January: News, Thanks, and Prayers

Happy to have dear friends from Seattle here for Christmas!

News and Dates:

  • January 2: Timmy takes his counseling board certification exam in Frankfurt.
  • January 8: Classes resume
  • January 12-13: Basketball at BFA
  • January 16-19: Semester 1 Exams
  • January 19-20: Basketball at BFA
  • January 26-27: Basketball on the road!
  • Curriculum for January: Exam review, Journalism enterprise projects

We’re Thankful For:

  • Christmas Visitors from Seattle! Thank you to Ben, Susanna and Emily for spending your Christmas with us here in Kandern, sharing the quiet delight of a German Christmas with us.
  • Safety after a (thankfully) minor car incident this month. Our car is finished, but we are fine, and the circumstances were far better than they could have been. Thanking God for protection!
  • Rest, much-needed after a busy fall, and the time this Christmas break to slow down, sleep, and reconnect with friends, visiting alumni and each other.
  • Jordan and Larisa, two dear students from the class of 2014 (for which we served as sponsors for four years), who got married last week. Such a blessing to see you begin your lives together!
  • Financial Provision in the form of a generous gift from a fellow missionary, which will meet our support shortfall this year, helping to stabilize our finances and keeping us here in Kandern.

Please Be In Prayer For:

  • Travel. Our students and staff will return to Germany this week from all corners of the world. Please pray, as always, for safety and smooth connections as they pass through all manner of winter weather and strange airports to get back here before school starts.
  • Future Plans. Pray for us as we begin to make plans for the future, that we would be trust God for wisdom and discernment in the midst of many decisions.

We begin this year with gratitude, recognizing the incredible provision of God in so many different ways. One of the biggest ways has been the gift of so many friends and family members, along with our three incredible sending churches, who are involved in keeping us in ministry here in Germany. We thank God for you, for the opportunity we have to serve here, and for all that’s to come in the year ahead. Please let us know if there are ways that we can be praying for you, or if you have any questions our life or ministry in Kandern.

Peace in Christ,

Timmy & Kristi Dahlstrom

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Things That Made Life Better This Year: 2017 Edition

Happy New Years’ Eve from sunny southern Germany! As has become a habit, I spent a bit of time this afternoon reflecting on some “things” that made life better this year. It’s been a full, rich and interesting year, and I look forward to all that’s ahead in 2018!

  1. Visiting our llama friends in Sitzenkirch!

    Llamas. There are a few families of llamas living in a neighboring village, and visits to them–and their adorable babies–have become a highlight of our family walks this year.

    • Timmy: Luci, what does a llama say?
    • Luci: Llama, llama, llama!
  2. Fellow Parents. Whether in the support of a text message from home, a standing playdate with some adorable two-year-old twins, or “proper brunch” with friends in the community, we’ve loved connecting with other parents of young kids this year. There’s something great about swapping stories with fellow parents “in the trenches” of littlehood with us.
    • Highlight: Fourth of July party with five toddlers under two!
  3. Thankful for this fellow West Wing fan!

    West Wing Sundays. In the midst of a tumultuous political reality in 2017, we loved spending our Sunday evenings with a dear friend, enjoying the fast-talking and ever-relevant reruns of Aaron Sorkin’s early-2000s political drama.

  4. Der Fußsack. Pronounced foos-sack, this is Luci’s “stroller sleeping bag,” which has kept her toasty on probably hundreds of miles of strollering though our little village. Though we can’t always keep her in hat and mittens, Luci’s fußsack has been her companion in chilly Kandern winter.
  5. Home-Making It. As I’ve written before, living in Germany has given us both the opportunity to learn how to make things we’d buy if we lived in America. This years saw the addition of homemade donuts, biscuits, beer and kombucha to our repertoire.
    • Kombucha Flavor of the Year: Holunderbluten (Elderflower)
    • Donut of the Year: Cinnamon
  6. Journalism Class. For the second year in a row, I got to teach a new class! This one, though small, has proven one of my favorites yet, featuring the fresh importance of journalism in an ever-changing world and six young people committed to learning how to communicate truth in our small community.
    • Update on a previous post: Despite a lack of popular demand, we had articles on the German federal elections in three out of our four issues. It was important.
  7. Answered Prayers: This was a year of answered prayers. Timmy has one and a half of his two internships he needs for his Masters of Clinical Mental Health Counseling, which he’ll complete in the spring. We have been blessed with generous and creative childcare for Luci. A generous donation has helped to shore up our recent dip in support. And though our car has recently completely broken (see Timmy’s Instagram for that sad tale), it broke in the perfect place and time (at a near-stop in a country village) sparing us a much worse accident had it happened on an autobahn, or with Luci in the car.
  8. Cheese & Crackers. While “watching Papa on the TV show” (Bethany Community Church’s live 8 AM service) we’ve taken to enjoying a Sunday evening meal of cheese, crackers and cured meats, connecting us to family and to traditional German fare. We’re thankful for the Internet, this great church family, and tasty salami.
    • Best Cracker: Tuc (German Ritz)
    • Best Cheese: Cream Cheese
    • Best Salami: Edeka Italian
  9. Listening to music with Papa on a short visit in November.

    Visits. In a rare year in which 2/3 of us didn’t make it back to America, we were thankful for several visitors here in Kandern, including dear friends and a good majority of the Dahlstroms.

    • “So, you’re going to Kandern–for a week–to babysit?” So glad my sister’s answer was “Yes!”
  10. Calling. From building discipleship relationships by coaching basketball, counseling teenagers and missionaries, to teaching new subjects and mentoring new teachers, this has been a year in which both Timmy and I have had the privilege of using our gifts in places we feel called. We’re thankful for teaching, counseling and the ministry of hospitality we feel Christ calling us to here in Kandern, and more than ever thankful for all of you who encourage us with prayer and financial support, making this ministry possible.

 

December: News, Thanks, and Prayers

Ninth graders racing their boats down the Kander River!

News and Dates:

  • December 1-2: First home basketball games against Stuttgart High School
  • December 8-9: Basketball travels to Wiesbaden
  • December 15: Last day of classes!
  • Curriculum for December: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, satire
  • Kristi will be playing violin in the pit orchestra for BFA’s late-February production of Fiddler on the Roof!

We’re Thankful For:

  • Timmy’s Small Group of freshman guys, who bring both laughter and depth to their times together on Tuesday nights.
  • The Ninth Grade Advisory Regatta (pictured above), in which BFA ninth graders built and raced boats down the river behind the school. Good times were had by all!
  • Satire, which always brings eleventh graders to conversations of depth, humor and inquiry about the world in which they live.
  • A Visit with Papa, as Kristi’s dad came to spend Thanksgiving with us last week before heading on to teaching commitments here in Europe.

Please Be In Prayer For:

  • Rest and Recovery. Pray that Christmas break is a restorative time for our family, and for the staff and students of BFA as a whole. It’s been a particularly stressful autumn at the school, and we could all use prayer for health and calm during the quieter weeks ahead.
  • Financial Need. Due to a decrease in giving over the last few months, we’re about $250 below our monthly support needs. Though we’d previously asked for an increase in support to cover hospitality expenses, this is a more urgent need as it concerns our basic living expenses. Please pray about joining our financial support team, which allows us to serve here in Germany. $50 or even $25 a month would go a long way towards supporting us in ministry at Black Forest Academy. If you’re interested in helping to support this aspect of our ministry, please visit our Getting Involved page or our online giving page with TeachBeyond.

We are so incredibly grateful for the encouragement and support that our friends, family and churches are to us in this ministry. Please let us know if there are ways that we can be praying for you, or if you have any questions our life or ministry in Kandern.

Peace in Christ,

Timmy & Kristi Dahlstrom

November: News, Thanks, and Prayers

Speaking on faith and vocation for BFA Chapel
Photo: BFA Communications

News and Dates:

  • November 13-15: Basketball tryouts
  • November 23-26: Richard Dahlstrom (Kristi’s dad) visiting!
  • November 26: “Cozy Cabin” Christmas Banquet
  • Curriculum for November: Transcendentalism, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • With basketball season just around the corner, Timmy is excited to return to his role as assistant coach for Boys Varsity Basketball.

We’re Thankful For:

  • Mentorship Opportunities with students and staff here in Kandern, a sweet and humbling reminder of the reasons for which God has called us to this place.
  • Great Healthcare, both insurance and doctors, who recently provided some advice and reassurance for these first-time parents of a toddler with a nasty cough.
  • Speculoos Cookies and Braeburn Apples, heralds of late fall and some of our favorite seasonal treats here in Germany.
  • Spangdahlem Air Base Chapel, through whom Timmy serves part time as a Reserve Chaplain. Thankful for the friendships and unique ministry opportunity this place provides!

Please Be In Prayer For:

  • Health. As we enter a colder, wetter season, pray for health for our family, as well as the community as a whole.
  • Financial Need. Due to a decrease in giving over the last few months, we’re currently about $300 below our monthly support needs. Though we’d previously asked for an increase in support to cover hospitality expenses, this is a more urgent need as it concerns our basic living expenses. Please pray about joining our financial support team, which allows us to serve here in Germany. $50 or even $25 a month would go a long way towards supporting us in ministry at Black Forest Academy. If you’re interested in helping to support this aspect of our ministry, please visit our Getting Involved page or our online giving page with TeachBeyond.

In this season of thankfulness, we reflect often on the encouragement and support that our friends, family and churches are to us in this ministry. Please let us know if there are ways that we can be praying for you, or if you have any questions our life or ministry in Kandern.

Peace in Christ,

Timmy & Kristi Dahlstrom

October: News, Thanks, and Prayers

Enjoyed a wonderful visit from the Roes!

News and Dates:

  • October 6: Ninth grade class party
  • October 21: BFA Staff Recital
  • October 30: End of Quarter 1
  • October 31: 500th Reformation Day
  • Curriculum for October: The Scarlet Letter, American Romanticism
  • Timmy is leading a ninth grade boys’ small group this year! He’s excited to get to spend time time investing in these guys each week on Tuesday.

We’re Thankful For:

  • Visiting Friends in September, BFA alumni Joe Leavitt and our friends from Seattle, GM and Holly Roe. Such a delight to catch up with old friends in our little town!
  • Journalism Class, with six hardworking students eager to read and report the news, seeking ways to engage our community in meaningful learning and conversation.
  • Autumn in Kandern, which turns the hillsides into vibrant shades of yellow, orange and red each fall.
  • New Staff at BFA, who bring vitality and excitement to our staff.

Please Be In Prayer For:

  • Future. Pray for wisdom and clarity as we pray about our future, seeking to honor God with our vocation and family.
  • Financial Support. We currently have about $4215 pledged monthly, and we continue to pray for a bit more support to facilitate the hospitality aspects of member care. If you’re interested in helping to support this aspect of our ministry, please visit our Getting Involved page or our online giving page with TeachBeyond.

As we gear up to begin a new school year, we’re continually thankful for the encouragement and support that you are to us in our ministry here. Please let us know if there are ways that we can be praying for you, or if you have any questions our life or ministry in Kandern.

Peace in Christ,

Timmy & Kristi Dahlstrom

September: News, Thanks, and Prayers

First Day of School Dahlstroms!

News and Dates:

  • September 9-11: Budenfest (local club food festival) in Kandern
  • September 11-15: Spiritual Emphasis Week
  • September 22: Fall Party
  • Timmy is starting his counseling internship this month at BFA. This means that he’ll be working part-time in the school with our counseling department.

We’re Thankful For:

  • Donna Dahlstrom, who was able to visit for two weeks in August while Timmy was at residency. Kristi and Luci had great adventures with Oma, hiking, making jam and going to the pool!
  • Childcare for Luci this year during times that we are both working in the school. We’ve had several women volunteer to hang out with Luci during different times during the day, and she even has a morning a week that she can play at some friends’ house! This is a huge answer to prayer!
  • Timmy’s Internship and the opportunities that it provides for him to continue his counseling studies. We’re thankful for good supervision and all that this year entails.
  • New Roles for Kristi at school, as she restarts the school newspaper and serves as a faculty advisor for ninth graders.

Please Be In Prayer For:

  • New School Year. Pray for the transitions that the new school year entails for all of us. We’re starting new routines, and learning some new roles. Pray for communication and balance, and that in the midst of this sudden busyness we’d keep our focus on Christ.
  • Financial Support. We continue to pray for about $1300 more in monthly support to cover increased cost of living and hospitality aspects of our member care ministry here. If you’re interested in helping to support this aspect of our ministry, please visit our Getting Involved page or our online giving page with TeachBeyond.

As we gear up to begin a new school year, we’re continually thankful for the encouragement and support that you are to us in our ministry here. Please let us know if there are ways that we can be praying for you, or if you have any questions our life or ministry in Kandern.

Peace in Christ,

Timmy & Kristi Dahlstrom

August: News, Thanks and Prayers

From our hike through vineyards above the Mosel Valley. So thankful that Spangdahlem Air Base is in a beautiful part of the world!

News and Dates:

  • August 4-15: Timmy in Virginia Beach for Regent University School of Psychology residency.
  • August 17-25: All Staff Conference
  • August 30: First Day of School!
  • In a slight change of roles, Kristi will be teaching journalism this year (instead of public speaking) along with her English course and new faculty supervision.
  • We are serving as class sponsors this year for the freshman class! This is a role we filled in the past and enjoyed, allowing us to spend time investing in a group of students through different activities and events. We’re excited to get to know these kids and the other great sponsors!

We’re Thankful For:

  • Spangdahlem Air Base and the good time that Timmy had serving there in July. Thankful for the hospitality of the community there and continued opportunities to serve and grow in his role as Reserve Chaplain.
  • The Blanchard Family, whom Timmy was able to spend time with during a brief but delightful visit to South Carolina.
  • The Kandern Pool, which has been our saving grace this summer on hot, hot days. Luci loves the water more every day!
  • Good Sleep for the whole family! After about a year of sleep craziness with Luci, she’s settled into some great patterns this summer, leaving all of us happily well-rested.
  • Toddler Talking and all the fun and laughter that it’s brought to our family. Our little girl learns more words every day, and it’s amazing to get these insights into her world!

Please Be In Prayer For:

  • Travel. Pray for Timmy as he travels to Virginia this week, for Donna Dahlstrom as she comes here for a visit, and for all of the staff and students who are preparing to make the journey here in the coming weeks. Pray for healthy, safety, and logistical details to come together for all!
  • Future. Pray for us as we make decisions regarding the future, seeking to honor God with our family and vocation.
  • Financial Support. We continue to pray for about $1300 more in monthly support to cover increased cost of living and hospitality aspects of our member care ministry here. If you’re interested in helping to support this aspect of our ministry, please visit our Getting Involved page or our online giving page with TeachBeyond.

As we gear up to begin a new school year soon, we’re continually thankful for the encouragement and support that you are to us in our ministry here. Please let us know if there are ways that we can be praying for you, or if you have any questions our life or ministry in Kandern.

Peace in Christ,

Timmy & Kristi Dahlstrom

July: News, Thanks and Prayers

Graduation day with two of Kristi’s senior small group girls.

News and Dates:

  • July 6-10: Timmy in Columbia, South Carolina
  • Last two weeks of July: Timmy finishing Air Force Reserve service days as a Chaplain (Kristi and Luci get to come this time, too!)
  • In case you haven’t seen the update on Facebook, Timmy will be in Columbia, South Carolina this weekend! If you’re free and would like to connect, email timmy.dahlstrom@gmail.com to set something up!
  • BFA’s incredible Communications team has put together a short film called “Hands,” about the work we do at BFA. Check it out on BFA’s Youtube page here.

We’re Thankful For:

  • A Good End to a busy school year, weeks filled with hard work and good attitudes from students. As always, it was bittersweet to see them go, but we feel honored to have been a part of their lives.
  • Time To Rest and reflect on our first year in Germany, a time that was filled with new joys and challenges unique to our season as a young family in ministry.
  • A Visit With Friends last weekend in nearby Bavaria, providing a much-needed excuse to get out of town, see a different part of this lovely country, and catch up with old friends.
  • Recreational Reading during our newly out-of-school time. Timmy and I are reading David James Duncan’s The Brothers K, as a family we’re reading C.S. Lewis’s Prince Caspian, and Luci is reading* all three Knuffle Bunny books, by Mo Willems, several times a day.

*OK, Luci isn’t reading them. We are. Again and again and again.

Please Be In Prayer For:

  • Summer Travels. Pray for Timmy as he travels to South Carolina this weekend, for easy transitions and connections with friends there. We’ll be heading to Spangdahlem Air Base, a few hours north, in a couple of weeks, so pray for health and smooth travels for our mini-road trip. Finally, Timmy will be returning to Virginia Beach for his second graduate residency with Regent University in August, and Oma Donna will be coming here. Lots of coming and going this summer!
  • Financial Support. We continue to pray for about $1300 more in monthly support to cover increased cost of living and hospitality aspects of our member care ministry here. If you’re interested in helping to support this aspect of our ministry, please visit our Getting Involved page or our online giving page with TeachBeyond.

We continue to praise God daily for the encouragement and support that you are to us in our ministry here. Please let us know if there are ways that we can be praying for you, or if you have any questions our life or ministry in Kandern.

Peace in Christ,

Timmy & Kristi Dahlstrom

Sustainability {Or, Measuring A Year}

Class of 2017 on the first day of school…

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles
In laughter, in strife

In five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure
A year in the life?

From “Seasons of Love,” RENT

June 24 marks one year back in Kandern, this time as a family of three, a year filled with beginnings-again, with all joys and challenges included. At intervals throughout the year, friends, colleagues and acquaintances have asked us “how it is” being back. I must have expected to have a better answer at one point, but honestly this has become one of those questions, like asking “How are you?” to a brand-new parent, or “How was your trip?” to someone who’s just returned from a mission trip to Haiti after an earthquake. There is no simple answer. There’s just… well, a year.

This year was challenging, as we realized that having a young child who goes to bed early would change how we connected to the community. We went to fewer events, had fewer extracurricular commitments, and learned that weekend lunches were the best times for connecting with other young families. We hosted dinners and movie nights after bedtime, gradually figuring out how to exercise hospitality from this new family context.

This year was beautiful, returning with our daughter to this place that Timmy and I fell in love, reflecting daily on the vast history of blessing with which Christ has built and continues to build our family. We walked familiar trails, visited favorite buildings, and watched countless sunsets, thunderstorms and snowfalls from our fourth-floor apartment.

This year was surprising, filled with relationships and opportunities that we didn’t expect from the far side of the Atlantic. Timmy coached basketball and I substitute-taught ceramics for a few weeks. I co-led a girls’ small group with another young mom, and Timmy spent the spring doing a counseling internship with staff in the community. We discovered that Luci is by far the most popular member of our family, bringing gleeful grins from eleventh-graders and fellow teachers alike.

Though it’s impossible to sum up–to measure–this year, as a Pacific Northwesterner it seems no coincidence to me that the word that keeps coming to mind is “sustainability.” Because in the end, this was the common denominator of our ministry in Germany this year. Both at Black Forest Academy and in the community in Kandern, we seek to enable missionaries to sustain healthy ministries in the places to which God has called them.

For me, sustainability means teaching young people to read, write, speak and think clearly, helping to provide a quality English education while their parents serve in evangelism, community development, translation, refugee ministry and other mission work in Europe, Asia, Africa and beyond. Families that would have had to leave the field when their children reached high school are able to remain in ministry in these capacities.

For Timmy, sustainability means providing counseling and other hospitality services through TeachBeyond Member Care here in Kandern, working with a great number of missionaries, mostly school staff, as they transition from North America to Europe, from big cities to small towns, and from traditional careers to the decidedly non-traditional life of serving as overseas missionaries. This also means opening our home to fellow missionaries, providing hospitality and a safe space for connection and processing.

We’re working on our second year back in Kandern now, but I don’t expect our “word of the year” to change much. Our focus continues to be on creating space for sustainable ministry, both for our colleagues here in Kandern and for the parents of our students, spread around the world. We’re thankful for the weeks of summer ahead of us, time to spend sustaining our own family and ministry as we rest and reset for Year 2 (or Year 7, or Year 9, depending on how you count, and which of us you ask). Join us in praying for rest, health, and peace this summer, for us and those in our care.

If you’re interested in learning more about our ministry here in Germany, read our bio at Meet The Dahlstroms. Or, if you’d like to learn more about how to partner with us in ministry, follow this link to our TeachBeyond giving page.

…and the last!

 

June: News, Thanks, Prayers

Luci enjoys her new swing!

News and Dates:

  • June 8: Last Day of Class
  • June 9-14: Final Exams
  • June 16: Graduation Day
  • June 19-22: All-Staff Work Week at BFA
  • The BFA construction project is almost complete! We are nearly set to help the Middle School move from their current location in the neighboring village of Sitzenkirch to the new fourth and fifth floors of our Main Building!
  • Curriculum for June: Final exams, ceramics critiques, and debate!

We’re Thankful For:

  • A Busy Month of Counseling Practicum for Timmy, who has been able to meet with clients even in the midst of the wrapping-up of the school year.
  • Kristi’s Small Group of senior girls and her co-leader, Suzanne, for a wonderful year of conversation and sharing life before they transition to next chapters in the U.S. and beyond.
  • The Juniors of BFA, with whom Kristi has had a wonderful year studying literature and writing.
  • The Kandern Pool for offering fun and respite from a hot, hot May.

Please Be In Prayer For:

  • Ending Well. Pray for staff and students as we wrap up work and relationships, some for the summer and some for longer. Pray for those who are leaving this place, that their details will come together, their goodbyes will be life-giving, and that they remain safe and healthy through their travels.
  • Summer. Pray for rest and health this summer. We’ll spend most of the time in Kandern, with a two-week stint on Timmy’s Air Force base in July, some possible visits to friends here and there, and a visit from Luci’s Oma Donna in August.
  • Financial Support. We continue to pray for about $1300 more in monthly support to cover increased cost of living and hospitality aspects of our member care ministry here. If you’re interested in helping to support this aspect of our ministry, please visit our Getting Involved page or our online giving page with TeachBeyond.

As this first year back in Germany comes to a close, we continue to be overwhelmed with gratitude for the encouragement and support that so many of you have been to us in our ministry here. Please let us know if there are ways that we can be praying for you, or if you have any questions our life or ministry in Kandern.

Peace in Christ,

Timmy & Kristi Dahlstrom