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