Archive for the ‘Students’ Category

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September 22nd, 2012

Blogging Fail, Sort Of

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I tried to write a blog post, but the words, a rather important part of blogging, weren’t really making sense. Here’s the gist of what I wanted to write:

  1. We’ve been busy! Volleyball, Small Group planning and leader training, student meetings, Spiritual Emphasis Week, Class Sponsoring, life…. We certainly hit the ground running.
  2. I miss people. It’s been a difficult adjustment this year. I miss all of the Seniors from last year. All of our closest friends are also gone this year. I’ve been rather sad.
  3. New relationships are forming. We’ve been trying, with what little free time we have, to build new relationships with friends. We need friends. I’ve also been encouraged by the opportunities I’ve had to connect with new students. I’ve already had a few conversations with students that made me think, “Maybe there is a reason God brought us back here on time.”
  4. God is moving.God has impressed upon me the importance of praying for our Student Body this year. I’ve been praying that he would revive and awaken them to desire him above all else, and have also been praying more for specific students. There’s a sense of expectation at BFA this year. I’ve heard staff and students say that God is going to do something here, we just don’t know what. This week was Spiritual Emphasis Week. All week, we met in the morning for worship and teaching. It was incredible. God moved and students responded.  Last night, we had a final time of worship. This is an optional time, but nearly half of our student body was there. We had nine prayer stations set up around the room. We worshiped God and shared our stories for two hours. All week, I kept saying, “That was so good.” It was so good. Please join us in praying for the students of BFA this year.
  5. Upcoming Events. Our busyness isn’t going to subside any time soon. Israel will continue to coach volleyball, which requires traveling every weekend until November. We’re subbing at a dorm next weekend, and then again in October. We’ll be traveling to Normandy and Paris with the Junior class in two weeks. I’ll be attending a conference on Guilt and Shame in October; I’m very excited about it. We have to get our German taxes settled next week. Please pray that they will be manageable! We’ve also go our normal jobs and life to keep up with. Israel’s been so busy with random side jobs that he hasn’t had time to focus on major projects. And, our house is a mess. We need energy, rest, and efficiency.

Well, this turned out to be a bit of a blog post after all. To finish it off, here are a bunch of photos. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take photos of the Spiritual Emphasis Week worship night, which is a bummer because the prayer stations were très cool.

 

August 14th, 2012

Almost Home

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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.

 

July 28th, 2012

We Have a Mission

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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.

May 2nd, 2012

Of Ripped Canvas and Thankfulness

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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.

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