Wednesday, August 26, 2009

And They're Off!

Meredith (11th), Evan (8th) and Ethan (3rd) on the morning of their first day of school.

Already bored with what they know will be a day filled with Dad pointing the camera at them and their friends!

And here are the rest of "our kids".

Seniors taking part in the annual flag parade for the opening ceremonies of the school year:

Our students' families serve in over 50 different countries across the globe.

Lots of meeting, greeting and joyful reunions filled the morning.

And then there were the tearful goodbyes that always break my mother's heart, but at the same time strengthen my resolve to serve these kids to the best of my ability. Please pray for these families who are feeling deeply the sacrifices they make by serving God. We all make sacrifices to follow just seems that some have harder ones to bear.

It was a busy day in the library as well. Students came to check out their textbooks for the year. Oh the joys of school...better them than me!

This next picture just thrills my heart - NOT! Mark was leading the sophomores in an ice breaker game and asked the kids to line up according to how many books they read this summer. Just look at the number they're forming with their hands!

Here's a video clip from the day as well. I hope to be able to capture on video some of the magic of BFA. Enjoy the reunions, country roll call and the excitement of the first day of school (please forgive my poor video skills...hopefully I'll get better). Pay close attention to the response when USA is called out. We find it interesting that even though most of these kids who hold US passports but have never lived there still delight in being an American.

Until next time...
In peace,
Susan, Mark and kids

"Enough with the pictures, Dad!"

Monday, August 17, 2009

It's About Time (in more ways than one)!!

It's about time that I wrote another blog entry, right? I guess I needed a bit of a break and without the students around, things have been pretty quiet here! But, it's about time for school to start again and we are SO ready...well most of us anyway. Mark and I are certainly ready for all the students to return and Meredith, Evan and Ethan are ready for their friends to come back, but like most kids they are not ready for all the school work to begin again:)
We have enjoyed a nice summer and are thankful for the family time and opportunity to rest since life is going to get very busy again. Meredith and I were blessed to be able to travel home to Tennessee for a short time - she for one month and me 11 days. Meredith was able to go on a mission trip with her youth group and reconnect with her dear friends from home.

I was able to visit mine and Mark's parents, go to church 2 Sundays, visit with friends and see some of you, our dear supporters. I am sorry that I was not able to spend time with everyone, but am so thankful for how God blessed my time home. We cannot wait until next summer when the whole family will be able to travel home and see many, many more of you, our precious friends and family.

The new BFA staff have arrived on campus and I have to tell you it feels great not to be new! We are very thankful to have one year under our belts and are feeling a little more settled in our home away from home. It's not easy being called to live and serve so far from home, but we are learning to accept the good and the bad and allow the Lord to teach us through it all. Recently, Mark spoke to the new staff about burnout and how to care for yourself. He did a great job!

I was asked to speak briefly about how my transition this last year has been. I've learned a lot about myself and God is continually teaching me. I continue to be humbled by Him and how He sees something in me worth refining.

Probably one of the biggest events of our summer was our first ever broken bone among the Powell children! Ethan was playing goalie in a soccer game and blocked a pretty hard shot that snapped his arm just below his wrist. It was quite an experience going through all of it in a foreign language. We ended being taken to the hospital via ambulance! Go figure...we tried to assure the EMT's that we could drive him, but they insisted that it would be better for Ethan to go in the ambulance. We still haven't gotten the bill on this one:) All in all, he was a real trooper and we learned a little more about the German way of doing things.

Another highlight for us this summer has been getting to know a German family. The picture below is Ethan and his friend Pascal. Pascal's dad is Ethan's soccer coach. Klaus, Ilona and Pascal have come to our house for visits and we to theirs. It has been such a joy to become friends. Klaus and Ilona want to improve their English and Mark and I our German, so we help each other out and share laughs in the process. Just the other night I told them that our nightstand was still in the oven (the German word for dessert is nachtisch and the word for night stand is nachttisch)! Only one letter difference in the word but what a difference it made in the meaning of the sentence!

Please pray for our relationship with this family to flourish and that God would bless the relationship for His specific purposes.
You can expect more frequent updates again from this point forward. Thanks for allowing us this time to rest and refresh. We are always grateful for your prayers, encouraging words and support of our ministry to BFA students, their families and those in our greater community.
In peace,
Susan, Mark and kids