Monday, June 23, 2008

Coveting Prayers

Have you heard the christian-ese phrase, "I covet your prayers"? As Laura and I were traveling home from a very full week I started thinking about the idea of coveting someone's prayers. The more I thought about it, the more it finally started to make sense to me.

Last week, Laura and I spent nearly every day meeting, then eating, meeting, then eating.
What can I say, it was a good week. Actually, it was a great week. We went with very few expectations, and not only were we blown away but we came away greatly encouraged and extra excited about heading off to Germany. We were given a greater sense of vision for our ministry. A picture of daily life in Germany was painted for us in great detail. And we met some really great people that we are thrilled to be working with in the next school year.

Laura and I originally thought about going because we saw a need in the Christian community that we knew we could fill. It thrilled our souls to think about how we could use our skills and interests to serve others throughout the world serving to further God's kingdom. As we have worked toward that goal of serving at BFA we have learned that we are responsible for so much more than just teaching. As one of the leaders of the last week, Harold, said, if we don't bring Christ to the center of teaching then we don't bring anything. We have also been shown ways that we can minister to the German community in Kandern, to the staff at BFA, the parents of the students, and to the students themselves in ways that go beyond the classroom.

As for the people, I didn't think much about who we would be meeting. In fact, I was so concerned with us that I never even worried about making friends (or not) or if there would be others close to us in age. So just know that I have been truly blessed by the people we met. Some wised by the benefit of many years; others wise enough to know when to stay off the ultimate Frisbee field and when to go to bed; others who are still foolish to think they can play on the Frisbee field and stay up late without feeling the effects; and then those lucky few who don't feel the pains of foolish bodily exertion and who still have the youthful lust for every moment. Those that we met are filled with the love of God and all were filled with an excitement and a joy about the coming year (and for some-years) of serving at BFA.
Out of 29 people, 26 are going to BFA and that brings me back to my original point of coveting your prayers. There are 6 billion people on this earth, all of whom are in need of prayer. There are hundreds of countries who all have leaders who need prayer. There are thousands of organizations, churches, youth groups, individuals who are all in need or prayer, and even if we were all able to train ourselves to pray without ceasing it still seems like a nearly impossible task to pray for all who need it. And so, with all of this in mind, I realized that I really do covet your prayers. I want you to be praying for Laura and me. I want to be on your prayer list because we have seen that prayer can work, and since it does work we want it to keep working for us.

With that said, our 27 new friends who are all going out to serve this summer all need prayer. We know that prayer is not a competition- those with the most prayers get cuts in line to appeal to God first-but we know how many people there are who need it, how many situations desperately need to be covered in prayer before God. And still, Laura and I covet your prayers. But while you are praying for us, consider asking for God's blessings on all 29 JTM members, their financial needs, and all of the parents and students that we will be working with in just a few short weeks. Don't worry you don't have a daily quota that you will be at risk of using up!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Winnipeg... it's in Canada

I am writing from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Yes, that's in Canada. We are spending a week in Canada for training with Janz Team Ministries.
We arrived Monday morning after a red-eye flight from San Francisco to Minneapolis with a layover and then on to Winnipeg. In Winnipeg we stood in the line for customs and then were sent to the Immigration line and then to the lost baggage line. Yes, Northwest Airlines lost our sleeping bags somewhere between San Francisco and Winnipeg. It was at this point that we realized we had no idea where we were staying, who was picking us up from the airport, no contact information for anyone in Canada. Needless to say, we are already practicing our "we are stupid foreigners" speech.
In the end, we successfully met up with reps from Janz and were quickly on our way to our home away from home for the next week... Canadian Mennonite University. We had lunch and then napped as if we had never slept before.
Since then our outlook on Canada has drastically improved. We have had beautiful warm weather and have met many people we are greatly looking forward to serving with in Germany. We are especially excited to have met two other couples that are in the same stage of life... they even watch the Office and Lost. What more could you ask for? We are already planning tv nights huddled around a laptop.
Today was a day of encouragement for me especially. Hearing other people sharing their experiences and feeling like I am not alone in my fears and frustrations. Although it does not remove the feeling of being overwhelmed, it does help.
We are looking forward to the rest of the week here in Winnipeg, and also the year ahead serving with our newfound friends.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Adam and I are in the Bay Area this weekend. We drove up yesterday with a Jeep full of our worldly possessions to see our families. On our way North there was some pretty bad traffic through LA (surprise, surprise, I know!). And in the heat of the moment, we (and by we, I mean mostly Adam, but we are sharing the responsibility) decided to take the 101 instead of the 5 freeway.
It was a bad decision. 8 hours and 17 minutes later, we pulled up to my parents house. Although the drive was pretty, it was LONG. At the 6 hour mark, when we would normally be pulling into a driveway, the dign said San Francisco-150 miles!
So, in case you are ever at the 101-5 split, even if the 101 looks clear, it is still going to take you longer. But, if you want a freeway lined with vineyards and the coastline, it might be worth it. Might be.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cameras and Knives

This weekend was more than busy- it was a little crazy! We successfully sold and delivered our spare bed (thanks Lindsey!), I went on a school field trip to a winery in Temecula (I love culinary school!), Adam served as a personal photographer for hire at a high school graduation and I catered a graduation party with food for 85!

Sunday afternoon as we were walking to the car, Adam prayed out loud, "Please bless and guide my camera today." We have gotten in the habit of praying over the camera whenever he shoots a wedding or other special event. It seems appropriate to lift it to the Lord in prayer when you are the sole documenter of such a special event. Sunday was no different.

Except it was the first time we prayed over my knife. I prayed the same prayer,"Please bless and guide my knife and hands today." And bless He did! Short of one small splinter from skewering 40 pounds of meat, I returned home will all of my fingers. I worked harder than I have in a long time, but it was a lot of fun!

It was so great Sunday evening to flop into bed and realize that although we were both exhausted, we had both spent the day earning some money doing something we love.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Kandern, pronounced 'Kondern'

By the way, in case there was any confusion, those boots are for Laura. But aside from clothing I am very excited to write about a relaxing and inspiring evening Laura and I had on Sunday.

Sunday evening Laura and I went over to Dave and Emma's house. Emma is the teacher that I work with that originally suggested we consider working at BFA. Before I get into this too much, I just have to say that they have the cutest daughter Claire. Okay, now I can proceed. We went over there just to talk about their experience at Black Forest Academy and what it was like to live abroad for a year. It was so good to listen to them. It was very exciting for us and the best part was that it wasn't stressful at all.

Once we left, Laura and I agreed that it helped get us excited about what we are planning to do. So much of what we have been going through lately has been stressful- raise the money, sell our stuff, finish school, plan for summer school, evaluate finances, visit friends, etc- that we haven't had much time to dream about what it will be like. Talking with Dave and Emma gave us some really great ideas to dream about. They painted a vivid picture of life in the town and what the kids and school are like. (They worked as dorm parents, so they were there is a different capacity, but they still had a better perspective than we have now.)

They also gave us some helpful hints on what to pack and what to leave. They also shared with us how we will probably interact with our students. They told us how, if we make the effort, we can really become a part of our students lives. They said how some teachers would visit the dorms, or even invite students over for dinner or study groups. It was encouraging to know that we will actually have many opportunities to be a part of the community and the lives of our students outside of the classroom.

We enjoyed hamburgers, and baked potatoes, and ice cream sandwiches. We looked at all of their pictures and thoroughly enjoyed their company. The evening has reinvigorated us and provided us with a renewed sense of excitement. Thanks again Emma and Dave.

Oh yea, and they told us that Kandern is pronounced 'Kondern.'


I have been wanting Ugg boots so badly I could feel the fur surrounding my feet just thinking about them. I found a pair for 1/3 the price at Nordstrom Rack in my size. So I decided to buy them and think about it later.

When I showed them to Adam he said he thought I looked like a snow bunny (not in a cute way, but in the "are you serious?" way) because of the fur trim.

So, I am seeking other opinions. Are these boots too "snow bunny-ish" for Germany? Should I return them and hold out for the classic pair? Please share your opinions, for or against the boots in question. =)