Thursday, May 27, 2010

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

Hallie and Lydia - dear friends.

When I think about how blessed we are to do what God has called us to, I can't help but think about our friends. Our students, their parents, our ministry partners and the people we are meeting along the way in this journey really make life sweet. Living in community definitely has its challenges, but the benefits are rich and powerful and life changing if you let them be. This spring has been full of richness and life changing experiences. God is amazing, wonderful and meets our every need.
Here's our attempt to catch you up on a few recent happenings.

One of the highlights of this spring for me (Susan) was helping to lead a team of BFA students on a mission trip to Longido, Tanzania. We took 13 students to work at a Compassion International site. This site is paired with a Christian primary school there in the bush of Longido. Over 400 students attend this school. The people of the community in which we worked are almost all from the Maasai tribe. What an amazing experience it was to be immersed in their culture and learn from them. I will be forever changed from my time there.

Not long before leaving for Tanzania, our family began sponsoring the little boy in the yellow shirt. In an earlier blog post I introduced you to Mkapa Laizer. I was privileged to be invited into their home, share some of the best Chai I've ever tasted and talk with the whole family about God's goodness and provision. Also in the picture are Mkapa's brothers and his mother. Inspirational friends.

Meeting Mkapa for the first time.

Our students served at the Longido primary school each day. The students taught lessons and I helped Moses (above) organize his library. Very cool!

The Longido area has been experiencing a severe drought for some time. The Maasai have lost over 80 % of their cows - their livelihood. Our team began praying for rain for Longido long before we ever arrived on the scene. On our last night there it rained and rained hard. We were so excited that we all ran out in the rain and started singing and playing games. It was such a beautiful moment experiencing God's answered prayer with such amazing students. Growing together friends.

Meet Aura and Giuseppe. Aura and Giuseppe are two of the loveliest people around. God has blessed them and they turn that blessing back around. They own and operate a sizable nursery in Sicily. They have a beautiful home with a fully furnished apartment that they share with missionaries at no cost. God meets our every need and many times he chooses to do so in community. Our family was so touched, blessed and changed from our time at their place. They afforded us a much needed family vacation that otherwise we wouldn't have been able to afford. Selfless friends.

Greek ruins near Agrigento, Sicily. Best friends:)

Silly siblings...that sometimes masquerade as friends!

Meredith was inducted into the National Honor Society this spring. Glad she considers her parents friends!

Evan and his friends, who together form Cyprus, were asked to "open" for a Kids on the Way performance at BFA.
They loved performing for a crowd and were pretty stoked about the stage effects. We're pretty proud of how hard he and his friends have worked to improve their craft. They are even writing their own music now. Creative friends.

We've also enjoyed some fun times with our sophomore friends. Mark and I are two of their class sponsors, so we are getting to know this great group of kids really well. Here are some pics of a recent class party and of all of us volunteering at the concession stand of our home soccer/track meet.

BFA students love spirit days. They will find any excuse to dress alike or strangely. The young guy on the right is Will. Will was accepted to Vanderbilt (early decision) and so we are pretty proud to have BFA representin' at Vandy and vice versa:) They thought a Vanderbilt spirit day seemed in order and Mark got in on the act too. I'm pretty sure this was the first annual Vanderbilt spirit day at BFA:) Fun together friends.

OK so this last picture doesn't really have anything to do with friends, but I had to put it in. It was a long, hard winter here. Very few days of sun, lots of rain and snow and cold, COLD temps made us all a little cranky. One day Ethan and Mark decided they'd give us some better scenery to look at than the gray skies and bare trees. These pictures stayed on our window for more than a month!

Now we are looking forward to reconnecting with you, our dear and precious friends. We are counting down the days (14 now) until we all board a plane for the good ole US of A. We've missed you and can't wait to see you. We know we say it often on this blog, but we couldn't do this without you...our "sticks closer than a brother", partners in prayer and ministry friends. See you soon!
Love and blessings,
The Powells