Sometimes, it is most exciting to have nothing to do. For the first time in a month, Israel and I are spending a weekend at home. We don’t look forward to the empty weekends because we dread our work and ministry, but because our lives are filled with so much good that it’s easy to do too much.
It’s been a full six-weeks since we last wrote: two weekends of dorm subbing, speaking on a panel about identity, high school retreat, helping host an open house at a dorm, illness, doctor’s appointments, an international church service, Service Project prep, attending counseling, participating in a Murder Mystery Night, a new women’s bible study, time with friends, working on new web projects, planning for the future of our ministry, meeting with students, and the list could go on, but that would make this update even longer, so I’ll stop.
Of the many things we’ve done over the past weeks, here are two that most stood out.
Time at the Dorm
We got to spend two of the past three weekends subbing at the wonderful Palmgarten dorm. We love being at the dorm! From cooking meals, to helping with homework, to playing games, to just laughing with the girls, it’s always a joy and privilege. On one of these weeks, Palm and the boys dorm upstairs, Maugenhard, hosted an open house. We helped the girls clean, cook and decorate, to host over 100 guests from our community. The theme of the evening was the Evolution of Music. Each floor and room was assigned a different era and genre of music ranging from the 50s to today; students were encouraged to dress up as a musician. We brought our Wii Just Dance game, which was quite hilarious to watch.
We also had the opportunity to join Palm on their Valentine’s Day event, a casino-themed Murder Mystery Night. Israel got to play an Elvis impersonator, while I was Security Sam, the head of casino security. Don’t worry, neither of us were the murderer.
If you follow me on Facebook, you might know that I was sick with the flu in the days leading up to our High School Retreat. I missed Retreat our first year at BFA and was worried that I wouldn’t be able to attend this year either. But, thanks to the prayers of many people across the globe, I woke up bright and chipper on Thursday morning and was able to head to our Retreat location in the Alps!
Retreat weekend was remarkable. The speaker, Dave Williams, has an incredible story of God’s redemption and glory in suffering. I encourage you to read this article, which summarizes his story of adoption, abuse, crime, salvation and cancer. His life has been tragic and difficult, but in the face of such hardship, he still has a smile on his face. Regarding the diagnosis of his second form of cancer, this time terminal, he simply said, “There must be a God.”
I knew a bit about Dave’s story before he came, and had been praying that God would speak to specific students. God answered those prayers. God moved through Dave’s story is such a beautiful way. Hard hearts were softened. Those who had been lost in despair moved toward hope. Complacent students were challenged to fight for their relationship with God, in both the good and bad times.
Israel and I both got to lead a small group during the weekend. My (Dani’s) group in particular was a joy. I co-led an existing small group whose leader wasn’t able to attend the weekend. I knew the majority of these girls and was able to jump into serious discussion right away. The girls said the opened up more during this weekend than they ever have before.
I also had the privilege of helping plan a girl’s breakout session with some other amazing BFA women. The time began with a modesty talk unlike one they’d ever heard. It centered on our identity in Christ and loving him, rather than on the rules which are so often our focus. Then, myself and four other women answered questions which ranged from makeup, to masturbation, to marriage. The girls stayed for nearly two hours, even though they could have left much earlier! I heard multiple women and students say this was the best modesty/sex talk they’d ever heard!
Praise God for all he did during this weekend away!
Please be in prayer for these things.
- Spring Break - On Thursday, Spring Break begins. 116 staff and students are participating in Service Projects to eight different locations across Europe, Asia and Africa. From March 23 to 26, BFA is hosting the International Christian Educator Conference. Hundreds of international school workers from across Europe will travel to Kandern for fellowship, education and rest. All of the BFA staff will be helping to facilitate this conference, in addition to participating in it. Pray for safety and health for those going on service projects, those traveling home, and those coming to the conference. Pray that God would work through and in our students on their service projects.
- Seniors - The final quarter of the year is a challenging time for our Seniors. While excited about the next chapter of their lives, they are are also saying many goodbyes. Many students are saying final goodbyes to the countries, peoples, and cultures that made up their childhoods. Pray for these Seniors to have wisdom regarding their futures, good time-management, peace, and good farewells.
- New Opportunities – After Spring Break, I (Dani) will have many several things beginning in addition to my normal responsibilities. I’ll be helping out with small groups more, beginning a distance education counseling class, and possible working on several video projects for BFA’s Chapel services. Pray for energy, excitement, and time management.
- Next Year’s Staff - BFA is still in the process of finding staff for next year. Here, you can see a list of open positions at schools all across the world. Pray that God would quickly fill the remaining gaps.
- Summer Conference - In June, I will be speaking at the Inner Healing Conference hosted by Israel’s father, Dennis Jernigan. I am incredibly excited to be asked to participate, but also feel slightly inadequate to contribute anything of worth! Some BFA students will be attending the conference with us, which makes my heart happy; we’d love for you to join us as well! Please consider telling your family, friends, and church about this opportunity. Pray that God would prepare the hearts of the conference speakers as well as those who attend.
We have been especially thankful for you lately. Your prayers for these students and my health, your cards in the mail, and your faithful giving having encouraged us lately. God has surrounded us with so many who care not only about our ministry to these fabulous students, but also about us. Thank you for asking how we are doing, for thinking of and praying for us, for rejoicing and mourning with us. Truthfully, there are few things I can think of that would be more meaningful than the work we get to do here, and we would not be here without you. You are a part of the slow, steady work of Jesus in these kids. They are knowing and loving him more because of you.
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