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