Saturday, January 26, 2013

Newest Update - January 2013

Dear friends,

It's been awhile since you've heard from us and we are back in the swing of things here in Germany (where Sam serves as Chaplain at Black Forest Academy) after a year long Home Assignment ministry.  We love the place God has called us, and the students we get to work with from all over the world.  Transition was a little more difficult than we thought.  Things have changed so much here with new students and staff, and it's taken us a while to find our place again.  Our kids have adjusted really quickly, it seems, and they have loved being back where they would call "home".  They have enjoyed sports (volleyball for Ellie and basketball for Jordan), and Matthew and Katie have both picked up German again in the bi-lingual school.  We had a special Christmas with "Oma and Opa" Stemple when they were here and played lots of games, took walks, and went to the Christmas market nearby.  So when January came, we were ready to get back to routine and see friends again.  

Now the second semester has started and there is a lot ahead for these days.  Some of you know that Jordan and Ellie are both going on Mission trips with the school.  Jordan is going to Burkina Faso and Ellie to central Asia.  It is really exciting to see how God is taking care of finances for them- thank you to many of you who have given to them!  They are so grateful and overwhelmed!  They will join some 80+ students who will go out over their spring break to work with established ministries in 8 different locations all over Europe; Asia; and Africa.  Sam will be one of the co-leaders on the Burkina Faso Trip.    

Sam is also in charge of planning the High School Retreat for the students here.  It will be held March 1-3 in a youth hostel in Switzerland.  A speaker and band are coming in from the States to minister to the students and are really excited to be here.  This is a time away from campus where the students often see Christ in new ways, so we're excited for that time.

And then there's soccer... this is a big sport here and we love the competition between the military schools that we play.  Sam will coach the girls team again this year, and both our high schoolers are thinking of trying out for the team.  So there will be lots of cheering going on and hopefully the weather will warm up by then!  That all leads into the summer, which will include the CMA’s youth conference, “LIFE 2013”.  Both Jordan and Ellie plan to attend with a group of MKs from this area (Europe; Middle East; and Asia).  Sam will also go along as a chaperone

How you can pray...

Pray for purpose and direction for both Sam and Jen in the ministries they have here.  Pray for relationships that are being built and that time would be invested wisely.  

Pray for preparation for the high school retreat March 1-3.  Pray for the speaker and band as they come- that they would draw the students and staff to Jesus.

Pray for the M-trips going out March 20-29.  Pray that money would continue to come in for students, for prepared hearts, and that God would work in each one however He wants in the days following.

Pray for preparations for the LIFE conference our kids, as well as a group of MKs, will be attending this summer.  This is a great opportunity for them to connect with youth from all over the states, as well as being challenged in their own walk with Christ.

Thank you so much for your love and support of our family and work here.  The world continues to be reached through our parents represented and YOU are a part of that!  May you know the far reaching effects of your prayers on His people.  

Serving Him together,

Sam and Jen Stemple (for Jordan; Ellie; Matthew; and Katie)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!! I will say that serving at an International school (Black Forest Academy) these past 8 years has changed how we look at Thanksgiving. Most of the dorms have already celebrated Thanksgiving and since we will have school on the actual Thanksgiving day (US) we will celebrate our Thanksgiving a day late (Friday, Nov. 26). Let me take a few minutes and update you on our lives here in Germany.

We are back from our trip to Rome! Last month both Jen and I had a unique privilege to travel with the seniors on their senior trip. We bused down to Rome and spent a week on the Mediterranean. It is a fun week, but one filled with ministry and relationships. Jen’s small group are seniors this year, so she was able to spend some of that time with them.

I (Sam) had a great and unique privilege of baptizing one of the senior guys. Though he had grown up with Christianity all around him, it wasn’t until one of the evenings of this trip that he decided to give his life to Christ. Well like the Ethiopian Eunuch who said to Philip, “there’s a body of water why shouldn't I be baptized?”, the senior said to me, what better place to be baptized than in the place of my conversion and in the Mediterranean Sea. I couldn’t agree more, so we had our own Baptismal service right there and then. God is Awesome!

One of my main responsibilities as Chaplain at BFA is to organize our Spring Break Mission Trips. I was able to announce last week what those trips were. This year we are offering trips to Moldova; Slovenia; Bahrain; Burkina Faso; Uganda; and China. The students have another week to sign up for one of these trips and then I will be responsible to put the teams together.

Our family continues to do well. Jordan made the Basketball team, so that was exciting. He will play on the JV team. He is doing well and loving High School. Ellie got a part in the Middle School play, so she is busy memorizing lines and getting ready for that. Matthew is in second grade and in his second year of bi-lingual so he is really doing well learning German, as well as English. Katie is in a German Kindergarten and is still trying to figure out life there. She has days when she is excited, and then has days where she begs to stay home. Pray for her integration into life there – it has to be hard for a 5 year old who doesn’t speak the language. She is learning, but still has a long way to go. Jen and I are doing well, but still need wisdom in balancing ministry with family and with each other. We do look forward to the Christmas Break which is fast approaching.

Thanks for lifting us up in prayer – continue to do so,
The Stemples: Sam; Jen; Jordan; Ellie; Matthew; and Katie

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ready ... Set ... Go!

The race is announced over the loud speaker... you must report in... stretch... prepare mentally for the marathon ahead...And then you're off- ready or not. Through the sweat and the tears, you're determined to cross the finish line.... And it will happen, even though the race itself holds some unknown.

Well, we're off to the start of a new school year after a great summer in the US seeing many friends and family. Our year is before us and even though we're only 2 weeks into school, much has already happened- in the school and for us personally.

What has already happened...

**We welcomed new staff and students to BFA.

**Opening ceremony was on August 24, where 45+ countries were represented and a senior class of 60 students walked into the auditorium carrying the flags of their countries- Breathtaking!!

**We've hosted parents, RA's, and students in our home, providing a refuge for them in the busyness of school life.

**Sam has already been to the Swiss Alps with the chapel band worship team. They had a refreshing weekend as they had time bonding as a team and with their Father.

**All our 4 kids are in school- including Katie (5years) in her first year of German kindergarten.

What's happening in the next leg of the race...

**Next week (September 13-17) is a big week here for students. Spiritual Emphasis Week is a great time, with chapel each day led by a team from the US. Pray for connection with students, softened hearts to respond to the Holy Spirit, and deeper walks with the Lord.

**Small groups are starting up. Pray for both of us as we lead small groups- for wisdom, direction and complete dependence on the Lord.

**September 30-October 8, both Sam and Jen will be going to Rome with the senior class. Pray for strength, safety, and great interactions as we live, sleep, and eat with these amazing teens!

Thank you for praying!

Running the race together,
Sam and Jen Stemple

Thursday, October 1, 2009


So - just a quick update on our life. We just finished Spiritual Emphasis Week here at BFA. I am always thankful for a week the school gives us to go deeper with these students. BFA holds its SEW at the beginning of the school year, which is a great way to kick off the school year and to help focus the students. Bill Finnemore was our speaker (a missionary from Poland) and challenged the kids in their Love for God and their Love for Others. Geoff and Pearl Dresser brought a team with them from Calgary to lead us in worship and did a great job leading us music. All –in-all it was a great week. For our SEW we combine the Middle School and the High School together, but Wed night is a special service just for the Middle Schoolers and we had so much fun together. Friday night is a special service for the High School, and I was so encouraged by the numbers that showed up and the Spirit of the night. Thanks for your prayers

In our lives, I (Sam) will be leaving today, as I am going along on the Senior Trip. The senior spend a week in Rome, Italy, so I am really looking forward to that time with them. We also spend a day in Florence and one day in Venice (that’s the nice part of living were we live). I will have to endure a 14 hour bus ride both ways, but it is not quite as far as the bus rides to Mexico I did from Wisconsin, so it shouldn’t be that bad. Do pray for Jen, though, as I will be gone for a week.

Thanks for praying for us, continue to keep us in your prayers, as well as the students of BFA (and the staff). We are doing well, but value your continued prayers.

Sam - for the Fam (Jen; Jordan; Ellie; Matthew; and Katie)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The New School Year

Hey All,

Just checked this blog and realized that I haven’t updated since Christmas, which means it has been a while since most of you have heard from us … and for that we are sorry! We have a couple of things happening here at Black Forest Academy in the next few weeks that we need and value your prayers for, so this will be more of a prayer needs update rather than a blog of our life.

1) On Monday (Sept 14) we start our Spiritual Emphasis Week (SEW). As chaplain at BFA, this is one of my main responsibilities, so it will be a busy week. We have a speaker here from Poland and a band here from Canada to lead worship. The students will meet everyday for a chapel service and will have a special evening, as well. Pray for open hearts and that this week will be a great way to help students refocus their lives as they start this new school year.

2) In a couple of weeks I (Sam) will be traveling with the senior class on their senior trip. While I look forward to the bonding time I will have with the seniors, I will be gone for a week. Pray for the family as I am gone, and pray that I would have some good interaction with our seniors during this time.

3) Jen continues to meet with a small group of junior girls, as well as a group of young adult women (RA’s). Both groups kicked off again this past week, so would you pray for Jen that she would have the wisdom in leading and be encouraged by her relationships that are built in those groups.

Our family is doing well. Jordan is in 8th grade and president of the Middle School. Ellie is in 7th grade and has a great group of friends (I remember when she was in 1st grade, that was one of our prayers for her – that God would bring her some good friends). Matthew started first grade this year. He will actually be going to a Bi-Lingual school where he will learn both German and English. He is doing well in his German language after spending a year in a German Kindergarten. Katie is loving being the only one at home all day long, though she does miss her brothers and sister.

We continue to value your prayers, and want to commit to keeping you more updated than we have in the past. I will try and blog (and e-mail) my thoughts when SEW is over, but remember to keep that week in your prayers

Thanks for Praying … Continue to Pray!!

Sam (for the Stemple Fam)

Chaplain, Black Forest AcademyKandern, Germany

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !!

Hope this Christmas season was good for you. We have had family here (Jen's sister's family - the Glancys) and the other night the kids (our 4 plus the Glancy 2) put on a Christmas Pageant for us. I have tried to include a video of their performance. I hope it works. Have a great New Year.

The Stemples

Friday, October 17, 2008

It's a Hard Life We Live

So often we look at missionaries and are challenged and encouraged by all they have to “Give Up” to serve God. Having grown up a missionary kid, I understand that as well as anyone. There are times, however, that Missionaries, because of location or circumstances, get to experience some amazing things. It is in those times, one would almost feel guilty writing home and reporting on what is happening on this side of the ocean. This, my dear prayer warriors, is one of those times.

The life of a missionary at Black Forest Academy took me into the deep dark jungles of Rome, Italy. Suffering for Jesus, I just came back from a week with the senior class on their senior trip. It is not every senior class that can say they went to Rome on their senior trip (Wait, how ironic that my senior skip DAY was in RomeRome, NY). Anyway – every year the seniors take a week in early Oct and bus down to Rome for their senior trip and I was asked to join them. On the way down (about 14 hours by bus) we stopped for a day in Florence and on the way home we had a day in Venice. Again – forgive me for shattering your view of the typical missionary life. We didn’t actually stay in Rome, but in a little village right on the ocean (The Mediterranean). We traveled into Rome each day and saw some incredible things. We spent a day at the Vatican (St Peter’s Basilica) a day at the Pantheon; Trevey Fountain; and other places in that area; and a day at the Coliseum and the ruins in the surrounding the area. We went to the Catacombs on our way home. One day was just free day on the beach and we had the most gorgeous day for it. Our final day was spent at a city ruins just outside Rome. I can’t put my whole experience into this report, as it was an incredible week. Venice was my favorite, though, and I wish we had more than the 6 hours to see it. To me it is such a magical city.

So all this is not just to gloat over such a unique trip I was able to be a part of (though I do want to do that a little), but it is to ask you to pray for our seniors. Being with them for the week reminded me that what lies ahead is exciting, but also very challenging. MK’s that are transitioning back to North America have some huge hurdles to jump as they leave family, friends, home, and culture, to travel back to a place that, for many of them, is a new experience (I was talking with one senior who is planning on going to college in the states that had never been to the US yet). These next months ahead many seniors will be making final plans on where they are headed. Will you commit to pray for them? So – next time you hear the name “Rome” stop a minute and remember that the seniors of BFA just went to Rome and take a few minutes to pray for our seniors and what God has in store for them these next months ahead.

In the slide show to the right, I have included pictures of Rome, as well as pictures of my family (no, Jen was not able to travel with me). If you click into the slide show you can see the captions for each picture

Anyway, thanks for praying … continue to pray!!

Sam for the Fam