Intentionality – The Next Chapter

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I remember at the end of last year sitting in a talk led by one of BFA’s seniors about new years and new year resolutions. She challenged them to think not in terms of what resolution they want to choose, but it terms of what words they want their year to be about. That struck me then, and as I write this that is what strikes me now as I try and explain what this next chapter of my life looks like. The word that sticks out to me is intentional. I want to live an intentional life. I have discovered that God has gifted me with certain gifts and with many past experiences; with that gifting comes a leading to use them. So, I am taking this next chapter of my life to use those giftings and intentionally align my life with where He is leading me.

How would you say am I doing this? Well here is the short version:

I was approached at the end of last school year with a consultant position with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, which I have accepted. This position is a new one for them and involves me being available to their missionary kids and missionary families to provide member care services (i.e. counseling, consultation, education, etc…). It allows me to travel over to the different fields within Europe at least two times a year.  More importantly, it allows me to use the giftings and past experiences that I have been blessed with.

In order to take this position and do it well, I have been intentional about arranging the rest of my life. I have taken a position with my old employer as a contract worker, so that I can have the flexibility to work less and to travel when I need to. I have also decided to move into a ministry house in downtown Columbus, OH which allows me to save money on rent and serve them by taking care of the household work.  These different decisions have also taken into account my being able to be a part of my sister, brother-in-law and nieces lives, as well as save money to pay off my school loans.

If you would have told me three years ago this is where I would be, I would have laughed in your face and said “not in the plans”. Now, I couldn’t be more excited about what this next chapter looks like!

This will be my last update. As I reflect on that, I can’t believe that there have been those among you who have prayed and given over these past two years. I can’t begin to thank you enough for that! Thank you so much!

The Ins and Outs of Finishing this Chapter

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First of all, I just need to say God is good! He has provided for me again! I am currently not in the negative with my mission and I got my full pay last month. I am just amazed and don’t truthfully know how it happened. I am so grateful to all who gave.
I am only three weeks away from my life here in Germany being closed down and starting over new in Columbus again. I feel so privileged to have walked these past two years with all of you! As I am leaving, I have been processing what these past two years have meant to me. I have also been having a lot of “last time” moments. Some of those have been with the girls that I see, and one of the girls told me that she wouldn’t have made it without me being there these past two years. I know at times I have questioned what I was doing here, but hearing her say that put everything into perspective and I am so glad that I was here during her two years here at BFA as well.
Another one of my lasts is with another of my girls who has been on my mind a lot lately. I have been privileged to get to know her this year. She is intelligent, graceful, authentic, and so talented. She is questioning so much right now and believing so many lies about herself. In these past two weeks she has been opening up so much with me – it is amazing! I am so grateful that I can be here for her as she finishes up her year, and plan with her for her next year.
Life is going to move very fast, and be very exhausting these next couple of weeks. There are so many things that I want to say, but don’t have the ability. I would like to ask for prayer. I would like to ask for you to pray for the student that I mentioned above. Pray that she would be able to believe in truth, and pray that her summer with her parents will be relaxing for her. 
I also would just ask you for prayer for myself. Graduation is this Friday. In a week, my ministry here will be ended. Please pray for me that I will continue finishing out this chapter of my life well in all aspects of my life. Please pray for financial support to continue to come in as I am still in need of another $2500 to finish well. I will have bills in Germany that need to be paid before I leave on the 27th, as well as moving costs. Pray also that different items that I have here will sell, and that I will get everything done that I need to. Please also pray for continued guidance and wisdom regarding my plans for next year.
Thank you all for your continued support whether that be prayer or financial!

Junior Senior Banquet

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Junior Senior Banquet is a big thing here at BFA! The Junior class really tries to show the Seniors how much they care for them and admire them. This year since I am a Junior class sponsor, I got to help out in this awesome evening – and I had so much fun! Another sponsor and myself were put in charge of the decorating committee  – what that basically means is that we was in charge of 14 or so Juniors trying to help them make their decorating ideas come true. We had decorate table tops, the stage area, and miscellaneous other areas of this high venue for a sit down banquet for 180 people. After multiple meetings and a couple of work nights where everyone helped out, we got the venue decorated. It was quite the job, but turned out beautifully!

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The Juniors have received feedback that Seniors loved the night and felt truly honored by the Juniors. I felt so privileged to be able to be a part of this with the Junior class!

Burkina Faso MTrip – Take Two

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This spring break I was asked to go on the Burkina Faso mission trip again. I was a leader with one other staff member from BFA this year, and since I was the one who had been there before I was “in charge”. We worked with the same mission that we did last year, Paam Laafi, providing physicals to school age children. This year we went out to a very remote part of Burkina Faso (we actually traveled for 9 hours in a van to get there!) to work at a school there.

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The school was located in a village where a mission organization has had a “station” for over 50 years. It is amazing to see how it has impacted the village and area. The village has it’s own hospital and a school for handicap children. In the days that we were there we saw over 500 kids. Half of children that came through were children with disabilities (because of the handicap school being down the street). My team of 10 students did an amazing job! I will never forget watching one of our students as he interacted with a blind girl gently holding her hand as he took her around the the different stations and talking her through each thing that he was doing – such care! After the main part of our trip, we were able to go and tour/help out the hospital where the team from last year had worked. It was so cool to see it one of  the structures completed and it open for business! All in all, I loved this trip! I loved the students that we took with us and the memories that I have!  10313384_679755338674_413668834577545444_n

This Past Week: what a week!

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First I had a student come into my office that was having a very difficult time. I had multiple meetings regarding decorating a banquet hall for our upcoming Junior Senior Banquet. I had staff seek me out for help with issues that they are dealing.

Then I had some very hard news from my sending agency about the amount in my account being low. On Monday of this week, I had another conversation with my mission. Through my conversation, which was very helpful even though it was hard, I found out the amount that I thought I have needed for the past two years has been off by around $300/month. In thinking about this over this week, I was just amazed and grateful that I have been able to be here serving for as long as I have without having any financial problems before this. I have also been struck by how God knew about this before I even came on the field, and the fact that He knew about doesn’t change that God is still good even when my mind wants to tell me otherwise.

So, based on my conversation from this week I need another $4400 to finish out my time with my mission and be in good standing financially with them. This seems like a daunting amount to me, but then I think about the fact that just in the past two months I have received over $5000 in one time and regular monthly gifts. I know that I am in God’s hands and whatever will happen He will take care of me and I am choosing to believe Psalm 16:8-11: ” With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices. My body will also rest secure. For you will not abandon me to the grave or let your holy one see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

At this time I am in desperate need of prayer foremost! I need prayer against discouragement, for my support to come in, for the next two months as I finish out this school year. I also need financial partners to come alongside me again. I need monthly supporters to help over the next four months to cover the $4400 deficit in my funds. If you would like to give a one time gift for this need, that too is possible.

I also would like to ask for prayer for the student and staff that came into to see me this past week. I would like prayer for the different situation and wisdom on how to handle them. 

I want to thank you all for your support and willingness to come alongside me for my last two years of service at Black Forest Academy.

Heading for the Bush

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I am sitting here after having gone through my to-do list probably five times making sure I didn’t miss anything. Another leader and I leave tomorrow morning (April 5th) with our group to head to Burkina Faso where we will be working with a clinic that goes into schools in hard to reach areas to complete physicals. To say that the students going with us are excited is an understatement! They are thrilled and so am I!

This year we are taking 10 juniors and seniors with us. We will be going out into the bush (the countryside – about 9 hours away from the main city) and working at a school and handicap center for three days. The students that we will serve will probably never have had a physical in their whole lives. I can’t wait for the stories that we will hear from our students about what they experienced and saw while on this trip.

I want to ask for your prayers for safety on the trip (we will be traveling for nine hours on not so good roads, plus our flights to and from Burkina Faso), for good health for all involved (last year I was sick and throwing up during this trip), for easy entry into Burkina Faso (no problems at passport control), and for unity for our team.

Again, I want to thank you all for your support , prayers, and willingness to come alongside me the past year and a half.

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow … “

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It is spring here in Germany today. The birds are chirping, the sheep are baying, and the butterflies are frolicking in the sunshine. Spring has produced hope and thankfulness in my heart today. Hope that God makes things new and beautiful, and thankfulness that God provides!
Thankfulness … I want to spend time just recognizing what God has done these past two weeks. I just received my account statement, and am amazed! I am only a couple hundred dollars away from being out of the negative, and my monthly supporters have increased! The actual figure of how much I still need a month is $647 – that is almost half of what I needed two week ago!  Praise God! I just want to shout this from the hills! I am so thankful!
That is not the only thing that I am thankful for though. These past two weeks have also been ones where I have heard people voice that what I do at BFA is important, whether it be through counseling the teenagers and staff that I see, subbing in the dorm, or helping in our middle school youth group program. It has been SO good to hear this from those around me, and has been such an encouragement because it has been another confirmation that I am called here for this moment.
So thank you to those who have given, and to those who have been praying.  I want to continue to ask for your prayers. Please continue to pray against discouragement, for my support to continue to come in, and for the next months as I finish out the school year. Just in this next month there are a lot of different events coming up. I am speaking to the middle school about bullying, I am also speaking to the seniors about their transition back to the States, and I leave in one month for my mission trip to Burkina Faso ( and in all of that some  of my family is coming to see me!) I would also ask that you continue to pray that God would open up a good opportunity for work and ministry for me in the States.
I also am still needing financial partners to come alongside me. I need monthly supporters to help over the next six months to cover the $647/month deficit in my funds. If you would like to give a one time gift for this need, that too is possible.
If you are able to help in either of these ways, please go to https://give.teachbeyond.org
Again, I want to thank you all for your support and willingness to come alongside me the past year and a half.