Monday, November 24, 2008

Switzerland



My neck hurts.
Honestly, my neck is in a bit of pain, but it is a good pain. My neck is sore from looking up for the past 36 hours or so. This past weekend I had my third and final weekend off of the semester, and traveled to Aldeboden, Switzerland with a few other RA's. Aldeboden is about a two hour drive from Kandern, and is situated right in the middle of the Swiss Alps. It is hard to describe the beauty of the mountains, and the refreshment that came from walking around in the snow. When we arrived Saturday morning we were met with a nice little snow storm that dropped plenty of fresh powder everywhere. Aldeboden is a smaller town, but is home to a ski resort so there were plenty of ski lifts in the area and people just strolling through the streets.
Because of the snow on Saturday the entire day was fairly cloudy and the peaks of the mountains were not clearly visible. I was praying all day and all night I would wake up Sunday and be able to clearly see the mountains. When I awoke Sunday morning I was as excited as a little kid in a candy store. The sky was blue, the sun was shining and it was simply gorgeous. I took off and went on a good 2 hour hike by myself and just enjoyed the peace and quiet.
It has been four full weekends since Sharron's accident, three of which have been three-day weekends, and three of those four weekends I have not had Monday off. I left for Switzerland exhausted and weary. I have come back refreshed and re- energized. It was a great chance for me to get away and simply relax. I had time to process my thoughts and emotions that had been stirring for many weeks. I had the ability to be by myself and take a great hike.
I am coming back from this weekend with the energy, excitement and drive to push through until Christmas. I was able to catch my breath and enjoy the time away from the dorm.

Though the mountains were beautiful, and my hike was relaxing, the best part of a weekend off is when I come back to the dorm. It sounds somewhat contradictory considering everything I have just said. Yet when I walked through the door last night ... scratch that - I did not even have the opportunity to walk through the door before guys poured out of the dorm to welcome me home. A few guys saw the headlights of my van pull into the driveway, and word quickly spread I was back. Five or six guys came pouring out and gave me HUGE hugs, expressing how much they missed me while I was gone. After fighting through the hugs I traveled to my room, only to be followed by one guy who wanted to watch me unpack and just be in the room with me. There are moments, days, throughout a normal week where I feel as though I am not making an impact - or all my work is somewhat useless. Yet coming home and seeing, hearing, feeling that the guys missed me over the weekend...it is special.

I hope you enjoy the pictures I took from the weekend. I know they will not even come close to doing justice to the real thing.
If you have a moment and want to send me an e-mail (Bressontw1@gmail.com), I would love to hear from you. I thank you for your continuing love and support. Your prayers and encouragement never go unnoticed or unappreciated.

with love,
Tommy

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thanksgiving!



Here at BFA we do things a little bit differently. Seeing as how there are students coming from many different countries all with their unique customs holidays are a bit different over here. The students love the different holidays because they usually get off school for all American holidays, but also the German holidays as well. Some holidays are observed more than others, and one that simply could not be missed was Thanksgiving.
You should all be a bit jealous because I have already had my share of turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, dressing and the rest of the thanksgiving essentials.

I think a good motto for our Thanksgiving dinner here at Sonne would be, "go big or go home." The RA's were in the kitchen for close to six hours on Thursday. It was a lot of work, but it was so much fun. The whole atmosphere throughout the day was electric and exciting. We rearranged the dining room, set the table for the guys, and really put a lot of effort into the meal.
When the guys got home from school all the RA's were dressed up, which encouraged the other guys to dress up as well. I laughed out loud when one student came down in a sweatshirt and sweats and said, "I feel under-dressed, but that's ok, these pants are elastic and I need that!"
One of the highlights of the meal for me occurred when everyone was done eating. Rather than rush from the table and disappear the guys stayed at the table and enjoyed each other's company. After this each guy had to stand up and answer a question given to him by an RA. The questions ranged in depth, everything from "who is the funniest guy in the dorm?" to "what will you miss most about Sonne when you graduate?" It was really neat to see each guy have a few seconds in the spotlight, and to express their feelings and thoughts.
Now as we all know, Thanksgiving is not complete without a football game to watch while you fall victim to the tryptophan in the turkey. We were able to obtain a recording of an NFL game from the previous week and let the guys go downstairs and watch it. Unfortunately the only game we had was the Packers v. Vikings. The guys, fully aware of my devotion to the Packers made sure to rub it in my face when Mason Crosby missed the field goal.
Overall our Thanksgiving here at BFA was phenomenal. It took a lot of work and energy to prepare but it was absolutely amazing. The guys loved it, the food was delicious and there was a really unifying and caring feel around the table.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Videos!

Finally!
I know I have mentioned this in my blog a few times and I am excited to say I have figured everything out and the videos are up and running.
Here is some background to the videos, and then some instructions.
Every Sunday night the entire dorm gets together for "Dorm Fellowship." It is a time where we go down to the web and just do something together. In the past we've played cards, watched a movie, had a devotional time etc. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to lead dorm fellowship and I was itching to be able to talk to the guys. I wanted the opportunity to be in front of all the guys and explain to them who Tommy Bresson is. I wanted them to know what I have been through, my vision for them, and for the dorm. I planned on talking for twenty minutes, but ended up speaking for close to forty. Sometimes I start talking and you just cannot stop me!

I would love for you to check out the videos. I at times have a hard time writing/typing my heart and my passion. I hope you can see the joy I have of being here. I hope you can sense the love I have for these guys. I hope you can better understand the passion I have to serve and lead the guys at Sonne.

So here is what you do...
Because I talked for so long I could not get the video on one youtube clip - I had to chop it into four parts. My suggestion would be to start watching part one, and in a separate window or tab start loading part two. While watching part two start loading part three, etc. This will just make it flow a little better.
Once you click the link for part one, you should be able to easily find parts 2-4 in the side panel, if not I will post the links at the bottom as well.

Part one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaRoVGHWRwQ
Part two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLJct13Yal0
part three: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sN0HKIEqQKo
part four: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW6EXruNaFQ

I hope you enjoy the videos. I hope it gives you a better picture of my heart and my purpose. I hope it encourages you to continue to fight and to press on.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Busy

I had every intention of putting up a blog on Tuesday, but I got caught up in a conversation with one of my student's parents and all the time I had designated to writing a blog quickly disappeared.
Anyway, I am back to the 'routine' of putting up a blog on Thursday. Last week we had one of our washers malfunction (which led to an inch of water in the laundry room...a wonderful surprise at 11:45 pm! It made for quite an entertaining story) therefore I am unable to get to my laundry duties at the moment.
Things at Sonne have been busy and we are still a bit hectic as the staff is readjusting to life without Sharron. She has been home for about a week now, but still suffers a lot with vertigo from her head injury, and has been to the doctor twice this week to have stitches removed. At the moment there is no idea as to when Sharron will be able to return 100% to her dorm mom responsibilities. As a result we are all shuffling around trying to cover. I have been on breakfast duty three times already this week, so I have been increasing in weariness as I wake up around 6:15 to start preparing breakfast.

I really love it here. I want to pause and make that as clear as I can. I love being here, I love working with the Sonne dorm staff, I love being here for the guys. My days are never really completely relaxing or easy...but I love it. I run around all day making breakfast, snack, doing laundry, helping with homework etc. and at times I get tired, emotionally drained, stressed...but then I have a guy come in my room for 20 minutes before he goes to bed and he opens up, shares his emotions and feelings, and it is all worth it. I feel as though at times it is so easy to talk about the many things I have to do, the many ways I am burdened or stressed, and in so doing I fail to communicate how much I really do enjoy being here. I fail to express the joy I have while being here. So please know and understand your support, your encouragement, your contributions have enabled me to be here and be in a place that I truly love.

On a completely other note I would like to finish with a prayer request that is urgent and very important. November is a really hard month for the guys in the dorm. The 'honeymoon' period of dorm life is over. School work has piled up. The weather is cold and dark. Christmas is too many weeks away to think about. The guys easily get poor attitudes, stress levels increase, homesickness can sweep through like the plague. Depression is not uncommon and we have already seen some guys have a few rough days. So please pray for the guys right now. Pray that their hearts would find peace, rest and joy. Also please pray for the staff as we continue to minister to them. We are striving to help them and guide them. It is not always easy and at times there seems to be little evidence of any fruit from our labor.
I thank you for your patience as it has been a while since I have posted. I am in the process of trying to add a video to this blog - I had the privilege of speaking to the Sonne guys during dorm fellowship, and had one of the guys video tape it. As soon as I figure out how to use a computer - I will post the link.
I thank you for your support and encouragement. Your e-mails and letters are always a joy and blessing.

Monday, November 3, 2008

No internet

I apologize that I have not been able to put up a post recently, or send any e-mails. We have been without internet here at Sonne since last Thursday. I hope to find the time to give an update later in the day - but due to recent happenings over here, though today is Monday, typically my day off, I am going to be working today and will have tomorrow off.
If you are looking for a different perspective and want to read my co-workers blog, I highly urge you to do so. Take a look at the right panel of this website and you will find them. I just read Brandon's most recent post and found it to be very true and I feel as though he accurately described part of the RA life here at BFA. So take a look at those blogs if you get the chance, and I'll put up a new post in a bit.