Friday, January 9, 2009

Wilkommen Null Neun!

Ein Beschwingtes Neues Jahr!
Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from Germany! Sorry I haven't written sooner. I finally made it to our Christmas break when I had spare time to get things done, but all of a sudden, all I could force myself to do was relax. A couple of us joked about making a schedule for ourselves for the break like when the kids are here. It looked like this:

7:00 - Wake up... or don't. You choose.
10:00 - Wake up... or still don't. It doesn't matter.
1:00 - Go shopping to pick up food and necessities only for yourself.
4:00 - Make a snack... for yourself... if you want one.
6:00 - Drive the dinner van into town to pick up dinner and eat whatever you want.
8:00 - Study hours - Study a movie.
10:30 - Lights out... or not.

The casual reader will look at this schedule in bemused speculation at its full meaning. But trust me, I am laughing so hard right now, my fingers can barely find the right letters on the keyboard. Ok, that's not true. It's not that funny. But it is a little bit. I'm considering backspacing over all of this. But even if that joke flops with random blog readers, I still think it's
funny. So there is some insight into the job for you.

Christmas went well for me here at HBR. I was dreading its coming for most of the semester since I knew I would be away from my family. But it ended up being a great day. I ate a brunch in the morning with all of the RA's that were still in town. And I spent time with a couple different families later at night. And I got to video chat with my family at home a few times through the day and opened gifts with them. On the right is a Christmas tree I stole from our rec room and put in my room after the guys left. I even got to put some presents under it from family back home, a few people here, and even a couple of my supporters!

The Sunday night before the guys left, we had a Christmas party here at HBR. It was a blast. Here's what happened. We split them up into their small groups and let them take part in three events for the evening. First they chose two students from their group to wrap a gift. The trick was that the one in front couldn't use his hands and the blindfolded one behind was the one actually wrapping the gift. We got a few interesting looking presents, and I couldn't help but laugh anytime it actually looked like the arms really belonged to the person in front wrapping. Tee hee hee!
Next I donned my gamemaster hat and led a few rounds of Christmas trivia (my forte). These guys don't know much, but it was fun anyway. Here are a few of them shouting out (probably wrong) answers.
After this we used Rachel's brilliant idea to portray a live nativity scene. We assigned each group roles that they had to fill so we could take a picture. Hilarious consequences.

Can you find me in the picture? From left to right we have three magi, a little drummer boy, the star over Bethlehem, a camel composed of three boys, the moon, Mary and Joseph (with Jesus), a group of angels and a group of shepherds in back, a group of animals in front, King Herod, and finally a good-looking and well-dressed innkeeper turning away the young couple.

We came inside out of the cold and enjoyed some snacks and punch. Then it was finally time for the boys to open presents. The five of us staff had gone out and bought a bunch of relatively inexpensive gifts and wrapped them up. We then allowed them to draw numbers out of a hat and proceed with the gift exchange. And I've never seen one like this.

To see the looks on their faces when they opened something as simple as a pair of headphones, sidewalk chalk, a pair of slippers, or a Spongebob pillow was great. One of the most revered items to open and find was the almighty roll of duct tape. There were at least half a dozen rolls of colored duct tape, and they are a huge hit every year.

Of course, they were allowed to steal gifts from each other, and this is when things really started to get funny. After a gift is stolen three times, it is considered safe and can't be stolen anymore. The seniors worked together and the juniors worked together and were strategizing how to keep certain items for their floor because if a student wins something, it basically belongs to the entire floor of guys at that point. The seniors were really good at this strategy and the juniors... not so much. So whenever something got stolen for the third time, one entire side of the room would jump up and start taunting the other side. I've never seen anything like it. When all of the gifts belonged to somebody, the night was over, and it was bedtime. All in all, it was a great Christmas party.

Something I haven't mentioned is that at the end of last semester, Rachel found out she couldn't come back for this coming semester. Her support had been low for a long time, and she basically ran out, and her missions agency was having her return to the States. Also, there was a new RA coming for this semester who was going to be placed in one of the girls dorms. After this new development took place, however, she was moved to HBR. So we'll have a new RA this semester! Her name is Anna, and she got here earlier this week. She seems very nice, and I think she'll do great. But she could really use your prayers through this transition. To follow up on the other story, the dorm students were really sad and upset that Rachel wouldn't be coming back. After some of the students' parents found out about it, they contacted their supporters and tried to start raising extra support for Rachel. Some of the parents (missionaries themselves) are even sacrificially giving of their own money. And we just found out a couple days ago that Rachel is at full support and she will be returning to join us for this semester! It was really exciting to see God's people come together and use their resources to support someone here at BFA who needed help. And that shows you how strong of a ministry an RA can have here. Many of the guys were nearly devastated that Rachel would be leaving. And hardly any of them even know she's coming back at this point. But we will all be delighted for her to be back. And now we will have four RA's at HBR. We're looking forward to a good semester!

Keep praying for me and God bless you in this new year!

Brandon

1 comment:

Alison said...

It's been great to be able to read what's going on at HBR! I loved the schedule for break. It must be so refreshing to have this respite, even though I know you enjoy your guys! God bless! You're in my prayers!