Sunday, April 29, 2007

Taken at Tim's Pre-Birthday Party

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Family PIcture

Sometimes its hard to everyone to cooperate while taking a family picture.

Well, this is it. This was taken in the backyard of Jesse and Doris Frank.

Luke and Tyler - a little brotherly love. Luke is soon to graduate from high school. Tyler is in 10th grade.
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Saturday, April 28, 2007

First Home Soccer Game

Game on the Kandern Field

Sandee visiting with Chris and Chrissy Bryan, our nephew and his wife.

Daniel Maj, BFA soccer player. Nice hairdo, dood.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Mission Trip reports at Black Forest Christian Fellowship

The Bulgaria team reporting. Tyler is the one speaking in the middle. He did an awesome job!!

The Romania team. Ellen is speaking. Luke is on the far right.

Sam Stemple, BFA Chaplain, and the Burkina Faso team reporting.

The soccer outreach team reporting.
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Kandern Scenery

Downtown Kandern taken from one of the many hillsides.

That's our house in the middle of this picture hiding partly behind that tree.

National pasttime - stacking fire wood. Nobody does it better than the Germans.
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Sitzenkirch, Germany

This is a panorama shot of the small village of Sitzenkirch, Germany, just 3 kms. from Kandern. This is where Sandee and I had our very first apartment. Click on the picture to see a much larger version. You can see the Sausenburg ruins off in the distance.
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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Spring....can't get enough of it!

Right now the many forests surrounding our town are that beautiful soft shade of spring green. Even the lilacs - my favorite flower - are blooming! --Sandee.

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Spring on the golf course

Here is our local 18 hole golf course, a 10 minute walk from our house. I(and sometimes Tim and I) love to go for walks on the paths when the course is not too busy. It is very hilly and from the top of the course the view of the valley overlooking our town is spectacular.

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Cherry Blossoms

This week I took a 10 minute drive to a near-by valley that is full of orchards. The cherry trees (1000's of them!) were in full blossom. The view was breath-taking!

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Anna Pearl is in heaven

Anna Pearl Dredge

January 20,2007 - April 13, 2007

What a beautiful little girl. Thanks for praying for Matt and Sarah Dredge, BFA staff members, during this tough time. Visit Dredge's website to learn more:

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

BFA in the spring time

Pictures of Black Forest Academy main campus from the back on Papierweg str.

These pictures show the Janz Building (on left), auditorium and gym on right, and the main building in the middle in the background.
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Monday, April 16, 2007

BFA All-Staff Breakfast

Bill Dunham - Chef and Task Master, Scott Parson, Bob Cummer, Ken Salt on the kitchen crew.

What an amazing spread of food.

The fellowship with fellow staff members was great too.
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All Staff Breakfast

Empty tables just before the big breakfast meeting

Tables full of wonderful BFA staff members all enjoying each other's company after spring break.
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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Luke's report on the trip to Romania

Dear friend,

Well, I'm back in Germany, after a great, but tiring week in Romania. It began when the 13 of us flew out of Basel, Switzerland on Thursday morning to Vienna, and from Vienna to Timisoara, Romania. There we met up with our hosts, Phil and Adinela Ness, who are missionaries that work with the youth in the small town of Marga, where we spent our week. The town in relatively poor, like most we passed on our two-hour drive from the airport. Everything in Romania is very makeshift, and everything has a "patched-up" feel. There is a definite ex-communist aura about the place. Despite that, the people are very pleasant, and loved to have us there.

For the most part, we worked with the youth. On the weekdays, we led a VBS-style program from 4-6 in the afternoon. My role was leading the music, which was very relaxed and casual. My biggest concern with our trip beforehand was what seemed to me like our "unpreparedness". But I feel like God taught me that that's not always necessary.
Almost everything we did during the week felt very on-the-spot and improvised, but that's how the culture worked. During the church services we attended, we were asked multiple times to "sing a couple of songs" which made for a share of awkward silences (we had nothing at all prepared), but it turned out great, and we sang our contemporary worship songs a cappella like an untrained choir.

I expected on this trip to be met with a group of unchurched children who would be hearing what we had to say for the first time, which proved not to be entirely true. Almost everyone it seemed attended either the orthodox church services or the non-denominational church which we got to experience. So in the end, our experience wasn't much of an evangelical mission. Instead, I think we played the role of "encourager" with these kids. We did our best to love them with the time we had, and hope that God took care of everything else. I think we were successful.

In the mornings we helped to pour an addition onto their cement basketball/soccer court at the youth center, as well as planting potatoes for the Romanian family we stayed with. In the evenings we played more than our fair share of pickup soccer games, card games,
and whatnot with the youth.

All in all it was an amazing trip. I think it goes without saying that it made me thankful for the things I take for granted, which I expected going into it. The people I met in Romania had so little, but some were so full of joy. As much as I hope that I was an encouragement to those I came into contact with in Marga, I know that the people there were an encouragement to me. Nevertheless, the people of the town do need prayer. We heard a lot of sad stories while we were there, and many people are not as happy as those we spent the most time with. There is a strong division between the orthodox church and the one we attended, and much of the mission of the Ness family is to break down that barrier and cause a revival. I like the way my new friend Sergiu said it. He told me that he doesn't like that the town has two cemeteries (one orthodox, one for everyone else), because there is only one Jesus, not two).

I saw a lot of great things happening in Romania, but there is for sure a lot to be done and a lot that needs prayer. In any case, I want to thank you for helping to send me on this incredible experience. It has given me a new perspective and left me encouraged and inspired.

Without your help, this wouldn't have been possible. So as they say in Romania,
"Multumesc and Iisus te iubeste",
Luke with his Romanian friend. Notice closely Luke's hat.

Tyler's report on his Bulgaria Trip

Dear Everyone,

First off I'd like to thank all of you who supported me financially and who prayed for me and our team…for making it possible for me to go to Bulgaria. My missions trip to that country was incredible. I really believe that God was able to use us.

The village we were staying in was run down and poor. Many houses were make-shift or half built. We were staying in the village's school dormitory. The school needed a dormitory because many of the kids come from villages that are too far away from the school and so the students are not able to return home each night.
The dormitory was basic. We did not have normal toilet, but a "squat-pot" - basically just a hole in the ground. There was only one shower. There was no central heating. Instead, each room had a wood burning stove that was stocked every night.

On Sunday we went to the village church. It was a mix of Orthodox and Catholic. It was quite an interesting experience. It was on Sunday that we began our VBS activities with the kids. Quite a few kids showed up(20-30). There was some singing and a Bible story, as well as crafts and games. The games were particularly interesting. Although we had planned out many specific games to play, we ended up only really playing one thing: soccer. This was actually a very good thing. Since communication was quite hard (at the beginning we only had one translator) teaching the kids games was no easy task, but everyone understands soccer. Through this we were able to break the ice and start to get to know the kids.

Throughout the week we had great weather, which was really an answer to prayer because forecast was for rain, and we needed sunny days to paint. As far as painting and work goes, we didn't get that much done, but I am sure this was God's plan; instead of physical labor, we got much more relationship building done. It was especially sad when on the last day, tons of kids came to say goodbye to us. And I really think we were able to have an effect on the people in the town. Zhana, our translator, was telling us how people in town couldn't believe that people were coming to their tiny village to help.

Not only we were able to help the kids, but we grew as a team. We had daily devotions, and one time we hiked up to the cross that was up on top of a hill to watch the sunrise. Once up there we just hung out, read our Bibles and talked about what God had been teaching us this week.
For me particularly. God had been teaching me the power of prayer. I was quite nervous about everything, and convinced that I wouldn't be able to connect with the kids. But once things got going it was just amazing. It was actually easy to get to know them even if we spoke a different language.

All in all it was a great experience, and I would love to go back, because more work is needed. By the way, there was some money that was leftover from our missions trip and we left it for the school in Bulgaria so that they could buy whiteboards.

Once again, thank you for all your support and prayers. Please keep praying for the kids in the village of Vidare.

Gratefully, Tyler