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

Friday, September 19, 2008

Season's of Life

We have definitely moved out of Summer and into Fall, it is always beautiful to watch the season’s change in the Black Forest. As we anticipate the changing of seasons around us, I realized that we, as a family, have come through a busy season of life here, so let me give you a summary of some of our events that have just transpired.

Matthew Started Kindergarten (do you see the tear in the corner of my eye) - Matthew has started school at a German Kindergarten and loves it. Sure there are things that he hashad to adjust to (not knowing the language) but he loves going every day and is doing so well. I think this has been harder for Jen than Matthew, but we are thankful to God for this season in his life.

Spiritual Emphasis Week (SEW) – One of the seasons that we have here at Black Forest Academy is SEW. It is one of my main responsibilities and it is one of the ways we kick off the new school year. We had a speaker from St. Louis come and share his life with us. He was a Military “Brat” and an MK, so he related very well to these kids here. A groups of students and staff from a Bible College in Northern Germany (English Speaking) came and led the worship for us. It was a great week and I was thankful to God for helping us walk through this seasonal event we have here at BFA.

Start-Up: As I look at my calendar, Fall starts up on Monday. Well we have already started up here at school. Both Jordan and Ellie are in the Middle School now (that is weird to think about) and loving it. They are away at a Middle School Retreat today. I have started up with all my responsibilities, including a new group of seniors guys that I lead in a Leadership Team small group ministry. We have new students at the school (as we do every year) and we are trying to infuse them into regular life here. As we start up, I do it with Lee Evans who has come to serve as Middle School chaplain, so I am not trying to do both jobs this year, which I am thankful to God for. Jen has started back up with her small group of 10th grade girls, and has even started up with a set of brand new RA women that she leads in Bible Study.

So as you look out at the changes of seasons (for those of you that have changing seasons), use that as a reminder to pray for us and all our seasons of life that we are going through right now.

Thanks for Praying … Continue to Pray!!

Sam (for the Fam)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Matthew has a new look

Well Matthew proved that he has moved out of the little boy stage into manhood yesterday. He now will be sporting a nice scar on his chin after recieving 5 stiches. He was riding his scooter in our courtyard and fell. As he was falling his chin hit the handlebar of his scooter and the end dug into his face. What a mess he quickly became, and we immediately knew we were off to the doctor. Unfortunately, our children's doctor was on vacation, so we took him around the corner to our family doctor, who was leaving on vacation the next day. She did such a great job putting him at ease and sewing him up. We are thankful for a lot of things, but are also reminded that we are in constant need of your prayers, not just for missionary ministry things, but for everyday health concerns. We value your prayers everyday!!

Sam - for the fam

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

‘The Stemple Stau’

Have you ever been cruisin’ the highway, making good time, windows down, radio up, and life was whipping by and then look up to see red lights flashing ahead? Not the red lights of a police car or an ambulance, but the red lights of those dreaded brakes on the car in front of you. The lights that tell you, though you were making good time, life was about to come to a screeching halt and you were about to be bogged down in the traffic jam that lie ahead.

I am sure you know that Germany is known for its autobahn. I tell you, unashamedly, that it is fun (and legal) to drive at a real fast pace and I have been known to take advantage of the “No Speed Limit” driving that you can experience on certain parts of the autobahn. That being said, there are many cases of “Stau” here. When you experience an autobahn “Stau” (the German word for traffic jam) it seems such a big deal because of the speed you have been traveling so far.

To be honest, that is the picture of the Stemple’s life right now. We have been clipping along at a real nice pace, feeling good about our ministry and life here at Black Forest Academy. Life has been good, the windows are down and the music is up. Up ahead, though, I see the brake lights. Up ahead, I see all lanes merging into my lane and I see that things are backing up. I have that sudden sense of “Now we have hit the jam”.

Don’t worry, this is not the time for a move or a huge change in our life, though the pattern has been every two years for the past 6 years now. There is just a lot of little stuff heading our way in the next few months and we need your prayers. So here is a look into a few of the lanes that are merging into our lane in the next weeks and months

Fast Lane: High School Retreat. One of my (Sam’s) big responsibilities as chaplain is to organize, coordinate, and lead our high school retreat. We will bus about 300 students and staff to Nurnberg, Germany for the weekend of Feb 29-Mar2. We have a speaker and a band coming to lead, but there are a lot of details that have to fall into place, still, to pull this off.

Left Lane: Missions Trips. March 14-22, I will be leading a team of 10 students to Burkina Faso for our Spring Break Missions trips. At the same time, I am responsible to oversee the other 6 trips that are going out, which include 70 students and 15 staff. We are sending teams to Rwanda, Burkina, Northern Africa, Scotland, Slovenia, Northern Germany, and Poland. It is a great opportunity for the students to get out of their comfort zone and be challenged to serve.

Girls Only Lane: Small Groups. Jen continues to lead a small group of freshmen girls and loves the challenge it is to communicate timely truths in relevant ways. She is also leading a bible study of young adult women who serve at BFA as RAs. It is such a privilege to help encourage and train up these young women

Autobahn: Candlelight Dinner. Each year our school hosts an evangelistic dinner for the German Community. It is a huge undertaking and many of our German neighbors and friends will be here. This year’s candlelight dinner is Feb 22 and 23

Reconnect Lane: Summer Home. We are scheduled and ticketed to return to the states for the summer. We are looking forward to the chance to see people again, and reconnect with friends and churches.

Sports Lane: Soccer Coaching. Soccer, here, is a spring sport and I have agreed to coach the varsity girls soccer team again this spring. While I appreciate the opportunity and the relationships I build through it, it is another lane that adds to the business of life.

Middle Lane: With all these lanes merging, our normal life continues on and our family moves forward. Our kids keep growing and we keep trying to juggle all that is happening between our ministry and our family .

So next time you are cruising down the highway and up ahead you see the brake lights flashing, take a moment to pray for us as we navigate the highway that God put us on (GPS – God’s Positioning System). Pray that as our lanes merge into one, we would not see this as a Stau, but see this as opportunities to be God’s servants and to minister for Him in whatever situation He places before us ... And then ask God what opportunities He is handing you as you see your own “Stau” lying before you.

As always, Thanks for Praying … Keep on Praying!!
The Stemples