• International Christian School of Vienna is currently closed and our Distance Learning has started in all grade levels.
    We plan to reopen on Tuesday, April 14.
    If you have any questions and/or concerns please email office@icsv.at.

Old Friends

This week one of my oldest and dearest friends came to visit me from Massachusetts. (If you read my article from last week – yes, she’s a Red Sox fan!) My husband and I took several days off so we could visit Hallstatt, Salzburg, and Obersalzberg in Germany with her and her husband of 40 years. The drive across Austria was magnificent! We also attended a concert of Mozart and Strauss music at the Kursalon, and we enjoyed numerous delicious meals in the many different restaurants. We are privileged to live in such a beautiful country.

On Thursday, we were able to meet up with another good friend who served as the guidance counselor at the school where we worked in Pennsylvania. She and her husband are also celebrating their fortieth wedding anniversary. So different parts of my life that had never crossed paths before met here in Vienna. What a small world!

Just like me, many of you are not native to Vienna. You come from countries all around the world and spend maybe three years here before moving on to your next position. You have family and friends that you have left behind, and sometimes it is really hard to be away from them. Your children have to adjust to a new place and a new school, and sometimes it’s not seen as an exciting new adventure, but a time of grieving what is lost. Those of us that work at ICSV understand this, as many of us have experienced the same feelings ourselves.

It has been wonderful spending time with my friends this week. We talked about my parents, who have both passed away, and about things that only we would know about from when we were kids. We teased each other and laughed a lot. They fly out tomorrow, so things will return to normal. It’s been great, but unfortunately, it will surely leave us with a sort of empty feeling – one of longing to be near the ones we love who live half way around the world. Times like this remind us of what we are missing, I guess. But it also reminds us of the importance of relationships. The friends we met with this week are Christians, so we share a common bond and the blessed hope that even if we never see each other again on this earth, we will be reunited in Heaven. We have a relationship with God, our Heavenly Father, so that no matter where we are on this earth, He is with us. As this is the most important relationship that anyone could ever have, it prompts me to ask – do you have a personal relationship with God, the Creator of the Universe? He desires for us to be in fellowship with Him, and He is that forever friend that never leaves us.

So as I spent the week marveling at God’s amazing creation and His gift of music, I will also cherish the moments that I had to spend with my special friends who love God and who all have a personal relationship with Him. This could not have been a better week!

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, Ed.D.

Neil Diamond in Concert in Vienna!

When you hear a song that was popular when you were in high school, does it transport you back to that time in your life? Music has that effect on me. All I need to hear is a few notes of a song, and I immediately know what it is. Sometimes I may even begin to cry if it triggers a specific memory or emotion. I can see myself at a special event and can picture the people that I was with. Music is one of those gifts that God has given to us that I truly enjoy.

This week I went to a Neil Diamond Concert at the Wiener Stadthalle with my husband. Neil Diamond is 76 years old, so this could very well be his last tour. One of his biggest hits is “Sweet Caroline,” a song that has been adopted by the Boston Red Sox baseball team for their seventh inning stretch. I find that funny, because Neil Diamond was raised in Brooklyn, so he should be either a New York Yankees or Mets fan. My parents and all my older siblings were born and raised in New England – Red Sox Country. I was born in Massachusetts, but we moved to New York when I was just two. Growing up I always knew that I was not to root for the Yankees, but it wasn’t until I was older that I finally understood why. There is a big rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees. My poor father rooted for the Red Sox until the day he died. He was born in 1917, so he was only one year old when they won the championship in 1918. They didn’t win again until 2004, but he had passed away in 1996.

Why am I talking about this? This week in elementary chapel, Miss Larson shared about the story of Abraham and talked about God’s faithfulness to him and his wife Sarah. When Abraham was 75 years old, God promised to make of him a great nation, but he and his wife had no children. How could he have many descendants when he didn’t even have a child? He had to wait 25 years for God’s promise to be fulfilled when at 100 years old his wife, Sarah, finally gave birth to Isaac.

Our Seed of Character trait this month is also faithfulness. It is defined as “Knowing that God keeps His promises and then following Him.” It is important that we are people who keep our promises, as well. My father remained a faithful Red Sox fan even though he never saw them win. That didn’t seem to matter. Year after year we would root for his team. (My entire family still does!) The question Miss Larson asked us was whether we could trust God to fulfill His promises even when they seem really big or even impossible. The answer is “yes”! We encourage our elementary children to practice being faithful, just like God is faithful, and just like my dear father was a faithful Red Sox fan.

By the way, the Neil Diamond Concert was awesome – and, yes, he sang “Sweet Caroline” as his first encore. I was transported back to the Red Sox Game that I attended in 1996 with my husband, three children, and my brother and his family. My father was supposed to go with us to that game at Fenway Park, but he wasn’t feeling very well that day. He died a few months later. I’m thankful that God gave us music and memories. And I am confident that He will remain faithful to fulfill His promises. That’s just who God is.

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, Ed.D.

New Format in Middle and High School Chapels

This year we are trying something a bit different during our weekly chapel times. In order to better meet the needs of our international student population, we are planning to vary the format each week. Sometimes teachers and students will meet in small groups where they can discuss different topics. During these times, we hope students and teachers can learn more about each other and form deeper relationships. Last week the high school students were asked to reflect on Mr. Hummel’s previous chapel talk about loving and serving others. Some weeks we will invite guest speakers to present about a certain topic and then the next week the students will go to their small groups to discuss what they heard. We will continue to have times of singing, being led by our talented worship teams under the supervision of Mr. Sattler at the high school level and Ms. Gerdes at middle school. We will also continue to do announcements and have fun activities and games when it is appropriate.

In high school chapel, we are also going to highlight the various countries that are represented at our school so that we can learn more about each other and to remember these nations in prayer. Last week, Mr. Ade shared a little about his country of Nigeria. He and nine students come from this large West African country. As a former English colony, English is the official language of Nigeria, but 500 different languages are actually spoken throughout the country. I am excited to celebrate the different nationalities that are represented at ICSV as we “Stand United” through our mission and message.

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, Ed.D.

School Board “Vision and Values Retreat” this Weekend

At the start of each school year, the School Board and I spent two full days/one night together at what is called the “Vision and Values Retreat.” We set aside this time to assess where we are now and to look ahead to the future. In addition to this discussion, we also spend time in professional development. David Welsh has been invited to share with us his experiences from the last 14 years as director of the International Christian School in Budapest. He moved to Budapest with his wife and three children in 2002. During his years at ICSB, he orchestrated the completion of a major building project, and the school has grown from 150 students to their current level of approximately 250. Because of his experience with a growing school enrollment and the need to expand their campus, Mr. Welsh will provide invaluable insight to those of us at the retreat. This is Mr. Welsh’s final year at ICSB, so we are honored to have him join us for this time of planning and reflection.

This weekend there will be eight of us attending the retreat, in addition to Mr. and Mrs. Welsh. The School Board is a wonderful group of dedicated Christians who voluntarily give of their time and talent to serve the school community. In case you do not know who our Board Members are, please let me introduce them to you:

Board Chair: Mr. Brad Hunter, parent
Vice-Chair: Mr. Willem Douw, parent
Secretary: Mrs. Pearl Williams, volunteer
Vice-Secretary: Mrs. Leslie Walt, former parent
Treasurer: Ing. Othmar Scharrer, volunteer
Vice Treasurer: Mr. David Easler, parent
Mrs. Anna Gryskiewicz, parent

This committed group of professionals believes deeply in the school’s purpose and goals and supports it completely. The school is in great hands! As director, I am both encouraged and challenged by the Board. It is truly a privilege to work with them. Please keep this weekend time in your prayers as we meet and make decisions that will affect the school in the future.

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, Ed.D.

Expansion on this Year’s Theme

One of my favorite parts of each week is chapel time. I try and make it a priority to attend all three chapels, which I did this week. In elementary chapel on Tuesday, our new elementary principal, Ms. Fitcher, was the speaker. The topic was “creation.” Every time I hear of how God created the earth, the sky, the sun, the moon, the animals, the birds, the fish, etc. I experience a sense of awe. He literally spoke, and it was done, and He saw that it was good.

Ms. Fitcher pointed out that when He created people, it was different. God created man and woman in His own image, breathing into them the very breath of life. Genesis 1:31 says, “And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” We value your children because they are image-bearers of the Creator of the Universe!

Later in the week during middle school and high school chapels, Mr. Hummel spoke about the importance of living together in unity. He expounded on the definition of love, reminding the students that we’re not talking about the mushy kind of love that is shown through Hollywood, but rather love that puts others’ needs before their own. As an example, he chose a volunteer from among the students and then proceeded to do as Jesus had done for His disciples. Mr. Hummel got down on his hands and knees with a bowl of water and gently washed and dried the student’s feet. Mr. Hummel told the students that he wanted them to get that picture in their mind as to what it means to truly love and serve someone. This is the kind of message that we want our students to learn this year: God’s unconditional love.

We are privileged to have two such dedicated Christian educators serving as our academic principals. It is my pleasure to work alongside them each and every day.

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, Ed.D.