Thursday, April 29, 2010

Soccer

In just a few minutes I am heading out for the next couple of days for away soccer games! It will be quite an exciting and eventful weekend. Here is what our schedule looks like:
Thursday:
2.30 - Leave campus and drive to Ansbach.
9.00 - Arrive at the school, eat dinner, set up in the gym, and get ready for bed.
11.30 - Lights out - it will be a busy and tiring weekend.
Friday:
7.00 - After sleeping on the floor for the night we need to wake up and vacate the gym because the school will need the gym for their classes.
8.00 - Out of the gym and eating breakfast.
10.00 - The Varsity guys play the first game of the day.
11.45 - The varsity girls follow the guys.
1.30 - The JV boys will play the final day of the game.
Unfortunately Ansbach does not have a girls JV team, so they are unable to play on Friday.
4.00 - We will load up the bus, grab a quick bite to eat, and drive down to Patch.
9.00 - Hopefully by this time we will arrive at Patch, set up in the gym, and get some sleep.
11.00 - Lights out. Sleep will be a welcomed friend.

Saturday:
8.00 - We get to sleep in a little! Though there won't be much sleep as we are once again on a gym floor.
9.00 - Breakfast, cereal, muffins, bananas. Nothing spectacular, but enough to fill the stomach for a little while.
10.00 - The girls JV start the day.
11.30 - The guys JV follow.
1.30 - The guys varsity play.
3.00 - The girls varsity finish off the games for the weekend.
5.15 - All the games are done, we are showered, and starting to make our way to the food court, and load up the bus.
10.30 - Arrive back at BFA.

Though hard to communicate via a blog, I am very excited about this weekend. It will be a lot of fun, a great experience and an opportunity for the students to be away from school and be with their teams. I have LOVED coaching the girls this year. They are simply phenomenal and it has been a joy to work with them. Our varsity team is 2-0 so far, and are hoping to be 4-0 after the weekend. Our game on Saturday could prove to be our toughest game of the regular season. We don't want to look past our game on Friday, but we are all itching to play on Saturday.
This morning I finally got around to getting pictures from our last game off my camera and onto my camera - so I will finish this post with a few pictures from our last game.
Enjoy!



Thursday, April 22, 2010

Faithful

I know I am a nerd at times. Small things that are somewhat dorky, really intrigue me. One of the examples I have of this; on my internet browser one of the tabs I regularly visit is dictionary.com. Why? Because every now and then I will come across a word that I typically use in everyday conversation, but I have the desire to figure out what the precise definition is. This morning I heard the word 'faithful' thrown around quite a bit and had to visit my trusty website to get a closer look, this is what I found:
- true to one's word, promises, vows, etc.
- steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant
- reliable, trusted, or believed

Why did I find the word faithful exciting this morning? Because in the third chapter of the second letter to the Thessalonians Paul writes, "And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one."
Paul is stating that God is true to his word. He is constant, loyal, steady in his allegiance. We can rely on him, he can be trusted and believed.
What amazing characteristics! What amazing truth.

This verse was brought to my attention when I got to hear the report of what God did through one of the mission teams BFA sent out over spring break. It was a joy to sit back and hear about how our student's, and leader's, lives were changed when God proved himself faithful.

Even though I did not go on a mission trip this year, I wanted to post a few pictures I gathered from the trips that went out a few weeks ago. I am so proud of our students for the work they did, and have been so encouraged to hear about the growth that occurred as a result of these trips. Above all, I have been blessed to hear from many students, who went to varying countries, of God's faithfulness.








These kids are amazing, I love them so much, and am blessed to be here with them. Thank you for all you do.

Blessings from Germany.

Tommy

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Russia

Spring break is over, the students are back in the dorm, and everything is back in full swing.
I have been a little tired this week as I literally got off a plane on Monday, and jumped back into everything here at BFA. However, I came back refreshed, excited, and encouraged by my time spent in Russia.

I flew out to Moscow on Tuesday night, and had the opportunity to walk around the city of Moscow on Wednesday. This day of sightseeing was absolutely fascinating to me. As a lover of studying history, I was taken back by the amount of rich history in Russia, specifically in Moscow. One of my favorite time periods of history to study has been the World War II era. Honestly, it was pretty bizarre for me to recognize that I have been living in Germany for two years, commonly seeing the impact of World War II here, then traveling to Moscow, another huge player in World War II. This is an amazing contradiction that had me really intrigued; here in Germany WWII is a time of shame, a dark spot in the country’s history. The Nazis are not to be spoken of, and not to be referenced in any way. In Russia, WWII is the apex of their modern history. In fact, I was walking around Red Square and they were diligently working on preparations to celebrate May Day, the day in which victory in Europe was achieved.
Walking around the city was refreshing and exciting. The architecture is different, the people act different (it is extremely difficult to get a Russian to smile), and the food was different. Even though communism fell almost twenty years ago, and Moscow is regarded as the most Western city in Russia, you can still blatantly see the footprint that communism has left on society. I saw buildings where construction stopped immediately after the fall of communism, and had not been touched since. I saw many new cars, but it was not uncommon to see a typical Soviet car (which I thought were really cool looking), and I spent the night in an apartment, that was a Soviet apartment complex. I was interested to learn that during Soviet times people were expected to only need 10 square meters of living space. So the individual apartments were small, and every unit in the building was exactly the same.
After touring Moscow, I flew down to Anapa which is the reason I went to Russia. CMA was holding their annual forum for all the missionaries in Russia and the Ukraine. There were over 80 people who traveled to Anapa, including 15 students grades 7-12. I was brought in to be the “youth leader” for the forum. I along with Vangie (she was an RA here at BFA last year, and currently serves in Russia with CMA) hung out with the students the whole week. We took them bowling, played ultimate Frisbee, organized a photo scavenger hunt, and even taught some country line dancing, amongst many other things. For three days, I had the opportunity to lead devotionals, and dove into the lives of Abraham, Moses, and Esther. Above all I was there to hang out with the students, and pour into them. It was a phenomenal time.
Of the 15 students 7 were BFA students, one of which is here at Sonne with me. It was awesome, because I knew of all the students before the trip, but now I know them. Before I would only see them at school, now I engage them at school. It has been great to be at school the past two days and see all these students, and be able to interact with them on a different level, and share a really cool bond.
All of the things I have mentioned above serve as a brief overview of what I did while I was there. Obviously there are many stories of laughter, growth, and yes, high school awkwardness that could be shared. But I also wanted to write about one of the things I was able to experience that was amazing.
The many CMA missionaries in Russia are not blood related, but they are family. In fact, the kids will call the other adults “Aunt” and “Uncle.” Many of the families I interacted with have been serving in this area for 15 years, many got to the field within months of each other. I can attest that moving to a foreign country, leaving family and friends behind, is a very difficult thing. But I got to see them function as a large family, full of love, passion, encouragement and excitement. It was a true blessing to see, and to be a part of, if only for a week. I walked away with a better understanding of where my students come from, who their parents are, what their childhood was like. My heart grew even more passionate to serve missionary kids. I truly believe they are some of the best kids in the world. They are simply amazing.
Additionally my eyes were opened to the sacrifice these parents are making. I had the privilege of traveling back to BFA with the BFA students, but this meant we left two days before everyone else. All week there was an exuberant amount of joy and laughter. But the morning we left Anapa, the mood changed and everyone was downcast. I observed as parents ate their last meal with their child before saying goodbye for 2-3 months. I was on the bus, looking out the window at a line of parents with tears in their eyes, waving goodbye to their children. It was difficult and it was emotional. Yet at the same time, it was encouraging because I felt as though I could say to the parents, “I am at BFA to pour into your child, but I am also there, to support and serve you.” Because, we are all a part of God’s family. We are all on the same team. We are all here to help each other out.

Thank you for your prayers, and your encouragement while I was in Russia. It was an excellent trip, and I am so blessed to have been able to gain the experience. I have more stories I could share, but I hope you are able to gain a general idea of what took place.
Please continue to pray for my ministry, and my students. I love them so much, and care for them deeply. I love what I do, it is not easy, but God is good.

Blessings from Germany.

Tommy

This is a picture of our entire group for the week.



Here I am in front of St. Basil Cathedral, one of the more
well known monuments in Moscow.


Here is my group during our photo scavenger hunt. We had to make a pose for a "Band album cover" we all thought this picture turned out really well. We had no musical talent, but at least we looked good!


A time with the students is not complete unless you play chubby bunny! Timothy (in the red) was the eventual winner. I did my best but had to concede to Timothy's superiority.



Trevor and Parker are enjoying their leis. Saturday night we had a "luau" complete with the limbo, hula hoop competitions and "Aloha bingo." Trevor doesn't seem quite as excited as Parker.


To my surprise the students LOVED learning some country dances. The first day we taught the dances, we were dancing for almost two hours! The next day they only lasted one hour, but had a great time with it. We even did a little "cotton eye joe" in the airport while traveling back to BFA.



I just had to include a picture of a Soviet car. After being in Germany, the home of BMW and Mercedes Benz, these cars were a joy to see. A little beat up and old, but they still get the job done.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A different adventure

In just a few moments I am leaving Sonne and will be driving to Zurich, Switzerland where I will catch a plane taking me to Moscow, Russia. I will be in Russia until Monday, the 12th. I am going to help with the CMA retreat and will be hanging out with the students, leading activities as well as daily devotions.
I am very excited to take on this adventure. I know I will be with a good number of BFA kids and am thrilled to be able to see their home, and see where they have grown up. I really believe it will help me connect with them and better understand them.
I am also really excited to be able to share my heart in the devotional times. I will be using Hebrews chapter 11 as a reference point for two days as I dive into the characters of Abraham and Moses. The text from Hebrews 11:24-27 has been an incredible passage for my heart in the past few days. It has brought me great strength, encouragement, admiration and inspiration. Check it out if you have a brief moment, because I think it is simply an amazing little portion of scripture. Additionally, I will be talking about the life of Esther, another portion of scripture that has been a blessing has been Esther 4:14b.

I would greatly appreciate your prayers for the next week as I am off on this adventure. I have quite a mixed bag of emotions at this point. The excitement of the task I have before me, the nervousness of traveling a large distance alone, as well as the sadness in knowing that when I return I really am on the final stretch of the school year.

I am bringing my computer as I have a few videos prepared for my talks, but am not sure as to whether or not I will ever have internet access.
Thank you for your prayers, and thank you for your support.

Blessings from Germany,
Tommy

Friday, April 2, 2010

All over the world

The first chapter of Acts, verse 8 reads: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
The last few words in that verse, "to the ends of the earth" seem to be very fitting for things that have gone on here at BFA within the past week.
The students left campus a week ago for spring break. At BFA we have two weeks of spring break so that the students who have a long way to travel, can enjoy time at home before having to turn right back around. Each year during the first week of break the school sends out a handful of mission trips for the students (this is when/how I went to Kenya last year). This year we had five trips that saw 59 students and 15 leaders venture to; Tanzania, Macedonia, Greece, Burkina Faso, and a closed country in central Asia. They are doing everything from helping build buildings, to working with Roma and Gypsy youth, working with refugees, and much more. I am truly encouraged and amazed at what our students are doing.
Prior to leaving the team going to Macedonia set up a blog (http://www.bfatomacedonia.blogspot.com/) and they have been updating it daily. Even though at the time I am writing this blog, they are traveling back home, I would highly encourage you to read their posts. They also updated pictures daily, and in a matter of minutes you can see the students, and the work they were doing.

In addition to the sending out of many, BFA opened her doors for educators from all over the world to come for the ACSI conference (Association of Christian Schools International). There were close to 150 people that came from; Mali, Senegal, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Niger, Spain, just to name a few. Those coming for the conference represented over 20 different countries. The conferences was very interesting, and provided the opportunity to meet new people who are doing very similar work to what we are doing at BFA. I met an education professor from Cedarville University, who is familiar with my extended family there, proving that it is indeed a small world! I also met a student who will graduate from Grove City in a few weeks, and is coming to BFA next year to teach! The main speaker for the conference was Wes Stafford, President of Compassion International. It was a blessing to hear him speak, hear his passion, and to be challenged by him.

Please pray for all our students who are still out in foreign countries, and are starting to travel back. Also, please pray that the rest of break would be relaxing and rejuvenating.
I have enjoyed having a little more free time than normal, and have thoroughly enjoyed being able to catch up with friends from home. This is the best opportunity I have to talk on the phone, so if you have time feel free to give me a call! (440)499-6095 will get you to my skype number.