Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Stemple Family Update

Another month is here and as we move through October I can’t believe how time is flying. The Black Forest has a season change just as Wisconsin would, and the leaves here are in full color. It reminds me that we really do live in a beautiful part of the world.

So what have we been doing to keep ourselves busy? Well –life in the Stemple house has been active. Let us take a few moments to let you know how each one of is doing.

Sam – My last blog focused more on me, so I will give more of this blog to my family to let you know what life is like for them. I continue to serve as chaplain at BFA and continue to love what I do. After SEW things have been a little lighter, though I am in the planning process for our Spring Break Mission Trips. Outside of work, I love spending time with my family and you can catch me heading to the gym for either Basketball or indoor soccer

Jen – You would think that being a mother to 4 young children was work enough, but I have decided to get involved in a couple of Bible Studies and small groups, as well. It definitely keeps me busy, but sharpens me at the same time. I am leading a Bible Study with some of the RA girls this year and love the interaction and the time we spend together. I also lead a small group of 5 9th grade girls. We just had a sleep over last week and what a great time we had. I am growing to really love these girls and look forward to what God will do in and through us this year. I am also involved in a prayer group of mothers with young children, and they are such an encouragement to me as we are all in the same stage of life. I don’t take my job as a mom lightly and love serving my family, but it is nice to have some interaction from others, as well as investing into the lives of others. Pray for me and the opportunities I have to serve, both within my family and others, too.

Jordan – I am in Middle School this year (6th grade) and I love it. I was just elected class president and we have our first activity that the senate had to plan this weekend. Tomorrow my intramural soccer team is in the semifinals and (hopefully) the finals, so it has been exciting around here. I just got a retainer, which I have to wear at night, but I hate wearing it. I love riding my bike around town or blading places. Last weekend we had a middle school overnight at the school, which was so much fun.

Ellie – I am in 5th grade this year and am having a great year. It is fun being the oldest grade in the school. I just got some retainers, as well. I have one on the top and bottom. I has made it hard to sleep at night, as I wake up and they are hurting, but mom and dad say they will get better. I have to put them in after supper and then wear them through the night. It makes me talk funny, though, so my family has been joking around with Jordan and I about the things we say. I have a lot of good friends this year, which is an answer to prayer, as my good friend is in the states for a year home assignment. God has been good to give me so many girls my age to play with. Thanks for praying for me.

Matthew – I am 4 years old now, and as my dad showed you in our last blog, I just learned to ride a bike. Our family went for a bike ride the other day and I biked about 5 kilometers (3 miles) – at least that is what my dad told me. I am in Awana and love going every Tuesday. My parents say that I am growing fast, but I love being a little guy, too. I love playing soccer (futbol) and baseball in front of our house. I also like walking to the store with my dad. Last year one of my good friends (Joe Hill) left to return to Canada, so it has been sad not having him around, but God has given me some other friends to play with.

Katie – I am about to turn 3 (in Dec), and though I am the littlest of our family, I don’t like to be the littlest. I like to do everything everyone else is doing. I am all girl (that’s what my mom says at least) and I love to dress up. I am in the process of potty training. Whenever mom thinks I am doing great, I like to show her who is boss by doing a little number here and there. It won’t be long, though, and I will have this thing mastered. Sometimes I think mom should have more work around the house, so I will take all my clothes out of the closet and try each and everyone on. I do love to change my clothes. It is fun to put a different outfit on everytime I go into my room. I am still not sure why that bothers my parents, though. I am growing fast, and it seems like I am the most popular person at BFA, cause when I show up at school everyone want to play with me. Oh – the price you pay for being so cute (my dad says I look just like him :)

Well - I know this got long, and congrats if you made it to this part of the blog. I should have some type of reward – but I don’t. I just wanted to give you a more personal look into life with the Stemples. We value your prayers and ask that you would continue to pray for us. We need them so much.

Have a super day!!
Sam; Jen; Jordan; Ellie; Matthew; and Katie Stemple

Friday, September 28, 2007

Spiritual Emphasis Week at BFA

Well, my last post was just after school began again for us, and that was about a month ago. A lot has happened here at Black Forest Academy, as well as with the Stemples, since then. I thought I'd give you an update on our school's Spiritual Emphasis Week (SEW). One of my main responsibilities as chaplain is to coordinate and organize a week of special meetings for the school. We have just finished SEW and we saw some great things happen here at the school. Erik Williams, a friend of mine (he was in my wedding and I in his), came and spoke and brought some guys out to lead worship. What a great week we had as many students made some life changing decisions for Christ. We had 2 students who accepted Christ, which is always a great reminder that even though we serve many MK's it doesn't mean they all know Christ. Please continue to pray for follow-up and for the students who have come down from the mountain and are trying to figure out, "Now what?"
Life for the Stemples has been busy, but good. Our kids continue to grow and develop. Please keep us in your prayers that we would be able to balance life at an active school and ministry and family and life here in Germany. God has been good, but we must continually rely on His provision everyday.

So here is a shopping list of way to pray for us ...

1) Pray for the students at BFA. Many were impacted in some way last week at our SEW. Pray that they would follow through with the commitments they made to Christ. Pray, also, for growth in our two students that have now made faith in Christ their own. Pray for other MK's that do not know Jesus.
2) Pray for our old neighbors, Anjia (pronounced Ahn-Ya) and Martin. They have a baby boy (Laybin) who contracted a virus and is intensive care in a hospital north of here. He is not doing well, and his organs are slowly beginning to shut down. Anjia and Martin are believers, so pray for a reliance on Christ and that their lives can be testimonies to the many non-believers around them.
3) Pray for the Stemple Family. It seems like Satan likes to attack after such spiritually challenging and rewarding week. Sometimes I (Sam) am like Elijah, who after defeating ALL the prophets of Baal was found hiding in a cave and in a deep depression. I don't think I find myself that deep, but I can feel Satan attacking with discouragement at times. Pray that God would protect our family from all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Thanks again for all you do to support us in prayer, we need that more than anything. Continue to lift us up and encourage us through your prayers.

The Stemples (Sam; Jen; Jordan; Ellie; Matthew; and Katie)

PS - Matthew learned to ride his bike without training wheels this past month. It is another one of those milestone moments you don't want to miss. Look out Beulah Beach ... here he comes.

Here is a video of Matthew right after he learned to ride.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

School Begins Again!!

Well today was the first day of the start of school. This day is nothing like any other when you work at a boarding school. Not only is it the day that school begins, but it is also the day that parents say goodbye. What a mixed bag of emotions are experienced on this day. The day started out with my own family getting ready for the day - and it is a BIG day in our household. We have a Middle Schooler now!! Jordan started 6th grade today, and moves up to the big boys campus. Ellie, being in 5th grade is the big momma at the elementary campus now.

When I got to the high school (HS and Middle School are on the same grounds, elementary is separate), I arrived to the sounds of squeals and laughter and hugs and celebration as many students were seeing each other for the first time in many months. But the ironic thing about this morning is that in the same moments of so much Joy and celebration you can look around and see just as many faces streaked with tears and pain. This is not an easy day for many students and parents alike. Whatever your view of MK boarding, know that it is NEVER an easy decision for parents to leave their children here. It is never more evident than on this day of separation. As one parent shared with me this morning, It was not a hard decision in that they know it to be what God would have them do, but it was a hard decision in that it breaks there heart to say goodbye. With that, please continue to pray for our students and their parents and for the next few weeks of transition into life here at BFA

One of the highlights of my morning was watching the seniors march in with the flags of the many countries around the world and then to hear the "Roll Call of Nations", where they list out the 47 different countries that are represented here at BFA by just the students alone. They have the students who have a passport from, or whose parents work in, a specific country stand when their country is read. It is a great reminder that we are able to literally touch the world, as we work to touch the lives of these students.

Continue to pray for us, as a family. We had a wonderful summer and we are so thankful to God for the great days we had together. I still had responsibilities throughout the summer at the school, but it is so much less stress and responsibility (in fact there are NO evening meetings). even while working, there is so much time to be with family, and we felt like we were able to "reconnect" this summer.

I begin my second year as chaplain at BFA (and our 6th here in Germany), and it is definitely good to have a year under my belt. I feel like I know where we are headed and what it will take to get there. Our theme this year is "Fully Equipped" from II Peter 1:3, which states, "His divine power has given us everything for life and godliness". It is good to know that as we head down the road that this year holds for us, we are fully equipped for this journey. Pray that we would take hold of the power of Jesus Christ and live out that power in the lives of these students we are ministering to.

Thank you for your prayers ... Continue to Pray!!

Sam Stemple, for Jen; Jordan; Ellie; Matthew; and Katie

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Summertime Fun

The Last time I wrote I mentioned that we were going to try and spend some time as a family this summer. Well we are thankful to God for all that He has given us. We were able to go to Adelboden Switzerland as a family in the end of June. We were gone for 5 days in the heart of the Alps. Too bad it rained almost everyday we were there, though our hotel had a pool, so it ended up being such a great time. I put in some time in the office getting ready for next year and then just last week Jen and I were able to get away for 4 days in Lugano Switzerland. A lady in our church stayed with the kids and Jen and I took off. It was the first time in 6 years we have gone anywhere overnight. The weather was hot, but we had such an amazing time. Again, we are thankful to God for His blessings of time together as a family. Here are some pictures of our family and some of our time in Lugano.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Summer Has Begun

Well - after a crazy spring, summer has hit us. It has been so good for us to have time as a family. Right after graduation of Black Forest Academy, Sam flew back to the US for two weeks to take a class at Moody, visit his home church (for their 25th anniversary) and see his parents. He returned last week, and we have taken this week off, as well as taking the next week off, as well. It has been good to finally have a few moments to breath.

We are traveling to Switzerland (it's actually only about 2 1/2 hours) and will be staying at a hotel in Adelboden from Monday - Friday. We have not gotten away as just our family in a while, we look forward to this time off and away.

We continue to ask you to pray for us. Though the summer doesn't create as many needs ...

1) Please pray for quality (and quantity) time together as a family. If you read my last E-mail (sent in a normal E-mail format) then you know our Mar-June was chaos, especially on the family. Pray that we can take advantage of these down times to re-connect together

2) Pray for wisdom for Sam as he begins to plan for next year. It will definitely be easier going into his 2nd year as chaplain, but he desires to be ahead on stuff when the school year begins. Pray also - for the chaplain's office staff. Sam has an assistant to help him (Hans Shaffer); as well as a lady who commits her time to the chaplain's office, mainly in the area of Small group coordination (Renee Grubb). This next year he has someone helping him with Middle School for the first semester (Lee Evans), but will have to take over the second semester and do both groups again.

3) Pray for personal renewal and spiritual strength throughout the summer. Pray that we would not forget to grow and deepen our own walk with God this summer

Thank you for praying ... Continue to Pray
Sam Stemple