Tuesday, May 19, 2015

How To Partner With Us

We love serving at Black Forest Academy with students from all over the world. In order to keep costs low for missionary families, we raise our own salaries. We currently need about $300 per month to raise due to recent giving changes that our partners have needed to make. We would welcome your partnership with us as we further God's kingdom in the classroom. 

We truly view this process as a partnership. We didn't suddenly start serving God by moving overseas. He has called each of his children to serve in the communities around them. We are each a vital part of the work of furthering the kingdom through our prayers, gifts and service. We warmly invite you to be partners with us in the work of MK education.

If you have never partnered with us or are already partnering, the chart below gives an overview of how to be a part of our team. (Can you tell I'm a teacher? I LOVE graphic organizers!) :)

There are three basic ways to partner with us: pray, give and go. All are so very important!

Pray: Join our weekly prayer exchange! Pick a day of the week to pray for us, and we will pray for you on the same day! Send us an email to let us know which day, your most current requests, and watch how God works through prayer.  

Keep up with our blog & newsletter updates. Pray through the names of God for MKs (missionary kids) & for us. You can join the RSS feed in the sidebar or become a follower of this blog. You will get updates as soon as they're posted!

Give: Join our financial partnership team by giving regularly. We welcome monthly, quarterly or annual gifts of any amount. 

New Partners

You may give by check, electronic fund transfer (EFT) or credit card. To give securely online via any of these methods, go to wycliffe.me/isaacandsuzanne

To give by mail, send checks to Wycliffe Bible Translators / PO Box 628200 / Orlando, FL 32862-8200. Please make checks payable to Wycliffe Bible Translators with a separate note indicating "for the ministry of Isaac & Suzanne Micheals #238613." 

Are you a farmer or rancher? STEER, Inc. exists to help this special group give. This organization will give you a calf to raise, and the amount raised at auction will go to the ministry of your choice. 

Current Partners

If you are already on our team, consider giving us a 20% raise or inviting a friend or your church to partner with us. Coordinate giving as a small group or Sunday school class.

Check with your employer to see if they offer a gift-matching program. If they do, you could double your pledge amount without stretching your budget! Forward this blog post to a friend or publish it on your Facebook page.

Go: Join us in serving with Wycliffe or at Black Forest Academy to further God's Word and his kingdom! 

We can't wait to see how our Father will provide for us! We would love for you to be part of his provision.
*We work closely with Wycliffe to set an appropriate budget for our personal & ministry needs. The exact amount we are raising may fluctuate, however. Several factors are involved in this process. Some lovely folks have indicated they will be joining our team but do not yet know an exact amount. At times, partners must change their giving priorities. We do try to portray the most accurate & current figure possible. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Thank you for your prayers...

Our school community covets your prayers in this season of goodbyes.

Ask that we would remain faithful as He has been to us.

Ask that we would leave and stay well and not fear the goodbyes.

Ask that we would trust God for the future - as staff, students and parents.

Thank you for kneeling with us.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Whole Person Integration

We had the lovely opportunity recently to host an alumnus over our spring break who has become a teacher, a colleague in a different country. I (Suzanne) just love it when that happens... it is also a pretty strange feeling initially. 

"How do you do biblical integration?" he asked from the couch across our living room. "I remember discussing 'what is the purpose of music' in piano class."

Oh yeah... I used to ask that question. What did they do - respond in essay form? I think so. Do I tell him I am pretty sure I still have his paper on that topic from five years ago?

We shared various ideas and methods we have used from how we may approach the subject at large to minute ways of managing our class. "Informal integration is certainly the easiest," one of us says, "but the tricky part is making it assessable. Do we know the student has learned it?" This is made especially difficult when we are trying to assess character or attitude change - the internal changes that are necessary before an external difference can be seen.

It's an ongoing conversation in the educational circles in which we find ourselves, and in concentric collegial places as well. I personally know believing colleagues here in Germany, in the UK and Australia who are wrestling with what it means to be and teach as whole, integrated people. We are still asking and answering questions like, "Why does [insert subject here] matter? What is influence and how do I wield it well? Why am I here? How does sin play into the history and structure of my subject? How has it been redeemed? What is still in need of redemption? What does it mean to love God with my whole mind in academics?"

One of my greatest integrated joys while studying piano performance in graduate school. I became silent and smiled wide as I listened to believing colleagues discuss the Son of God and the sons of J. S. Bach in the same conversation.

When have you most clearly seen or experienced the connection between who God has made you to be (identity) and your chosen subject area? 

Friday, January 2, 2015

End of Break, Beginning of Year

Sitting on the couch, sipping husband-made tea and watching German Netflix's "Mörder Mit Aussicht"... a lovely way to spend a Christmas break afternoon... until I saw how long it had been since updating our blog! So here's to a new start to our weblog. Prost!

We've had lots of great memory-building time with family this holiday season. Isaac's uncle Bill, aunt Mari and cousin Jeremy left to return to Michigan and Virginia in the early hours of the new year, but not before we'd hit Uncle Bill's bucket-list items. We also added a few to his list he didn't know he was missing.

  1. Day-trip to the Alps... where at least 3 family members return violently ill... check.
  2. Christmas markets in 3 countries: Alsace, France; Titisee, Germany; Basel, Switzerland.
  3. Gift shopping in Kandern
  4. The Hobbit in Kandern theater
  5. Snowy day train trip to Titisee
  6. Whirlwind tour of Freiburg
  7. German breakfast at Mishlers
  8. Brats & schnitzel
  9. Laughing our heads off at silly YouTube videos
  10. Lots and lots of grocery stores! (Uncle Bill is a retired grocer)
We are thankful for our time with family. Thanks again, Bill, Mari & Jeremy for your visit. It was fun. :)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Gettysburg and Friends

We have had a full week already in Pennsylvania/Maryland/Virginia/West Virginia area. We are so blessed to have such great friends and family. Thank you to our dear hosts and friends who met up with us. It was so good to see you.

The pictures below are of the non-people highlights of the holiday weekend: (clockwise from left) fireworks display in Lititz, PA; discharging weapons at the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg (PA); reenacting of one portion of the battle; Isaac enjoying his borrowed wool threads as he joined the Michigan 3rd regiment for day 2 of the battle this past Saturday. Happy late 4th!

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Stories We Tell

The stories we tell each other matter. In a recent edition of the journal Books and Culture, Wheaton professor Alan Jacobs lamented the tendency of some to praise the value of story as truth, without clarifying that what is being narrated is more important than the narrative itself. So, what kinds of stories do we tell? Are we constantly harping on the negatives in our lives? Do our stories revolve only around us? Do they seem to go nowhere? I believe that as Christians, it is important that we tell each other about what God is doing in our lives, so those stories serve can refresh us, and help us continue on our journey of faith. Western Christianity seems to tend toward the individualistic. While this is good to a point, we need each other much more than we usually believe we do. Each person's story is part of how God is building His kingdom here and now.

As Suzanne and I have traveled from Texas to Michigan, we have heard about the ways that God has worked in the lives of our friends and have shared how He has changed us this year. Sometimes these stories involved pain, other times great pleasure. Often they were a mixture of both, a reminder of the ways that the Holy Spirit uses the hard times to mold and shape and bring forth beauty. Like most good stories, they do not follow a simple path of struggle to liberation, but include doubt and faith interwoven in a tapestry that we believe God will fully redeem when He comes again to redeem creation, and usher in the new heavens and the new earth. We have been encouraged that so many of our friends continue to walk with the Lord, even when they are not perfect. The whole point of the gospel is that we need a savior. We must be continually reminded of this.

Our stories keep us traveling. They let us know that we are not alone in our striving. They show us that in spite of what we are feeling now, hard times will not last forever. They encourage us to be aware of the ways that God is working in our lives when we may find it difficult to acknowledge it. So keep telling your stories to one another. They matter.  


Friday, May 3, 2013

The Piano Story: Grandma's Secret Music

This Roland digital piano was a mainstay for me through graduate school at Wichita State University. It had fantastic touch and sampling sounds, and was a delight to the students that came to me as well with its assortment of instruments and pop rhythms. While it was never an adequate replacement for an acoustic, it was a convenient alternative that didn't keep my grandmother, also my roommate, awake until 2:00 a.m., which was often when I put in valuable practice hours."Oh, I'm awake anyway," she would wave me off as I apologized for the noise. 

Pics taken recently to aid in selling the piano before we return to Germany.

Quite unintentionally, the piano became a window for me to glimpse her inner world. A few months after the instrument arrived in her home, I began to notice small things that were different than I had left them: the volume would be higher, a score had been moved or the bench was tucked in. Sometimes it was left on, and once I thought I heard it being closed as I opened the door. 

"Grandma, are you playing my piano?" I asked her one day. 

"Yes. I play sometimes," her eyes twinkling. 

"Would you play for me?" 

Looking down, she replied, "We'll see." 

Eleven years later, I have still never heard her play. She asked my mom and dad to come pick it up a few years ago while we were still in Germany. "I can't play it anymore," she explained sadly, "my arthritis hurts me too bad." 

Grandma this March. She takes fantastic pictures, doesn't she?

Visiting her this semester, I asked if she remembered what songs she liked to play. "Oh yes!" And she began to hum and play her fingers in the air, swaying from side to side in her chair. Even in the absence of a piano, she's still playing.