August 27th, 2013

Hello Senior Year

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We’re about to begin our Senior year in Germany. This is not to say that it’s our final year, but our fourth year. When we came to Black Forest Academy, this year’s Seniors were freshman. We’re also Senior Sponsors, so we get to join the Seniors in all of their final year festivities. My how we’ve grown.

In mid-June, we said tearful goodbyes to the Seniors and a few other beloved students who won’t be returning. Dani graduated six girls she met with on a regular basis. Goodbyes are hard here. There are many more than we’d prefer, and some are unexpected.

A few days after Grad, we flew to Oklahoma for the Inner Healing and Freedom Conference. Dani spoke twice, about shame and the value of suffering. We were delighted to have two BFA students attend the conference. It was a small gathering of about 50 people, but God moved powerfully. We spent two more weeks with our family before flying back to Germany. The past few months have provided some much-needed rest.

From Dani

School starts in a week, and for the first time, I don’t know if I’m ready. Last week, I cried over the events of the past school year. I cried for my students’ pain, suffering and sin. I cried for the brokenness of the world. In some ways, I think it’s taken me these two summer months to relax enough to be able to cry.

The past school year was incredible. It was full of blessing, but so heavy with heartache. I don’t feel quite ready to jump back in. I am ready to see the students I love, but I don’t know if I’m ready to carry so much pain again. I don’t feel enough. I don’t know how to help. I don’t know what to say or do.

I just finished my second counseling course through CCEF. The biggest lesson I learned is that I am not the Holy Spirit. That has been the theme of the past six months. This has been a season of humbling and repentance from my self-sufficiency, from my attempts to save people. I have learned, just a little more, how to release these beautiful souls into the hands of our gentle and wise God.

So, for this new year, I want to continually cry out to God on behalf of, and in my interactions with, these students. I want to pray more. I want to listen better. I want to continue to learn what love does and says, what love looks like.

From Israel

I have been working in my new role since the middle of July. I am no longer the webmaster for BFA, but am working in the Communications Team at TeachBeyond. I will be doing similar work in regards to websites and such, but I hope to be able to focus more on getting people excited about how education can impact and transform a community and the people who shape it. I am excited that God has put me here.

I am learning so much about who God sees me as, and how I continue to fight him about it. My default is to internalize and rationalize my life, and to not bring Jesus into the picture. I feel like I’ve been learning this over the past two years, and God has started to help me see things about myself that I have been running from.

God is good, and I am so thankful that he has allowed us to be here. I feel so blessed and cared for by him and by those he has brought alongside us, you. Thank you all so much for praying and supporting us, in so many ways. I can only begin to understand your sacrifices, and for that I am genuinely grateful.

Praises

  • Marriage – We celebrated our seventh anniversary in July. We took a weekend trip to Heidelberg, Germany, our first trip away in six years. We are growing in love and communication and are experiencing new levels of intimacy and unity.
  • Everyday Blessings – We’ve been able to purchase a new mattress and car. We hope to buy a new dishwasher soon. These are not necessities, but are huge blessings to our daily life. After spending the past two years sleeping on springs, walking 40 minutes to school, and fighting with our dishwasher, we are grateful for a good night’s sleep, reliable transportation, and clean dishes!
  • Settling In – We are beginning to finally feel settled in Germany. We’re taking greater advantage of the beautiful places around us and are more confident in daily tasks. We feel known and loved. Life is getting easier; it’s about time.
  • The Joy of Giving and Receiving – Recently, we relished the opportunity to support more friends and family in their missionary work. Without you all, we would not know such joy in our giving. We have been extravagantly blessed by you who stand with us as we serve in Germany. You have taught us the joy of giving and receiving.

Prayers

  • Against Fear – We’ve become aware of how much of our lives are controlled by fear. We do not want to live from fear, but from confidence in the great love and care of our Savior. Pray that we would be grounded in who Christ is, and would know how to live every moment from that place of safety.
  • For TeachBeyond – Our organization is growing by leaps and bounds. Pray for vision, wisdom and protection for our leaders and team members. Pray for Israel and the Communications Team, that they would know how to best support the global work of TeachBeyond.
  • For BFA Students – Continue to beseech the Lord on behalf of our students. Many of the students who graduated or left BFA in June are carrying very heavy loads. May they turn to Christ and rest in him.
  • For the New School Year – New students begin to arrive on Sunday. The first day of school is Tuesday. We have no idea what to expect from this year. Pray that the student body will hunger and thirst for God. Pray that BFA will be a place of safety—physically, emotionally and spiritually. Pray for wisdom and energy for BFA Staff to know how to best care for and educate these students.

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