Speaking of New Realities

A couple of weeks ago, I posted on my new reality in Austria. In conversations with friends over the past couple of weeks I’ve noticed that I’m not the only one facing a “new reality.” So, I asked a couple of my closest friends to share a little about the new reality the are preparing for…

First, an introduction to Jen and Jamison from their very own blog!

We Loops live in the Portland Or Area and we love it here!  We live with our dog, Gatsby, who is simply the best and goes everywhere with us! We enjoy being outside, hiking, backpacking, camping, biking, basically just playing!  We love music and books.  We love our friends and our family and spending time with both of them. We are both crafty in our own way, Jamison binds books!  Jen makes all sorts of art. Jamison is a social worker, he helps kids learn and perfect the skills they need to be successful.  Jennifer is an art instructor and teaches kids how to create art in lots of different ways. We love where we are and where we have come from but everything is about to change!!

The Loops will soon be heading to Kandern, Germany to teach at Black Forest Academy, a Christ-centered international school for students in 4th thru 12th grade. They have made a 2-year commitment with Jamison serving as a Counselor and Jen serving as an art teacher. Both perfect fits for their respective jobs. Below is a brief Q&A session I had with them regarding their upcoming adventure.

What made you decide to take the leap and make such a big life decision?

Well, that is a BIG question!  We have both always had a bit of an adventurous side so it was really only a matter of time before we took off for some sort of adventure together.  We decided that we wanted our next adventure to be intentional and something that would grow us, our skill sets, those we work with, AND glorify the Lord.  That’s a big list but working at Black Forest Academy and serving the students there, is the best place for us to do all that!

What are you looking forward to most about moving to Germany and teaching at an international school?

Looking forward to a new culture and way of life.  As far as the work goes, we are looking forward to building new relationships with other staff and especially the kids at BFA, encouraging them in any way we can.  As far as the country goes, I’m not going to lie, we are really looking forward to the outdoors there, and the hiking sounds phenomenal!  We hope to spend a lot of our free time out exploring the country, literally!

What impact are you hoping to make in the lives of students?

We want to help the students of BFA be who they are meant to be in Christ.  To help nurture them and foster a spirit of joy and hope in their lives as they grow in their interests and begin to live out their dreams of life after school!  We are really excited to build strong relationships with these students, hopefully some will last a lifetime.  We are excited (and terrified!) to be called to mentoring this new generation at BFA!

What are you hoping to gain from this experience? In what ways are you hoping to grow?

Lots of growing for sure!  We hope to be able to carry a conversation in German, eventually!  We want to engage in the culture and community in Kandern and are excited to develop friendships with the locals!

We expect to grow a lot in our relationship with one other, communication has always been important but with the added complications and stresses of missionary life it will be extra important!  We hope to grow in our trust and faith in the Lord, this has already been happening but we know it is just the beginning! And we hope to grow in our careers, I will be teaching art and continuing to hone my skills as an artist and teacher.  Jamison will be working as a guidance counselor and have a chance to continue broadening his areas of expertise in the social work field because of this experience!  So, lots of growth all around for sure!

When you’re not working, how do you think you will spend most of your free time?

Like I said, we are (for lack of a better word) STOKED about the scenery and the landscape.  So we will be hiking and backpacking, its cheap entertainment and exercise in one! (Plus our dog Gatsby loves hiking with us!) We hope to have bikes there and plan to tour around the town on them often.

Besides our official work at BFA we will also be involved in after school activities with the kids, sports and small groups!  Since the kids are away from their parents helping with these things falls on us.  So we are excited to spend time when we are not “working” with the students of BFA either playing sports or spending intentional time together in a small group setting!

What kind of support would be valuable during your time in Germany?

ALL SUPPORT!!  Seriously, We need a lot of encouragement and prayer!! We are packing up our life here in the states.  Putting all our things in storage, saying goodbye to friends and family (we are really BAD at goodbyes so we usually say, see you later, which means… in two years.) We just painted all the colorful walls in our apartment back to boring off-white.  And that is all SAD stuff, regardless of the adventure before us.  We are overwhelmed with feeling tremendous joy and excitement about our new ministry at BFA and intense sadness at leaving behind all we have here.

Money.  Yep. It is the truth. Pray for our fundraising, it’s hard work and it is super humbling to ask friends and family for money! We have been busily fundraising the past few months, telling people about our vision and our mission and asking them to join us in prayer and financial support.  We need people who are willing to commit to giving a designated amount to us each month so that we can continue to live in Germany once we get there!  We can’t leave until we have 90% of our monthly funding pledged.  God is awesome and has led many people to give.  And he is going to be leading many more to give as we are not quite to our 50% mark.  Even a small amount, 10, 25, 50 dollars a month really does help!  $50 a month is 1% of our monthly cost. Which is enough for us to celebrate!  It is a need met, even if you can only give $10 bucks a month, give it! We will thank you and welcome you aboard our support team with much thanks!

Thanks for the Q&A Shane!  We love sharing our adventure with others and inviting them to come along for the ride!  Feel free to ask us if you have other questions!

If you’re interested in learning more about the Loops, are able provide prayer or financial support, or just want to keep up to date on how their experience progresses, check out their blog: jandjloop.wordpress.com

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