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.

Spring Break Service Projects

Another reason was so that  our Easter/Spring Break weeks would coincide or overlap. This means that we can partner with the local groups and schools to do service projects as a team. Over the past two years, BFA has been pushing to better relate to and connect with the community where we live. Last year, we partnered with the local school to do just that by building a house in Romania through Habitat for Humanity.. There was such a positive response by the community, that there are two combined BFA-German service projects planned for this Spring Break. I think that’s pretty cool. You can read about where all of our spring break service projects are going on the BFA webpage. These combined trips are projects one and two.

Fastnacht

I don’t talk about this much on our blog, but it seems to be coming up more and more in the lives of the students around Dani and I. You might not know this, but our region of Germany has a strong Wiccan presence. They usually have the party booths at festivals and the loudest floats in the parades. I mention this because, during this time of year, there is a festival called Fastnacht or Fasching. It’s the German Mardi Gras celebration. (You can read more about it on this wikipedia page and this page.) But what these celebrations represent is greatly felt by many of our students. Some students and staff report increased demonic oppression during this time. Others deal with greater fear, and nearly all of the BFA community is faced with sadness and lethargy during the dark month of February.

A Little Bit About Us

Some New Websites

I have been working recently with the organization that started the school, JanzTeam. It has been great working alongside the Germans who are working there. I have helped do a quick redesign of janzteam.de within their current CMS. It’s not perfect, but I think it’s a great change from what they had as their template. This has also created an opportunity for me to do some changes on their other websites this coming week, specifically their music academy schallwerkstadt.de. Their menu will have dropdowns soon. This also gives me a great opportunity to practice my German, which I am really excited about!

A New Video With Parent Interviews

This is a video we produced. We interviewed parents of last year’s Seniors about the impact BFA has had on their families. I’m really excited about this format, and about being able to share these stories with you! Two of these families daughters were in Dani’s small group last year!

[Missionary] Parents unscripted from Black Forest Academy Videos on Vimeo.

And Now Some of Dani

Dani has seen God do some amazing things in girls recently. Some students have had major spiritual breakthroughs and others seems to be on the verge. As girls continue to share their emotions and stories, Dani is profoundly moved and humbled, both by their pain and by the knowledge that she is one who gets to receive these precious stories. While there is much pain and many lies in these students’ lives, we both are praying that they will see God’s love, grace and care for them.

Some Things Needing Prayer

  • That the student’s going on service projects over break are aware of the impact and responsibility that they are able to have for the kingdom. 
  • That the teachers and staff leading the trips are able to have peace about their plans and trust the God has everything under control.
  • For the new teachers and staff who just entered the BFA community this month, that they are able to quickly adapt to the German and BFA culture.
  • That Jesus would be real to these students. Many battle daily with trusting that he has their best interests, or that he even cares.
  • Pray for increased protection and a greater awareness of God’s presence during the Fastnacht (Mardi-Gras/Carnival) season. I want to pray Romans 8:15 over students who are strongly affect during this time; there is no need to fear.
  • Our High School Retreat is from March 1-3. Pray for the preparations that need to be done, as well as the hearts of the students, that they would be open to hearing from God during this time.

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