May 26th, 2013

Job Changes and a Difficult Month

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TB World

Job Changes for Israel

Since 2009, when we joined our sending organization TeachBeyond, Israel’s vision has reached beyond one country. At Black Forest Academy, Israel was able to help one school accomplish their mission through media, but his desire has always been to help not just one school, but many. In light of this vision, Israel will join the Communications Team of TeachBeyond this July.

TeachBeyond is our sending organization. Their vision is, “to be an instrument of redemptive change through transformational education – an education grounded in Judeo-Christian values that equips students to reach their full potential as human beings. It is a vision for global impact, building bridges between peoples and cultures.” TeachBeyond currently has about 330 members serving in 32 countries. These numbers increase every year as TeachBeyond partners with, founds and equips new schools around the globe. With 30 partner schools, TeachBeyond serves a combined enrollment of over 26,000 national and international students. If you’d like to learn more about TeachBeyond, please view their website or the annual report.

Israel’s change in position means that he will no longer be an employee of BFA, though he will continue to partner with BFA’s Communications Team. Many things are still being discussed regarding the specifics of TeachBeyond’s Communications Team, but Israel’s hope is to make TeachBeyond and it’s partner schools successful in using transformational education to reach the world for Christ. Logistically, very little will change for us. Israel will work from the TeachBeyond offices in Kandern, the same town where BFA is located. Dani will continue to serve BFA as an Assistant Chaplain. We will live in the same house and work less than a kilometer away from each other. Israel will still be involved at BFA through coaching and being a class sponsor and dorm sub.

We are seeking God’s will for our long-term plans. After two more school years, we will spend a year on Home Assignment. We are open to continuing our service with TeachBeyond/BFA for another five-year term, but are uncertain what God desires for us. If we do continue long-term, Israel’s role with TeachBeyond may influence whether we return to Germany or head somewhere else.

Please join us in praying for Israel’s transition out of BFA and into TeachBeyond. We are excited for what God will do in and through Israel in his new role. We believe this is a change God has been leading Israel toward for four years. We are delighted that he will be able to support and equip God’s work through education in this new role.

From Dani: A Wearying Few Months

Since returning from Spring Break in mid-April, many serious matters have surfaced in the lives of the students I meet with. I struggle to know how to share with you while respecting the privacy of these students. Suffice it to say, it has been an incredibly draining seven weeks. God has allowed me to enter into a phase of ministry which is more demanding than any I have experienced before. Many of these girls are dealing with the darkest parts of their lives. They are facing their own sin and suffering in ways that are almost too much to bear.

Personally, I have struggled to keep hope. I have felt discouraged and dismayed, wondering whether my investment is making a difference, wondering why God has me in this role when it sometimes seems to matter very little. I am realizing how much pride is wrapped up in my discouragement. I am discouraged because my love seems to be so ineffective. The truth is that my love is ineffective, but Christ’s love is utterly sufficient. He is at work. He is redeeming and wooing these girls to himself.

Please partner with us in bringing these students before Christ. Pray that he would be real to them, that they would seek him in the midst of their heartache, that they would turn their hearts toward him. Pray for wisdom, healing and protection for these families. Pray for patience, strength and hope for me. I want to be gentle, compassionate, and long-suffering, but I am weary.

Highlights from April and May

  • Small Group – A Junior Small Group Leader had to move back to the States before the school year ended, so Dani has been leading this group since Spring Break. She has delighted in getting to know these girls better as they share their life stories each week.
  • Junior-Senior Banquet – As Junior Class Sponsors, our largest responsibility was helping to plan BFA’s version of Prom, the Junior-Senior Banquet. Our committee, the Entertainment committee, was a pretty significant undertaking. We headed up 14 students who planned, auditioned and organized 11 musical performances, eight tribute letters from dorms, and the schedule of the evening. Israel worked tirelessly for weeks to make sure everything was ready. In the end, the evening was a wonderful—relaxed, pleasant, fun and meaningful. We were wonderfully surprised at how well all the details came together. We are also very, very glad it’s over. 🙂 You can view photos of JSB here.
  • Baptisms – Every year, BFA has a baptism service at the local english-speaking church. This year, one of the girls Dani has been meeting with for three years was baptized. Dani was thrilled to be asked to support this student on stage while she shared her testimony and was baptized. This baptism was a wonderful close to this student’s time at BFA. During her time here, God has transformed her with his love. She will graduate in June.

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Upcoming Events and Prayer Needs

  • Speaking Opportunities – Dani will speak in Chapel this Friday on the value of suffering. Pray that God would give her clarity and wisdom to know how to address this difficult topic. She will also speak on June 20-22 at the Inner Healing and Freedom Conference  in Muskogee, OK. This conference is lead by Israel’s dad, Dennis Jernigan. Two BFA students will be joining us at for the week. Pray that God would move in all hearts involved. Registration is still open if you’d like to come!
  • Grad – BFA’s Graduation is on June 14. These final three weeks of school are packed with projects, finals, and a slew of emotions. Pray for the Seniors as they prepare for this huge transition. Pray for good farewells. Pray for the staff and students who are being left behind.
  • Summer Travel – We will be traveling to the States for three weeks following Graduation. The first week will be spent in Muskogee, OK for the conference. We will spend the rest of our time visiting family. Pray for safe, easy travels and that this is a restful and sweet time with family.

2 Responses to “Job Changes and a Difficult Month”

Comments

  • Suzanne says:

    So excited for you guys and the opportunities that lie ahead. Looking forward to seeing you in Kandern this summer and getting to debrief our year on different continents. May your words, Dani, be spirit led and full of his hope as you trust him steadfastly with your mind and your heart.

  • Holly says:

    Hey girl,

    Will be praying about the changes. Big stuff ahead. Also excited about you speaking at the IHAF conference in June. Know many people will be blessed by your words. 🙂 Been praying for this conference for a long, long time.

    As for your struggle with hearing your students’ heartbreaking stories, I wanted to share with you something that happened to me at this year’s Journey Retreat.

    At this retreat, Melissa Haas was talking about the affects that our hurts have on us, including how we clinig to “our” children. For some of us, our husbands’ sins have had affects on us, and for some, just life has had a way of wearing us down. All of that makes us overprotective. She asked us to name our children one by one in prayer and give them back to the Lord, just like Hannah did with Samuel.

    By the time I got to that part, I was starting to sob. Seven babies in heaven. Only one of them had a name, for she was the only one I knew was a “she”. All the others – too early. How do I give them back TO the Lord, when they were already WITH the Lord?

    A friend who knew my whole story came to me during the prayer and just hugged me. I broke apart sobbing deeply – but it was one of those long time in coming kind of sobs – you know? It felt so cleansing that afterwards I was peaceful about this part of my past in a way I hadn’t been before.

    My friend apologized. “What for??” I asked in surprise. “For not knowing what to say,” she said sadly. “I couldn’t think of any words of comfort.”

    “But you don’t understand. You’re EXACTLY the one I needed. I didn’t need MORE words. I’ve heard all sorts of words over the years: ‘God needed one more flower in His garden.’ ‘We don’t understand His ways, but He is good.’ ‘She’s healed now. That should bring you comfort.’….I’m so SICK of words!! I needed someone to hug me and just hurt WITH me. Someone who wouldn’t minimize my pain nor try to talk ‘over me’ with their words of ‘comfort’. I needed the arms of Jesus. Tonight, YOU were those arms, and I can’t thank you enough!!”

    Sometimes, dear Dani, what your girls need is just a strong hug and an available shoulder to let the tears rain down. Speaks love more compassionately than any words could ever convey.

    I believe in you.

    So does Jesus.

    Go get ’em, girl.

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