Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

A few descriptive words come to mind when I think about this year's Thanksgiving...
1. Early: because of the school schedule and other various reasons (i.e. the amount of nationalities here at BFA!) we actually celebrated American thanksgiving 2 weeks ago!
2. Massive (amounts of food): preparing food for 26 girls, 5 dorm staff and about 12 other guests was no small task!
3. Scrumptious: Turkey, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, stuffing, rolls, pumpkin pie, apple pie, hot apple cider...all made from scratch!

My self-proclaimed job for the evening was "coffee lady."


This is Les (dorm dad) carving the turkeys. We are so lucky to have a chef in our dorm! Seriously, he's a real chef.

This is me, Meghan (middle school teacher), Jessica and Katie.

Helen and Charity are enjoying the hors d'oeuvres!

Our dining room.

Lizzy, me and Kristi feeling full and happy.

Me and Anna ate too much turkey.

November is almost over and now it is officially the Christmas season! We will be decorating our dorm soon and the girls will all be cramming for exams. It really is hard to believe that the semester is almost over! The last day of classes is December 19th and all the students will go home for 3 weeks. I had originally planned to come home for Christmas, but it seems to have worked out better financially and logistically to return home for the summer instead, when I will have a longer break. So I will be staying in Kandern, resting and celebrating the holidays with friends here.
I pray for God's blessings over you all and wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

October is for pumpkins and open house.

What would October be without carving a few pumpkins?
We split up into groups and let the creative juices flow!

This is me, Katelyn and Hannah. The best group.

Our design was pretty intricate; it took a lot of concentration and precision. This is Katelyn hard at work.

The finished product! The pumpkin on the left is ours...if you can't tell, it's a carving of Perry, one of our vans!

This is the Jessica's. They are roommates and I'm pretty sure they took out their frustrations with each other on the pumpkin.

Palmgarten Open House
Each dorm has 1 open house per year where the students come up with a theme, decorate, and invite the entire BFA community over to traipse through the dorm. We recently had our turn and the girls did a fantastic job of pulling off a major event!

The theme was "The World Wide Web," and so the goal was to make people feel as if they were actually in the Internet. We decorated the halls with signs made to look like different websites, and the girls chose to decorate their rooms as a website as well.

This is Naomi. She was in charge of organizing all the decorations.
I think the stress was getting to her at this point...

This is Shanna & Dahee's room. They chose as their website.

We have 2 main hallways in our dorm, so each one was designated as a separate "browser"--Internet Explorer...

...And Firefox. Anna did an awesome job on these signs!

This is Bonnie (a fellow RA) with Emily & Helen. They were in charge of refreshments and chose to make cookies, in order to go along with the Internet theme. We were expecting over 300 guests, so all the girls pulled together and, over the course of 2 weeks, baked over 900 cookies!
The next few weeks are going to be very exciting and very busy! We will be celebrating Thanksgiving as a dorm this week, which means tons of good food! And the school is having its annual Christmas banquet coming up at the end of the month. Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

It has been a full couple of months here at BFA!
Here are some pictures from the last few weeks...

This weekend me and few girls went to a "pick-your-own-flowers" field that is close to town. The flowers were gorgeous!

(From left) Rebecca, Joy, Kara, Rachel and Sooji.

Pumpkins were for sale as well. Jessica said she was excited to find one that was "freckly like me!"

We found a really tall one that could double as a baseball bat.

Krista, me and Sooji.

A very successful trip!

This is Helen & Emily on their way out to their first day of school as seniors!!!
(can you find me in the background?:))

The school hosted a Fall Party where the theme was "Black & White." This is Bonnie and Cara (fellow RA's) all dressed up for the occasion. (Can you find me?:))

Shanna & Anna were very scared of my costume.

In addition to dressing up, individuals or groups can perform as part of the show. This is a group of my girls performing their dance at the Fall Party. It was awesome!

Pyramid! We almost got 1 more on top!

This is the me with the 4 new girls in our dorm this year. I walked them to school on the first day. (from left: Lizzy, me, Emily, Krista, & Kara)

This is the staff of Haus Palmgarten--Ellie (top left) is from Canada--this is her 2nd year serving here, Bonnie (bottom left) is from Ohio and it's her first year at BFA, and Les & Elva are in their 4th year as dorm parents of Palmgarten. Their kids are Brandon (11th grade) and Brooklyn (7th grade).

...we have a lot of fun together...

I'll keep you guessing on this one...

Fall is setting in now and with that comes cooler weather, colorful leaves, and packed schedules! The Seniors can hardly contain their excitement because they're leaving this Thursday for their 10-day trip to Rome! And the Juniors are also pumped to leave for their weekend trip to Normandy! As a staff, we know that these trips will create life-long memories for them...we're so jealous!

more news to come soon!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

It's picture time!

The last few weeks have been filled with new staff orientation, learning to drive in Germany, learning to speak German, getting over jet lag...I have an assortment of pictures to help explain it all...

One afternoon we all (the RA's) drove up to the top of Hochblauen--it is a mountain that overlooks Kandern (where I live), France, and the Swiss Alps! We hiked back down the mountain--it was very beautiful!

It was a clear, windy day so there were para-sailors taking off the top of the mountain!

This is Brandon, me and Sam posing for a nice pic.

Basel, Switzerland is just a 20 minute drive from Kandern. This is the Rhine river--the border between France and Germany. It's been so fun to be able to travel from country to country so easily!

This is Rachel, me, another Rachel, and Sam. The Rachels are returning RA's so they showed me and Sam all the hot spots of Basel!

Basel--it is a very old city--cobblestone streets, old churches, buildings from the 1300s.

This is Tommy--we were attempting not to look like American tourists...

This is a fountain of fresh, spring drinking water--they are all over the city (and also in Germany).

This is me drinking fresh Swiss water straight from the source that people in the States pay lots of money for...and this is the point where it was obvious that I was an American tourist.

This is the Powell family--they are from Nashville and we happened to be on the same flight out of Atlanta. They are such a sweet family and I have loved getting to know them! (Ethan, their youngest son, is not in the picture)

This is my dorm!!! It's name is Palmgarten. I am on the first floor, all the way down on the left. Every room has it's own bathroom, and a balcony. There will be 26 girls in the dorm this year, grades 10-12. I will be working with 2 other RA's, Bonnie, and Ellie--I hope to put their picture up soon. The awesome dorm parents are Les and Elva--they are from Canada and have 2 kids--Brandon and Brooklyn (grades 11 & 7).

This is my room--they gave us a lot of freedom as far as decorating goes, so I painted 2 walls brown, and 1 wall green. I love it! I bought a couple of chairs from Ikea and a small coffee table so that girls could feel free to come in and hang out. My next strategic plan is to put out a jar of candy as a bribe.

Overall, I absolutely love it here! Each day God gives me more and more assurance that serving here at BFA is what He has been preparing me for over the past months and years. Today is the day that the girls start arriving, so we have been busy with all kinds of preparation.
New students will come today, and then returning students will arrive tomorrow, with classes starting on Tuesday.
Many, many thanks for your continued prayers and support--I think of ya'll often and look forward to keeping you connected to my life in Deutschland!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Guten Tag!

Just a quick note...
I arrived safely here in Germany on Monday afternoon--my flight over was great! I landed in Frankfurt at 10:00am local German time, had a 3 hour layover and then landed in Basel, Switzerland at 1:45 local time; BFA is just a short 25 minute drive from Basel. I am just getting over jet lag. :)
My days so far have been filled with German class in the morning, and then in the afternoons we practice driving around the surrounding towns and get acquainted with the culture, many driving laws/signs, and a manual transmission. I have to give the credit to my Dad for teaching me to drive a manual shift--I have only stalled out a couple of times and I even drove on the Audubon today!
I hope to post some pictures soon--it is absolutely beautiful here!
Thank you so much for all of your prayers!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

this time next week...

Great news! The final countdown has begun and in just a matter of days I will be boarding a plane bound for Germany! I was able to purchase an airline ticket a couple of weeks ago and I am scheduled to leave on August 2nd at 6pm.
My last week here at home is filled with packing, preparations and final visits with family and friends. It is a weird feeling to be wrapping up the life I have known for the last 23 years, in anticipation for a whole new lifestyle that includes a new community of people and a new culture. But any amount of anxiety is overshadowed by my excitement to finally begin this ministry of service and discipleship that God has been preparing me for. It has been amazing to look back and see His hand at work in every circumstance to bring me to this point in life. I can't wait to share all the great things that God will do in the coming months!
Prayer Requests...
*safety in travel--I will fly through the night on Saturday (Aug. 2nd) and then after a short layover, arrive in Germany on Sunday afternoon.
**smooth transition/adjustment back into dorm life.
***for close, meaningful relationships with the girls in my dorm
****for the missionary kids and their families--for God's blessing on the parents' ministries and a smooth transition for the students as they move back to school.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Orientation in Winnipeg, Canada

There is no better feeling than to know that you are smack in the middle of God’s will…
I spent this past week in Winnipeg, Canada attending the Janz Team orientation for new staff members of Black Forest Academy (BFA). Throughout the entire week, I felt nothing but confirmation and encouragement to continue moving forward in this new phase of life and ministry.

The purpose of orientation was to be introduced to and connect with the new staff of BFA who are specifically with Janz Team, to be commissioned as a member of Janz Team ministries, and to cover more preliminary details of my job description as a resident assistant in the dorms. I had a fantastic time connecting with my new friends and was very sad to leave them…

My trip to Winnipeg was very eventful…
I flew out of Atlanta on Monday, June 16th and because of flight delays, I missed my connecting flight in Minneapolis that would have taken me on to Winnipeg. I was able to check in for the next available flight, but there was a time gap of about 5 hours. Spending that long in an airport by yourself is not very much fun at all—but lucky for me the famous Mall of America was just a short 10 minute train ride away!

There was a Lego Land exhibit with statues made completely of legos--I took the pictures of the motorcycle for my Dad, I knew he would appreciate it.

It was my lucky day because the Mall of America was hosting the Midwest Regional Yo-Yo Championships...

My camera just doesn't do it justice--those guys had some cool tricks.
To the right here, you can see the competitors warming up, getting ready to take the stage. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see who won.
After my mall excursion, I made it safely to Winnipeg and jumped right into the orientation festivities. It was a pretty rigorous schedule--we had about 4 sessions a day that covered various areas of information/training. We still managed to have a lot of fun though—we played a few intense games of ultimate Frisbee, stayed up late playing cards, and one afternoon we all hopped on a bus to downtown Winnipeg to see the sights.

This is Cara (from California), me and Brandon (from Illinois) enjoying downtown Winnipeg.

This is me and Sam (from Alberta, Canada)--she was my sweet roommate for the week.

One of the most eventful training exercises was a 3-team competition: the team who constructed their kite the fastest and kept it in the air the longest would win. We did not know it at the time, but the objective behind this competition was to reveal our personalities and see how we would work together as a team...

This is part of my team (team iBe) and you can see our kite flying in the background...

The competition was fierce and it ended with The High Flyers trying to sabotage our flag--we had no choice but to bring down their kite as well and it resulted in a wrestling match between Adam and Tim. Tim won...

The funny thing is that this exercise really did bring out our personalities. After all, there's nothing wrong with some friendly competition, right?!? :)
I am amazed at how God orchestrates our lives on a personal level, and then brings us together with a community of other believers from all over the world who have the same heart and mind for ministry. I have been praying for weeks for the people I would be working with and to finally meet some of them face to face and pray WITH them was such a blessing.

So what's next?

I am in the process of buying my plane ticket and am scheduled to arrive in Germany by August 4th. Just 5 weeks away! I am SO thankful and humbled by all the support that you all have offered and trust that God will provide the last 20% of my funds.

The rest of my time here at home will be spent wrapping up with my job at Grace Fellowship Church, spending as much quality time as I can with my friends and family, and trying not to procrastinate and save my packing for the night before I leave! (I have a bad habit of that!)

Many of you ask what you can be in prayer about and so here are a few things...

*continued spiritual & emotional preparation to be a stand-in mom to the students in my dorm.

**for the students I will be living with and also their families who are serving all across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

***for a smooth, easy transition into life in Germany and life in a dorm setting.

Once again, thank you all so much for allowing me to be a part of your lives and for being willing to be a part of this ministry with me. I can't wait to share all that God will do!