Archive for the ‘Dani’ Category

Page 3 of 512345
August 17th, 2012

Germany, We’re Coming Home!

Comments Off on Germany, We’re Coming Home!

Partner with us in loving missionary kids

We reached our 90% support requirement! We depart for Germany on Monday morning! Eek!

We are overwhelmed and awed. Did this really happen? Are we really at 92%? Are we really heading back to Germany, not only in time for the beginning of the school year, but also in time for our staff conference? We’re amazed.

At one point, I thought it would be November before the support was in place. I knew that we would return at some point, but I didn’t know what the timing would be. All summer, I’ve been reminding myself that my BFA girls will be okay without me. The school will not collapse without us. God is completely capable of keeping everything running, and running well, without us.

So our joy is multiplied by this blessing of returning on time. We are so grateful.

Abundantly Blessed

God has done an amazing thing this summer. When it was all said and done, we needed to raise about 60% of our monthly budget, a little over $3,200. The fact that God’s brought in so much support in only 69 days is astonishing. Honestly, it can take months, sometimes even years to raise that amount.

God has not only met our financial needs, but he has met our financial wants. We have enough money in our account to replace our nearly dead car, invest in a comfortable mattress, and pay our German taxes. We feel abundantly provided for.

Beyond the financial aspect, we are so grateful to be returning to Black Forest Academy. We get to see our BFA kids again. We get to sub in our beloved dorm. We get to return to the beautiful hills of Kandern. We are completely unworthy to know and love these kids, but God has given us the opportunity anyway. Even more, it seems that he’s not begrudgingly letting us return to BFA, but is saying, “Here, I prepared this for you. You desire to be there because I desire it for you. This is my best for you.” What an unbelievable thought.

Thank You

Thank you for making this possible. Thank you for the numerous expressions of love and care we received this summer—the beds to sleep in, home-cooked meals, dinners at our favorite restaurants, cash for gas, prayers for encouragement, conversations about the things on our hearts, loaned cars, invitations to speak, Facebook posts, thoughtful emails, coffee dates, hugs, smiles, and so much more. We have so many amazing people in our lives.

Thank you for being interesting in the work God is doing in and through us at Black Forest Academy. Thank you for caring about missionary kids and Third Culture Kids with us. Thank you for showing just how important you think they are, by giving of your money. It may seem like a small thing, but to us, it is invaluable.

You allow us to be at Black Forest Academy. We are an extension of you. We have been changed by our time there. We think God has changed a few students through us too.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We are blessed.

The Final Push

We would love to be fully funded before boarding that plane on Monday morning. Being at 100% of our support would be incredible. It would allow us to save, invest in retirement, and even travel a bit. It would give us more stability as we serve over the next three years.

We are currently at 92% of our support. We need to raise only $409 per month in order to be fully funded. We’re still praying to find people to commit to giving $25, $50, or $100 per month. If you would like to give, please contact us! You can easily set up a donation with the buttons above.

Vielen Dank und auf Wiedersehen!

 

August 14th, 2012

Almost Home

Comments Off on Almost Home

Partner with us in loving missionary kids

Israel and I spent the weekend at Beaver Lake with some dear college friends. I left my computer, my phone had no service, and I refused to find out the internet password. We spent a weekend away from support calls, excel spreadsheets, and thinking about when we might get back to Germany. Well, it’s hard to turn off our minds, but we certainly tried! The lake and good friends helped.

As many of you know, we were hoping to return to Germany tomorrow, on August 15th. That’s not going to happen, unfortunately. But we are very close! We only need $390 more in order to finalize our tickets! We’re at 83% and need to be at 90%. We are praying that we can leave by Monday, August 20th, as I am scheduled to participate in New Staff Orientation next Wednesday morning.

We’ve been very blessed in the past few weeks with many new donors. Old friends, new friends, people we’ve never met, churches we’ve never been to, former BFA students, and adult MKs have all joined our support team. It’s been wonderful to see God bring so many people that we could never have anticipated. We are rejoicing in the continued provision of God.

Will You Partner with Us?

We are still looking for more folks to partner with us in loving Third Culture Kids. We only need four people to give $100 a month, eight people to give $50 a month, or 16 people to give $25 a month to hit our 90% requirement! Would you pray about being one of those people? Would you share our ministry with your friends, family and churches? 

We’re Ready

In the past few days, several BFA students have written to ask if we’re returning to Germany this year. One of the girls I meet with weekly said, “Do you have enough support to get back to Germany? Do you think you’ll be able to come back? Please, please do!” I am eager to tell her, “Yes! We’re coming back!” Another of my girls has been praying for our support all summer, which is kind of a big deal. It’s been so encouraging to hear her say that she’s been praying for more support, praying that we will be encouraged, and believes that we’re going to be back on time! I love that our support raising is a catalyst for her to talk to Jesus every day.

We can’t wait to hug these students again. We can’t wait to walk through the beautiful German hills again. We can’t wait to meet all of the the new BFA staff. We are ready to be home. We hope it’s only a few days away.

 

August 9th, 2012

An Active Perseverance

2 Comments »

Last week was exceptionally encouraging in our support raising. In one week, God provided over $500 in new support. This week has been particularly discouraging. A few days ago, we discovered that we needed to raise about $350 more than we’d originally thought. This brought our support from 84% to 77%, which means we’re back to needing $1,200.

Last week, it seemed like new supporters were pouring in. This week, it seems like the world’s gone on vacation. Last week, we were encouraged, motivated and excited. This week we are exhausted, discouraged and just ready to be done.

When we raised support in 2010, there came a point when we’d run out of people to contact. We were stuck at 50% and didn’t know where to find more supporters. We were discouraged, tired, and running out of hope. Then, God brought us a major financial supporter who enabled us to go to Germany. It was unexpected. It was miraculous. It was shocking.

This feels like a very similar place. We’ve been working, working, working all summer to raise new support. We’ve been emailing, calling, meeting, speaking, praying, and God’s brought $1,600 in new support. It’s incredible. But our energy is gone. Our time is short. Black Forest Academy feels all of its 4,924 miles away.

Yet despite the similar situations, I stand on a much more stable foundation. Now, I know that God is in control. I know that He is working on our behalf to bring new supporters. I fully believe that we will get back to Germany, and I am hopeful that we will return in time to prepare for school.

Yet I still feel discouraged; I’m just ready to be done. I want to throw up my hands and say, “God, I’ve done my part. Now it’s your job. I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m done.” Part of me wants to throw a temper tantrum and refuse to budge. I don’t want to!

I’ve always thought of perseverance as gritting your teeth and bearing the wind and rain until the storm passes by. My perseverance has been passive. God is challenging me to make my perseverance active. He is not asking me to merely sit through this uncertainty. He is asking me to work through this uncertainty. I cannot lay in bed while he brings support. I must keep working, calling, asking, praying, hoping, and believing. This perseverance is the perseverance of a long-distance runner. I must put one foot in front of the other, until I arrive at the destination.

Prayers Please

We would greatly appreciate your prayers. Pray that God would speedily bring in our remaining support so that we can leave sometime next week. There are also many other BFA staff who are still lacking support. Pray that we would persevere through our weariness. Pray that we would be protected from the attacks and distractions of Satan. Above all, we want to know God better, please him, and glorify him.

July 28th, 2012

We Have a Mission

Comments Off on We Have a Mission

One of the things we like to do is share our ministry with groups. Sunday school classes, home groups, random people pulled off the street, we like them all. Actually, sharing with a small group is probably how we communicate most effectively, because there’s some structure to our time, but it’s also casual and personal. But that’s besides the point.

During one of these presentations, I realized that I’d verbalized our mission statement. I didn’t really know we had a mission statement. I mean, I probably could have pulled some words together to somehow express our love and care for TCKS, but now I know what our mission is. I’ve probably even said some variation of this in the past, perhaps even this exact phrase, but this time, it stuck. And the tiny lightbulb in my head went off.

Our mission is to help missionary kids know that Jesus loves them too.

From my conversations with MKs over the past two years, I would say that most MKs struggle with fear, loneliness, and feeling like God loves everyone else, but not them. These kids’ families have been called to far-away countries. Their parents have been called to share the love of Jesus with specific people groups. Their lives have been uprooted, possessions sold, friends left, familiar languages abandoned, all in the name of Jesus.

MKs spend their lives supporting their parents’ lives. They know how to perform well. They know how to act the part which they are required to play. They have to travel around America, visit countless churches, and talk to people they don’t know, in order to raise money to get back to the place where Jesus wants them.

Now, don’t get me wrong, for the most part, MKs love their lives. They grow to love the countries where they live. They learn to speak the language more fluently than their parents. They go to school, have friends, and enjoy the food of the countries where they serve. Most of them wouldn’t trade these experiences, but these aren’t things they chose; Jesus called, and their parents answered.

Many MKs feel like a burden to their parents. Often, these missionary families are under incredible stress. In addition to ministry concerns, support raising, and the difficulties of living in another country, missionaries are not always safe. Sometimes, they’re in danger of being kicked out of the country. Sometimes, their houses are bugged. Sometimes, their very lives are in danger. Missionary kids know this. They see the stress their parents feel. They feel their parents’ burdens. So they don’t add to the burden. MKs often keep their hurts, struggles and thoughts to themselves, because if they tell their parents, they think they’ll just make things worse. As a result, many things which should be spoken, which missionary parents wish would be spoken, stay in secret.

So the thought that God cares for the world, but not for them, grows, gains significance, and takes up residence in the hearts and minds of these teenagers. It seems that God doesn’t care about their lives. It seems that God sacrifices them for the sake of everyone else. It seems that God sends someone to the entire world, but has forgotten them.

But we have a mission.

We want to help missionary kids know that Jesus loves them too.

God has sent us. God has sent us to Black Forest Academy. God has sent us to Germany. God has sent us to missionary kids, to help them believe that, yes, Jesus loves you.

You are not forgotten. You are not alone. You are valuable and loved and cared for. Jesus delights in you, little soul that you are. He knows you. He works on your behalf. We have left our families, we have left our lives, we have left our possessions, so that you would know He cares.

And BFA students, if you’re reading this, I’m talking about you.

We have a mission, it’s to share the love of Jesus with missionary kids, who know of Jesus, but don’t always know that his great plan of salvation and love includes them. It does.

June 18th, 2012

German Brunch with Israel and Dani

Comments Off on German Brunch with Israel and Dani

So, we’d like to tell you about our past two years in Germany. We’d like to share some of the web and video work Israel’s done, tell you about the wonderful students we’ve grown to know and love, and share what God has done in our own lives. We’d like to thank you for your giving, prayers and friendship. We’re pretty sure that the only way to do this correctly is over a tasty Germany breakfast. Sound good to you?

Then join us for a German Brunch and Update!

At The Grove Church at 385 E. Sunbridge in Fayetteville, AR
On Saturday, June 30th
At 10:00 AM

In addition to hearing about how God has worked in and through us at Black Forest Academy, you’ll get to enjoy a wonderful German brunch. Sliced meats and cheeses, rolls, veggies, yogurt, müsli (granola), boiled eggs, coffee, tea, juice, and mineral water all await you.

Continue reading

May 2nd, 2012

Of Ripped Canvas and Thankfulness

6 Comments »

About a year ago, I finally painted a long-bare canvas. I inscribed on it a poem I’d written. This art piece was in memory of our heaven-dwelling babies. I’ve had this canvas in my office at school all year. It’s precariously balanced on an electrical outlet, waiting to be more securely attached to the wall.

Today, that canvas fell, not for the first time, but this time, it met the corner of my desk, resulting in a gash. I was meeting with a student at the time. At first I was bewildered, then angry, then deaf to all that Beka was saying. And then I started crying. I don’t think poor Beka quite knew what to do. I wanted to show my broken canvas to Mari Ellen—she’d appreciated this piece of memorial lament—but she wasn’t there to sorrow with me.

That canvas is the most personally significant memorial I have of my kids. Seeing it abruptly torn, jerked to the surface my hibernating sorrow. For the rest of the day, I was exhausted and slow-moving. It’s funny how such a small thing can summon the heavy, familiar weight of grief. I didn’t expect this small incident to cause such a strong reaction.

Tomorrow, I’ll be participating in the Senior Transition Seminar. It’s a time for Seniors to process saying goodbye to BFA and transitioning to college life. I’ll be talking to the girls about relationships in college. Tonight, while thinking over what to say, my thoughts turned to all of the girls who I’ll be interacting with.

I like these 30 girls. A lot.

I have one month left with them. One more month to enjoy their smiles. One more month to hear their thoughts. One more month to laugh until I cry at their quirky humor. One more month to hug them. One more month share their lives while I can touch and see and smell and hold them. And then they’ll be gone. Off to places all across the world. I may never see them again. And that makes me so very sad. I don’t want BFA sans them.

I was thinking, just before writing this post, about that torn canvas and how sad it made me, how it affected my day. And I rather surprised myself by saying, “Thank you God that I’m sad about that canvas.” I had to consider why I was thankful.

Thank you, God, that I loved, and love, my children. Thank you, God, that I remember them through art. Thank you that these things are meaningful to me because these people are meaningful to me. Thank you that my life is filled with people I love. Thank you, God, that I care about these senior girls, who will soon be moving on to bigger and better things. Thank you that I will miss them. Thank you, God, that my hurt comes from deep love. Thank you for filling my life with things so good, people so good, that I miss them when they’re gone.

April 16th, 2012

Invisible Things

5 Comments »

This morning I found myself dazed while attending an all-staff meeting. I sat. I stared. I payed no attention to the conversations going on around me. At one point, I thought how familiar this felt. I felt this way all of last year.

Grief is like pea soup. It’s thick, it’s heavy, and, Israel would say, it tastes like dirt.

A little over a week ago, a friend and BFA colleague passed away unexpectedly. Mari Ellen Reeser had worked at BFA for over 20 years. Most recently, she was BFA’s sole counselor.

Mari Ellen was my friend. We lived in her house last year, and I was terrified of her. That year was incredibly difficult, and I felt so very guilty about the state of our home. It wasn’t clean, and we’d managed to break more things in those few months than I had in my entire life. But Mari Ellen was gracious. She wrote in an email, “PEOPLE are always more important than THINGS!! It’s the invisible things (like souls!) which are eternal. The visible is passing away!!”

When Israel and I finally met Mari Ellen in a local cafe, I was shocked by how very loud she was and by how often she laughed—loudly.

Over the past year, Mari Ellen has been my safe place, my sanity. I’ve had a lot of conversations with girls about things I was required to report. I hate reporting. It feels like a betrayal. But I can’t think of a better person to report to than Mari Ellen. She was ever gracious. She was always loving. She was always patient. She did was what necessary, and she did what was best.

Most of the “reported” girls didn’t like Mari Ellen. They felt threatened by her. She was the bad guy. Apart from their one or two required meetings with Mari Ellen, they usually chose to see me exclusively. But Mari Ellen didn’t seem to mind. She was never jealous, or petty, or unkind. She wanted to work through the avenues that God was using, whether that was me, her, or someone else.

Mari Ellen was the only person I could talk with openly about my girls. With her, I didn’t have to disguise identities, talk around an issue, or be vague. I could express my confusion, and hurt, and heartache about the pain and suffering these girls experienced. She always offered advice on how to proceed. She always encouraged me in the ways that God was working in and through me. She always prayed for me and for our students.

I’ve only really felt the loss of Mari Ellen once so far. It stills seems unreal that she’s not here. I expect that it will begin to seem very real tomorrow, while attending her memorial service. And the next day, when I meet with the students she cared for. And in a few weeks, when someone tells me something I’m required to report.

I am sad that Mari Ellen is no longer here. I am sad that she’s no longer here to care for our students. I’m sad that she’s left a hole in so many of my friends’ lives. I’m sad that she’s no longer just a few steps away, when it seems like all of my questions have meshed into one great knot that I’d like her to help untie.

But I’m not sad for her. She is dancing with the Holy Trinity now (an idea she once told me passionately about). She is holding my Blueberry and Beatrice until I can. She knows the complete healing and wholeness of eternity. As she referenced all those months ago, her visibleness has passed away, but her soul is eternal.


I wrote this poem over Christmas Break. Now seems like a good time to share it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t copy the formatting without hours of work, so you’ll have to read it as is.

 

A Boxing Day Reflection
By Dani Jernigan

There are moments
and days
and years
that are shot through
with such exquisite sadness
that they must be strings to somewhere else.

They must be threads
that tie the shattered and murky
to the solid and clear,
where there are answers to the
why? and
how long? and
how come?

Where every heartache
and teardrop
and bloody heart-spasm
is perfectly reflected as a glorious groan
that sings forth
honor
glory
redemption
love.

For when we are huddled
in masses on the ground,
alone and aching and raw,
there must be a holy reflection on the other side,
that shows someone beside us,
whispering words of comfort,
weeping tears of heartache,
giving embraces that don’t let go
until we awake
to see the arms that have been holding us
all along.

Surely,
each empty seat
twinkling light
hug from father to daughter
and belly swollen with promise
that makes my brittle heart creak
connects me to a pool
of longing
and hope
and expectation
that is millennia old
where ancient souls come
to remember their sadness
and rejoice
at their joy realized.

Surely,
each empty womb
branded cheek
bruised body
and whimpering child
flies to a bottomless pool of compassion
that forever hides in our Father’s heart,
where he comes
to remember his children
and their great cares,
where he weeps tears of
compassion
brokenness
love
that mingle with our own
to form a sadness so rich
it can only be holy
and precious
and meant for a place
where we are loved
and never alone
and always wanted.

May the balm of that place reach us even here.

Continue reading

January 17th, 2012

Tuesday Night Musings

4 Comments »

About a year ago, I got pregnant for the second time. These days, I find myself thinking about kids a lot. The kids who are mine, but who I can’t hold. The kids I think I want. The kids of other people who I get to talk to every day, but can’t call my own.

I’m often confused, and sad, and overwhelmingly grateful for what God’s done and taught us and brought us through. I am often joyful and content. I don’t know what will happen, and I find myself struggling to learn to live fully in the now, without drifting into what might be, or numbing my heart to the desire, hope, and loss I feel.

I’ve had a lot of conversations lately about the value of pain, loss, and sadness. I don’t think God wants hurt and heartbreak for us; I do think he is gracious to us and redeems those things. So I find myself trying to explain why it is better to hurt than to feel nothing, to risk vulnerability than to protect yourself with loneliness, to love and lose than never love at all.

Continue reading

Page 3 of 512345