We really do make a great team! We want you all to know how very often we say, "I wish all of our supporters could be here right now to experience this!" There are SO many things that happen here that are just so beautiful and amazing and you are our partners in helping make these things happen. I (Susan) wish my words were adequate enough to convey how very blessed we are to be serving here and how extremely grateful we are for your obedience in supporting us here. WE LOVE OUR MINISTRY and you are a part of it! Thank you, Danke Schoen, Vielen Dank, Gracias, Gracie, Merci, etc. You get the picture...we are thankful and ask you to please keep giving. Your support is making a difference and here are just a few highlights of how:
On one of our volunteer nights at Storch dorm, we moved dinner outside to a nearby park. It was a beautiful evening and the girls needed an emotional boost, so dining al fresco with playtime at the park was just the ticket!
Mark getting in on the playground fun with the kids. He played hard and felt it the next morning, but he says it was worth it to see their smiles and hear their laughter!
Bethany looking beautiful for the camera and having fun with the balloons the dorm parents provided for the evening. It's amazing what a few balloons and a beautiful sunset can do for the psyche.
When you live a small town like Kandern, you have to be creative in coming up with ways to entertain yourself. Meredith and her friends decided one morning to walk to school via the creek (aka Kander River) that flows through our town. This is actually quite tame compared to some of the crazy antics that our students can dream up:)
A couple of weeks ago, the middle schoolers had a talent show and Evan and his friends performed. They have named themselves Radium and for a bunch of 13 year-old boys, they are really good! I was one proud momma!
Mark's small group got creative in their support of Evan and his band and spelled out Evan on their stomachs! We love how much the students around here encourage one another. It truly is such a joy to be a part of a community of kids who are "for" each other.
Over the past few months you've seen lots of pictures of the students in our small groups. At the beginning of this school year, Mark and I volunteered to each lead a small group of students. We meet with them every Wednesday night. Small groups (what they're called around here) are designed to provide a place where students can connect with one another and be mentored by their leader. Mark and I have been immensely blessed during these special times and have grown to love "our kids".
Mark's small group
Susan's small group
Susan's small group
Last week we treated our groups to a cookout for our last meeting for this year. God has been so gracious in providing us with spectacular weather for all of our year end activities and the evening of our cookout was no different.
One of the unexpected joys of being here is how much the students love Ethan! His life is being changed and blessed by all the adopted big sisters and brothers he now has.
A school wide spring party was held last Friday and it was an incredibly fun time. Once again, Mark got in on the fun and helped our freshmen (Mark and I have just been appointed their newest class sponsors) defeat the sophomores in tug of war.
The seniors and juniors then went at it and fought each other til the bitter end...of the rope that is. If you click on this picture to enlarge it, you'll see bits of rope flying everywhere. Yep, the rope snapped and juniors and seniors went flying.
Exams have now begun and students are celebrating their accomplishments in various ways around campus.
"We're going crazy trying to keep all of our activities straight and help our own kids pass their exams!" - Not really:) We are having so much fun and really wishing this year wasn't ending so soon. We're not ready to say goodbye yet. Speaking of goodbyes...
This is Yuni, one of the girls in my small group. Yuni's parents serve in a closed country in Central Asia. Due to financial constraints, Yuni is unable to return to BFA next year. Will you please pray for her? I have seen so much growth in this precious young lady and I am so sad to see her go, but trust that our Savior has a special plan for her life. She will be homeschooled but will get to attend an international school one day per week as a tutorial. I keep telling her that I am "praying her back" to BFA. I want the Lord's will for her life, but my selfish, human self doesn't want to say goodbye to her. Please pray for a good friend for her, for her English to continually improve and most importantly for her spiritual growth as she has to leave a place that is familiar and special to her.
You made it to the end! Many blessings to you for reading this and being our partners in ministry to these precious students. We really do make a great team.
The school year may be coming to an end, but check back soon for more pictures of graduation and stories from families about what BFA means to them. Please also pray for safe travel for many parents and family members who will be traveling here soon for graduation ceremonies.
Peace and love,