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.

Sunday Afternoon Soccer

As some of you know, Thomas has been playing for Vienna Athletes in Action (a Christian soccer team). It has been a neat experience for him as he has been able to make some Austrian friends and work on his German. Most of the games have been on week nights but their most recent match was played on a Sunday morning on the other side of the city. I took us around 2 hours to get there and back but it was a lot of fun because we decided to have a picnic lunch at the soccer complex. Thad was so excited about "Daddy play soccer ball" that he wore his own soccer uniform.

Here is an action shot from the game. Despite leading for most of the game Thomas' team ended up tying the game 1-1. Unfortunately they are currently second to last in the league and unless things get better they will be moving down one division for next season.

Thad sitting with two of Thomas' VCS soccer players.

Thomas called in some of his VCS players to help strengthen the team. The Austrians are always a bit skeptical of foreign players and so the boys had to sit out the first half. The number 12 is Oscar Pacheco from Costa Rica and 13 is Salil Kolamkani from India. Both the boys are in Thomas' Bible class as well as our home Bible study. Once they came on they were a big help for the team and were invited by the coach to keep playing for the team.