#Vienna13

I have sat down to finish writing this post 100 times but keep getting pulled away from my computer. So glad I was about to finally finish it. Enjoy Vienna through our eyes. and iPhones. 😉

I was beyond thrilled when I heard the #allchurchmissions trip was to Vienna Austria this summer. We’ve been all around the world, South Africa, Germany, Panama, Guatemala and even the Canary Islands. Each trip is special in its own way and Vienna was no different. It is certainly the most beautiful country I have ever been to. Full of culture and history.

Our journey began Sunday afternoon after our morning service. We loaded the buses and headed to the airport. Do you know how long it takes to get 30 people through ticketing and security? We arrived at the airport 4 hours before our flight. We flew out of Atlanta on KLM airlines. So thankful we had our own TV’s and USB ports at our seats. We’ve certainly been on flights without them! We traveled all night—a 9 hour flight to Amsterdam to be exact. EXHAUSTING! Then a 3 hour lay over in Amsterdam and FINALLY our last leg. The Final Flight— 2 ½ hours to go before arriving in Vienna.

I have to admit I got a lot of flack when I told everyone we were taking a missions trip to Vienna. Did you know it is one of the TOP 10 cities to live in the world?! But it’s also a city where less than 1% know Christ. We were so blessed to work with Phenomenal missionaries Larry and Melinda Henderson.  They had a packed schedule for us. Between street Ministry, Surveys, pray walks, to a work day at the asylum home. There was no rest for the weary. Oh and I forget to mention the 5 church services we were apart of on Sunday Morning—African, Ethiopian, Chinese, Iranian, National service and that’s only half of them.

I don’t have time to write about everything that happened on our trip. Like divine appointments our Pastor had while sitting on a park bench or Stories of the families we worked with in the asylum home,  nor do I think you would want to sit and read paragraphs upon paragraphs about our trip. But trust me when I say God had his hand on our trip and moved not only in the city of Vienna and allowed us to plant many seeds, but also in our team. “We need missions more than missions needs us”. So below are several iPhone photos from our trip. I only took my film camera with me this year and I am waiting to get those back from the Lab. I’ll be posting the “real” pictures as soon as they are ready! Enjoy! Oh and be sure to check out the official #vienna13 hashtag on instagram for many many more photos.

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I couldn’t pass up a photo op in the Amsterdam airport. This wall was just screaming for a photo shoot after our 9 hour flight. Fedora and all. (By the way all my friends hate my hat.) 2013-07-26_0002

Our home for 10 days!  The Ibis Hotel– We arrived to a gift bag full of goodies, free wifi, a see through shower and tiny beds. 2013-07-26_0003

As soon as we dropped our stuff off at the hotel, they whisked us away to dinner. Our 1st dinner in Vienna was YUMMY! I can still taste it! I could go for some of that chicken right now. 2013-07-26_0004

The buildings in Vienna were some of the most beautiful buildings I’ve seen. Such history and character. Kodak moments everywhere! 2013-07-26_0009 2013-07-28_0008

Our first day of Ministry was in Stephansplatz– the home of the beautiful St. Stephens Cathedral. The ground breaking took place in 1137. It took over 20 years to build. It was completed in 1160. 2013-07-28_0001 2013-07-28_0002

While in Vienna we were well fed.We ate dinner here twice. It was SO YUMMY! The food portions were HUGE. I don’t know if anyone even ate everything on their plate. 2013-07-26_0005

The dish below is cordon bleu. It was good but I think I preferred the Wienerschnitzel. They best was to describe it– country friend steak, minus the gravy. It was delicious. 2013-07-28_0025

One evening after dinner we took a field trip to the worlds oldest ferris wheel– This Vienna landmark has operated in the Wiener Volksprater for over 100 years. Incredible view over the city. 2013-07-26_0006 2013-07-28_0024

There is also a small little amusement park attached– we got to spend a little time there and decided to ride “Ecstasy”. BIG MISTAKE. I have never wanted to vomit so bad in all my life. The ride lasted like 8 minutes, honestly. The ride slowed down and we all breathed a sigh of relief and before we could catch our breath it started back up again. Below is a before and after picture from our ride. 2013-07-28_0026

A couple of days into our trip We participated in a 2 1/2 prayer walk around the city. We circled many needs, not only  for the church but the people of this country. Less than 1% of Vienna are born again believers. The beautiful street you see below at first glance looks like an ordinary street, but 100’s of girls are sold into prostitution each night. Girls stand under the trees of that street waiting to be picked up. Europe is proposing that the largest brothel be built right here in Vienna. Sex trafficking at an all time high. This country needs Jesus. It was so special to lay hands on a church that has planted on that street and walk up and down the sidewalks circling the area in prayer. 2013-07-26_0007

Off to dinner again. It seems like all me did was eat, eat and eat. Possibly the best Calzone I’ve put in my mouth. AND, Vapiano wins major points for interior design. 2013-07-26_0008

again, so many beautiful buildings– everywhere you turned. 2013-07-28_0010 2013-07-28_0015 2013-07-28_0027

Not even gonna lie, Y’all– Europe was a little smelly! 2013-07-28_0012

Let me introduce you guy to Almdudler. It’s like ginger ale, but quit possibly better. It’s all I drank. I even looked in to have a case shipped to the states. 2013-07-28_0011

It’s so fun to spend everyday with your friends for 11 days! Oh and that photo on the left– hahahah! The little girl was from the local church we worked with, she told me I needed a head message. Certainly not like any head message I’ve ever gotten.

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Trips on the u bahn are always fun! 2013-07-28_0019

I thought it would be fun to join the construction team for the day– It didn’t last long. 2013-07-28_0023

The official #Vienna13 Puppet team. If you guys follow me on Instagram you’ve already met my friend #steviethepuppet! I think everyone was tried of him buy the time we arrived back in the states. He even traveled back in my carry on! He might of made some appearances in a couple of airports and on the plane. 2013-07-28_0016

Meet my roomie, Jimmy. This was the the case every morning. The photo below was taken at 9:22am. We were suppose to load the bus at 9:30am. Can you say, LAST MINUTE?!?! Typical Jimmy. 2013-07-28_0022

So grateful to visit such a beautiful country with my Mom! We certainly missed having Morgan and Dad with us this go round!  2013-07-28_0018

AND It was pleasure to work with some of the worlds GREATEST Missionaries. Meet the Henderson’s. Such a passionate family for missions and reaching the lost. 2013-07-28_0009

 

Our 2013 Vienna Austria All Church Missions Trip Team

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We had a blast, but were more than ready to head to the airport. We were smiles to begin with, then the jet lag begin to set in. 2013-07-28_0028

Finally no trip back to the States in complete with out a trip to Chick-Fil-A. It’s a MUST!!

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Small Business Friends

As a small business owner I always LOVE meeting and connecting with other small business owners and talking shop—It’s even 10x better when you have a personal friend that is a small business owner too.

Meet my Friend Carley. We’ve known each other for as long as I can remember. We’ve traveled around the world together, ran around in clown costumes together… the list goes on and on.

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We’ve even made late night trips to waffle house and Krispy Kreme.

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Our most recent adventure together was to Vienna Austria just a few weeks back. By the way, I’ll be blogging about our trip tomorrow. Vienna is was one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to!

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Carley and her Mom own Gumption Gals.  Carley told us, “Owning my own boutique has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. My mother and I decided to open Gumption Gals together in May of 2012. We went back a forth with several different names for days but when I called my mom and asked about the name “Gumption Gals” we just knew it was the one. My Grandmother – Who is my mom’s mother passed away in April of 2012 and she always used the word Gumption. Gumption means having initiative; aggressiveness; resourcefulness; courage; spunk and or guts. We knew we had to have a lot of Gumption in order to start our own business.”

With that being said I asked Carley a few questions about her business and what inspires her.

EGC: So, tell me some basics about you and your company.  Where are you from, where you went to college, what you studied, how you got started.

Gumption Gals: I graduated from AUM and double majored in Finance and Economics. We opened in May of 2012. We are an online affordable boutique that operates through Facebook. We are a great place to find stylish looks without having to break the bank.

EGC: Who would be an ideal customer? What age demographic does GG target? 

Gumption Gals: We honesty try not to cater to one main age group. We try and offer a variety of styles for all fashionistas out there no matter their age. Our youngest customer that bought a dress from us was 8 years old. Our oldest customer has been an 80 year old woman who purchased some of our flat boots last season.

EGC: What is the gumption gals price point? 

Gumption Gals: We aim to keep everything under $40.00! We post online sales every Tuesday and Thursday night at 7:31PM CST. We just launched our jewelry line this week. We will hold jewelry sales on Monday and Wednesday nights.

EGC: is there a Gumption Gals retail location in the near future?

Gumption Gals: YES, YES, YES!!! I want nothing more than to open a store front one day…. when will that time come… I have no idea. It is a long term goal that is always in the front of my mind. I spend a lot of time responding to FB messages and emails of ladies asking questions re: how things fit and items that would work best for them. I love helping people. It is so much fun to be able to suggest an item to a lady and weeks later she email us and tell us how happy she is with something she purchased from us. Being able to actually do that in person would bring me even more happiness. 

Carley also said, “There is nothing is more fun than playing dress up with your friends! I feel like every time I post a sale on Facebook I am getting to play dress up with 5000 of my closest friends.”

It’s been a joy watching Carley’s small business explode into something that was beyond her comprehension. You guys know I LOVE seeing dreams become a reality. All this Gumption Gals talk we couldn’t not showcase a couple of pieces from their most recent inventory. AND even better for you ladies, We’re giving it away!!

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Here’s the deal– Leave a comment here on the blog telling us why YOU should win. Once you’ve done that head over to Gumptions Gals Facebook page, “Like” their page and leave a post on their wall telling them Evan G. Cooper sent ya. It’s that easy!

I bet you’re thinking if you win you’ll get to take home the blouse and the necklace. Nope! We decided one lucky lady will take home the awesome Red Graphic Print Blouse and another lucky winner will take home that beautiful turquoise necklace. We’ll be drawing a winner on Tuesday of Next Week.

Happy Commenting!

Class of 2013

I remember walking across that stage receiving my High School diploma like it was yesterday. High School is where I met some of my very best friends. It’s where I realized I was becoming an adult; where I faced some of the hardest challenges I’ve dealt with in life. High School was the end of an era, but the start of a new beginning.
I graduated in 2008 and like I said, it was some of the best times I’ve had. From school projects on Beowulf, learning to write sentences in Spanish, not paying attention in class with Molly and Jacob, to planning Winter formal with Anna Clare, Lauren and Tara. We had a blast ! But as I also mentioned it was a time in my life where I faced some challenges. I was still trying to find who I was as a person and what I wanted to do with my life. I remember days of not wanting to go to class, wanting to throw in the towel. School wasn’t for me. I wasn’t a “straight A” student or at the top of my class.  It took me 4 years, but I figured it out my senior year. FINALLY!  I was ok with not making straight A’s. It’s ok to fail. It’s ok to not be the best at everything. We’re human.  When I finally came to grips with that, I had a totally different outlook on school, and even on life.
“There’s no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us into a different direction.”
 
I seriously couldn’t have made it through high school without having the support system I did. My AWESOME Mom and Dad, my sweet grandmother, and my supportive sister and friends. I’ve come along way, but I’m here to say it doesn’t get any easier.  Don’t give up. Keep fighting. Keep pushing. Be that person you’ve always dreamed of.  BE YOURSELF.  It’s much easier to be yourself than pretend to be someone else.
“It doesn’t matter how far you rise, at some point you are bound to stumble.”
 
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
I have had the pleasure of working on the leadership team at Montgomery First with some of the greatest young people in the world. I have watched them grow into individuals that stand firm in their beliefs for Christ and have been a beacon of hope in their schools.
Congratulations Emily Anne Berg, Precious Love Alexandra Dosey, Larry Keith Jackson Jr., Connor McLemore, Judy Kenechi Oranika, Jordan Sanders, Keegan Sanders, Hunter Sandlin, Miranda Nicole Schofield, Andrew Scott, Christopher Wallace, Nicholas Wysmulek. Class of 2013!!! YOU DID IT!!
“Go. Shine! Shine to the voices that said you couldn’t do it. Shine to God who saw you through it. Remember it was only by his grace, you could do it. “
Pastor Jimmy showed this video Sunday at our Graduation service and it couldn’t be more fitting.

The Circle Maker– Giveaway

I was given The Circle Maker book as a gift from my Pastor. He LOVED the book so much, he gave our entire congregation a copy. The book is about prayer— how important, necessary and powerful it is.

My book is full of Highlighter marks—these are some of my Favorite Quotes from Mark Batterson’s New York Times Best Seller book:

“Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers. God isn’t offended by your biggest dreams or boldest prayers. He is offended by anything less. If your prayers aren’t impossible to you, they are insulting to God. Why? because they don’t require divine intervention.”

“Well-developed faith results in well-defined prayers, and well-defined prayers result in well-lived life.”

“Success is not a circumstantial. We usually focus on what we’re doing or where we’re going, but God’s primary concern is who we’re becoming in the process.”

“Potential is God’s gift to us: what we do with it is our gift back to God.”

“When you pray regularly, you never know when God will show up or speak up. Today could be the day. When you live in prayer mode, you live with holy anticipation. You know that coincidences are Providences.”

“If you give beyond your ability, God will bless beyond your ability.” 

“Most of us don’t get what we want because we quit circling. We give up too easily. We give up too soon. We quit praying right before the miracle happens.”

After reading the Book, I am not the same person. It has truly changed the way I pray. We have to be specific in how we pray. I think sometimes we have a distorted view on God as our Father. He truly wants the best for our lives. He wants to bless our life, but in return he wants us to be open and honest with him.  He wants us to pray specifically with vision and purpose. God wants to use us. This book has helped me grow in my faith, and not only see Faith, but God in a completely different way. It has challenged me.

If you want to move forward in your prayer life and learn how to take the limits off God… this is certainly the book for you.  I LOVE this book so much I want to share it with YOU. I will be giving away 3 copies. All you have to do for a chance to win a copy is leave us a comment on this post between now and Friday June 7 (2013). We’ll randomly select a winner and include it at the bottom of Friday’s post.

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