Wednesday, May 30, 2007

This has really been a blessed year . . .

Hey there again everyone!

It is kind of a sad time here at VCS towards the end of the year. Many of us as teachers know that a few of our students will leave our school and possibly even Austria as June 6th rolls around and we get ready to be finished with the 2006-2007 school year. This time is met with joy and sadness for us and our students. Today in my 5th grade, 1st grade, and 6th grade art classes we talked about where some of my students were going to go. One of the best artists in my 5th grade class is going back to Korea, an Indian boy is going back to India, it is a sad time for the kids sometimes too. The best part about this time though, is that even though we are all a little sad we know that this year has been a good one. It has been a tough year, but I feel that the Lord has blessed the time that my students have spent in my classroom. I was given Wiener (Viennese) chocolates from my Korean student that is leaving. He was sad to leave but thanked me for being his teacher and he said, through his limited english, that he was honored to be in my class. It was a moment that warmed my heart, mainly because sometimes I felt like I wasn't getting through to any of those kids. Today was a good day.

Another way that I have been blessed this year is by the dedication of all of you that have been supporting me in prayer and finances. Your donations go into my missionary account with RCE and then I am given a monthly salary based on what the requirements are for me to get a visa to stay here in Austria. My salary has ranged between $1400 and $1600 every month and next year it will have to go up to $1900 due to an increase by the Austrian government as to visa requirements. On a praise note, my RCE account has stayed in the black every month this year! :) This is due to your following God's call to give and remaining faithful to your commitment. Praise be to God for blessing you all with the faithfulness to be so consistent. It has been amazing to see how the Lord is using each of you to keep me here. Betka and I look forward to this summer where we will have a chance to share what the Lord has been doing in our lives and meet with you and see how you are all doing. We are excited to hear how the Lord has been blessing you while we have been in Europe and to share what we believe God has planned for us as newlyweds at VCS for next year.

May your day be blessed walking with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Blessings! :)

Brian and Betka

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Blessed again . . .

Today in our school's daily news there was a neat little story that I would like to share with you all. It blessed my heart.

Along a dusty road in India there sat a beggar who sold cocoons. A young boy watched him day after day, and the beggar finally beckoned to him, ‘Do you know what beauty lies within this ugly chrysalis? I will give you one so that you might see for yourself. But you must be careful not to handle the cocoon until the butterfly comes out.' The boy was enchanted with his gift and hurried home to await the butterfly. He laid the cocoon on the floor and became aware of a curious thing. The butterfly was beating its fragile wings against the hard wall of the chrysalis until it appeared it would surely perish before it could break the unyielding prison. Wanting only to help, the boy swiftly pried the cocoon open. Out flopped a wet, brown, ugly thing which quickly died. When the beggar discovered what had happened, he explained to the boy, ‘In order for the butterfly's wings to grow strong enough to support him, it is necessary that he beat them against the walls of his cocoon. Only by this struggle can his wings become beautiful and durable. When you denied him that struggle, you took away from him his only chance for survival.'

May the walls of your cocoon be just thick enough to allow you to struggle just long enough to emerge the beautiful person we already know you to be.

Aren't we blessed to have a Lord that will allow us to "beat our wings" in this life and doesn't "make things easy" like the boy did? Amazing how such a simple story can teach us volumes with a little help from our God.

The next week and a half will be interesting. My brother Chris and my friend John have something planned for my bachelor party this coming weekend then the following Monday my parents, grandparents, and aunt arrive in Vienna! 5 days later I am getting married to the most wonderful woman in the world. Life is really hectic, but a joy to live. Praise the Lord for He is good. Blessings ya'll! :)


B

Monday, May 21, 2007

Today was a wonderful day, God is good.

Hey all,

Today went really really well. I went through my classes like normal and they went alright, I could just tell that today was a really blessed day and I will tell you why in a bit.

On Friday Betka came with her dad to move all of her things in. We figured that it will be better that way so we don't have to do it later after the wedding. Right now she is living in Lednice with her family, and traveling just about every other day to Brno for Auto Skola (Driver's ed). She left just enough clothes for about a week back in Lednice but moved everything else to home. The next couple weeks for her are not only a countdown to the beginning of life with me, but also the last few weeks that she can spend with her family. I am trying to be a good fiancee and allow her as much time as possible to spend with them. I believe that the slow separation of child and family is going well for her.

On Friday we met with Brian and Pearl Williams, our pre-marriage counselors, for ice cream and something else that I had told Betka was a surprise. Pearl had asked me what they do for women about to get married in Czech. I told her that it is similar to what they do in the States, they have a "shower", but I also told her that I wasn't sure that Betka was going to have something like that. Pearl suggested first that we have a shower for her, but since Betka is not always here in Wien, that wasn't a good idea. Pearl still wanted to do something so she suggested that she send around a card to all the "VCS Gals" and ask for donations for an IKEA gift certificate. When we met for ice cream Betka was gifted with a 110 Euro gift certificate to IKEA from the VCS Gals. She was really excited and we have already begun planning how to spend it. I am sure that Betka will have our apartment looking splendid not long after our wedding. IKEA is such a cool place and it is wonderful to have some money to spend on things we need. Pearl took this picture with my cell phone right before she gave Betka the card.


We were in the rose garden of Volksgarten in downtown Vienna. It was really beautiful.

Today was particularly blessed because of Betka's presence here at school. She stuck around because she doesn't need to be in Brno until tomorrow and we wanted to meet with Ken to talk about what Betka could do to be a part of the VCS community next year, how she could help. So we discussed and came up with some very good possibilities. I will write more about that as they become more solid. Please pray for our director Ken Norman as he and others on staff prayerfully decide where the Lord can use her the most. I am so psyched for next school year! :)

Thanks for your continued prayer and financial support. I can almost feel your excitement as I am typing this. Love you all.

Blessings,

Brian and Betka

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I'm on their website!!!!

Hey everyone!

I was just looking at my sending agency's website and I am on there! :) RCE International was started as a way to get teachers to the mission field. They are a sending agency directly offshot from VCS. They specialize especially with teacher/missionaries. Click this link to see yours truly on their site. Two of my friends, fellow co-workers at VCS created the new site. It looks nice! :)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Perfect example of how this school impacts the kids . . .

Our elementary principal sent out an email today to the elementary teachers about two of our former students from Nigeria that left a few months ago. He received an email from their dad. Here is the email text with *names changed to keep their privacy.

As you know the Jarda boys are in Nigeria now and Mr. Jarda recently talked
with them. They really miss VCS and wanted to say hi to all of the teachers
and kids at VCS.

It is amazing that Alan misses VCS and stunning that the Jarda's appreciate
VCS so much. They were very hesitant about sending the boys here and Alan
was quite unhappy here at times. It is a tremendous testimony to what we do
at this school, that this Muslim family has such a high regard for VCS.

The Jarda's are a great example of the mission of this school. This family's
opinion of VCS, of Christians and of Christ has been changed through your
investment in their kids.

Thank you for keeping me here so I can continue to "investment" in their lives. Thank you for making your own investments into their lives. It will definitely be remembered in heaven.
Blessings ya'll! :)

B

Beautiful Vienna . . .

Hey everyone,

The following is a pictoral example of the beauty of Vienna, the city that I live in. Enjoy!


Friday, May 11, 2007

Quick note . . .

The daily news always has wonderful reminders of what my role is as a Christian in this world and how I must live.
Today's:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Its actually from the Bible, so I guess it is true what is said that the Bible is food for our soul. I've always known that in my head but it is now starting to penetrate my heart. This week I have been making a sincere effort to read the Bible during my 15 minute commute on the subway each morning. The only other alternative is to people watch, snooze sitting up, or read the daily "news"papers Heute and Osterrich which are more like free toilet paper. They really are trash with scantily clad women and men scattered throughout their pages every other day it seems. It is really frustrating that young kids get in the habit of reading this "news"paper each day and they become numb to nudity.

As a result of reading God's word more, this week I have been much much more able to healthily deal with the everyday stresses better and I feel more joy to be doing this all for God. Life right now is hectic, bu God is still good. My heart is in a good state.

Be blessed everyone,

B

Visa . . .VISA?!

Hey everybody!

I thought I would take a short moment here before class, (I have 2nd grade, then 1st grade, then 6th grade, and 1st and 6th will overlap for 7 minutes) to let you know where I am personally in the Visa process. Now I know that I have not written anything about it before, mainly because I really don't understand the whole process. All I can say is that the Lord has placed some really amazing people here at VCS to help me out with this process that is really really frustrating at times.

****If you want to read what was here just email me and I can fill you in****

On another note . . . our school was blessed with new tables yesterday and they make their usage debut today at elementary lunch. Up until now we have always had these little tables with individual chairs and each table seats four. Now we have less tables but each one seats 6 people, they have little attached stools and they can be taken up and down fairly easily. They fold up to create space for the P.E. classes to have more options inside. Another Praise!

God is good don't you know it!? I must apologize to some of you if my blog entry sounded very depressed and that made you worry. At that time I was going through a low time, but Jesus has brought me out of it and praise be to Him for His amazing grace through everything! :) God bless you, my wonderful supporters. Please continue to be in prayer for the rest of the staff as they are continuing to go through the hoop jumping required to "be legal" in Austria. Also keep in mind that while it looks really good that I will get my visa, there can still be road blocks. Thank you so much in advance for your prayers. May the Lord bless you as you continue to support me in prayer and support. Blessings! :)

B

Friday, May 04, 2007

Not that I am narcisistic (sp?) or anything but sometimes I get into the mood to do "studio lighting" portraits. Here are the latest shots that I did of my only subject whilst I live alone . . . myself.






Last night I was at school until 10:40 setting up the elementary students' art work. It was alot fo work but I am satisfied with the results. I will post them as soon as I get the pics. For now I will leave you with some pics of the Vienna marathon that I got from the website www.vienna-marathon.com

Well, they won't attach so just click the press section and look for them. It is really amazing how many people ran it . . . and I was one of them! :)



Thursday, May 03, 2007

Wow.


Happy birthday to me. This is how some of my friends announced my birthday tomorrow. What a pic.

Below are some pics from the half marathon courtesy of the Gardners blog page. Thomas and me before the race and then about 8-10Km in, then a gerneral pic of the pandemonium at the start.




Wednesday, May 02, 2007

More pics . . .

The following are from a while back, Easter to be exact. I thought I would share them. They are from the cook out with Betka's church the day after Easter.
The youngest members of Farnost Mikulov's family.(below)


Charles bridge at about 8AM when Betka and I went to the US embassy to get some paper work done for our marriage.


The guys playing bocce ball during the after Easter cook out with the Mikulov church.

The pig! :)



Betka and I had a couple of friends visit from CZ this past weekend. They were there to cheer us on in the marathon. Here are some pics from our time together. We had a great time and I am still alive after finishing 13 miles with a time of 2:14:50! Betka finished about 12 minutes after me.