Rachel Rites

Dear Family and Friends,

This is Rachel, writing for the month of June! I have begun my summer vacation ahead of the rest of my family, courtesy of the American school calendar. As many of you know, I now attend Black Forest Academy (BFA), an American boarding school in Germany with other missionary kids.

As I look back, just about everything that has happened to me since last summer has been a brand new experience. I am incredibly grateful for BFA as a catalyst, a place where no one remains stagnant. Part of this may come from the fact that no one finds much time to stand still! I am amazed at the number of exciting, memorable events that happened in one year, and overjoyed to have one more go-around – as a senior! God has been at work every day of this year, sometimes in ways I am only now beginning to realize. Here, I think, are some of the reasons He placed me at BFA, accompanied by some of this year’s artwork: (Hover mouse over images for details)

Part of a video I did as a tribute to the seniors in my dormThe chance to learn from those who teach for no other reason than their love for God, their students, and their subject matter. All of my classes have been excellent and inspiring because of this passion. Outside the classroom, I have been blessed to see staff reach out to the students in tangible ways – one of my teachers frequently offers small paying jobs. The pastor and his wife, former missionaries to France, regularly invite French-speaking students like myself to their home so that we can all keep up the language.

Stage backdrop I designed for the Junior-Senior banquetThe chance to connect with my generation! Learning to be a friend and to be accepted as a friend have been huge places of growth. I have also come to appreciate some diverse cultures, thanks to BFA’s international student body.

A logo I created in Graphic Design class for our family. Look for a LeighWeb re-design soon! The opportunity to try my hand in my primary area of interest – graphic design. I was able to design several things this year, most for a wider audience than I have ever had! It has meant so much to me to be guided and given responsibility in this area. Along with learning German and gaining familiarity with music theory, I know I am acquiring skill sets that will be very important in my life and calling.

The circumstances to make me realize that accomplishing what God desires for me will require time and purposeful action; in other words, if it doesn’t appear on my schedule, it isn’t real. My time with God is easily stolen, and I know that I must be more protective of it. Paper-cutting from Art I, in the style of by Henri Matisse.

Some of this year’s highlights have been musical, mainly: Playing in my first rock band! So what if our one performance only lasted ten minutes… some special friendships came out of it, and we all grew musically. Playing in a pit orchestra of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, playing on a chapel worship team, and doing percussion for the high school choir, were also pretty unforgettable. It was wonderful, too, getting to know my roommate at the dorm – we overcame our differences, and now are each other’s biggest allies. God knew we would sharpen each other, as most of our “edges” were in completely different places!

BFA feels very much like home, and I am still adjusting to being back with my family in France – let’s just say that the degree of independence I acquired away from home suited me very well! This summer will be devoted to refocusing spiritually, learning some new skills, updating web sites, doing our church’s prayer walk with Dad, and summer homework for AP English next year!


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