Friday, October 30, 2009

Update

Sunday is the first of November, where did October go? I guess the saying is correct, time flies when you are having fun. It also helps when there are multiple things going on every day, and every weekend. Here is a little update on some of the things that have been going on in the BFA world.
Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit one of our families in Venice. It was an amazing weekend in which I was able to catch up on sleep, reading, and just enjoy a new city. I had a great time walking around the city by myself, getting lost on the curvy roads that make no sense, and taking pictures of the city. I would have loved to put up a few pictures with this blog, but have not gotten around to putting them on my computer yet.
Last night (Thursday) the entire school went down to Basel, Switzerland for Herbstmesse. We packed 5 buses full of staff and students, and took over the city. Herbstmesse is a fall party, that is bigger than your county fair, but smaller than a state fair. You can find cotton candy, corn on the cob, just like in the States...but there are also wonderful treats like Swiss Chocolate, German pretzels, and of course plenty of stands selling wurst.
Every year BFA takes over the bumper cars from 7.30-8.30. It is hilarious watching staff and students alike rushing to get a car, and then destroy as many people as possible. I was pretty successful out there, and didn't get hit too many times, but delivered a few good shots.
Herbstmesse is also known as the "official" time at which guys can start asking girls to Christmas Banquet. Unfortunately I did hear about some guys getting turned down, but there were plenty of guys beaming with excitement as they now have a date to the Banquet, which is in the end of November. I must admit, the girls here are lucky, because the guys get extremely creative and do a really good job at putting together a way to ask a girl. Rarely is it done face-to-face, rather it is a process that may lead a girl on a rabbit trail, with the usage of notes, flowers, other students, and even two-year old kids! It is pretty impressive. One of the best I heard from last night... a guy wrote a poem, and every period had a different student give a section of the poem to the girl. At the end of the day he gave her the final piece of the poem, along with some flowers, and asked then.
Today (Friday) there is no school because of a German holiday, therefore we have our first annual 3v3 basketball tournament. I am on a team called, "Zimties." Zimt is the German word for cinnamon. Zimties is a type of cereal over here, very similar to Cinnamon Toast Crunch. A bizarre name, I know, but we are proud of it. I will play with three guys from Sonne, and two girls from Blauen. I have no idea as to whether or not we will be competitive, but I am sure it will be fun. The tournament will take all day, and most of the students will be there watching and enjoying the tournament.
Tomorrow (Saturday) we have home volleyball games! This year we only have girls volleyball, but there will still be plenty to watch. Because of the nature of the league our sports teams are in - this is the only home game of the year. Needless to say, the girls are excited to play in front of their fans, and the students are excited to get out there and support their friends.
Saturday dinner, I am 'on' for cooking Saturday dinner this week. I am planning on making some fajitas for the guys. So after volleyball I will need to grill enough chicken for 20 high school boys, chop onions, peppers, tomatoes, and put it all together!
Saturday night, two of our dorms are having an 'open house.' Essentially they will pick a theme, and decorate the entire dorm, and all of the rooms according to that theme. Then the entire BFA community walks through the dorm, enjoys some delicious treats, and hangs out.
Finally, we come to Sunday! A day where we don't have a lot planned, because...every other day has enough going on. After Church on Sunday we encourage the guys to get caught up on homework, take a nap, or lay low. They need it, and staff does as well.

There is a 'brief' update on this weekend at BFA.

Tommy

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Journal

The weather has quickly turned here in Germany. A few days ago I was wearing shorts and feeling comfortable, and now they are predicting snow over the weekend!
Lately I have been venturing into my old journals for pleasure reading. It is quite interesting and educational to read what I wrote a few weeks, months, even years ago. It helps me better understand where I have come from, and it sheds light into situations I am currently going through. You would be amazed how many times the same emotions and struggles throw you for a loop.
Yesterday I found this entry and thought it would be cool to put on my blog. It was written in August 2008, as I was on the plane coming to Germany for the first time.
Enjoy.

36 F. This is where it all starts. The man next to me is crowding me as his head continually bobs up and down. 36 F is the start, and the end is not in sight. The next stop is the Black Forest Academy located in Kandern, Germany. That is the next stop but I will call it home for at least the next twelve months. This is where my next journey begins.
The word journey to me implies there is a goal or a purpose. Journey carries the weight that something is being searched for. I am on a journey for students lives I can change. My purpose is to obey my Heavenly Father and my goal is to pour out the love of Jesus Christ into their lives.
Change. Having the power to make someone or something different as a result of my actions.
Different. Having no like or equal. Set apart and unique. Having a distinguishable characteristic separate from their surroundings.
My goal and purpose is to make the students at BFA different than their culture in that they have an ever-increasing love and devotion to our maker and savior, Jesus Christ.

It is amazing to look back and see the ways in which God has prepared me for this. It is as if every trip had been building towards this, all of which I was completely unaware of six months ago.
My first mission trip was in the spring of 2005 when I flew over to Rome for a week. Even now I can recall moments when I was shy, ashamed and scared. Yet that entire experience was only a stepping stone for my next summer when I spent 32 days traveling down the east coast. Many of the fears I had experiences a year earlier had made their way out of me, yet I was still learning and finding ways in which I needed to improve. The following summer (2007) I once again went into the refiners’ fire to be molded and shaped more into the image of Christ. The growing continued as did the length of my experience. That summer I spent eight weeks away from home and traveled to two foreign countries, and many states within the USA. Then, finally here I am in 36 F. I have seen the length of my journey grow from one week, to 32 days, to eight weeks, and now a full year. I have been through many different experiences and have gone through many different emotions. Yet through it all God has proven himself faithful. That is all I can lean on and all I can hope for. So as I begin my time in Germany I will continue to walk by faith. Every move along the way, every bend in the road has brought me to where I am. I have no doubt that in a few years I will look back at my experience in Germany and will recognize how this too was another step in my journey.
So as I continue, I will walk by faith. I will not always be able to see the next step but I believe God will prove himself faithful. God will prove himself once again and whisper in my ear, “Keep walking towards me my child. You are mine and I am yours. Be ready to fight. I will be ready to pick you up when you fall, but fear not for I have already gone ahead of you and secured the victory. Follow me my son. Follow me.”

August 2, 2008.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Rainy Day

Today in Germany we have been pummeled by rain since the early morning. It is difficult to describe the way in which the students and staff are affected by the weather. A rainy day has the power to leave many in a somber and discouraged state of mind. Waking up to darkness, and the constant deliverance of rain all day can leave many without the desire to smile, laugh, or be motivated to carry on daily routines. Therefore, tonight for our snack after study hours, I decided to make a special treat of, "smiley face pancakes." Hopefully it gave the guys a reason to smile on a rather gloomy day.




Also... I was having fun with Seeun and trying to get him to smile... this is the best I could do...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A chance to breathe

I really want to give an update about what is going on here in Germany, but I honestly don't know what to sit down and write about. It has been increasingly difficult to paint an accurate picture of life in Germany.
Part of me has the desire to express the joys of dorm wrestling, rugby, pumpkin carving competitions. While I could easily fill a page about those aspects, part of me would feel as though you are cheated because you do not receive the whole picture. While the above mentioned activities are awesome, I would be neglecting the ones that are not always as enjoyable. Doing massive loads of laundry, going to bed after midnight and waking up at 6.30 for breakfast preparations. But nobody wants to hear from a grumpy shrimp.

So I debate blogging about the in-depth and encouraging conversations I have been able to have lately. Who wouldn't want to hear about the student who thanked me for revoking his computer privileges, because he was playing games when he shouldn't have. What? A teenager being thankful about discipline? He recognized it was a temptation and needed help, so my confiscating his computer was releasing him from any temptation, to which he was grateful! I walked away scratching my head, yet having a joy filled heart. What a picture, but is it accurate? Don't forget those students who simply cannot grasp why they cannot always do whatever they want, however they want, when they want. Those who think rules are put in place simply to give the staff something to do. No matter how many times you ask, they will not comply. I walk away grabbing my head, looking for some Tylenol, with a heart fighting anger, frustration and lack of patience.

Then I contemplate blogging about the joy of being in a dorm and walking through life with 21 students. I get to eat breakfast with them, help with their homework (any subject but chemistry!), talk to them about the struggles they are facing. But then I wonder if this paints an inaccurate picture, because I neglect the pressure and responsibility that is ever present. Knowing your every move is meticulously watched by 21 students who are eager to learn, and imitate. Every moment of impatience seen, every ounce of frustration noted. The weight knowing few will remember my words, but all will remember my actions. Trying to fall asleep at night wondering if my actions pointed my students towards God.

All of the above mainly deal with my being here in Germany, what if I were to blog about myself? The lessons I am learning from my current book of pleasure. My plans and visions for the future. Can I paint a picture of the pleasant, without mentioning the heartache, loneliness, and insecurities?

So here I sit debating about what to blog about. How to update those who have joined with me in this adventure, about my life here in Germany. Then it hits me. All the brainstorming and penning of words, and I find one simple sentence that sums it all up.

... I am here in Germany, living life, hoping to do so in such a way that brings honor, glory, and praise to my Lord and Savior.

Live a life worthy of The calling.