Weekly Newsletter – Jan 3, 2015

This Sunday at Balboa Union Church

Worship Service at 10 a.m. – ALL ARE WELCOME!

SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHERS: Mitzy Samudio and Ally McIntosh

SPEAKER: Rev. Roland Schnell

First Testament Readings and Psalms Isaiah 60:1-6           Psalm 72:1-7
Epistle Reading Ephesians 3:1-12
Gospel Reading Matthew 2:1-12 


Upcoming Events

Saturday January 17th 2015
Council Meeting in BUC Office 1:00 pm

Saturday January 31st
Please save the date on your calendar

 patio sale

Sunday, February 1st, 2015
Annual Congregational Meeting

Last Sunday in Balboa Union Church

Elisa and her mother decorated our dining room beautifully and the potluck was a great success. Elisa provided a piñata for the children to enjoy outside after dinner and they really loved it. We had a very good Christmas at Balboa Union Church.

From Members and Friends

From Our Friends Shultz- Schall Family

 Season’s Greetings friends and family!

 As 2014 draws to a close, we look back at a year of remarkable transitions, both expected and unexpected. After 11 extraordinary years of living in Tunisia and Panama, we closed the door on living overseas and moved back to Washington, DC (actually Virginia). Yep, we did it. Tracy will never say never again. These past 11 years brought us to two diametrically different countries, yet so many wonderful friends and memories. It also was great training for having to navigate the beltway again.

Driving’s a piece of cake now. Four lanes of cars means four lanes; not four cars crammed into two lanes.

We were slightly apprehensive (ok, really freaked out) about moving and the impact of public school life on the kids. Imagine going from an international K-12 school of 500 kids where everybody knows your name (and your mom) to a to a public high school with 2,400 kids. Yeison watched too many episodes of Glee and Friday Night Lights and was convinced he would spend his freshman year stuffed in a locker.

However, we chose Annandale High School, (Go Atoms!) a very diverse, IB school with a large Hispanic student body and our kids fit right in (with the school, not the lockers). Carmen and Yeison also proved once again how resilient they are by embracing this new life in the US. (Having really good cable stations-all in English-helps.) They have also forgiven us for choosing a school with an atom for a mascot.

We are thrilled with the ease of the transition and are really enjoying life back in the US (much to our surprise).

Carmen is now 16 years old and in 10th grade. In July, she traveled to Norway by herself to visit with Kurt’s sister and family. It was her first trip on her own and she was busting proud of her new independence. Carmen in particular is really thriving at this new school (after she swore that she would never get over leaving Panama). She works hard academically and takes great pride in the good grades that she is getting as a result. And with the bonus of no more school uniform, she gets to rock her inner fashionista daily. Throw in Friday night football games and her life now is practically an episode of Glee.

Yeison is 14 and in 9th grade. He has always dreamed of living in the US and so we were happy that things worked out for him. After facing the somewhat brutal reality of public high school sports, he is currently on the wrestling team and enjoying the challenge and camaraderie. He has really embraced the new responsibilities that he has living in the US and we are proud of his efforts to contribute to the family. (I.e. He’s the maid now.)

Our three fur pigs made the transition with us—Coco and Lola from Panama and Jazz from Tunisia. The snow last month really freaked them out, but they are enjoying the massive squirrel population in our yard. I’m sure they enjoy window stalking a much less intimidating variety of birds. Consider a vulture vs. a blue jay, or a hawk vs. a cardinal. The cats are much less likely to be eaten by the northern Virginia variety of birds. That said, we sure do miss the amazing wildlife in our yard in Panama.

Speaking of wildlife, Tracy celebrated her 50th birthday by fulfilling a long time dream to visit the Galapagos Islands. Just before our move in June, we took an amazing cruise touring and exploring the islands. Our favorite memories include snorkeling with large groups of playful sea lions, watching the marine iguanas on their daily migration between land and sea and, of course, the multitude of bird life on the islands. The kids were great as they embraced our passion of the wildlife and never complained about having to see “just one more” bird or iguana. We highly recommend the trip. Tracy has retired from teaching as she prepares for major knee surgery and is looking forward to returning to the nonprofit world in some capacity in the near future.

Kurt celebrated his 15th year anniversary with the US Grains Council this year by getting promoted “Upstairs” as the director of global strategies. Don’t worry if you are scratching your head. Nobody still really understands what he does. However, he is enjoying his new position in the DC headquarters office and a reduction in the amount of travel that goes with it. Life has a funny way of going full circle.

Our new address is: 4833 Randolph Drive  Annandale, VA 22003

We wish you all blessings, peace and health for the New Year.

Tracy, Kurt, Carmen and Yeison

December 2014

From Your Membership Committee

We will be reviewing our BUC listing of Joys and Prayer Concerns monthly. Please provide updates for the names on the current bulletin listing.

As you all know, we remember the names in our worship prayers every Sunday. We welcome any joys or concerns you wish to share.

We are also sending email letters to our members and friends who are out of town for a time. Please tell people you know who are away

From us that we would love to have a message from them in our Newsletter.

Please call Beth Gray or email or contact the Church office with any names you’d like to have placed in the Joys and Concerns section of our bulletin. Thanks so much.