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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Please join me in this Journey...

Dear Friends,

I would LOVE for you to partner with me in my ministry over here in Germany. Below I have included a couple pictures from this year as I served Black Forest Academy (BFA) as a Resident Assistant in one of the female dormitories here called "Blauen." Next year I have agreed, with a strong urging from the Lord, to accept the role of Assistant Chaplain. It is in this role that I will continue to serve the females of BFA throughout the year. This role includes helping out with small groups, mission trips, weekly Friday chapels, and much more! I look forward to seeing what God has in store for me as next year rapidly approaches. However, in the meantime continue to pray and heavily consider pairing with me in my ministry to Him - whatever that may look like for you. :-)

Thank you!

Celebrating a birthday in our dorm!

Super blessed to be in an RA small group this year...

After we played some Flag Football - in the mud

LOVE my girls!

We decided to have a "cowgirl" day during lunch :-)

The lovely ladies I get to work with...

Celebrating the Superbowl!

Celebrating our Graduating Seniors - so sad to see them go, but God is with them!

One of the perks of the job is that I get to bake pretty much all the time! :-)

Super blessed to mentor this girl!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Written Apology

Dear friends and loved ones,

I have to SINCERELY apologize for my long absence this past year on my blog. The whole point I started the blog was to keep you informed about my ministry, and to hopefully update you with words and pictures; however, I have been extremely bad at doing such. In hopes of making amends I want to show you a video that pretty much sums up what my life has been like, and will continue to be like this year (or at least for the next two months). :-)

It is my hope that within the next week I will be posting on this blog what next year holds for me -- and trust me when I say that not I even expected this. Big news to stay tuned! :-)

"This is the day the Lord has made, Let us Rejoice and be glad." 
~ Psalm 118:24~

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Worth Waiting For...

As with anything that runs deep into our core, those things that are stored close to our heart are the hardest to express, and sometimes let go of. Ever since returning back to Germany from Christmas this blog post, I kid you not, has been literally sitting on my computer – waiting to make its appearance into the world. Now, in my opinion, is finally the time.

In our impatient society, there are still many instances where the wait is worth it.

The final product of mixing ingredients, only to make a really tasty treat.
That favorite TV show in their final episode.
The arrival of a loved one flying home.
That special someone appearing in your life.
Working hard at a job to put your first down-payment on a house for your family.
Your baby’s first look into your eyes after giving birth.
And we should add to that list….God’s plans for your future.

Trust me when I say that I am speaking as much to myself as I am you, if not more. It is easy to say that certain things in life are "worth waiting for," but we do not heed the advice as much as we give it. Since when has our generation become so willing to fall short? Since when have we been willing to compromise that in which God has promised to us?

We all fall short, we all make mistakes, but please – I beg you, please – do not let yourself believe for one second that the wait is not worth it, putting yourself at risk for compromise. No one deserves to compromise, especially when God has such great things in store for each and every one of us as children of His. His love, His peace, His riches, His grace, and His kingdom - all promised to us as followers and believers of Him.

By being impatient we are saying that we are not worth the wait, and that the waiting is not worth it. “Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” (Romans 2:4). Let us not forget the fruits of the Spirit being “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…[and] since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22).

I know what most of you are thinking, I thought this post was going to be about singleness and waiting for the right man to come along. Well, gotcha! However, I will speak a little to this. If I had a dime for every conversation I have had about singleness over the past two and a half years, I would have been able to sponsor many children to attend BFA by now.

I was reading a great article the other day about Christian dating and how, depending on who you are, your perspective can be completely different than the next person on the who, what, where, when and why of what might eventually become a romantic relationship between man and wife. To say that we all want to feel loved and accepted is an understatement – and what better relationship to learn that from than from God. If we want to be pursued by the opposite sex, we first need to learn what it means to be pursued by God. If we want to be in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex, we need to first learn what it means to be in a relationship with God, our almighty Creator. If we want to be married to someone of the opposite sex, we need to first learn what it means to be in a holy matrimony with our God (I know this one might sound somewhat strange, but stick with me for the next illustration).

In one of the small groups that I am apart of we are reading a book by Shannon Ethridge titled, “Completely His.” Within one of the chapters it paints this picture of a wedding day:  the bride…the groom…the ceremony. I’ll end you with the excerpt from the book, which will be able to give you a better idea of what I am trying to articulate:

            “In my dream, a bride is milling around the room, soaking up the praises and adoration of her wedding guests. However, her groom is nowhere to be found. As I scan the room, he finally comes into my view. He’s standing in a corner, looking down at the wedding ring his bride has just placed on his finger. Yet, he is shedding tears of sadness because she doesn’t feel the need to have him by her side. She isn’t introducing him to her friends, and he appears to feel shunned. As his tears fall onto his hands, I notice the nail scars and realize the groom is Jesus.
            I awoke from my dream with a sick feeling in my stomach. ‘Lord, is this how I made You feel when I was looking for love in all the wrong places?’ I wept at the thought of hurting Him so deeply. As I have become more aware of the pain I cause my beloved Bridegroom when I fail to cling to Him, I’ve become more motivated to forsake all others.
            Are you ready to do the same? Are you ready to cleave only to Him, regardless of where that takes you?”

Monday, September 30, 2013

"Like New"

Have you ever been shopping on ebay or amazon and notice that there are categories for the items that you are looking into purchasing? They are described in such ways as “new,” or “like new,” and in some cases they are termed as “used.” Is it not interesting to think that sometimes we can put these label on ourselves too…for example, when we are starting a new stage in life, or perhaps a new job. Heading into this year I think a good way to describe what I am thinking and feeling is “like new.”

As I left for Germany, once again, and flew across an oceans worth of thoughts and memories, I could not help but have a familiar feeling of what was to come. Having been through this flight process numerous times now, it got me into thinking; this is just what I do. I am the person that flies overseas to work, but still consider “home” to be in the states. What an interesting mentality, and one that definitely affects me from time to time.

Back again this year, I am encircled with familiar surroundings. Arriving back into Germany I felt a sense of comfort knowing the area and a lot of the people. As I took time to reflect over the last couple of years, it dawned on me that my roles here have never been the same. The first year I was new to the community and job, taking on the role of a middle school math teacher. The second year I was familiar with the community and job, but decided to tack on some extra responsibilities, such as Head Tennis coach for the high school. Now, my third year, I am still familiar with the community, but my role has changed in regards to my job. This year I am a “Resident Assistant,” or RA, which basically means I get to love on 14 teenagers as I sleep, eat, and breathe life with them.  

Knowing this year was going to be different in almost all senses, there was still no full proof way to guard my heart during the process. That is just part of God’s plan though, right? At least that is what I keep telling myself. With thoughts of being an RA this year I almost immediately knew that I would like to be in a guys dorm; however, I was open to anything…honestly.

It hit me hard when I found out that I would be spending my year with teenage girls instead of teenage guys; however, was firm in my belief that God had His hand in the whole process. I have never learned more about myself than going through the process of finding out which dorm I would be serving this upcoming year. With many comments from friends and loved ones, everything from “what are you doing,” to “you are going to be amazing,” I could not help but feel lost in my sea of emotions for what was to come. Even though the process was somewhat uncomfortable and definitely stretching, I would not change a thing. God definitely has me where He wants me this year; I look forward to hearing His voice in regards to the years to come.

One of the hardest parts of this process has definitely been energy levels. Having my energy normally focused into the middle of the day while I was teaching, it has been taking me some time to make the switch to where my energy’s focal point should be first thing in the morning along with the end of the day. It has been a switch that I have embraced and tried to get used to, but it is definitely taking some time. However, as my body and personality are making the switch energy-wise, my heart has fallen for these 14 girls that I get to spend my year with. They have touched my soul in ways only God could make possible, and I truly am not worthy.

Another challenge of this year continues to be my collision of worlds. Before I thought it was hard when I was torn between two worlds:  the US and Germany; however, now I am torn between three: the US, Res Life in Germany, and school-side in Germany. I am a firm believer that God does not give us more than we can handle, so I stand strong in His strength and grace as I approach this year with many unknowns…giving it all to Him.

Building the bridge as I walk on it… I know this year will be filled with new challenges, new circumstances, and new faces, yet my familiarity with this community, town, language, and atmosphere will help me significantly in the process; however, I still cannot help but feel “like new.”

"Blauen," the dorm I ended up in with co-RA and dorm parents

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge." ~Psalm 62:5-8~

Friday, June 21, 2013

Next Year...

I will apologize ahead of time for how short and to the point this particular blog post will be, but I also wanted to update you on the next chapter of my life. :-)

After much prayer, contemplation, and a push from God I have decided to stay at Black Forest Academy this upcoming year, 2013-2014. After some long talks with God it is evident that He wants me here at BFA. However, this upcoming year I will no longer be here as a MS Math teacher, but rather as a Resident Assistant in one of the nine dorms here at BFA. With this link you can see the various dorms here:

It is as I told close friends of mine from back in the United States:

"God has truly brought me to this position...and I could not be more at peace about it.
I would appreciate your love and support in this decision. It was not an easy one to make due to missing so many people from back home, but please know that I KNOW this is what the Lord has for me right now. Join with me as I lean on this passage for continual wisdom from Him: James 1:2-8. He has great plans for me, and the journey is nothing ever short of crazy. "

See the following below for the specific duties of what my role will entail this upcoming year:  

Purpose: To help BFA fulfill its mission/vision by overseeing the boarding students, the facilities and the dorm staff in a particular BFA residence.

Reporting Relationships: Dorm Parents and Res. Life Supervisor
  1. Seek by personal example and precept to inspire students and staff in Christian faith and living.
  2. Develop positive, loving care such as would be found in a Christ-centered home.
  3. Provide appropriate moral, social, spiritual and physical training in cooperation with the dorm parents
  4. Facilitate good communications with students and staff. Remain available while on duty.
  5. Promote good study habits and provide a quiet study environment.
  6. Exercise flexibility and understanding in the care of individual students within the context of the group living environment.
  7. Consistently administer established dormitory rules, and routines, e.g. bed time free time, etc.
  8. Teach and encourage students to develop healthy lifestyle, e.g. hygiene and adequate sleep, etc.
  9. Assist students in time of sickness and injuries.
  10. Promote good work ethic regarding the residence gratis’ (chores).
  11. Encourage dorm students to communicate with their parents.
  12. Facilitate good communications with the dorm parents by keeping them informed of student difficulties as you become aware.
  13. Assist dorm staff with the daily dorm duties, e.g. laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, etc.
  14. Other duties as assigned by the Supervisor of Residence Life.
  15. To meet regularly with the residence supervisor for encouragement, instruction and accountability.

Thank you, again, for ALL of your support and prayer as I continue on the path that God has pre-planned for me...I cannot wait to see what more He has in store for me! :-)

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;  he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does." 
~James 1: 2-8~

The AMAZING Middle School staff that I will miss, OH, so dearly. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

25 Memories Leading Up to my 25 Years of Life

"...and anyone who does not take His cross and follow me is not worthy of me..."
~ Matthew 10:38 ~

1. Small group new additions :-)

2. A marvelous middle school staff

3. Birthday celebrations of close friends

4. Random dinner parties

5. Tuesday evening get-togethers with friends

6. Running in the early morning with friends

7. Helping prepare for a conference at BFA

8. Laughs and giggles with friends

9. Skype sessions with loved ones

10. Chill evenings with the roomies

11. Training for a 14K with lovely ladies

12. My first paid baking gig :-)

13. Looking into my future plans

14. Cafe dates with my mentor :-)

15. Smiles that appear on my face due to new music

16. Unplanned afternoon naps

17. The ability and happiness of baking for hours

18. Students that make me laugh and smile frequently

19. Chill movie day with friends

20. Easter with great people :-)

21. A trip to Barcelona, Spain that enabled me to wear sunglasses 

22. Running a 14K in Freiburg, Germany as part of a team marathon :-)

23. Having class outside in the beautiful sunny weather

24. Trips to my favorite cafe :-)

25. Turning 25 while in the Swiss Alps surrounded by SNOW! :-)

Thank you SO MUCH for your continued prayers as I serve our Lord in Kandern, Germany at Black Forest Academy as a middle school math teacher. :-) 

Please continue to pray with me as I walk with our Lord in the next chapter of our lives together. 

"You lead, I'll follow, Your hands hold my tomorrow,
Your grip, Your grace, You know the way,
You guide me tenderly,
When you lead, I'll follow,
Just light the way and I'll go,
Cause I know what you got for me is more than I can see,
So lead me on, on, on and on,
Just lead me on, on, on and on..."

~ You Lead, by Jamie Grace ~

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Half German - Half American

"Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there, so that by God's will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed."
~ Romans 15: 31-32 ~

Some awesome friends and me at one of the local Christmas markets :-)
This Christmas I had the unique opportunity to "go home for the holidays." With much anticipation and excitement towards the end of December, I geared up for the people I would see, things I would do, and moments that were soon to be had. Even though there were multiple things I was able to do during my break, most of them included visiting and spending unforgettable memories with friends and family.  For that in itself I am very grateful.

"And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit."
~ Ephesians 2:22 ~

One of the many random conversations that I heard while at home involved dogs. If you have ever noticed, when people start talking about a pet of theirs, especially if it is a dog, one of the first questions asked is, "What breed is it?" or "What type is it?" The question in itself is very interesting - as if knowing its origin or background will be able to tell you all you need to know about that particular pet.

As humans we tend to put ourself in similar situations. It might not be the same question as "What breed are you?" -- but we still ask those main questions such as "What is your job?," "What is your name?," "Where do you live?," "Where is your family from originally?" We have all done it. For most, this is the route of getting to know a person. Well, during this particular blog I would like to help you get to know me better as I have come to discover something:  I am Half German - Half American.

Katrina and me at our Christmas cookie exchange at my apartment 
Before leaving on a big trip it is always easier to delay the inevitable. After coming home for Christmas and being able to do so many things and see so many people, it was easier for me to push aside the fact that I would have to say goodbye and leave again for another six months. After all, no one else was leaving. As I continued to NOT prepare myself for the inevitable goodbyes, it turns out it just became harder afterwards -- almost sending me into a downward spiral. After much processing, contemplation, and tears I finally realized a little bit more about my emotions. Even though I was the one leaving, it truly felt as though everyone was leaving me. As if no one cared enough to say, "I do not want you to leave." It almost felt as though I was waiting for those words, waiting for someone to admit what I thought they were feeling. Do not get me wrong, I still think that they were feeling this way -- but shortly after that I began to realize something:  my heart was struggling so much because it did not belong in one place. I am currently battling all of these thoughts and emotions because half of my heart and life is in America, and the other half is in Germany. Talk about being torn between two places.

My roommates and me at the Christmas Dance

Even though the future is unknown to everyone except God our Father, I find peace in that. God knows me, He knows the desire of my heart, He knows how emotionally involved I get with my surroundings (especially the people), and He knows that I will follow Him wherever He would have me go. He knew that I would become attached to Germany, He knew that I would make a space for BFA in my heart, He knew that I would have a hard time transitioning from one place to the other, and even though all of those things take place and happen daily -- I would have it no other way. God has truly blessed me in SO MANY ways that I cannot even begin to verbally explain.

"God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect."
~ Hebrews 11:40 ~

God continues to present gifts to me in life that I would never be able to pay Him back for, and the best part -- He does not want me to. We are His children and He LOVES to shower us with gifts -- who am I to deny Him that pleasure? All I know is that among all the "pain" and "suffering," I cannot wait to see what God has in store for me in this next chapter of my life. Let us do it together God, let us do it together.

My small group girls and co-leader, Katrina, at the Christmas Dance -- LOVE THEM!