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About thatrh

I am That Red Head and That Red Head is a graphic designer, web coder, problem solver, aspiring artist, novice makeup artist, occasional technical support provider, sometimes copy-writer, and social media aficionado.

Back to Work

Dear Friends,

School is back in session, students have been back for a week now and we have been through 3 weeks of BFA-orientation prior to students arriving! Feels as though summer break was a year ago……hmmmm?

We had a wonderful US-trip and it was so good to spend time with so many of you!  Thank you! To those of you whom we did not get to spend time with, sincere apologies – hopefully, next time!

I attach a few photos to share what Harry and I have been busy with to prepare the dorm for the students. We did this in between the three weeks of orientation…… still not quite complete, since I have a few pillows left to make, but overall, we felt it necessary to give this dorm interior a little facelift, to make it more ‘home-like’ as this has been ResLife’s heart for the past few years on behalf of the students who live so far away from their families for long stretches of the school year.

This is the ‘MARIPOZA LOUNGE’ – a game room/visit space/hosting friends, etc. There is a pool table in this space, 2nd photo far corner. This was a dining room before, but far away from the kitchen and bright, right next to the television room. Harry & I upholstered the long bench, gathered furniture throughout the dorm and I am working on making more pillows to brighten up this space.

Television Theater Room!  Stacked pallets (Quite difficult to get in Germany, but Harry’s network strategies made it happen!), mattresses, then long throws and many pillows from IKEA complete the four layers where all 20 girls gathered for a movie last night – they love it!

Dining Room – was a dark and dreary space, so with white and green accents, the glass globes from the old diningroom, brighter bulbs, it is now a happy, sunny place – maybe we will have a ‘blue-free’ winter this year…….??  Girls are so happy in this space, much more chatty and talkative – it is very interesting to see how differently they respond and act in these spaces!

The RA’s have also worked on brightening the hallways, I will post photos of that later on.

Karmyn & Benjamin are now living with us on the second floor above our apartment – more part of our effort to stay together longer and also because we were one bedroom short in the dorm…… it is all good.  Karmyn is settling in well, we are so thankful to see her confidence increase and the same for Benjamin!   He has become the ‘big brother’ to 20 dorm sisters and he seems to be handling it with more confidence and interaction than before – all encouraging signs!

The group is returning from their shopping trip for school supplies, I need to get supper prepared!

May the glory of the Lord be upon you and you find delight in all that He allows you to be a part of!

THANK YOU for your continued support and you should see a personal note from us soon!

Blessings,

Stephne, for our family

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Dear Friends an…

Dear Friends and Family,

Just a quick note to let you know that we are preparing for our US-visit from 15 June to 16 July 2012.

We would like to invite you to a gathering at the ADAM-Family’s home where we will be staying.  They are hosting the typical fun evening time with Alan’s master barbeque.

DATE:  Saturday, 16 June 2012

TIME:  4pm-8pm

VENUE:  9031 Stitt Road, Whitehouse (Alan and Vicki Adam)

RSVP:  419-878-2326

WHAT TO BRING:  All families with last names starting with A-M, please bring a salad to share; The rest, please bring a desert to share;

We are looking forward to spending time with you who can make it – as we understand that this is also Father’s Day Weekend!

Enjoy this celebration with your families!

With love,

Bowers family


US Visit

Dear Friends and Family,

Warm greetings to you from a warmer Europe!  It has been a long winter here in Germany and we are enjoying the more frequent sunny days!

We are planning to be in Ohio from 16 June -16 July and  we are hoping to visit with you in your homes,  your church, at the Adam’s Pond, wherever it is best to listen to your hearts and happenings in your lives!

The Father has brought us to Germany as such a surprise, we have been updated on happenings in Ethiopia and although we are unsure of the future plans, we are focusing on this season with Karmyn & Benjamin, supporting them in their high school adjustment while we also care for 20 high school girls.  The school has asked us to consider another year and we also felt that our family need more time together, so we committed to a second year (2012-2013) in this BFA-dorm.  There has been many more difficult and intense days than the easier ones – this has been a very strong culture shock for us – we are convinced however, that us being here has been most beneficial to our own children’s adjustment and growth.

We are now driving home after a track day where Karmyn ran the 3 200m in 14 minutes, her personal record, as well as the new school record!  It is a humbling moment to be able to celebrate this joy with her!

We will gladly share with you what the Lord has been teaching us – refinement only takes place when the heat is turned up high and here, we have been dancing like a cat on a hot tin roof daily this year!  So, as we walk out the last two OVER FULL weeks of this semester, may you find joy in the Lord in preparation for this most welcome summer months!

PLEASE have a look at your calendar and let us see when we can meet.  We will post our calendar soon in order for you to be able to co-ordinate a moment together!

We are looking forward to hear what the Lord has been teaching you, allowed you to experience these past two years!  Yes, it has been two years since we have been in Ohio and we are excited about the upcoming trip!

With joy,

Harry & Stephne


Family Update: February 2012

Dear Family & Friends,

A while ago, we posted an update to you of what a day in our lives look like.   Well, we think it may be time to revisit that moment, since change is such a big part of this ministry!

We realize more and more that serving in the Father’s Kingdom, is just always filled with surprising extentions to supposedly clear job descriptions – we have also learnt to not hang any hat on these job descriptions, since change will stretch and challenge us into new growth, which is really good!

During this second semester, Harry and I feel just a tad bit more secure and sure of what is expected of us (we think….?).   So, during the beginning of this season, we attempted to go with:  “simplifying” – the buzz word which allows us that deep sigh of relief.   So far, so good!

Until the surprising elements came:

  • the front glass (double pane, safety glass) door cracked and needs to be replaced;
  • a student accidently dropped a commercial size vacuum machine down a flight a stairs, it broke a hole into a second glass door;
  • one of the 3 industrial washing machines finally died and needed to be replaced;
  • one by one, the three vans started challenging us in the early morning cold and filters needed to be replaced as fuel mixes were not maintained from the master fuel stations;
  • the school bus schedule surprise us from time to time by not showing up, so, we then jump into vans (whichever ones are willing) to get students to school;
  • a cold virus and exhausted students stay in bed for the odd day and a staff member needs to be available;
  • dental- and ortho- appointments are taken care of by dorm staff for students;
  • a student forgets important documents/homework in the dorm, we receive a phone call, interrupts current activity and drive the 15 minutes (one way) to save a grade!
  • seniors need vaccinations for college applications and appointments need to be arranged;
  • laundry pipes freeze, washing machines cannot function, so Harry gets approval to purchase a space heater, drives to the hardware store, makes the purchase, installs the heater, staff waits for pipes to thaw and continue with student’s laundry (until wee hours of the night…….);
  • an emotional student struggles with homesickness and I comfort until late;
  • we help with checking of reports and home work assignments for 22 students, approve, help re-write, check again;
  • another student tries to open her bedroom glass door to the outside, trips and breaks the glass pane – it is evening, cold, Harry runs to make a temporary fix;
  • another student lets me know that the shower drain in her room is blocked – water overflowing – I run, push my hand down the pipe and withdraws a hand full of hair, the water suddenly whirls down the drain;
  • someone else’s bedlight bulb dies, Harry now replaces that and discovers that her bedroom main light has not been working all semester.  (we do have notes for these maintenance issues to be reported so that we can make replacements during the day……..??)
  • a student tries to skype with parents, the internet dies, an upset student expects us to reconnect her……
  • students sign out for activities and appointments for the week which we check daily – make several phone calls with hosts in order to verify logistics of traveling arrangements;
  • along with our two Resident Assistants, we check student’s academic progress daily, have discussions of how we can help, arrange meetings with teachers for those who need assistance;
  • we pull students from sports when their grades are dangerously low, help them through the tough spots and get them back on track;
  • we meet with teachers to discuss a team effort to assist students;
  • a toilet clogs and overflows – I get that delightful task to go help, since this is a girl’s dorm and Harry tries to be sensitive;
  • the commercial dish washer breaks down and we try to create a FUN atmosphere to get the dishes done for 27 bodies……..
  • this semester, we are blessed with the school’s purchase of two large refrigerators for the dorm – this creates a wonderful moment for me to ‘re-design’ the kitchen and make it more functional – I do that and maintenance has a flood in the school’s basement half way throughout the kitchen remodel.   Cupboards are standing at the foot of our apartment’s staircase, the refrigerators are in, but the kitchen is in process and we need to function in the midst of that.   I am quiet, (with a happy heart!)  waiting on the break and for two strong men to complete the ‘hanging’ kitchen project……  I know that this too shall pass – it always does!

I can list more, but will want to save your time……

WHICH LEAVES ME THEN TO GET TO THE DAY:

  1. Harry & I wake at 06H30, spend time in the Word, Pray, then fly out of bed to serve breakfast  and  serve lunch variety to pack – to 22 sleepy students!
  2. Within half an hour, we help the two students who clean up, to complete this task and for them to be ready for devotions before the bus arrives;
  3. I normally have girls asking for medications, check off their files, provides TLC and encourage them to greater things!
  4. At 08h20, all students gather for devotions and prayer – we read and pray over them, then they get on the bus for school (if bus shows up);
  5. Now, is when our service starts:  we prepare meals, organize events, attend staff meetings, on Mondays, Harry & I shop for the week’s food needs:  we fill 3 carts to the brim!  No, we do not have the large cement floor-warehouse type shopping here, we have a sister of ‘wal-mart’ where we purchase most of our pantry supplies, then return home to unload and store for the next 2 hours – after which we normally have an hour rest (if all goes well);
  6. I then serve a snack at 4pm to returning students from school, stay around for needed conversations.  Then, Harry drives to school to bring home dinner (which is prepared 5 days per week from a central kitchen to the dorm students – not wonderful, but fine!)
  7. At 6pm we serve supper, make announcements, help with dishes and oversee other dorm tasks, then at 7,30pm, students start with study time.  Now, we prepare the next day’s lunch and breakfast, meet with our RA’s and then at about 9.30pm, we come upstairs to help our children with their homework.
  8. On Thursdays, we normally have the day off and this is when we sleep, rest and catch up with our family admin.  During the evening, I prepare a family meal for us, we hide in the apartment and just fellowship with each other while the RA’s manage the dorm events for the evening;
  9. On Wednesday evenings, we drive the students to and from their small groups, then oversee study hours;
  10. This semester, I have designed THEMED weekends – last weekend, we had an Asian weekend:  I prepared meals from various asian countries, taught a little bit about that, the RA’s then show a movie with an asian theme  on Saturday night, the students who study chinese, korean, etc., then teach us a song and they pray over the meals in native languages.
  11. On Sundays, we bundle everyone into the vans for church, return for lunch and spend quiet afternoons in and around the dorm where we have little tea parties, manicures & pedicures – homework catch up and then in the evening, we host dorm fellowship where we discuss and share various ‘teenage topics’ or play games or attend a music concert, but all dorm related;
  12. Monday mornings, our RA’s have the day off and this is normally when Harry and I go food shopping, etc.

Weekends are filled with sports events and music practices for which we ask the RA’s to help with driving, etc.   The RA’s function as helpers to us, they also build relationships with the students to help bridge for us, make sure that the emotional climate stays healthy.   They are young graduates, committing to two years service here.  We provide much training and councelling to them also.

Harry and I normally fall into bed after midnight – it is a rare moment to be in bed before 11pm – so, with many short nights, we do reach exhaustion levels quickly and now that we do not have much time for physical excersize, we feel that need increase and hope to make changes soon.   We are now looking for a juicer in order to also make sure that our nutrition is of higher quality – every possible idea to maintain a healthy, well balanced mind, heart and body in order to serve her under these difficult demands.

We do have one weekend off per month – it is required by our supervisor, so, we have tried to pace ourselves better, not travel too far, just around here in France and Germany – we discovered small quant villages which we love and it does help to rejuvenate us a little bit.   We are realizing that most of these students are of high need – their parents (missionaries) live through various experiences, sometimes need to leave their countries of service unexpectedly, which causes the students great concern and emotional turmoil – they fear not being able to return to their countries of birth or origin – not many have been born in the US and our dorm has a high number of Korean missionaries’ kids as well.  So, they are referred to as THIRD GENERATION KIDS – it is a very interesting dynamic and as some are also MISSION KIDS, these are complex circumstances for a unique generation!

Thank you for being to brave to read through all this – by now, you need a tall cup of tea – enjoy!

Thank you for your ongoing love and support – we are still honored and amazed at this moment in our lives.  Karmyn & Benjamin are taking their time with the adjustment and we are so thankful to be able to watch them and handhold them through it all!

We value and appreciate each one of you!

In Him,

Stephne and Harry


January 2012

Beautiful wishes to everyone for a very special year – where your days are filled with an awareness of the Father’s amazing love and mercy as we all desire to grow into an intimate relationship with HIM!

After the 17 week semester, school closed for Christmas break and we hosted Harry’s parents for a very sweet two weeks.  We made day trip visits to nearby villages to visit Christmas markets, learned so much more about the German culture and ‘discovered family time’ again!  After Harry’s parents left, we fell into our beds for the next few days and tried to recover from the very full and demanding semester.

Then,  it felt as though the first layer of sleep allowed us to move into the second layer of recovery and we simply started re-connecting with each other through a few daytrips to nearby villages in France and Germany!

Of course we prepared the dorm for the student’s return, but also worked on maintenance issues such as the complicated telephone/internet system.    Now, the girls have been back for almost a week and we are in the thick of sports events, homework demands and checklists.

We praise the Lord for a delightful staff and how HE prepared us for each other.  This semester is as full as the previous, but we are looking forward to a spring break in April (two weeks) and then another six weeks before this semester would finish.

Karmyn & Benjamin have had adjustment challenges and there have been several days that we just felt strongly how the Lord prepared us for this moment in their lives.   We are not always sure of our role here, but confident in the fact that we are suppose to be with our children to help guide them through these days – unsure of how long it will be, but for now, we are living it day by day, learning daily!

This school functions as a well oiled machine, the structure and rhythm is so well organized and we have respect and appreciation for the dorm infrastructure and the way that the students are cared for.  Of course the demands are many on the dorm parents and staff, but it is a learning curve in another realm!

We want to thank you sincerely for your prayer- and financial support.  You are part of an incredible moment where your support has extended far beyond the initial tent pens……!  We are so aware of your partnership and thank the Father daily for the way that  He takes care of you and our family!

May all HIS delight radiate through you this year!

We love and appreciate you dearly!

Stephne, Harry, Karmyn & Benjamin

 


Update and Thanks

Today, our purpose and intent is that of appreciation! We simply want to take a moment to thank and appreciate the Lord for HIS ever faithfulness through allowing us to walk beside you – be a tool for HIM to use and work through us.   He really does not need us, but we so desperately need HIM to purify our hearts, our minds and hands!

We appreciate each one of you, you who support us spiritually, emotionally, financially, physically!   We do NOT see ourselves serving the Lord alone – you are vital parts of our daily thoughts and prayers.  We try to consider how you would respond in various situations, we try to consider your hearts and advice, we try to consider the impact that our decisions and responses would have on your lives as we also live through challenges and tricky situations.

BUT, MOST of all, we try to be VERY considerate of JESUS’ example, that of the FATHER’s HEART!   It has been more and more our daily prayer and plea with HIM to reveal to us those things that are on HIS heart – how to eliminate the distractions to stay clear minded and pure hearted about the things of HIS heart!

We have NO agenda or alternative message here, other than thanking HIM and thanking each one of you who are connected in our lives.  THANK YOU for your always support, encouragement, motivations, accountability and honesty with us.   Thank you for your unfailing support and love when we walk out this call of serving HIM in uncomfortable spaces, places of insecurity and even when decisions that we make may seem to be unclear to you.   Thank you for trusting the FATHER’s heart in us – in order to extend HIS Kingdom and honor HIM through acts of worship!

We value your involvement and interest greatly!    Thank you for even being gracious with us through this transition to Germany – we apologize for not being able to maintain a stronger line of communication, but we so desire to change that soon!  As we now start to settle down, we hope to be able to understand better when to write with purpose and joy as we walk out this season of serving HIM through helping our children in their High School adjustment – as well as partnering with so many mission families in supporting their work and call on the field, while caring for their children.

Know that each one of you are dear and close to our hearts!  Be blessed as you prepare for THANKSgiving – we have just served the students with this experience last night – 35 guests lined up on both sides of a very long table – it was a delight!

With love and an intentional appreciation!

Harry & Stephne Bowers


Bowers newsletter: November

Dear Friends,

Still in this very long first school term in Germany, we had to pull out the warm woolies and this is quite an adjustment after 5 perfect Ethiopian weather years!  This term has 4 weeks left over before students can leave for a Christmas break.

We have had an intense term with really great adjustments.  Karmyn & Benjamin are adjusting to the demanding school schedule and Harry has a final contribution tonight at the School Musical where he has been playing clarinet and saxophone for SEUSSICAL.

Two weeks ago, the seniors hosted an open house here in the dorm.  We invited our German neighbours to join in the fun and we have had such a great response.   Harry and the School Principal took over 2 students with a basket of cookies and invitations, introduced the dorm and invited families to come over for cookies and milk.   This was such a special moment as they were so surprised over our efforts to reach out to them.  Many families came and we communicated in our broken, limited German, many facial expressions and had to really suppress the confusing Amharic file with which we have great difficulty to close down.

This morning however, Harry and I prepared to take Selah for her early walk, but discovered that we had overnight burglars!   Yes, in this safe, quiet little village, we had a burglary!   The heavy metal safe with all our students’ passports & pocket money inside, is gone!  It was locked inside a hidden desk – we felt it was safe……?    At first, our dorm administration thought that it could have been a ‘prank’ played on the dorm, but this was not the case.   So, the police was called in.   Harry and I had to file reports, inform the students, inform their parents, etc., etc.   We feel terrible of course…..!    This is getting close for the students to leave for Christmas vacation, so passports are needed and we will have to travel the 4 hours to Embassies, etc.

Please pray for a quick solution, since many students have to travel to various countries where they need special documentation which was difficult to get prior to their coming here.

This has been a very distraught morning for all.  Thankfully, Harry made copies of the student’s passports and stored it elsewhere – this is good.   The difficulty, is that the student’s famlies left money for them here with us, which was also kept in that safe…….  We are truly looking forward to see what the Lord is going to show us through this event!

Blessings to you all and thank you for standing with us in prayer!

In His Joy,

Stephne for our family


October Bowers Blog

Dear Friends,

This message comes to you from ALSACE in France – where our family rests in a tiny little wooden cottage amongst the Vosges Mountains.  We are surrounded by history – ruins, castles, farm houses, even the trees feel as though they hold possible secrets of the WORLD WAR I and II-action!  The tree tops on hill and mountain sides around us, are indicating the change of the season and splashes of orange and red tint the overall green splendor!

Karmyn & Benjamin visited the World War I-trenches as part of their school curriculum.  They shared of the experience with amazement as we descended the zig-zag road down the mountain  (we met the school group on the way to our weekend spot to intercept our children for our family time).

This is our first rest time after we committed to the Germany adventure during May 2011.   The quiet here, is wonderful, the calmness in the valleys filled with old family homes, is evident as the cows in the meadows peacefully graze in between the wealth of history!  We read about Albert Sweitzer’s family home (which was closed today) in the nearby village of GUNSBACH, the storks in MUNSTER, we also discover its famous cheese.  We witness graveyards of fallen heroes next to beautiful, old churches (often the Catholic- and Protestant buildings face each other).

This morning, we walked the local farmer’s market of one of these villages.  Flavors and odors alternated between sausage varieties, fresh veggies & fruits, cheeses and warm breads!   We enjoyed our supper this evening next to the little stream outside the chalet’s front door – fresh rye baguette with sausage & cheese – hmmm!

One more sleep, then this moment is part of our memory bank and we return to the dorm where Monday will be a German holiday, which means that we will be back in full swing!

We trust that your lives are in a place of joy and peace!  May the blessing of the Father be your portion as we appreciate your interest, support and love in our lives!

With joy,

Stephne, Harry, Karmyn & Benjamin Bowers


Update from the Black Forest

Dear Friends and Family,

THANK YOU for your prayers!  We have surely felt the presence of the Holy Spirit during this ‘almost’ first month in the beautiful Black Forest!

Our family is well, feeling as though we may soon be finding a rhythm to the busy days which are filled with 21 girls (& Benjamin)’s routines, joys and sorrows!

We feel blessed to be hosting these students, observe the layers of interesting teenage dynamics, be able to guide in the most unexpected ways!  This school and dorm’s schedule functions like a well oiled machine – the activities are multi layered and after we shared with the students that this schedule is simply like visiting a restaurant – you get to choose only those activities which appeals to you, of which you have time for, etc.  This seems to be working for at least this day!

Harry and I serve early morning breakfasts, make available a smorgasbord for the students to pack their lunches with, hug and hold snuggly bodies, not quite ready for the day and get to love on the girls before Harry takes the first early birds to school for individual commitments with teachers, sport teams, etc.   Then Harry returns, in time to pray over the girls and we wave them good-bye as they depart on the public school bus.  NOW, is when we meet with our Resident’s Assistants (3 graduates who serve with us).   We catch up on individual student needs, general administration and the schedule of meeting with Resident Staff from other dorms, under the guidance of the Res Life Director.  Mondays, the RA’s have a day of rest, this is when Harry and I leave with my weekly menu planner, shopping list in hand, to shop for the two carts of food for the week!    On Thursdays, Harry and I have our day of rest, then we try to catch up on lost sleep, correspondence and spend family time when our children return from school.  Weekends are filled with activity and we are trying to create a calm atmosphere……ha-ha – so that the students can also rest a little bit.  This is when the dorm staff is very busy with food preparation, guiding a thorough dorm cleaning and then we try to visit with students in the garden, go on walks, have picnics and teas under the beautiful English walnut tree.

We are now getting to know the girls better and it is such an amazing life where girls from all over the world get to gather and share their life experiences from far away places.  This is a unique moment in time, since we get to be a part of the next generation who are developing from parents serving all over the world in various capacities, mostly mission families.  These students are growing up with a very wide world view which is refreshing to see, but there is also a beautiful innocence which allow most to desire only the best for their lives!

We are honored for this moment in our lives – you and us, get to help fellow believers serve while they entrust their children’s education and growth to us.  This is an overwhelming call when looking at it through human perspective, but praise Him who allow us to hold on to His Hand and watch HIM at work!

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

– We are preparing music (CD’s) for the 3 vans and if you would like to invite your sunday school class to create a few Christian Music – Light Opera (maybe sound tracks from Musicals?) and Classical CD’s for our daily trips, that would be so wonderful!

 

Thank you for all your hearts!

We value and appreciate you greatly!

Stephne Bowers


A much needed sabbatical – of a different kind!

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the complicated packing regime in Soddo a week ago, we travelled to Addis, where we met Benjamin at the airport, then re-organized his luggage to fit the requirements for check in, sunk back into  airplane seats and exhaustion overtook us!  It was an uneventful travel with Selah at our feet in her carry on, no questions asked at customs, a simple entry!  German efficiency is a fresh, welcome affair!   We delight in the simplicity of daily routine already and are reminded of ‘work to live’ and not the other way!  It was delightful to ‘make a nest within the past three days – we arrived with personal basics and with the essentials provided here in our apartment, we are so content with being together!  We praise the Lord for this opportunity!  Next week, we start dorm orientation and will know better what we are in for!  I hope to take a moment every week to keep you updated on this journey!   Thank you for your continued prayers and support – you continue to be close to our hearts & minds!

Click the link below to view the full update.

Bower’s Update