Tuesday, May 14, 2013

One million times richer

Life in these parts has been pretty exciting lately. This weekend held the Junior Senior Banquet, organized by the junior class to honor the senior class. I had been asked to help with music,so. Was privileged to attend. It was a fantastic evening showcasing the talents of many of our students, and highlighting tributes to seniors from their classmates and dorms. The entire evening was very special!

In addition to JSB, we have had a lot of other activities. Sometimes it seems as though every individual in the dorm is flying off in a different direction. We have had home soccer games, meetings, appointments, recitals, field trips, in addition to normal meal planning and everyday tasks around the dorm. Needless to say, life has been full. However, in the midst of it all, we have had opportunities for quiet times, together, as a 'family.' My favorite times are when I'm sitting on a couch or cooking in the kitchen, and one of the guys will come in and start up a conversation. Soon other guys follow, and we'll have a crazy conversation filled with laughter. Other times, as I'm working, several guys will come through, one at a time, wanting to talk about whatever is in their minds. Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry. Sometimes both. Whatever the case, at the end of the day, I fall into bed about one millions times richer because of the confidence that was shared. The funny thing is, I frequently find myself thinking how inadequate I feel for this job. I don't feel that I deserve the trust placed in me by each guy. I don't feel like have the wisdom or the words for any situation. What continues to amaze me, though, is the grace God gives for each moment. More often than not I end up thinking, 'ok Lord, here we go!' And then He speaks, and acts, and loves. Because the truth is that I am not capable of anything on my own. But for some reason, God has chosen to place all of us at Sonne in each other's lives, and given us the duty of living, loving, and learning together. I am so thankful. Because even after weekends like this past one, when there were three thousand details like this past ones, I can tell you that the reason it couldn't have gone any better had nothing to do with the fact that I remembered to do hot lunch, or if i got the guys where they needed to be on time. It has everything to do with the fact that my Father's grace is sufficient. So it is Monday and I may be exhausted, but I am overwhelmed with the fact that have a God who loves me more than I will ever understand, and that I have as much of a lifetime as He gives me to love Him too. 



                  Senior Guys looking handsome for JSB. More pictures to come!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Carnet

The other night as study hours began, I struck up a typical evening conversation with Keenan, a junior.

Me: "Soooo, what homework do you need to do tonight?"

Keenan: "oh only about 20 minutes worth"

Me: "yeah right. What do you really need to do?"

Keenan procedes to list out his assignments, and starts to rummage through his school bag while I turn to another student to check in. As I turn back to Keenan, he's holding a small orange paper-back book and telling me he wants to show me something. The book is called a 'carnet' (car-nay), he explains, and is the way the French school system has chosen to record all kinds of information about a student. The student is then expected to show the book regularly to his parents. Keenan leafs through the book, explaining its various sections to me. One part has late passes, and another record visits to the nurse. There are several sections in which detentions and the reason they rewarded are noted. The student can look back and see exactly what was done and perceived to merit a detention or a visit to the principal's office. This carnet is from several years ago, and Keenan still remembers what he did, and we laughed as he looked back over the year in review. Each offense is recorded. As I sat with him and listened I realized how much that book is like my life. Every day I make mistakes, some more serious than others. If I were to look back and count my own offenses from the last few years of my life, I would have a carnet more full than Keenan's. however, because of the grace of God, I have been freed. Over each listed offense is the red stamp of the blood of Christ that proclaims "forgiven!" In His grace, God has saved me, casting my sins as far as the east is from the west. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2:4-5

Keenan told me that he keeps his carnet because it reminds him of where he came from - a place where records of wrong were kept. It also serves to remind him that those kinds of records aren't kept here. The people surrounding him here are just as human as those in his old school, and are capable of the same things, but instead of a record of wrong being kept, there is grace.

Friday, March 29, 2013

He Will Never Leave You

Right now I'm sitting in a room somewhere a little farther south than Germany, and a bit warmer. We're on spring break, and it's been good to get away from the snow. I won't rant here, but I will say that I am extremely thankful for the light and the spring breezes floating in my window right now.
I have had a lot of opportunity to reflect over the last several days, so I want to try and catch you up on the last few weeks. We have had a plethora of activities going in. The guys went on high school retreat, and I had the privilege of going with them. We heard the amazing story of a life transformed by grace, and were challenged to make the time on earth we do have count for Christ. Bg themes, but so important. We worshipped together, and soaked in the glory of God in creation. I was also blessed to lead a small group, something I really enjoy, but also something that doesn't fit my normal schedule at this point. We returned to the dorm refreshed, and ready to continue with the quarter. The weeks since then are a blur, with so much wrapped up into the days and hours. Soccer season has begun, with nearly half the dorm involved. Im really looking forward to cheering our guys on at home games siin after spring break! Hudson, our middle school dorm brother, had a lead role in the Middle School play, and made such an endearing 'bad guy.' Especially when he came around and mended his ways at the end! With such full lives, our hearts are full as well. I feel like Jenn and I are constantly turning to each other and saying, 'wow, I just had this fantastic conversation with so-and-so!' And it is true. I highly value the trust given in confidence during a conversation, and I'm continually amazed by their coming to me to confide and process. Not that life isn't without it's trials and tears here. We have normal doses of those, of course. But I am thankful that even if my spirits are deflated, or I lose my joy, God sends along a reminder that He is still with me. What a beautiful promise that He will never leave us. I shared this verse with the guys right before break, and I'm claiming it as well: "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6 And what's cool is that the last sentence, "He will not leave you or forsake you" is repeated two verses later, adding emphasis to the beautiful promise.
For those who may not know, I want to let you know that this will be my last year at Sonne. Lord willing, I will be returning to the US for one year, to raise support, follow up with supporters, and share about the time God has given me at Sonne. After that year, the future isn't completely clear to me yet. There are doors opening, so please pray for clarity, and patience for me while I wait. My heart is to remain in missions, and there are endless possibilities. God's timing and plan are perfect, He never makes a mistake, and I trust Him completely. Meanwhile, I wait with great anticipation.

I want to end by saying a huge thanks to my supporters for sticking with me. This year has been very emotionally straining, and I have found it very difficult to write. Thank you so much for your consistent prayer and financial support. You help make the work here possible, and I am grateful.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Conversations

Last week, the guys had exams, so the schedule was a little different. I had a little extra time in the evening to chat with the guys, which was awesome. I'm constantly amazed by the people God is shaping them to be, and I wanted to introduce you to one of them. This post is a little delayed, but it was such a fun conversation, that I wanted to share it with you anyway. Enjoy!


If you were sitting with me right now, you'd be sitting on a couch in our cozy living room. It's been snowing all day, so it's cold outside, but the house is warm. Most of the guys are in their rooms, or in the computer room studying. They have midterm exams Monday through Wednesday this week. Nico, a sophomore from Marseille, France, just plopped down next to me, and we are sitting talking about his day, the exams he has tomorrow, and lots of other random subjects.

LH: What is your favorite french food to make?
Nico: Tartiflette, which is from the French Alps, the Savoie. It's potatoes cooked in a cream sauce with onions and bacon bits, and on top you put this French cheese called reblochon (you have to use this cheese, no other kind!).
LH: What did you enjoy about living in Marseille?
Nico: The history there. The city was founded a long time ago by the Phoenicians. Also, the are lots of beautiful hills in the countryside around the city. I also love the nature along the coast. There are beautiful cliffs where I have gone rock-climbing and cliff-jumping. I LOVE the Proven├žal accent. A lot of people don't like it, but I do.
Also, Before my church bought its building, the building was a pizzeria. It even has real pizza oven. For years they have planned pizza nights, where the elders would make pizzas. One of the elders was a baker. A couple years ago, one of the else said he was tired of doing it, and passed it on to me. He told me what to do and when to be there, and then I took it over. A lot of people invite their friends. They're going to try and do a pizza night in the spring when I am home.

LH: What do you like most about BFA? What's your favorite part of life here?
The dorm. Because its awesome. Everybody gets along, all the guys are really cool. Some of the guys are role models for me.

LH: Was the transition to dorm life easy?
Nico: Yes, pretty much. I'm not too picky about transitions.

LH: What's your biggest challenge?
Nico: BFA is a bubble, everybody knows about everything.

LH: What do you want from life?
Nico: I have a lot of interests. I could see my life going a lot of different directions. Maybe going to a cooking school in France, or college in the UK. But then there's graphic arts, which is really interesting to me. I'm doing really well in that class this year. I'm also interested in being a sports trainer or language teacher.

Please pray for Nico, and his fellow students, as they continue on in school here. They are learning and growing, thinking about many things. Please continue to pray for our staff here as well, that we would have wisdom to guide and come along side them.