for a bike ride and sometimes just had fun at home. Of course, we didn’t miss the opportunity to regale Austrians with homemade „cepelinai“ (national Lithuanian dish - dumplings made from grated and riced potatoes and stuffed with ground meat). One Sunday, after the church, the whole family gathered for lunch: aunts, uncles, grandparents, and we all tasted this Lithuanian dish together :). Towards the end of the second week, we finished preparing the vineyard for its harvest (you can read all about it in our last blog post “August 2020”). There was still a week left before the harvest, therefore we helped with other things on the farm: we helped wash the glass bottles where later will be fresh grape juice, repainted the tractor, and helped to change the windows in a newly built house.
We spend weekends outdoor. At the beginning of September together with our host family, we went to „Naturpark Sparbach“ - park, where you can see quite a lot of different animals, together with freely walking boars and old castle ruins. Later that month together with the oldest girl (age 6) we visited Myra Waterfalls and hiked into a 2600 ft hill nearby, where we had to go through a cave! Our little companion was so happy and excited! We also had two trips, for only us two. At first, we tested our strengths by climbing the Hohe Wand mountain. Even though its height is barely 3600ft, it is quite steep, therefore we needed each other’s support to get down safely (what wonderful those men are who help their wives overcome the fears of heights!) As we climbed down, we received an unexpected message from a university in Hungary - God provided us the opportunity to enter the country! The next day we received special forms, which we filled in to get special permission to cross the Austrian / Hungarian border on September 26th, which means that we will be able to start our studies in the “Word of Life” Bible institute on time and physically be there!
The very last week, when we finally received the Nordic sticks, we decided on the biggest challenge - to climb the highest mountain in Lower Austria - Schneeberg. And while it seemed to me that our last mountain was a hard one to climb here we faced even greater challenges. I don’t know what I would have done without Arnas. Guided by God he calmed me every time I got scared. Believe me, climbing near a cliff is not very fun… I had already climbed this mountain once - two years ago when I first came to Austria. Back then we chose a long way, and it took us 6 hours to get to the top. Therefore, to save some time we have decided to choose a shorter way. Only later did we realize that it was the hardest route… But God is good and we safely reached the top and afterward descended!
A few days later, we returned to work in the vineyard - the harvest began! This amazing experience lasted four days. During this time, together with our host family and friends, we harvested every vine tree by hand. All that was left was a big vineyard where a dedicated machine would harvest. All the harvested grapes were taken out for the production of juice, we were happy to get to taste some of them! Together with the vineyard harvest, our time in Austria has ended. Although I had a seasonal cold a few days before we left, my temperature did not rise very high and on September 26th we crossed the Hungarian border safe and sound.
Right now we are in a dorm for a 10-day quarantine. Today is our last day and tomorrow we will finally move into our permanent room and start our studies in the “Word of Life” Bible institute Hungary! During quarantine, we were able to go for a 1-hour walk every day around the university territory. Here stands a beautiful castle (built-in 1894), where we will live later on. It used to belong to the Andrássy family and was used for holidays and baron hunts. Since 1989, it has been owned by the “Word of Life” Hungary Foundation. We are so excited about starting our studies and finally getting to know all of our classmates!
We thank God, and all of you, for the opportunity to be here!