Thursday, January 26, 2012

So What Exactly Do You Do?

Happy Thursday to you! I hope that it has been a good one for you, or will be, depending on where you are in the world. Today I want to try and answer a question which I was asked a lot during my time home. “So what is it that you do, exactly?” I usually come up with a long list of duties ranging from tutoring, to cleaning, to cooking, among other things. Let me try and give you a better picture. This morning I went grocery shopping with Chris and Timmy. This is a normal Thursday ritual, so after the guys left for school, we took a little time to make ourselves presentable and again went to Kandern (about 9 kilometers down some windy switch-back roads) which not only holds the main BFA campus but also is home to the three grocery stores which we frequent. At our first stop, Pennymarkt, which is about as big as a large convenience store, I grabbed a cart and began to fill it. 20 bananas, 2 bags of about 10 apples each, 20 eggs (we didn’t need much today), 24 cups of yogurt, 6 packages of sliced cheese for lunch, about 10 packages of deli meat, 3 loaves of bread, among other things. All in all, we filled 2 average shopping carts. To find cheddar cheese for our weekend cooking, we head to another local grocery store. We us an average of 7-8 liters of milk a day, so for that we visit yet another grocery store. While these numbers may not sound impressive at first, the clincher is that all of this will last til Monday, when our dorm parents go shopping again. What makes all of this difficult for me is the language barrier. While I am gradually picking up vocabulary, it has been a rather steep upward climb for me.  Here are a few words I have learned that have helped me in my grocery shopping:

Gurken – Cucumber

Zwiebel – onion
Knochblauch – garlic

Tomaten – tomatoes (easy one!)

Salat – lettuce

Eier – egg

Käse – cheese

Schinken – ham

Puten – Turkey

Hähnchen – chicken

While these words may seem simple, it is amazing how much easier shopping can be when you know them!! 
I’ve got a pretty good handle on my numbers as well.

These days around the dorm have been pretty exciting. We have had home basketball games for the past two weekends, and will have them this weekend as well. Our wrestling team also travels just about every weekend. We have six Sonneknights on the wrestling team and it is exciting to hear how they are improving. One of my seniors, Josh, is the team captain, and I am extremely proud of him. These days are eventful for the seniors as well. Most of them have heard or are hearing back from different schools and universities, and are now working through the details of financial aid, logistics, moving to the US, and all of the other facets of a transition out of high school to university. Please keep these guys in your prayers as they make decisions. Pray that they would diligently seek what God has for them, and that they would also stay healthy. We have several strains of the flu virus as well as various versions of the common cold floating around the school. Several guys have come home from school early this week, but with a little bit of sleep and some medicine they've been up and running again before too long. Please pray that no one else will get it, and that we will all get the rest we need. God is so good, and I am so thankful to be here. He is teaching me so much and I look forward to sharing more of that with you very soon. Have a wonderful week!

Blessings,
Lauren 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Seniors, and Making Decisions, and Some Sweet Hoodies

While writing this post, I am sitting at the living room table in the dorm, finding it hard to believe that another semester is already begun. This is my fourth semester here, and I can hardly believe it. I only wish my college career had felt to fly by so fast! The trip home was fantastic, with eventful travel on both ends. Spending the night in the airport, arriving home in time for my siblings’ church Christmas program, ordering dorm hoodies, and lugging 3 heavy pieces of luggage through the Frankfurt airport were only a few of the elements. Possibly one of the most stressful, but also exciting pieces to the break, was the arrival of our dorm hoodies. We had a design chosen and ordered, and they were slated to arrive by the time I left for the airport in January. However, by the time my luggage was loaded into our van and we were ready to leave, the UPS truck still had not arrived! Saying I was frustrated is a gross understatement. As we drove down the main road in my hometown I was asking God why, over and over; and then we passed our local 7-11. This was a favorite convenience store in our family growing up, and apparently the UPS guy likes it too, because his truck was in the parking lot as we drove by. We pulled in to the lot and my mom and brother Tim jumped out of our van and ran into the store. This being a small town, we have a sort of friendship with this guy, so he came out to his truck to check and see if he had 2 large boxes from the Sweatshirt company. Would it surprise you if I said he had them? I was amazed and humbled as he handed me the boxes. The guys are now sporting some fantastic dorm apparel, and I am thankful the God cares about things like hoodies and a UPS truck! The reality, however, in all of this is that even if they had not arrived, God would still be sovereign. I think that was the big-picture lesson for me in all of this. I am so blessed and thankful to have been able to celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ with my family this year. We had some very meaningful times and I miss them a ton!!

Now we have plunged back into a very dreary, cloudy, but still very lively January. One of the highlights of the month so far for me was seeing them welcome each other back to the dorm. As more and more arrived, they would rush the door in an effort to get the first hug. There was much joy to be had! Please do pray for our students, because although they are happy to be back with their dorm brothers again, they are also far from their families once again. Pray that homesickness would be minimal, and also that their relationships with their families would thrive despite the miles and time zone differences. There is a special excitement among the seniors as they begin their final semester of high school. For them, the end is in sight, and they are anxious for it to arrive. Mixed with the excitement, however, is an element of apprehension. What’s next? Will I be accepted to my first-choice school? Will I still be friends with the same people? Will I make new friends? How will going to university affect my current relationships? What will my transition to University be like? How do I say goodbye well and end my time here in a healthy way? These are all some of the questions that are being asked right now. Please pray that this class, more than anything else, would seek Christ first in this time of transition. With Him to guide them, they cannot go wrong. He has promised to never leave or forsake them, so I invite you to pray with me that they would know this as reality, not just for their parents, but for themselves.

Finally, I want to answer a question which I have been asked many times over the past few months. What am I doing next year? It gives me great joy to tell you that I have committed to staying at Sonne for one more year. This decision was not made without much prayer and seeking of guidance, and I am confident that this is the door which God is opening for me at this season. So what about music? While this is the area in which I have my degrees, I can honestly say that for this season, my heart is with these students. I love music, and I always will. Currently I have several projects which I am working on with the BFA music department, and I am excited to continue to use my gifts in that way. In a way, you could say that I am ‘weak’, since I don’t have any special training to work with people. However, God has lovingly promised that in my weakness, He is strong, and I have seen Him prove this over and over, especially during my time at BFA. My burden for the ministry in the Residence Life program here has only increased in the past year and a half, and God has continued to open the door to more time of service here. So it is with confidence that I make this decision. Confidence, not in my own ability, but in the God of the universe Who made me, saved me, and enables me to love. It is the desire of my heart that as He molds me and changes me, others will see more and more of Him, and less and less of me.

As always, I want to thank you for reading, and for your continued financial and prayer support. God is doing great things because of you!

Blessings,
Lauren