Friday, January 6, 2017

New Year, New Lessons

Happy New Year from the Hollands! (some of us, anyway)
First of all, Happy New Year 2017! I had the privilege of hosting my parents and two of my brothers here for Christmas. When you've lived outside of your home culture, even for a little while, the ability to share it with those close to you is both sensitive and sensational! Sensitive because welcoming others into your world is scary sometimes, no matter who they are. And sensational because of the joy that comes from that kind of vulnerability. I love that when I talk to them next, and tell them that I wrote this post sitting in a Starbucks in Basel, they'll know the city I'm talking about because they've been here! We traveled and talked and laughed and ATE and even sang together for a Christmas Eve service. They met and engaged with so many people here who are dear to me. There is absolutely nothing that compares with being with and together with those whom you know and who know you. And even though I was tired when they left, my heart is so very full! Mom, Dad, Peter and Mark, thank you for coming to see me and valuing me, my life and world here.

We are just a few days away from the start of school, and I can honestly say I'm looking forward to it. This break has been one of the best yet, but I also have one of the greatest jobs in the world, which I'm looking forward to resuming soon! The students return to homes and dorms over the weekend, and classes start Monday. This coming week is the last week of our semester, with exams following the week after. Please keep us in prayer as we finish one semester and begin another one. My Piano 2 students played a fabulous showcase recital just before Christmas. They did a couple of arrangements of favorite Christmas songs, including an improvisation on Angels We Have Heard on High. This was a big stretch for some of them, but was a fitting expression of the way their learning has developed so far this year. I'm looking forward to hearing the repertoire they've prepared for their final exam as well!

The start of a new year brings many emotions and thoughts to mind. I've never been one to intentionally make resolutions. But this year I've felt a strong emphasis in my heart on the word "Hope." Hope is worth as much as whatever it's placed on. This year, I am determined to set my hope on Christ. One day at a time, one challenge, struggle, sadness, joy, grief at a time. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare, and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11
He is Lord, and I will trust Him.

Praise the Lord with me:
1. For an awesome visit with family!
2. For a restful Christmas break.
3. For His constant, incredible provision.

Pray with me:
1. For the students as they make their way back to Germany. Safe travel is such a gift - please pray for our students!
2. For a strong start to school in 2017 - wisdom, vision, patience and direction.
3. That my heart will be tender to the Lord, as I teach, mentor, lead, and listen.

Thank you for your constant prayer and financial supper, and your interest in the work God is doing at Black Forest Academy!