Friday, December 28, 2007

The VCS Office

In lieu of the Writer's Guild strike, all of us here at VCS have been deprived of our favorite American TV show, The Office. This video was the idea of Salil and David, two of my soccer players. They are currently in a video editing class taught by my friend Matt and so this is the first of a series that we will be working on.

All of the "stars" of the episode happen to have a break during the video class block so it enables us to shoot all of the footage. You may not get some of it because it's VCS humor but I think there are enough Office parallels that you should enjoy things.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Some more Christmas pictures!

Thad was beating his Dad up with his new sword!

Munchkin Pictures/Video

Here are some Pre-Christmas photos of the boys as well as a video shot by Thad without Mom and Dad knowing.

On the 23rd Mollie took Tom, Karen, and Thad down to the Christmas market at Schonbrunn Palace. I was left with Ian and a grocery list so we bundled up (it was like 25 degrees) and headed over to Merkur in our umbrella stroller. Ian loved it and he just looked so cute that I had to take a picture.
Christmas Eve our friends the Pachecos brought us a Christmas basket full of American goodies. It was an amazing gift that included things we don't usually get to enjoy like Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, Rice Crispy Treats and various other things. Before he left I made delivery boy Oscar take a picture with his buddy Thad.

Finally, we came across this video as we were loading Christmas pictures on to the computer. This is Thad's first major film production and it was accomplished all while no adults were present. We aren't sure how he got the camera in the first place much less how he got it to the video setting and actually took footage. However he did it, here is a small glimpse in the world of Thad. He starts off by looking at all of his Christmas presents, then moves to looking at his reflection in the TV, and finishes looking at Ian and telling everyone what he's doing although apparently no one was listening.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My Parents are COMING!!!!!!!!!!

They'll be here in 3 days!!! We are so very excited to share Christmas and Vienna with them. Also, my Dad will spend his 58th birthday here in Austria! That's pretty monumental and I'd say it's about time he made it to Europe :)

Thad can't wait to see Granddaddy & KK..... especially since his chocolate number 18 can be eaten that day! He has this advent calendar which has doors that hold chocolates. One for each day leading up to christmas and my parents come the 18th...which is the magic number and special chocolate we've been waiting for. :)

Also, Thomas finally shaved his head, which we are all thankful for. It will be funny though as it continues to grow out with blond tips!

So, we have been doing something every night this week! It is such fun going to parties, having cookie exchanges, entertaining students, Christmas concerts & of course the famous markets here during the holidays. It is beautiful here this time of year with decor on every window and chandeliers hung along the Graben downtown. We love it!

In all the excitement and fun, it may be awhile before any posting gets done. So, beware and hold out until January if necessary.

Merry Christmas!!!!!!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Blondes Have More Fun least that's what I've been told and so I decided to try it out. What actually happened is that I decided to be a guinea pig for a marketing campaign put on by the Senior Class to help raise money for their Senior trip.

The theme was Coke vs. Pepsi, and Ad technique called "False Dilemma." You create a false competition that drives up sales of both products. Aren't VCS kids smart? Here are a few of their videos advertising the competition.

Myself and our Business manager Jeff became the face of the rival cola products with the loser (most drinks sold) having to bleach their hair. Going into the last day I (Coke) was ahead by something like 20 drinks. The Seniors alerted my Freshmen Geography students about this and they promptly pooled all of their money and purchased enough Pepsi to make me lose. The pictures at the top show the results.

The two guys who made the Coke/Pepsi vids were the ones who dyed my hair. They took lots of footage of the process and so when they compile their documentary I'll be sure to post it.

For those of you who are actually enjoying all of these videos you're in luck. In honor of the Writer's Guild strike in the states, and due to a lack of The Office episodes to watch, our VCS video class has decided to begin filming our own version. It will be called Der Office (the O will have the umlaut, two dots, over it). It should be great fun. Hopefully I'll have it up by Friday or Saturday.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It's been awhile!

Here are some pictures of the boys!

It snowed while Daddy was gone!

Well, suffice it to say while Thomas was gone for 2 weeks to the U.S., I stayed in survival mode and did not have a moment to post. Today as I was trying to do the dishes, I had a little T-rex attached to my leg pretending to bite me and slobbering all over me. It was then that I realized, "Oh yeah, that's why I accomplished nothing while Thomas was away!" :)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Spiritual Emphasis Week Videos

Here is a link to my buddy Matt Klein's website. He is the co-star if this sereies of videos with me. Just scroll down on his site until you get to the Spiritual Emphasis Week Videos. You could probabaly find them on Youtube as well.

This was a series that kind was a ton of fun. We kind of made it up as we went and filmed most the day that they had to be shown in Chapel so plot wasn't the main focus. Hopefully you'll find them as funny as we did.

Side Note: Video 3 was filmed the day after the VCS Boys beat the Staff in our annual Faculty/Student Soccer game.

This Goes With The Post Below

The Final Countdown - The Longest Week EVER

DIRECTIONS: The way this post works is to hit play on the video in the above post and then read this post. Wow, our blog is so interactive.

Let me give you some advice born out of experience: Never book a trans-Atlantic flight the week after your VCS soccer season ends. This past week was insane. It began Monday with a trip to Budapest. We definately drove 2 1/2 hours to play soccer for 1 hour as our opponent had only rented the field from 4:00-5:00. That was just a bit frustrating. On top of that, we tried out a few new players and only managed a 2-2 draw against a team that we always beat.

That has kind of been the story of our season. We have had games cancelled, moved, teams not show up, and all kinds of other things that are about to drive my Athletic Director crazy. The poor guy has done an awesome job but just can't seem to catch a break. We have also only played 3 games with our full compliment of players as we have had a few key injuries and odd illnesses. We finished this portion of our year 4-4-1. Had we had all our players at our disposal I feel sure we would've had a much better record.

On Tuesday we had our second game of the week. The team came from Bratislava and didn't arrive until about 1:15 later than they were supposed to. Our field doesn't have "real" lights, only two large flood lights. Rather than cancel the game for darkness, our boys decided to play in the dark. It was hilarious for me to see our team play our best game of the year up to that point in the dark. We managed a 5-0 victory that gave us momentum going into our last game.

Friaday night we went back to Budapest to play the American International School of Budapest. It is the most beautiful high school I have ever seen. I you ever live in Budapest and have large amounts of money, I suggest you send your kids there.

The AIS schools are all 5-7 times larger than our school so anytime we can beat them is always great. We went into this game with our entire team and managed to completely outplay them. The final score of 2-0 did not reflect how well we played and how comprehensively we dominated them. Several of the parents from their school asked who we were and how big our school was. When we told them they were very suprised. It felt good to finally see my team play to their potential. We are really hoping to have a small spring season where we play some clubs and hopefully Black Forest Academy. It would be nice to add a large Christian school to our list of conquests.

Side Note: One of our players, Oscar, really likes to sing cheesy songs to get pumped up. This is where the Final Countdown comes in. Last year after our last game Oscar gave us his rendition of The Eye of the Tiger. This year it was the Final Countdown. If you've never heard the Final Countdown sung by a hispanic person I highly suggest it.

When not chasing his dream of becoming a Latino pop star, Oscar likes ot play soccer.

Thus ends the VCS Soccer season and now I can spend more time with my family.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

God Provides!!!

Just wanted to post a quick update on how we're doing financially. We know so many of you are praying for us as we seek to stay at VCS longer by increasing our monthly support level. God has definitely begun answering our prayers! We not only have a new donor but some have also increased their giving. Please join with us in thanking our Father for watching over us and for giving us what we need! We are pumped and look forward to Thomas' time in MS as he fellowships with friends and family. I know it will be the encouragement we need!

Friday, October 26, 2007

T-Rex Attack

T-Rex attack is without a doubt the best title for what's happening lately in the world of Thad. Apparently the interests of children are genetic as my son appears to have the same fascination with dinosaurs that I had when I was a little boy. The interesting thing is finding materials that can help feed his interests without introducing world-view elements that we personally disagree with. Mollie has been looking on the Answers in Genesis website for some good dino videos for Thad. Maybe we are raising the future pioneer in the field of biblical paleontology. Until then we'll just have to deal with our little T-Rex ambushing us and eating us whenever he feels the need.

Funny Story: Thad "roars" when he does his T-Rex. Most people find this hilarious that a little boy comes up to them and growls and does his T-Rex hands. The kids at school all play along and run away from him, providing him with prey to chase. The unfortunate side effect of this has been that the T-Rex is now Thad's defense mechanism when he is embarrassed.

The other day I took Thad to Merkur (our local grocery store) to buy some things for Mollie. While we were in line checking out, a girl probably around my age or a bit younger got in line behind us. She of course noticed how cute That was (he is my son after all) and began to speak to him auf Deutsch (in German). As he didn't really understand her, he became embarrassed and T-Rex made his first "public" appearance. I guess I, forgetting she was Austrian, half expected her to be amused like everyone else is. I guess that T-Rex gets lost in translation some where because she seemed way more offended than amused. So we are now working on when and where T-Rex is ok and where he needs to stay locked inside our little boy's head. It may seem silly, but we want Thad to be himself but not offend people so please remember to pray for us as parents with this little guy.

Also, Mollie is having some real knee troubles. It has even gotten to the point that we are going to go to see a doctor. Please pray that this will not be serious and no surgery will be required. As you can imagine there is a real temptation to be anxious about this, especially with me leaving Mollie with the boys for 12 days.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Video Adventures

We're now even further into the 21st Century, thanks to my friends Matt Klein, Matt Richards, and John Housholder. That's right, we're digital now baby. Watch out technology world.

This is our first video of many that we hope will give you an idea of what life is like around here in Vienna. This one is just kind of a site seeing tour that we did a few weeks ago. Others will be random things that strike our fancy or other ideas that we come up with. Send us whatever feedback you have, just don't be too upset about the camera work. We're still learning after all.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.

Dear Friends and Family....

We can say with confidence that God has always been faithful to us. Time and time again we can see His beautiful and good hand in all things. Whatever trial or triumph we've had to face, He has been our strength. We can say, "You are the One that we praise, You are the One we adore, You give the healing and grace our hearts always hunger for..." He is truly a Wonderful, Merciful Savior.

We need your prayers as we need to make an important decision about our future here at VCS. It is our heart's desire to stay and minister and yet we lack the funds to stay.....we are really lacking the funds to stay here. God has been so good to let us be here for one year and to stay through this school year as well. Everyday we have the beautiful privilege of sharing our Wonderful, Merciful Savior with the students at VCS. AND............

Another student in our 10th grade class choose to believe Christ died for Her this past Monday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WOW, what a privilege to be here and see her face glow. That's two more kids in God's family in just a month's time. Hallelujah!!!!! Please pray for her as she begins to grow in Christ.

We want to stay and be a part of these miraculous moments when understanding comes into the hearts of these students. Pray with us as we seek the Lord's good will for our lives. Pray specifically for our financial situation.

Thomas is coming home to Jackson, MS to spend some time making contacts to raise more support for the ministry here in Vienna. Please pray that God would open doors for him and give him leads to find more supporters. If he could find 50 more people to give 25 dollars a month, we could have a substantial amount of our monthly support covered.

Sometimes, people feel uncomfortable asking for money..... it's a hard thing to do...especially when we all need it. We are simply telling you all this because this is the way God has chosen to further His gospel.

He has chosen PEOPLE....

To go

to send

to give

We look forward to seeing all that God will do.....

"Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great." Rev. 19:5

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Soccer & Spiritual Emphasis

The High School Boys with the Staff and some 8th GradersIan with one of the high school girls

While my good friend Aaron might argue that those things could never possibly fit together, somehow in God's sovereignty he made it happen. This past week was Spiritual Emphasis Week at VCS. A team from Texas came to spend the week sharing with the kids during our Chapel meetings and it was great.
of the guys, Joel Myer, played soccer all his life in Texas (so we were instantly friends). The Lord worked it out that one of our teams we were scheduled to play cancelled on us and so we worked in a game against Staff/Alumni/Friends. It was rather humiliating for us old guys. We dominated early on but soon youth took over and carried the day. The boys managed to beat us 4-0 but the game was much closer than the score.
We all had a great time and it was really awesome for the S.E.W. team to spend some quality time with the kids outside of the normal "school" setting. I really believe that God used this week to encourage many of our kids in their walk with Him. Please pray that the staff will have wisdom and discernment from the Lord about following up with our kids who responded to the S.E.W. team.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

2V Emotion

This video is for Emotion Water (flavored carbonated water). Kind of odd I know.

These videos are the creation of the Seniors that are in my friend Matt Klein's Video Editing class. The kids are super creative and hilarious as well. Occasionally they hunt me down to be in a video or give them some ideas.

I get to make a guest appearence in this one.

Mountain Dew VCS

The VCS Senior Store. Very excited about selling Mountain Dew which they import since it is not available in Austria.

With a guest appearance from Mr. Gardner.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Student Profile #1

We're going to try to profile a new student each week to let you know more about our kids and how you can pray for their specific needs.

Nationality: Costa Rican

Speaks 2 Languages (English & Spanish) fluently and is decent in German.

Parents: Father works in International Relations and Mother works at VCS.

Christian's family are all believers. He has an older brother and sister as well as a younger sister.

Christian plays soccer and basketball and is in all Honors classes at VCS.

Prayer Requests:

-Christian's older brother is getting ready to graduate this year and possibly go to the States for school. They are very close and this will be hard on the family.

-Christian is in a position to be a real leader in his class. Pray that God will use people to affirm those leadership qualities and that Christian will show Christ to those in his grade.

-Pray that God will begin to show Christian how he wants to use him in the future. Christian is only a 10th grader but is beginning to think about what he will do for college and in his future.

September Class Party

Thomas showing the boys that even though he's old, he can still beat them at video games.
Also sporting his new hair do (or lack there of)

From Left: Kristen (USA), Paola (Mexico), Mariam (Pakistan), Cate (USA), Keziah (Kenya)

The guys piling on the trampoline.

Becca West, one of the other class sponsors, holding Ian and hanging out with Marcus (USA)

As most of you know we are sponsoring the Sophomore class here at VCS. One of the cool things we get to do is to have activities that promote class unity. We are really excited about this because we are attempting to do something a bit different then how things have been in the past.

Historically, VCS classes have raised money throughout their high school years for a Senior trip. Usually the classes have gone to beaches or into the mountains. We have decided to see if our kids would like to do a service trip. It would still be a relaxing time spent with friends, but would focus on serving others and much as enjoying things ourselves.

We have decided that we as the 10th Grade class will try and set a new standard for class unity and service and all of this starts with the community that we can create among each other.

Last night was the first of many gatherings that we will have. It was exclusively a fellowship time that involved among other things, the kids telling Mr. Gardner that his hamburgers were burning and other kids running as they were chased by Thad the little T-Rex. It was great to spend time with the kids outside of school and see how they interact with one another. The kids ate 23 burgers and 18 pieces of chicken. They like Thomas' cooking.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Staff Retreat Worship

One of the German songs we sang during our retreat!

Staff Retreat

This past weekend was our Staff Retreat at Lindabrunn, a sports facility outside Vienna. We had a wonderful time of fellowship, worship and time in the Word. It was great to be unified as a staff and to be reminded that we are here to work together. As we go through each day, it's hard to remember our purpose for being here, especially when things get tough. But this weekend was designed to affirm each of us in the gifts God has given us, challenge us to look for ways to let our staff know we love and care for them, and to stay unified as a team through Christ's strength. It is so easy to choose to be negative and allow ourselves to bring others down. When we are walking with the Lord though, evil cannot tear us down or use us to bring others down. Please pray for our staff and for Thomas and I as we are spiritually attacked on every side. There is a true spiritual battle within the walls of VCS and it affects everyone involved.
"Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thess. 5:16-18

"Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. Brethern, pray for us!"
1 Thess. 5:24-25

Although not pictured, Mollie was able to be on the team that lead the portion of worship time in music.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Challenge for Prayer

"Austria is a cultured nation famed for its music, art and beautiful scenery. Yet Austrians need a personal faith in Christ, and only a small minority have clearly heard how they may find one. Over 75% of the population is Christian in name, but with no meaningful link with any church, yet an estimated 80% have had dealings with the occult. The high suicide, abortion and alcoholism statistics indicate the spiritual need. Pray for this nation to be set free by the power of Jesus."
"The aggressive activities of New Age movements, Eastern cults, Jehovah's Witnesses ( more numerous than evangelicals) and Mormons have gained a considerable following among younger people. Pray both for the nullification of these efforts and for the release of those ensnared."
-from Operation World, section on Austria

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

HOT lunch and more...

10th grade class

Well, we've been doing so many things since school started we haven't even taken time to update the blog! ooops! So, here's a little wrap of what's been going on.....

Ready, set, GO!

First off, we had a wonderful start to school and seeing all the students was super fun. Some of them were taller and some looked sooo different and of course there were new students entering the 2007-2008 school year.

Thomas had his 27th birthday and we were able to go out to eat with some friends without the kiddos! He is feeling super blessed to spend another birthday here in Vienna doing what he loves to do....teaching and mentoring students.

Our first big event was HOT LUNCH. Each class gets to make the hot lunch for the day in the cafeteria at least once a month. This is a fund raiser for the class. OUR class we sponser is 10th grade. Thomas and I had such fun helping to make black eyed peas, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy in the kitchen. We call it country vittles! :) The students help out and then serve during their lunch time! It's a big job and we definitely have to clean up the industrial kitchen but we get to use the super dishwasher!.... so it's a pretty big job.

Next, Thomas had his first soccer game and the boys won 4-0 against ICSB.... they are the christian school from Budapest. ( i'm sure he'd post more... but you know...)

Mollie has taken over the middle school praise band this year and they lead the singing time during the worship hour on Fridays. This is called CHAPEL :) The students love it and she's had such fun singing and practicing with these middle schoolers to prepare for Fridays.

Also, this past Friday was back to school night and Thomas had the privilege of meeting several of the parents who were able to come. Some of the parents are such an encouragement to us as we are affirmed over and over that we need to be here so they can do the work God has called them to do. We are support missionaries to those who still pastor churches, work with refugees, work undercover in countries that don't allow missionaries, and those that serve in the international government offices. What a blessing to meet these incredible people who have given up so much to allow God to use them as He pleases.

Our home bible study has also started up again! We have been privileged to host a group of about 16 people in our home for an inductive study on the book of Mark. Last night was such a blessing as we discussed the first chapter. WOW! Jesus is incredible and the example He leaves us is so beautiful.....

Well, maybe that catches you up!

hopefully we will have shorter posts that don't take so much time to read!

This is a test :)

I'm trying to figure out this video thing. So this is a video taken before the summer. Of course Thad is bigger and Ian is here now! Enjoy, while I try to make more videos of our kids and the students at school!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

We just wanted to share some photos of this summer in the States. The boys are getting bigger everyday and we love watching them grow!
Thomas was able to grill a lot while we were home and he really enjoyed the freedom of grilling in our own backyard! Of course, one of the fun things Thad did this summer was ride the golf cart and here he is sitting with Salil, the VCS student we brought home with us for a portion of the summer.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ich bin ein Turfuhrer "I am a tour guide"

They asked me to give the new staff a tour of Vienna. So I pretended to be an expert for a few hours (they are all new and so if I said anything that was incorrect it's not like they'd know the difference anyway).

The above picture is the Rathaus. I know that doesn't sound like a place you'd want to hang out but auf deutsch (in German) it's city hall. It is without a doubt my favorite building in Vienna. When I look at it I see literally puts me in awe. I realize that someone designed it and that many people spent time building it. Tour guides have to be very observant.

I'm reading a book right now called The Velvet Elvis by a guy named Rob Bell. You should all read this book. I don't agree with everything in it, but it has been a breath of fresh air in terms of "Christian" books. One of the things he talks about is the kavod of God. Kavod in Hebrew means glory but actually denotes weight or significance. Isaiah says, "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty. The Earth is filled with His glory."

We can see the glory of the Lord all around us. David said, "The Earth is the Lord's and everything in it." And later he prayed, "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence."

Rob Bell points out in his book that some people think missions is "taking God somewhere." While I somewhat see what people are saying, if we have truly understood the scriptures we realize that God is all around us. Not in some pantheistic way, but to quote Steven Curtis Chapman, the "fingerprints of God" are all around us. And not just for us believers, but unbelievers as well. The Earth is literally FILLED with His glory. Look for it.

Paul understood this. He brought the truth and the Word of God, but he also pointed out everyday things. He was a tour guide. If you read Acts 17, Paul observes that the Athenians had many gods they worshipped and thanked for all of the good things in their lives. Paul tells them that there is one God and He is the source of all of these things. He even goes on to quote one of their poets in sharing the truth with them. Paul meets the Athenians where they are and speaks to them in a way they can relate to. He infuses all of the life experience and practice of their reality with meaning by linking it to God, the most real thing.

I'm learning that I'm not taking God anywhere. He's really big and doesn't need a ride from me. He is already intimately involved in what is going on in the lives of my kids. In Colossians it says that in Christ all things hold together. In a sense, anything we do or experience involves God's active presence.

As Christians maybe we need to stop trying to "take" God and start to "observe" what God is already doing. In Romans it talks about all people having a knowledge of God from what has been made. Let's start relating to people from the good things God has placed in their lives. The things that surround them that they can't deny. Let's speak the truth to them in love and make ourselves available to God for His use in other people's lives.

So this weekend I was a tour guide. I think I'll keep trying to be one the rest of this year.

Gettin' Oriented

One of the parts of being a teacher that I have never enjoyed is Staff Orientation. I know that it is a fact of life that whatever job you have, at some point you have meetings about how to do the job you already know how to do. We all deal with it. I am not special.
I mention this to tell you that at VCS my experience with orientation is completely different. So far we have spent time dealing primarily with figuring out how best to integrate our English as a Second Language kids into our school in a better way. Because of the international student body makeup, teachers at VCS face many unique challenges. As a staff we are committed to helping these new kids integrate into VCS so that we can share God's love with them.
Please pray for our school as we integrate new staff and students into this little corner of the world where Christ is building his Church.

We're Back

You're probably wondering why you are seeing a Taco Bell logo on our blog.
Let me tell you a story.
We've been back in Vienna for over a week now but actually arrived a day later than scheduled because we missed our flight from Washington DC to Vienna thanks to a ground stop. After spending 3 1/2 hours waiting in line I found out that the airline wasn't going to put us in a hotel. This was slightly disheartening. Mollie, having spent the time taking care of two little boys, by this point was bordering on insane.
God took care of us through the aid of a stewardess who had noticed Mollie's plight and had been helping her with the kids. I let her know that the airline wasn't going to help us and she immediately made one of the United Reps give us hotel vouchers. It was awesome. Sometimes God uses the most random people to bless you.
We finally made it to the Dulles Holiday Inn and unloaded everything. All was well. Except for the fact that we hadn't eaten since around 3:00 and it was now 11:30 and of course the hotel restaurant was now closed.
Being the gracious provider that I am, I set out on foot in search of food for my starving family. Burger King and McDonald's were closed but just around the corner shining with a neon brilliance that would've rivaled the Las Vegas strip was a Taco Bell. Two Mexican Pizzas, 3 soft tacos, and 3 regular tacos later all were all stuffed and soon asleep.
Our flight to Vienna went off without a hitch and we arrived early on Sunday morning. It was 65 degrees when we landed for all of you in Mississippi. :-)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Here's our family photos of the week!

Monday, May 21, 2007

One More Arrow

The Gardner family is proud to introduce Ian Thomas Gardner. Ian came into the world on Monday, May 21, 2007 at 3:26 PM Vienna time. He was 8lbs. 6oz. and 20.5 inches long.
Thad is very excited about his "baby broder"

"Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them." Psalm 127:4-5a
My friend Jeff Barber used to always reference these verses when ever we spoke of family and specifically children. What a blessing this little addition is to our family and we thank the Lord for His goodness to provide us with another son. We trust that the Lord has a wonderful plan for this little man's life and we look forward to playing a part in it.

We will try and post some more pictures later but the internet at the hospital is a bit slow and so it can't handle me uploading too many at one time.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

BBQ with the 9th Grade Class

One of the cool things that teachers get to do at VCS is to sponsor a class. For us it was almost a given that we would choose the 9th grade as Thomas teaches them both Bible and Geography. We had our first party as sponsors the other day at the home of one of our students. Thomas was asked by all of the kids if he would cook ribs. Southern Bar-B-Q ribs are the new craze at VCS and so this was the second week in a row that Thomas cooked for students. All of the kids had a great time playing basketball, PlayStation, and jumping on the trampoline.
Davis and Weston. Both are MK's from the US. Davis' father ministers among Iranian ex pats and Weston's dad is the president of RCE, our mission organization.
Thomas showing Marson some grilling secrets. Marson is an MK from the Philippines and his father is the Pastor of a Phillipino church that meets in the VCS building.
Jannica, Paola, and Mariam enjoy their picnic time together. Jannica is from Taiwon and her parents work with Chinese Christians in Vienna. Paola is from Mexico and her father works with OPEC. Marian is from Pakistan and her dad works at the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The more time we spend with these kids, the more we see what an impact VCS has on the nations. Everyday we share the love of Christ with kids from every continent and they in return bring that love back to their home nations. What a blessing to be part of this ministry!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Thad's Birthday Party

Our little guy turned 2 last week and so we had some of his friends over for a party Saturday. Several of our fellow teachers came as well as one of the other staff moms. Thad was very excited to see his friend Rebecca and share his toys and cake with her. Mollie made some awesome cake with the help of one of our friends (our oven is kaput) and designed them to look like Thad's favorite things in life....balls. Our son is currently working on being a sports prodigy in both basketball and soccer. Unfortunately, he seems to have natural basketball skills. Matt and Stephanie Richards (VCS Basketball Coaches) gave Thad a little basketball hoop and he can usually make 3-4 out of 10 shots from 6-8 feet away from the goal (no kidding!!!). He even puts backspin and arch on the shot (I am really not kidding...ask Tom and Karen...they saw him make 3 in a row on the webcam).
When Mollie asked Thad what friends he wanted to come to his party he immediately said "Oscar" and "Salil." Oscar and Salil have been babysitting him the past few times we've been able to go out. They are both great kids and have really ministered to us in how they care for our little boy. They came to the party and brought Thad a tricycle for a present. Thad was thrilled. He calls it his motorcycle like the ones that he sees on the streets. We were so thankful to the Lord for how he provided that tricycle for Thad. He loves it so much that the only problem we have is trying to get him off of it.
God is really teaching me a lot about relationship building through my son. Thad has so many people at our school (teachers and students) that just love him. He is so good about being friendly to everyone he's around. He doesn't really care who it is, he just wants to be around people. He connects with them through his smile, hugs, and just general excitement about seeing them. I am learning that when I view people from God's perspective I can't help but love them. It's so good just to see the people that God has put in our life each day and to have an opportunity to impact them with the love of Christ. Its such a contagious thing. If people can be so warmed by a little boy, how much more can true love that comes from the One who made us bring to us real joy and peace.

13 Miles is a Long Way

So I ran half a marathon and let me just say how much respect I have for my friend Daniel Scarbrough and anyone else who has run a whole marathon because as tired as I was when I ran to the finish line of my race, I can't imagine what it would be like for that to be the half way point of the race. It was a great experience although I wish I had trained a bit harder for it. I took me 2:28...which sadly was more time than it took the overall winner to run the whole marathon (yeah I'm slow but I was a goalie in soccer so what'd you expect).
This is my buddy Brian. He was the one who made me go running a few times a week in preparation. He finished ahead of me because he worked a bit harder in training. The whole thing was a pretty cool experience because we ran with over 25,000 other people.
This is me at about kilometer 8 when I was feeling pretty good about life. Fast forward another 8 kilometers and I was not a happy camper. Something happened with my right Achilles tendon and so I pretty much ran 4-5 minutes and then walked 1 minute for the last 4k. Mollie and Thad were waiting for me towards the end but I was too tired and in pain to notice. Afterwards, one of the teachers who lived near the finish line had all of us runners over for pasta. It was a good experience that I will take part in as long as we stay here in Vienna...but I will definitely train harder next time.