Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Hello dear friends, prayer partners, and supporters!

Merry Christmas!  We love you all and miss those of you that are far away!  May you have a blessed Christmas day and know that you are thought of and prayed for so very often.  

Blessings always,
Amanda and Carrie

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Snack for an international student...

An entire coconut with a straw to drink the coconut milk!  Break/snack time is only 10-15 minutes long!  She didn't finish her snack this day.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Fall in Vienna

1st picture: cute scarecrows
2nd picture: A leaf shipped from CO.  Thanks grandpa!
3rd picture: a Fall tree with our names on the leaves
4th picture: The beauty of Vienna near Schoenbrunn

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Inside Break

My boys decided to get creative with colored pencils during inside break.  They were very proud of their colorful creation!  I was proud of their ability to work well together.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Quote of the day...

This morning the weather turned from cloudy and rainy to snowy.  When my students arrived they all took off their Winter coats, hats, and even some gloves.  When all of the 3rd graders were settled, Lilly comes up to me and says, "Um,  Miss Brunker are we going to go outside for break today?"  I politely replied "I don't know yet, if it is raining/snowing we will not go out."  Lilly let out a sigh of relief and said, "Oh, good because I have a sneeze."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A few quotes from the weekend...

Comment 1:
"Coffee shouldn't make me happy, but it does." - stated with a sad but oddly happy tone

Comment 2:
"Excuse me but what type of meat is this made from?"
"It is Bambi." - When this was said we all said "ohhh" but we tried not to laugh (it didn't work so well for me!).

Comment 3:
"I am fore warning you all that I think I am going bald."
"Well, I guess when we see that you are bald we will know that it is okay because we were fore warned!"

Comment 4:
When the birthday girl was handed flowers from Carrie and me the friend sitting next to her said, "Here are some beautiful flowers I got you but the card is not from me."  After we all burst out laughing it was clarified who the flowers were from.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

We have Visas!

Thank you for your prayers.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

So, I live in a Jewish neighborhood...

This is a shofar not to be confused with an alarm clock!

For those of you who do not know Carrie and I live in a Jewish neighborhood.  Normally a person doesn't even notice this, but this morning I did.  Shortly after I woke up I heard a noise.  I initially thought it was extremely loud bicycle breaks squeaking but it simply didn't sound right.  I then looked out of the window and noticed a teenage-ish girl who was learning how to blow the shofar.  She looked horrified that she could not do it and I am sure it didn't help that she saw me shut the windows.  I felt badly but I simply couldn't handle the sound when my head was still cloudy from sleep.  In case you were wondering, it took her about an hour and she finally made the beautiful sound that a shofar is supposed to make!  Congratulations young lady it sounded wonderful.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The reason we're here...

During the first week of school I had an interesting conversation with one of my second graders. I told the kids to get out their Bibles for our Bible lesson. This was quite exciting for all of my kiddos as it was the first time we had used our Bibles. (The first time they use any of their new school supplies is always very exciting for kids this age!)

Everyone reached in their desks and got out their Bibles. Then, I had many exclamations of what to do next. However, one of my students new to VCS (from Mongolia) raised his hand and said, "I don't have a Bible." I was a bit confused as I thought that he had bought one from the school office. So, I looked in his desk, and low and behold, there was his Bible. I told him, "Yes, you do have a Bible." He looked in his desk and said, "Where?" It was at that moment that I realized that he didn't know what a Bible was.

So, this is why we're not only show our kids what a Bible is, but to share of God's love that is written inside.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A precious moment...

Here is a cute conversation between me and one of my students:
Grace: "Hey Miss Brunker! I have a surprise for you!"
Me: "Um, am I going to like the surprise?"
Grace: "Yeah"
Me: "Is it a good surprise?"
Grace: she paused and then answered (which made me wonder) "YES!"
Me: "Okay, what is the surprise?"
Grace then proceeds to give me the biggest hug I received all week! This was a wonderful surprise and I told her that she can give me that surprise anytime she wants! She said okay and happily skipped away! Isn't that cute? I thought so! I am blessed to teach these wonderful kids from all over the world. They brighten my day on an hourly basis!!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

We're not quite sure

Neither Katie, Carrie, or I could figure out what this is. We found it at Merkur (a large grocery store here in Vienna). We have come to the conclusion that it is in the pumpkin/squash/gourd family. It is very interesting and huge! We think it was about three feet long and it kind of resembles a huge zucchini on the outside and a pumpkin on the inside.

Friday, September 4, 2009

If the shoe fits....

If the shoe fits wear it! Well today one of my students and I discovered that we wear the same size shoe. Nope her feet are not incredibly large. Mine are just incredibly small. Shoe size: US 6, Europe 36, Korea 3 as I found out today! Can you tell which shoe really belongs to me?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A fly on the wall in the third grade classroom...

So, have you ever wondered what amazing things happen in the third grade classroom at VCS? Well, today is your lucky day! We usually do fun activities like measuring the length of a room in shoe units and then make a class graph. Then we do some not so fun things like try to convince Miss Brunker that we are not good readers! It doesn't work! I know that they are all good readers! ;) There are also times when we have interesting conversations that lead to hilarious comments from 8, 9, and 10 year olds! Here was the comment from the other day when we were talking about how I am adopted. This was stated with sheer confusion on the face of the voice. "Miss Brunker, (insert pause here) so, how did your fake parents find you?" I've never thought of my adoptive parents as "fake" parents but to an 8 year old apparently it made sense! Haha! I tried not to burst out laughing as I was asked this!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Game night with the girls

Carrie and I had a game night for most of the female teachers at VCS. It was a lot of fun playing games, eating snacks, and simply enjoying each other's company. Many friends brought some of their favorite games but I think the hit was Reesa's game called Snorta. It was hilarious. Each player has an animal in a barn. Each player has these cards with animals on it and each person turns over a card one at a time. When you see a match you have to say the sound of the animal the person with the match has. It sound complicated and from what I saw it was a bit confusing to my brain. So, while the girls were playing I took a video of it to share with all of you!! Enjoy!

Monday, August 17, 2009

An amazing visit to a quilt shop

This is an amazing story of God's faithfulness even when you don't expect it in the least bit. This happened to Carrie and me this summer while we were visiting beautiful Estes Park, Colorado with some dear friends. On our last day in Estes Park we were going to visit a quilt/fabric shop where our friend's mother has a friend who started work there that day. I just thought we were going to a cute fabric/quilt store but the Lord had other plans.

When I walked in I was overwhelmed at the amount of merchandise that was on display. The merchandise ranged from beautiful Amish quilts to things one would find in Christian bookstore. As I looked around simply taking it all in I was introduced to the employee as a missionary. This lady kindly smiled and wanted to know a lot about what I did in Vienna. I continued to browse and heard that there were sale items downstairs. So, I ventured downstairs and was greeted by our friend, who was starting her first day of work, and the owner of the business. They had just come back from starting their day with prayer. I was quite impressed. The owner was told that Carrie and I were the missionaries that she had just been told about and she (the owner) grabbed us and took us to the office area. She asked a few questions about our sending organization and wanted to know about our support levels. She then went to her desk and pulled out the "missionary account" checkbook. I was astonished. She wrote us a check right there on the spot!! It was amazing. They then prayed for us for about 20 minutes all the while I was in tears and shaky at God's amazing faithfulness. They then told us that we can get anything in she shop that we would like. The thank yous couldn't come from my mouth fast enough.

I was overwhelmed at God's love. Just that morning I was stressing again about my support level and by this lady and her business I was reaffirmed that yes, I am following the Lord's path. I still tear up as I write this. It is amazing who the Lord uses everyday to remind us that He is faithful and will not give up on us.

If you are ever in Estes Park, Colorado visit the Cottage Bliss store. It is amazing and their profits go to missionaries. What a wonderful way to run a business. Here is the address and website:

Cottage Bliss
Unit 36-A
870 Moraine Ave,
Estes Park, CO 80517-8054
(970) 577-1557

Sunday, August 16, 2009

An afternoon with friends

This afternoon Carrie, RheaAnne, Leslie, and I went on a paddle boat. It was great! Here are some pictures to prove we did it!

After paddle boating we went to a sporting complex to watch a group of people play sand volleyball. It was fun to watch. Eventually RheaAnne and I found a cute round swing so we swung for a while and then Carrie and I decided to leave. On the way out I found these poles which I thought looked like they would be good balance beams so I tried them out. It was fun but I fell off quite a bit.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Carrie and I bought a Toyota!

Carrie and I are excited! We have shopped around and priced checked and have finally settled on a Toyota. We bought a Toyota sewing machine! We are so excited about this as we didn't think we could get through the school year without sewing a quilt or two!! ;) We also found a few skirt patterns and bag patterns in the states and are excited to fill our time with creating masterpieces! Here are a few pictures of our beauty!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Seeing God's beauty

I love sunsets, lakes, rivers, and the mountains. They all remind me of God's imagination and beauty. I really love to see the sun's rays in a sunset. I captured a photo of this while I was in Colorado this summer. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We made scrubs

My sister works at an animal kennel. She loves her job but needed more animal print scrubs. So Carrie and I decided to make her some scrubs and matching reversible bag to complete the outfit! Let me tell you she loved the scrubs but was quite uncertain about having the matching bag!! ;) Here is proof of our accomplishments!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Please pray for Carrie's dad...

Hello all,

Carrie and I are requesting prayer for her dad, Francis. He was rushed to the hospital yesterday around 3:00 in septic shock. We spent the afternoon and evening in various waiting rooms awaiting word of what was going on and when we can see him. They had to do emergency surgery on his arm where they believe the initial infection had come from. The surgery went well but he is, as they have all told us, " a very sick man and we will see what the next 48 hours will bring." This is stressful and oh so hard. They are having trouble keeping his blood pressure at a safe level and keeping him breathing. I asked many questions and one thing I found out is this is in no way related to his heart attacks he has had within the last few months. So, please keep Francis in your prayers. He will be in the hospital for "several weeks" (as they say). He is currently in the ICU.

Thank you,
Carrie and Amanda

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Prayers for support...

Hello all,

Carrie and I are currently in our beloved Colorado and are trying to spread the word about all that has happened this last year! Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we raise additional monthly support. I (Amanda) am at 76% of my monthly needed amount and Carrie is at 86%. I am stressed out because it is the lowest amount I have been at all year. I know that the Lord will provide. He always does! If you know of any creative ideas for additional monthly donations please feel free to let us know. I appreciate all of your continued words of encouragement and prayers!

Amanda and Carrie

Monday, June 29, 2009

God's Gifts for June 28, 2009

  1. Another church service at my home church
  2. Welcoming smiles from people
  3. Needing to buy jeans two sizes smaller than last year at this time
  4. Lunch at Kokoro
  5. Edamame with peanut sauce
  6. Fixing my car all by myself
  7. Being able to help my parents
  8. Dinner with mom, dad, and Chante
  9. Chats/emails from friends

Saturday, June 27, 2009

God's Gifts for June 27, 2009

  • Safe travels back to Colorado from Kansas
  • Walking from the Colorado state line to the Kansas state line and back
  • Taking a lot of pictures with Merlin's camera - boy will she be surprised when she downloads her photos!
  • Listening to my favorite songs while driving
  • Sweet Tea
  • Corn free pizza =)
  • Aloe lotion for a lobster looking sunburn
  • Raspberry lemonade

Friday, June 26, 2009

God's Gifts for June 26, 2009

  1. Playing games with Cynthia - it was so much fun and I can safely say that I am not good at Nerts or Dutch Blitz but I can certainly provide a lot of laughter!
  2. A good cheeseburger
  3. Petting a very kind cat
  4. Finishing all of the square by square puzzles
  5. A nap in the car
  6. The wind
  7. Evening rain
  8. Free museums full of very interesting historical artifacts
  9. Time to read
  10. 6 raccoons - even though they scared me a bit!
  11. Air conditioning
  12. Counting bales of hay really fast!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

God's Gifts for June 25, 2009

  • Shoes for $1
  • Safe travels to Kansas
  • Watching an amazing lightning storm from the driver's seat
  • Rain
  • getting our camp physicals done for free and without any hassles
  • Running with Chante - she thought she was going to die but the time spent with her was invaluable
  • McDonald's iced coffee
  • Working on the square by square game

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

God's Gifts for June 24, 2009

  • Breakfast with mom and dad
  • Good chats in the car with Chante
  • Grilled chicken at KFC
  • Spending the day with Carrie and Chante
  • Finding a pattern for scrubs for Chante
  • Finding the games Rush Hour and Square by Square
  • Books and a DVD are ready at the library
  • Incentive charts for 75 cents

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Taking particular note of God's daily gifts

In church on Sunday we were challenged to take particular note that God is right alongside of us by noticing his daily gifts to us (no matter how small). We need to see God's footprints and know that He is all around us. We then had to think of one gift that God had given us within the last 24 hours no matter how small. While doing this it reminded me of several friends who are keeping track of grace in the small things moments. I like the idea of paying special attention to the daily gifts of God no matter how small. So, here are gifts from God that were noticed for yesterday and today!
  • My home church visit was encouraging! I missed hearing the sermon solely in English and was quite surprised at how quickly my pastor spoke. People were excited to speak with me and that blessed my heart!
  • Precious time spent in laughter and stories with family. Reminding my father that he is loved!
  • Carrie's dad maybe didn't have another heart attack and will have more tests to help figure out what is going on.
  • Grandpa Wiggins is getting the treatment he needs for pneumonia.
  • A comfy bed to sleep on at my brother's house.
  • Some funny dogs to play with and make me laugh out loud.
  • A relaxing evening spent with my sister in law!
  • Helping my dad fix problems with a car.
  • Chats with my mom
  • Macaroni and cheese with peas
  • A cat to pet

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hello Friends!

Carrie and I are safely in Colorado! We are excited to see all of you at our coffee/dessert evenings where we will tell you about our ministry in Vienna! Look at your inbox soon for an official invitation. We are so thankful for each and everyone of you and hope to visit with you before we head back to Vienna on August 10th!

Monday, June 1, 2009

49 Kilometers

So, I've been wanting to ride my bike down the Donauinsel.  It looks beautiful and my curiosity of what it looks like and how long it really is finally got the best of me.  So, today, Carrie, Cindi and I went down the entire Donauinsel on our bikes.  It was fun and hard.  By the time I arrived back home on my bike I had ridden 49 Kilometers (30 miles)!  It is amazing.  I didn't think that something like that was ever possible for me!  Here is a picture of the odometer on my bike to prove the correct mileage!!!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Sunday of Churches...

I've been wanting to hear the Vienna Boy's Choir sing.  I read about it in a book and researched it and then headed out.  It was amazing.  You couldn't see them at all but you could certainly hear them!  After listening to them I went to my own church.  So it seems as though it was a day of churches.  Here are some pictures and a video of my Sunday visits.                                                                 My home church here in Vienna
 (the second picture is the German symbol for the YMCA which our church meets in.)

Vienna Boy's Choir

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Bloggable moment

So, my friend, Melissa M., is a very good blog account updater.  Every once in a while I see her taking pictures and I just understand that you never know when something could be a "bloggable moment." Today I actually had a bloggable moment and when it happened I thought of Melissa.  Unfortunately she was not there to witness this amazing moment so I will recount it here for her and all of you.  

My birthday is tomorrow (Monday).  My friend Cindi's birthday was Saturday.  So, since we both know the same people here we decided to celebrate our birthdays together.  We had a get together at her house on Saturday.  One of the people who attended the birthday party also attends our church.  He decided to stand up during announcement time and share with the entire congregation that we celebrated our birthdays yesterday and proceeded to say that Cindi and I should stand up so everyone can sing to us.  I seriously wanted to disappear.  I thought about not standing up but then I realized, quite quickly mind you, that I would be pulled to my feet if I decided to revolt.  So I stood up and was serenaded by some beautiful voices from many different countries all singing to me and Cindi to honor us for our birthdays.  It was interesting, fun, and quite embarrassing.  I can honestly say that I have never had the entire congregation sing happy birthday to me before.  I figured that this counts as a bloggable moment.  Sorry I don't have any pictures to share it was quite a quick, impromptu moment!  Blessings!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Football Expert??!!

So, this is my week for recess duty. I like recess duty because the kids crack me up and I love playing with them. Today a group of 5th graders brought out an American football to play with at recess. I was amazed by this because I haven't seen an actual American football in a long time. I was also curious by this simply because I wanted to see if the kids knew what to do with it. Well, they got the general concept. Throw the ball, try to catch the ball, and then try to kick the ball. I did notice that they needed a little guidance with technique so I went up to help them. I taught them how to hold the ball correctly to throw it, and then how to catch it without getting seriously hurt, and finally how to hold the ball so someone else can kick it. While I was walking away to check on another group of kids one of the 5th grade football players said, "Wow, Miss Brunker, you're like a football expert!" I literally laughed out loud when I heard this but I guess it is good that I have 5 brothers who taught me football. Thank you brothers!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane...

Hey All! I just wanted to let you all know that we have our plane tickets and will be flying into Colorado (DIA) on June 15. Our return flight to Vienna is August 10. We are excited to see you all and tell you about our ministry here at VCS. If you would like to get together with us please send us an e-mail and let us know!!! Thank you for all of your support and prayers. We appreciate you more than you know!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Tuesday Times...

Sometimes I love to just sit back and listen to my students chat while they are doing their seat work.  As long as they are seriously working I don't mind if they chat quietly.  By doing this I also get a good insight into how they are doing socially not to mention I hear some pretty funny comments!  Here are a few:
  • "Miss Brunker, guess what?!!  There are twelve students in this class.  That is the same as the 12 disciples.  So we are the 12 disciples and you are Jesus!"
  • "My parents laugh a lot.  (a bit of a pause here) I think they are getting to old."  This was stated very matter-of-factly!
  • "Frau Deisenberger, you are lying to us.  You are not a mother so that means that you are lying to us.  Okay, maybe you are just joking."  Apparently mothers do not lie!
  • "Chocolate eggs, yuck!"  "Don't you like chocolate?" "Yes, I love chocolate.  I don't like eggs mixed with chocolate."  "Oh, well, a chocolate egg is just chocolate shaped like an egg not eggs and chocolate mixed together."  "Oh, then I think I would like a chocolate egg because it sounds like a chocolate bunny."  I'm not quite sure how she understood what a chocolate bunny was but not a chocolate egg!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

You smell like a swimming pool...

So today was a Monday in every sense of the word!  Without a doubt we had our funny moments though.  Here are three such instances...
  • As one of my students was walking out of the room to get his lunch he says, "Miss Brunker, you smell like a swimming pool!"  I said, "Huh, um, what?"  So he repeated it!  I then asked him if that is a good thing or a bad thing.  He said he didn't know but all of the other kids who heard him instinctively sniffed me as they left the classroom!
  • Today was a very windy day.  One of my kiddos said, "Miss Brunker, do you think that the wind could blow us away like the nannies were blown away in Marry Poppins?"  I said, " I don't think so."  Then the wind decided to just about  prove me wrong!!!
  • We were learning about pictographs in math today and one of my students, when asked about how many people lived in Alabama (according to the pictograph) said, "I have no idea but why are they all purple there?"  The little pictures on the graph were all purple people and that is what this student got stuck on!  It was cute but interesting to think that he thought all of the people in Alabama are purple because of the graph!  

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tulips to remind me I am loved

These are beautiful purple tulips that a friend (Leslie) brought me to remind me that I am loved and to simply brighten my day!  I love tulips and purple is one of my favorite colors! So this is perfect and also reminds me that spring is certainly on its way!  I am thankful for God's small blessings and reminders. 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Book Character Costume Day

So, this month is Book month at our school. This is fantastic! I love all of the activities that we are doing. Each class in grades Primary - 3rd grade are having a reading race to see which class can read the most number of minutes during the month of March. 1st grade is currently in the lead but 3rd grade vows to overtake them! We'll see what actually happens!

Yesterday was Book Character Costume Day. This is where each child in grades Primary - 5th grade had to choose a character from a book and dress like that character. These kids were so creative! It was amazing. The teachers even participated. I was The Cat in the Hat and Carrie was Miss Viola Swamp from Miss Nelson is Missing! We had so much fun!

Jack and Annie from the Magic Treehouse books!

The Cat in the Hat!

The bat from Stellaluna.

Two Pippi Longstockings

The cast of Charlotte's Web: Charlotte, Fern, and Wilber!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, Please shine down on me!

The sun came out today.  We were ALL excited.  It was a glorious day for the sun to grace us with its presence.  I hope this means that spring is well on its way!  I am ready for it.  =)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I am finished!!

For those of you who do not know, I (Amanda) have been taking an intensive class for the renewal process on my Colorado teaching license. This is the first of two classes I have to take. Well, I am happy to report that I have finished the course with flying colors!! I received a 98% to be exact!! I am so proud of myself. The final paper was a killer. It ended up being 28 pages and I received 49 points out of 50!! Wow! Thanks to the "Diagnosis and Remediation of Reading Difficulties" class, I am now a better reading teacher, well, we hope!! That is the ultimate goal, isn't it??!!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

In Bosnia with Operation Christmas Child

Over Energy Break I was selected to be a sponsor for the VCS mission trip to Bosnia.  I was quite surprised that I was chosen as I teach elementary school and all of the students going were high schoolers.  Well, I prayed and packed my bags.  While we were in Bosnia we handed out over 2,200 Operation Christmas Child boxes.  It was amazing!  I have now been involved in all areas of this program and I can say that it has definitely blessed me! 

Here are some things I've learned while on the trip to Bosnia:
  • High School students are not scary!!  I truly enjoyed myself while ministering with this group of High School students.  They blew me away with their deep desire to allow God to work within their lives.  Their continual faith amazed me from praying for a simple thing like a fire to start to praying for the OM Bosnia team to encourage them.  It was amazing to me that these kids gave up their break to minister to the hurting.  They are quite talented and have a heart to impact the world and see God move!
  • Due to the war the Bosnians are hurting emotionally and physically.  We were able to light a match for Jesus in this area.  We were giving hope and trust back to these people. Hopefully this fire will grow and many lives will be changed as a result.
  •  It was amazing to hear and see the shrieks of joy from children who received the packages.  We were definitely able to give them joy for the moment.  Every child in Krupa, Bosnia received a package.  That is amazing!  Lives were touched.  The joy and sparkle returned to many of these children's eyes.  The laughter that bubbled from their hearts helped us all to realize that we were truly impacting lives!  Some kids were so excited to receive their package they unloaded all of the boxes from the truck themselves!