×

  • 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.

We Have No Reason for Fear

We Have No Reason for Fear

Latest Posts

Last week during our monthly all-staff meeting, individuals shared some of their experiences from the first weeks of school. One of our new teachers shared that she is starting her 29th year in education, and ICSV students are the nicest kids she’s ever had the experience of teaching. Now, that’s something we all want to hear! Others shared about parents and children who arrived at school saying that they were super excited about coming back. One father reported that he felt like he had come home when he walked through the door. Another family said they appreciate the warm, welcoming atmosphere of ICSV. These are all comments that describe the wonderful community in which we participate.

This morning as I got off the bus en route to the U1, I noticed a little girl holding hands with her young mother. The girl must have been about four years old. She was singing and skipping along, as happy and carefree as could be. As we entered the U-bahn station, we took a right turn, and since the elevator was there and empty, we both made the decision to take it up to the platform. After I stepped in, two pre-teen boys also joined us, so there were five of us in the small box. Immediately, the mother asked her daughter to stop singing, so we rode up the one flight in silence.

I was facing the outer window to try and protect myself and others from COVID even though we were all wearing a mask. When I turned around, I noticed that the joy was no longer visible in her little eyes. Instead, her forehead was crunched up and I sensed that she now showed concern and even a little fear. We all exited the elevator car and began to walk down the platform to wait for the train. The little girl and her mother continued hand in hand, as she started asking her some questions in German. No skipping. No singing.

During my short train ride, I pondered what had precipitated the change. Was it being in a small space with strangers? Was it the tone with which her mother has told her to stop singing? Had she been told about keeping distance from people? Whatever took place in her head, the girl had gotten the message that she needed to be serious and quiet.

In this world, which can be scary at times, and especially during this period where we are all wearing masks and avoiding physical contact, I pray that ICSV will be a haven for our families and students. As the family stated that they appreciate ICSV’s warm and welcoming atmosphere, we desire for our students to feel at ease here, learning about God’s amazing creation with joy in their hearts. This week, I encourage you to start your day with a song in your heart and a spring in your step. We serve an almighty God who is in control. We have no reason for fear.

“This is the day which the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Because of His Faithfulness,
Dr. Sharon Brobst, Director

Impacting the Nations of the World

Impacting the Nations of the World

Latest Posts

One area of our mission statement that we probably don’t speak as much about is our desire to impact the nations of the world. This year we have 65 different passport countries represented in our student body and staff members coming from 15 different countries. We believe that God brings the nations of the world to us, so that when students leave ICSV, they can take what they have learned here back to their home countries.

In addition, ICSV has consistently partnered with different outreach groups that work with refugees and others in need. This past year, our elementary students collected gloves and mittens to donate to the Oasis ministry, a refugee ministry here in Vienna. We have taken a group of staff and students to an orphanage in Romania for years, always bringing gifts of clothing or extra funds to buy firewood, etc. Individual students also have the opportunity to choose non-profit organizations, like Mary’s Meals, for which they’d like to raise funds.

Other ways that ICSV has gotten involved is by making it possible for staff members to go to different countries to use their knowledge and experience to help less experienced educators. I personally have travelled to Kigali, Rwanda; St. Petersburg, Russia; and Tirana, Albania to either serve or lead an ACSI accreditation team or to train young leaders. This year I will be conducting a virtual visit to a school in Spain to lead them through their re-accreditation.

Staff members are also involved in different outreach opportunities through their churches or on their own. This past Sunday we were able to visit a friendly gathering held in Farsi and English. We worshiped in these languages, plus German and Spanish. Those who gathered to worship were overflowing praise to God. What a joy it was for me, as a former language teacher, to be singing in languages that I am just learning, that I have known for years, and that I was just introduced to.

In our last all-staff meeting, I shared the story of seven falsely imprisoned Christians who have been separated from their families and who are in need of encouragement. I was able to write to each one to entreat them to stand strong in their faith and to let them know that they have not been forgotten. As a staff, we then prayed for each one.

This year’s theme is “overflow.” We are encouraging our students and staff to be open to where God might be leading them to get involved. We can then come forward with ideas for how we can share of our own abundance with those in need. Next week would have been our secondary class trips, each of which have some sort of service opportunity included in them. During this time of COVID, we may need to be more creative in how we meet people’s needs, but it can still be done. May ICSV truly be a light on a hill that is reaching out to the nations right here in Vienna and beyond.

Because of His Faithfulness,
Dr. Sharon Brobst, Director

How Masks Hinder Communication

How Masks Hinder Communication

Latest Posts

I don’t know about you, but I have struggled with wearing a mask, especially when trying to talk with people. I didn’t realize how much I rely on facial expressions and even “reading lips” in order to understand what they are trying to say. Just like we teach our children to use context cues when reading, I believe that we do the same thing when communicating verbally.

I came across an interview with Harry Witchel published on August 18. He called his article “The power of body language.” He first talked about social smiles and that we use them to communicate with each other. When our mouth and nose are covered, if we do not use a full smile that produces creases around our eyes, then people can’t see our small smile. This can cause confusion, especially when communicating with someone from a different culture.

The interview also included the problems when trying to communicate using electronic means. Sometimes we place the camera in a place that makes it seem like we are not looking at the person on the other side. We look at the screen that shows their face, so our camera should be placed there. It’s also hard to talk when there is more than one person in the group, because we don’t have the physical cues about whose turn it is to speak. Either everyone starts talking at the same time or no one is talking.

During this continuing time of pandemic when we cannot touch each other and must wear a mask, it is so important to give each other the benefit of the doubt. It is so much more difficult to communicate under these conditions. Maybe we should think about using our eyes instead of our mouths for facial expressions. Nodding our head or using full-body expressions may help put others at ease when everyone’s stress level is elevated.

The Bible talks a lot about living at peace with others and being patient. Ephesians 4:1-3 says that we should “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.“ If we are humble and patient, then we can be more tolerant of others. We definitely need an added measure of patience during this unique time in history. I Corinthians 13:7 says that “love believes all things,” which means that we need to think the best of others, giving them the benefit of the doubt. (Roane, 2018).

Today, I pray that we will grow in grace and understanding as a community this year.

Because of His Faithfulness,
Dr. Sharon Brobst, Director

 

We Have No Reason for Fear

Overflow

Latest Posts

Welcome back! We are super excited that we can actually start school all together! Austria has been doing a good job of keeping COVID under control, so we have the amazing opportunity and privilege to have your children return to ICSV in person. As has been communicated, we are following increased hygiene procedures in order to protect the students and staff.

With all of the uncertainty of COVID and just how easy it is to focus on what we have lost or are not able to do right now, we have decided that this year’s theme is overflow, using the verse from Psalm 23 “My cup overflows with blessings.” What exactly does this mean? Instead of focusing on the negative, how about if we look at all the blessings that God has given to us?

In the Bible there are 112 references about being blessed. Not one of them connects blessing to material prosperity. Instead, blessed means “to be fully satisfied regardless of the circumstances.” In Ephesians, the Apostle Paul writes, “Praise be to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” God has blessed His followers with salvation, forgiveness, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, eternal life, and a joy-filled contentment that cannot be shaken by circumstances.

Does God ever bless us with material things? Yes, He does. But He reminds us that “if anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” Our goal in life should not be to amass great material wealth, but to use what we have to bless others. By doing so, the people whom we bless “overflow in many expressions of thanks to God” (2 Corinthians).

The Bible references the following as examples of the blessings that overflow from our lives: joy, hope, love, grace, glory, comfort, thanksgiving, and gratitude. We are also told that we are to overflow bountifully, deliberately, freely, liberally, and cheerfully.

My prayer for us as a school is that we will be intentional about seeking out ways that we can bless others. That may mean we pray for those in need. We may give out of the abundance that God has given to us. We may volunteer our time to write letters to those who have been imprisoned because of religious persecution or start a group to raise awareness or advocate for change. We can share our resources and expertise with someone or another international Christian school that doesn’t have nearly what ICSV has in resources and experienced personnel.

When you have the chance to come to the school, walk around the hallways and see the different quotes that refer to overflowing. I will close this first Eagle article with a prayer by the Apostle Paul to the church in Philippi: “I pray that your love for one another will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in your knowledge and understanding.”

Because of His Faithfulness,
Dr. Sharon Brobst, Director

IMAGINE

IMAGINE

Latest Posts

Well, the year is coming to a close already, and this is our last Eagle for the school year. By having two months of virtual learning, the days have passed by more quickly than normal. Even so, I wanted to bring our thoughts back to the theme of the year, IMAGINE, and our year verse, “God is able to do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine.” Well, God sure has done something this year that we never could have imagined! But if we look beyond the COVID situation, God really did work in and through us this year.

If you stop by the school, you will see the new modular classrooms now installed in the school’s parking lot. They will be fully functional for us to begin using in August. In addition, the building committee has continued to meet with the architects to finalize room placement and size, as they begin preparing to present our design to the authorities for approval. The rezoning of the property is still in process, with early signs being that everything is moving along as planned. Discussions with different financial institutions are encouraging, and donations toward the project have started to come in.

You may not be aware of everything that has been going on behind the scenes, but some very important steps have been made toward the realization of the new building. This reminds me of the fact that God is always at work, oftentimes behind the scenes. Even if I can’t see Him at work or I am oblivious to the obvious signs of His working in my life, the truth is that God is ever-present and doing far more than I could ever ask for or IMAGINE!

This summer, my prayers are with you – prayers for safety and provision; prayers for guidance and comfort. So, for everyone here at ICSV, we sign off for the year. We will see you on Wednesday, August 26, our first day of the 2020-2021 school year! We will continue to communicate with you as the government makes decisions looking forward, so please be sure to check your email during the summer. We will miss you more than you will ever know.

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, EdD
Director

Ravi Zacharias

Ravi Zacharias

Latest Posts

Right before school was closed in March and we all had to go into isolation, we were privileged to host the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) team at ICSV for the Secondary Spiritual Emphasis Week. On Friday, March 6, we partnered with the Vienna Christian Center for an evening event called Reboot! RZIM is a global team of speakers that challenges its listeners with the credibility of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In a May 20 blog, John Stonestreet of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview described their ministry this way: “Christian faith can take the shots of skeptics, cynics, and cultural forces and still emerge as true and beautiful and good.”

Why am I talking about this today? Because Ravi Zacharias just passed away. He found out in March that he had untreatable cancer, and within two months, he was gone. When I heard this news, I decided to find out the story of his life. I did not realize that Zacharias was a skeptical 17-year-old when he heard the words of Jesus from John 14:19, “Because I live, you also will live.” You see, he grew up in a family where it was expected for the children to all be outstanding scholars. Zacharias did not do well in school, but instead enjoyed sports. When he was 17, he made the decision that he was such an embarrassment to his family that it would be better if he killed himself, which he tried to do. He took poison, but was found and taken to the hospital, where a local Christian worker brought him a Bible. This Christian told Zacharias’s mother to read to him the book of John, which contains this verse.

Zacharias explained that what turned his life around was that he could now look “at life through a window of meaning. And that was the one thing [he] had been desperately longing for: meaning.” Zacharias went forward to become one of the world’s leading apologists and evangelists. Alistair McGrath describes his ministry this way: “Zacharias’s approach was to demonstrate that Christianity makes rational sense on the one hand, and is able to offer deeply satisfying existential answers to life’s grand questions on the other.”

In a world where absolute truth is not accepted and where everything is viewed as relative, Christianity offers a faith that provides us with meaning in life and answers to our deepest questions. John Stonestreet stated that it was through Zacharias’s ministry when he was in college, that he “came to realize that Christianity wasn’t just something you did, and it wasn’t even just something you felt. Even more (though certainly not less) than a personal relationship with Christ [he] was realizing that the Christian faith was, in fact, true. From Ravi, [he] began to understand the extent to which you could not only think about faith, but actually think with faith.”

It is my prayer that just like Zacharias and Stonestreet, we will think more and more with our faith. Truly, what we believe should affect how we live!

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, EdD
Director