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!



Friday, June 6, 2008

55 days and counting...

It's hard to believe that in just a couple of months I'll be on my way to Kandern, Germany to serve at Black Forest Academy (BFA). It's actually 55 days to be exact!
My days have been filled with completing projects at work (I am on staff with the kids ministry at Grace Fellowship Church), fitting in all the fun I can with friends and family, and wrapping up all the details that go with moving overseas: such as, figuring out how much I can stuff into a couple of suitcases, getting a drivers license that will be valid in Germany, and learning how to drive a manual shift so I am able to drive the cars/buses that belong to BFA.

On June 16th, I will be flying to Canada for a week-long orientation at Janz Team headquarters. All of the new staff of BFA (teachers, house parents, RA's ect.) that are partnered with Janz Team (JT) will be at this orientation, so I am very excited! Although I have talked with a few people from JT over the phone, it will be great to meet people face to face and really connect with those whom I will be serving alongside of.

Speaking of phone conversations, I recently had a very encouraging talk with a personnel member from BFA. She worked in the dorms for 2 years and now is more on the administrative side of things. I asked her what a typical day would look like for me and this is just a short summary of what we discussed:

*wake up
*wake up the girls
*fix breakfast/prepare lunches
*drive the girls to school
*meeting with other staff (1-2 times a week)
*free time
*pick up girls from school/sports activities, ect.
*help with homework
*prepare dinner
*oversee girls' chores
*oversee study/homework time
*make sure girls get to bed :)
*bedtime for me
*Big, fun brunch
*sports games
*shopping trips, hiking, & other activities
*organized social activities with other dorms
*fun "sister" activity with your own dorm in the evening

Overall, I will just be doing life with these girls--we will see the best and the worst of each other, but in this we will have an intimacy that is as close as you can get to being family. It is an intimidating thought to have my life and relationship with Christ be so closely observed by these girls that I will be caring for. I pray that I will live out my faith and dependence on Christ in a sincere way. I know that God has been preparing me for this role in so many capacities and so I look forward to it with nothing but anticipation!

Janz Team's policy regarding my support is that once 80% of my support is given or committed, they will then purchase my ticket to leave. When the funds are at 90% committed, then I can go...drum roll please..

With your help, I have enough funds to buy a plane ticket that will get me to Germany by August 1st! THANK YOU!! Now the next step is to buy that ticket and count down the days!

I love you all!


specific prayer needs:

*emotional & spiritual preparation

**for the remaining funds to come in