Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Quick note

Some of you have asked if we receive your comments and such on the blog. YES! We love to read everything you post and are so excited when anyone takes time to leave a little note. Thanks so much! Also, you can always email us at molmc1@juno.com . We check it often!

Check out the post below about the goings on in December!

The Giant Gardner Christmas/December Update Post

A Little Christmas Shopping
Well, the Christmas season came upon us early this year (they put up stuff here in mid November). My wife held out as long as she could but had to have a tree in the first part of December and so off I went. The problem is that we don't have a car and the nearest Christmas tree place was like 2 miles away. Being the highly intelligent and enterprising person that I am, I decided to make use of the fact that you basically "rent" shopping carts at the grocery store. So yes, I wheeled a shopping cart two miles each way...yes I did get "You're and idiot looks" from people but what the heck, we got a tree.
Full House
Right before exams, Mollie decided it would be a good idea to do a review session for my 9th graders. I agreed and we ended up have all but two of the kids in the whole grade come to our house for a review. It was really an awesome opportunity as I was able to share a small devotion about the lives of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot (we were studying South America and so we talked about Ecuador and tribal missions within the region). The review game went really well and the kids even asked us to have another party at some point but one that didn't involve school work!
One of the Best Christmas Presents Ever
Jordan and Brittany came to visit and Jordan decided to take me away for a couple of days to Milan, Italy. We walked around the city, ate good Italian food, and just talked alot about my ministry and what God is doing in our lives. The city is beautiful and if you have an opportunity to visit, do so.
Italian Flare
Fortunately I was able to talk Jordan into going with me to the San Siro. For those of you who don't follow European soccer, the San Siro is one of the most famous stadiums in all of Europe. We are able to go and see Inter Milan play Atalanta. It was great because they lived up to every sterotype that I have of Italian soccer fans (especially throwing flares on the fields). Inter won 2-1 and the game was temporarily suspended because the Atalanta fans were throwing flares, bottles, and who knows what else on the field. It was awesome.
Christmas Morning
Mollie will post more about Christmas, but this is Thad getting into his presents. He didn't really need any encouragement to open his presents. It was a great day that was very relaxing.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Thanksgiving day was a wonderful day in the Gardner household! With friends and Karen to celebrate with, we had a great feast complete with pecan pie! Not Mississippi Delta pecans....but they did just fine. Turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes and green beans filled the table and we were so grateful for the fellowship, food and something American to celebrate!
Before Thanksgiving day, we were told that there was a turkey purchased for us from the U.S. commissary, a Butterball! A family from the school, their son is on the soccer team, bought us our turkey....thank you God! Well, we had a great time and thought we'd post some pictures of the day. It is different to celebrate your holiday in another country, but fun to have the day off when no one else did.
Blessings to you all and we pray your days are filled with good gifts from Our Lord.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Fall Sports Banquet

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, the VCS fall sports banquet was held at the school to honor the students. We had a great dinner and then all the coaches were able to award their teams with certificates and say a word or two about each one. Thomas and his fellow coach Phil really love the team and had a great time hanging out and presenting the awards. Afterwards, the team gave them some fun sports t-shirts with all their signatures on the back. And so, this officially closes the chapter on soccer for the year.....but if Thomas has anything to do with it, I'm sure we'll be back with more updates on the team. :)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Having Fun with Mom!

We are having a wonderful time with my mom! Her visit has been just the pick me up we needed and so good to see a familiar face from home! Of course Thad is enjoying himself thoroughly and loves the fact that "KK" is sleeping in his room. Here are some pictures of her time here and we hope to have tons more fun and fellowship in the next two weeks. As Thanksgiving approaches, we are very aware of our blessings and we are truly thankful to have Karen here to celebrate with us!
Trying on KK's shoes!

Karen at the Naschmarkt

Getting tickled by KK

Eating out in the downtown area in an old underground restaurant

Think they're having fun?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Ein Mehr Kind

If you don't speak German, that means "One more child." Yep...Gardner child number 2 is on the way. Mollie went to the doctor last week and she is currently 12 weeks along. Mollie has had a real struggle with morning sickness so please keep her in your prayers. Now the news is official since it's on the blog!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Hollywood Nights Dance

Friday Night was the VCS Student Council Dance. This is only the third year that the kids have been able to have dances and so they really enjoyed themselves. The theme was Hollywood Nights and so Thomas and another teacher were drafted to be the paparazzi. The kids really enjoyed being treated like celebrities and I think Thomas gave them a good lesson about how annoying the paparazzi can be.

After some of the dance experiences that I had in high school as a student and teacher let me just say how refreshing it was to go to a dance where the kids were really there to have fun with each other. It was nice as a chaperone to just be able to sit back and have fun without having to police the way kids danced or look for inappropriate things they may have tried to bring with them. We are really blessed to be able to get the kids together to fellowship with each other outside of a classroom setting and have them be so eager to participate!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Our little monster!

Well, we went to a costume party on the 31st and this is the little monster we took with us! He has scars on his face to complete his little outfit. We thought he was cute and quite the life of the party.....or so he thought!

On another note, it snowed today! Just some flurries that came down real thick at one point and light at other times. But Thad just loved it and couldn't stop saying, "noh, noh" for snow. :)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Tournament Champions!!

I think it should be noted that Thomas' soccer team won a tournament two weekends ago! They were up against their rival Salzburg and the team from Budapest. There were only three teams and this is the first year Budapest has initiated the tournament. But nonetheless, there was a trophy to be had and the VCS team pulled it off with 3 wins and the final ending in a shoot out! The school is proud of their team and of course I'm proud of my husband and feel it should be noted that they won. (even if he won't get on here and write about it :) The players were absolutely ecstatic that they won and brought back a trophy for their school. GO VCS!


Oct. 26-29 was a wonderful relaxing fall break! VCS was out for the holiday and we enjoyed staying close to home while others traveled around. I think this is the first break we've had since this summer before we were raising support. We are so thankful for the rest God gave us and the beautiful scenery we were able to enjoy this weekend! Here are some pictures from our hike down the mountain at Kahlenburg.

Overlooking Vienna

A beautiful vineyard

Thad at the petting zoo

Tuesday, October 24, 2006



We're BACK!!!

We are so sorry we haven't posted in such a long time. I guess this has been our busy season thus far with Thomas coaching and so many after school activities to be a part of!

Well, let's catch you up on the Vienna Christian School happenings......

On October 13th we had a fun filled Fall Festival! Try saying that 3 times in a row....:)
All the families come to the school for a night of games, science experiments, international foods, and choir performances. Many families bring food that is native to their home country to share with everyone. While the elementary kids ran from the ring toss to the go fishing booths, the High schoolers hung out in the basement where they get to show off their science experiments or they were on the 3rd floor keeping the jail full of little Junior Highers! :) After the game time was over, we all gathered into the AP room to hear the performance of the middle school choirs and beginning band. Of course they were cute and received much applause! Before the festival began, the students were given the opportunity raise enough money to pie their teachers or student counsel members. There were 5 buckets with groups of teachers/students in them. Whichever bucket had the most money dropped into by the end of the night, those teachers got pied. Thomas was definitely in a group of teachers to receive their due reward, but in the end it was the one group of student counsel kids that got pied by their classmates!
We had a great time and you can imagine how much Thad loved running to the ring toss and then going fishing. Although, he wouldn't sit still long enough to get his face painted....oh well. :)

On October 20 & 21, Thomas took the H.S. soccer team to Budapest for a tournament. I'll let him post about his weekend. But he did go to a store there where everything is so cheap!! He brought us back Mountain Dew and a huge block of yummy cheese. It's pretty sad when you're this excited about Mountain Dew huh? :) But it was a great treat and fun to have something a little like home!

On October 22, we had a new staff dinner at our Director's house in order to get to know the Director of the Board and his wife better as well as hear about the history of VCS. The passion and mission of VCS is the same and yet different. Those who started VCS could never have imagined how big it's outreach ministry is today. Created for missionary kids alone, VCS has really changed over the years with so many international kids from so many diverse religions. As the Director wisely said, "I believe God knew from the beginning that VCS would be an outreach school as well." Isn't it beautiful how God used those missionaries 20 years ago to start a school that would in time impact so many different nations around the world? As the Board continues to follow God's leading, it is neat to see that change is good when it is of the Lord. So, even though VCS has changed, the same God that began the school with one mission is behind the change that opened it to the international community. God is being glorified at VCS and we are so thankful to be a part of this mission.
( I hope my thoughts can be interpreted from this feeble attempt at explanation...not my strong point.)


Saturday, October 07, 2006

VCS Soccer In Action

Here is a link to a video of us in action. It's kind of short, but it shows us scoring on a free-kick that we have been working on for a few weeks. The guy who scores is DK. He is from South Korea but played club soccer in South Africa growing up. It was a pretty sweet shot.


Vienna Christian School Soccer

This is the starting lineup for my VCS Team. Kenny-Attacking Central Mid(Nigeria), Oscar-Defensive Central Mid(Costa Rica), Albin-Left Mid(India), Fumbi-Striker(Nigeria), Chris-Center Back(Austria), David-Goalkeeper(USA) Dong-Striker(Korea), Tam-Right Mid(Thailand), DK-Central Defensive Mid(Korea), Salil-Left Back(India), Tony-Right Back(Nigeria)

Our current record is 4-1-1.

7-0 Win against International Christian School of Budapest

12-0 Win against International Christian School of Budapest

1-0 Win over Danube International School of Vienna

2-0 Loss to American International School of Salzburg

2-2 Draw against American International School of Vienna

9-3 Win against American International School of Salzburg (Friday 10-5)
The below pictures are from the game yesterday. It was quite breathtaking to be playing soccer right in from of the Alps.

Last Friday we lost to Salzburg 2-0 even though we dominated the game. Our guys were more than motivated for the game yesterday. Were ahead 1-0 in the game initially but ended up down 2-1 with 10 minutes left in the first half. I was not happy. To make things worse, this team is really cocky and did the "shoe shine" celebration after they scored their second goal. My guys finally settled down and we were up 3-2 at the half. In the second half we dominated and frustration began to set in with the other team. They were cussing and fouling us really badly. My boys were great. They just kept their mouths shut and kept scoring. The final score was 9-3. It sure did feel good to beat the jerks. As proud of our play as I was, I was even more proud of our character and team spirit.

I have been really impressed with the level of play here. The big international schools are as good if not better than most of the large high schools in Mississippi. Somehow my little school has a lot of talent and has been able to step on the field and give everyone a good game. I wish I could bring my guys to the states to play Clinton, MC, Brandon etc. just to see how we would measure up. We might not win many of those games but we definitely wouldn't be outclassed.

I have really been struck by how God has really blessed me through soccer over this past summer and into this season in Europe. With everything that happened at MC last year I was really questioning whether or not I was a good coach or even in the right profession. My U-14's this summer and my VCS team have really renewed my passion for being involved in kids lives through soccer. My guys here really like me and respond to all my encouragement and instruction. Please pray that I will model Christ for them in how I direct our team.

We miss you all very much and look forward to being able to tell you stories in person!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Fresh Flowers!!

Here are fields of flowers you can go to and pick fresh flowers for just a few cents. They have Gladiolas and Sunflowers and they are beautiful! We took a walk down from where we live and picked a good stuck (german) or handful of Glads and then one Sunflower. Enjoy!


The town we went to for the festival is called Eggenburgh. This is for those of you who tried to look it up on the map. :)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Essengburgh Festival

We went to a festival in Essengburgh just outside Vienna.
The train took us through beautiful wine country to get there! Essengburgh is a little town with a castle wall built all the way around. They celebrate the medieval era here by dressing up, cooking, and selling goods all in the medieval style. We loved watching and eating and just experiencing some neat traditional music and dancing.....and sword fighting!
Hope you enjoy the pictures of our experience!

They were putting on a mock trial on stage

Thad was enjoying the festival with one of his many babysitters! All staff kids from VCS.....:)

Essingburgh Festival

Some more pictures of Essingburgh

Woman on stilts

Everyone dressed up! If you did dress up, you got into the festival at a cheaper price. So, Thomas says next year we'll dress the part!!

We put Thad in the cart that takes the prisoners away!

A man tight rope walking

The Church at the top of the hill

Monday, September 18, 2006

Coffee House

These pictures were taken at the school during a Thursday night Coffee House. The students come and hang out and some even put on a few skits. Many of the students participated with their local bands and provided some very loud music. Thad didn't know what to think of that! The staff are also involved in putting on a couple of skits. And in fact, Thomas' skit with three other staff members won the competition!

They love to pose for the camera!

Thad loved the attention that night from the students.