Posts Tagged ‘BFA’

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April 25th, 2014

We’re Having a Baby!

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We're Having a Baby!

The "Broken" Pregnancy Test

Yes, folks, it’s true. We are having a baby!! I’m 12 weeks pregnant and due around November 8. Can you believe it?!

As you can imagine, we are unbelievably thrilled to be expecting a little one. We were rather surprised to see a positive pregnancy test. I actually thought it was broken, “Where’s the not before the pregnant?” Just weeks earlier we’d discussed finally going in to have fertility tests; we had not expected to become pregnant just a few weeks later.

We are very, very excited. I am (obsessively) pinning nursery ideas on Pinterest, while Israel is patting my barely-different belly.

Today, I had the privilege of sharing our news with the BFA community during Chapel. I have spoken many times over the past few years about the miscarriages and infertility. This community has shared in our suffering and sorrow. We were thrilled to also be able to share our joy! Our joy is multiplied by BFA’s joy on our behalf!

Some people have asked if we are worried at all. We have moments of fear, but we are trying to walk in faith, rather than fear. Actually, a couple weeks ago, I had a little bit of bleeding. We know now that all is well, but we were pretty frightened at the time. Even so, we both responded from positions of faith. Israel said that he was choosing to believe and pray the baby was okay. We asked other’s to join us in that prayer. I told God that, even though I didn’t know what would happen, I trusted him, knew he was good, and knew he would be with us. In the past, we didn’t know how to choose faith over fear. We praise God that he has brought us to a place where we are able to walk in the truth more fully.

There is also a little apprehension in making our news public. What if something happens and we lose the baby? We know, though, that there is nothing we can do to control whether we meet this baby on this side of eternity, and we know that we can trust God with this little life, as well as our own lives.

Isn't this the cutest alien baby you've ever seen?

Because we are expecting, I will not be returning to BFA next year, though we will stay in Germany. This is a sad goodbye for me—I have loved my job—but I cannot think of a better reason to leave this beloved job. We plan to continue to be involved in the BFA community next year.

Many of you have prayed for and encouraged us through the years. Thank you. We have felt so loved and cared for during our six-year struggle to have a child. God has chosen to bless us with a pregnancy now, but he also blessed us with those years of infertility and loss. We would not trade them; from that dark time, we gained the invaluable riches of Jesus’ presence, goodness, and redemption.

Please join us in praying for:

  • A continued safe pregnancy and healthy baby.
  • That I will remain healthy. We will be traveling to the States this summer and hope that the pregnancy will remain complication-free.
  • That we will continue to choose faith over fear.

Also, join in our rejoicing! We are not ecstatic like we might have been at age 24, but our joy is much deeper than it would have been otherwise. We sense the great privilege of this pregnancy. We are joyfully expectant of what we have waited so long to receive.

 

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.

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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.

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March 17th, 2013

The End of Winter: February and March at BFA

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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.

Highlights

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.

The Murder Mystery Night Cast

The Murder Mystery Night Cast

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February 3rd, 2013

The Semester Begins; Twice.

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So classes resumed January 8th here at Black Forest Academy.  Students were buzzing with stories from the Christmas break, and dorms were again full of screaming highschoolers pining for more sleep. But this school year is different for two reasons. One, the first semester exams were three weeks into the new calendar year. Two, that means that the second semester didn’t start until the week after. You can imagine the horror of realizing you have to remember geometry theorems from over a month ago for an upcoming final exam.

A School Schedule to Rule Them All

As a sidenote, many students had seen “The Hobbit” over break. So I thought it fitting to find a correlation with the movie and our school schedule.

Our new school schedule places our semester’s ending and beginnings around the same time that all the German schools in the area have their breaks and starts. The reasons behind are many, but one of the main reasons is so that our bilingual elementary school doesn’t start or end 3-4 weeks before or after our high school campus does. Many of the families have students on both campuses, and I think that the parents appreciate the move, much more so than the students.

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November 27th, 2012

From a Grateful Heart

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This is the American month for thankfulness, and tonight I am abundantly thankful. God has poured innumerable gifts into our lives. The past weeks have been filled with many wonderful things—conferences to hone our counseling and media skills, treasured time with old friends, moments of holy brokenness in ourself and our students, times of rejoicing with those in the BFA community. Our life here is rich and vibrant, but tonight, I am struck not with the events, but with the people, the themes, the underlying and overarching goodness of our God.

I wish I could squeeze my heart into these words, so you could feel the deep pleasure and gratitude that lives there. Through ever-present pain, longing, and hurt, runs a bright fuchsia cord of earnest satisfaction. Even in the moments of acute ache, my soul still whispers to the great God above, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”

Thank you for my husband.

He is the most patient man I know. He is the stability of my turbulent heart. He is the greatest picture of you I’ve seen on this earth. I have no fear that he will ever walk away from me. Thank you for giving me such an undeserved love.

Thank you for this place.

It is a rare gem, to which I fear all others will seem flawed in comparison. These students amaze me with their vibrant creativity, fierce sense of justice, abundant compassion, and beyond-their-years wisdom. These families are flawed, but I’ve never had more opportunity to stand in awe at the sacrifice, patience and wisdom of parental love. This staff is composed of fallen humans, but they genuinely want to please you, they genuinely love those they’ve sacrificed so much to serve. Thank you for creating such a beautiful community.

Thank you for your body.

We do not deserve their love, prayers, and financial support, but you have lavished it upon us. Our families believe in the call you placed upon our lives, a gift that not all receive. Our friends delight in the work you have called us to, so much so that they happily provide for our needs. Our brothers and sisters remember us before you, lifting us up with heartfelt petitions for fruit, for growth, for blessing. Thank you for these people we are honored to know.

Thank you for your redemption.

I cannot believe that you take my shame and make it beautiful. I cannot believe that you take what has meant only death to me, and bring forth life. I cannot believe that you bless even my tarnished desires to serve you, for your glory and your kingdom. You overwhelm me with your goodness. My heart aches at the holy glory you display through my brokenness. Thank you for being my Redeemer.

Thank you for making me a mother.

Though I have not touched a child of our flesh and blood, you have given us children on this earth. You have filled our days with beautiful souls to protect, to delight in, and to love. Some days, my heart nearly bursts from this beautiful sorrow, this abundance that you have poured upon us through our brokenness. You have taken our barrenness, and given us children. A students once said to me, “Even if you don’t have kids, you have kids,” and it is this that makes me stand in awe of you, a God who would give us children of the heart. Thank you for being a giver of good gifts.

Thank you for promises like these.

Can a woman forget her nursing child,

that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?

Even these may forget,

yet I will not forget you.

Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…

Sing, O barren one, who did not bear;

break forth into singing and cry aloud,

you who have not been in labor!

For the children of the desolate one will be more

than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord.

Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;

be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced;

for you will forget the shame of your youth,

and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.

For the mountains may depart

and the hills be removed,

but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,

and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”

says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

September 2nd, 2012

A New Year Begins

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Well Folks, we’ve been back in Germany for two weeks. How fabulous it is to be back to our beautiful Schwarzwald (Black Forest). The past two weeks have already been quite busy, and school hasn’t even started yet!
Today, new students are moving into their dorms. Tomorrow, new families and students will meet teachers, finalize schedules and learn about life at BFA. On Tuesday, we kick off the school year with our Opening Ceremony. The seniors will carry in the flags of each country represented at BFA. Staff and students will be charged to honor God, set an example and love each other well. And with that, a new year begins. It’s an exciting time.

A Few Things You Can Pray For

  • Safe travels — For new and returning students
  • New students and their families — That God would comfort these families as they separate and students as they adjust to life at BFA.
  • Our Staff — This year, we have twice as many new staff as normal. Pray for unity, easy adjustments and energy. Pray for the dorm staff, as several dorms have entirely new staff teams.
  • Our Students — Join us in praying that God will revive the students of BFA this year, that they will desire him above all else.
  • For Us — This year, we want to be more intentional about maintaining balance in our lives, focusing on each other, and pursuing Jesus together.

Thank You

We are so grateful to be back. Thank you for getting us here. This summer was flabbergasting. God did what we thought was impossible, and he used you to accomplish it. We literally would not be here without your prayers, your enthusiasm, your giving. We are abundantly blessed by you who support us, who minister with us, from across the sea. Our ministry at Black Forest Academy is your ministry at Black Forest Academy.

A Final Support Update

It looks like we’ve settled at 93% of our support, which means that all of our expenses are covered, but we’re still lacking about $370 per month. We are still praying to be fully funded. If you’d like to join our team, we’d love to have you!

Since we’ve ended our summer support raising, our blog and newsletter updates will be non-support focused from now on. 🙂

Receive Blog Posts Via Email

In the past, we’ve not been great about sending out newsletters. This year, our goal is to send an email newsletter every quarter. If you’d like to receive more frequent updates on our life and ministry, you can sign up to get our blog posts via email. Simply fill out this form. Our blog is a personal look at our life, struggles, joys, and ministry to the wonderful students of BFA. If you have yet to visit our blog, you can check it out here.

We’re looking forward to jumping back into the crazy-wonderfulness that is Black Forest Academy! By the way, the photo on this post is the view from our balcony.

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.

 

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