Posts by mkmeierfamily

I grew up as an "MK" in Latin America and a "third-culture kid" (TCK) whose faith, work and ministry came together for the first time when teaching at an International Christian School in Seoul, South Korea. I left that position to marry Stephen Meier (also an MK and a TCK) who grew up in Austria and graduated from an International Christian School in Vienna. Together we are always looking for opportunities to serve the Lord at international Christian schools, but we don't shy away from opportunities to serve him in the United States. We are also raising our four children to be global-minded, Jesus-loving and others-serving individuals.

Swinging into the Turkish Language

(Visit this page to become a MK Meier supporter)

Learning any new language has its challenges.  From the fall of 2017 to the summer of 2019, our family of six had been submerged in the Chinese language of Mandarin and doing our best to learn a language with a completely different alphabet structure and way of speaking.  Stephen and I did not have the advantage of going to a formal class the way our four children did.  At least 4 or 5 times a week, they would take an hour long class to learn how to read, write and speak in Mandarin.  Our oldest son was most successful in picking up the basics of the language.  I learned how to say a few basic phrases and I learned how to count.  But I could never read more than a few general symbols in Chinese and I wasn’t able to carry on any kind of conversation in that language.

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After that huge struggle, I have been pleasantly surprised as the ease in which I am learning how to speak basic words in Turkish.  It does help that the alphabet is very similar to English, except for a few letters having accents and “embellishments” that change the sound of the letter from the way we pronounce it in English.  Being able to recognize letters, read the words and pronounce them correctly makes a huge difference in the learning curve of a language.

Before you start to be impressed, I will confess that I still don’t even know how to say “you’re welcome” in response to “Thank you” and I can’t ask the simple question, “How are you?” and answer it.  However, I have learned about 20-30 words in the past fifteen days.  So, I’m proud of myself at the moment.

One thing I am very glad to have learned fairly early are the words for “yes” and “no.” For “yes,” you say, “evet” and for “no” you say, “hayir.”

The word for “no” literally sounds like the word “higher.” Now, one might not realize immediately the circumstances in which this word is used in English that might cause confusion in the mind of a Turkish person who doesn’t speak your language.

So, let me take you to the Turkish playground where a small child who speaks English has just asked you to push him or her on the swing.  You give the child a firm push and you watch as their swinging feet move higher off the ground.  The moment of confusion would come when the child requests a firmer push on the swing with the most common command we would hear in English: “Higher!”

So, you push the child even more firmly so the swing continues its course further up and away from the ground.  As the child continues to plead to be pushed “higher!” try to imagine what it must sound like to the ear of a Turkish person.  Soon, you might have several alarmed people in the park thinking you are torturing a child who keeps yelling “No! No!” to you.

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But have no fear.  I have come up with a perfect solution.  Before causing any need for Turkish child services to hunt me down, I communicate to that child that if he or she wants to be pushed “higher” on a swing, they should simply request, “Up! Up!” And to get off the swing, they should say, “Stop!”

That will work for now, until I can remember the much longer phrase in Turkish that actually is “push me higher, please.” Yeah, it’s not in my 20-30 word Turkish vocabulary yet.

A Day Late and A Dollar Short

In case you didn’t hear about it on someone’s Instagram, SnapChat or FB post, this past Saturday (August 10) was “National S’mores Day.” I didn’t think about it too much at the beginning of the year when I was creating cute little calendars for my four children to hold onto for the 2019 year.  I was just trying to add as many fun and interesting “celebrations” as I could find for my kids to enjoy.

It wasn’t until the beginning of August as we finished settling into our new home in Ankara, Turkey, that it hit me that there might be groups of people celebrating this gooey and sticky tradition who might be interested in playing a card game to go along with their sweet tooth (as soon as they wash the melted marshmallow and chocolate smears off their hands).

Now, this isn’t a card game that you will find in your traditional stores.  Stephen created the game with the help of a computer art designer, and he bought the copyright so that he could sell the game through the on-line game site known as “www.gamecrafter.com” at the following site:

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/classic-smashin-s-mores
smashinsmores_deck

First, picture yourselves playing this game as your stomach digests graham cracker mixed with chocolate and marshmallow.  As you and your fellow card holders flick cards into a middle pile, you wait patiently for a graham cracker card to be laid down, followed by a marshmallow card and a chocolate card and then finally another graham cracker so that you can slap the deck before anyone else does.  You either hope to win by collecting all the cards in the deck or gaining three coins (one for every s’more that you smash).  It’s a fast pace and fun game for everyone.
smashinsmores_cardssmashinsmores_frontcard(the cost for one deck of cards is less than $7 dollars USD!)
https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/classic-smashin-s-mores

Secondly, remember that every deck of cards that is purchased is helping our family to regain our financial foothold as we transition into our new jobs as Christian workers in an international school in Ankara, Turkey.

I know I am a few days late to be advertising for National S’mores Day.  We are most definitely more than a few dollars short of living “in the black” when it comes to our financial situation.  We are amazed at the ways in which God has supplied our needs over and over again. Several people have stepped up and given us generous donations to help us with our big international move from Far East Asia to the Middle East.  But we are struggling with debt and the gap in our salary between our jobs that ended in early June and this new one that technically does not begin until the beginning of September.

If you cannot support us on a monthly basis, consider purchasing this fun game that you can play with family and friends, knowing that the money you used to make your purchase is helping us with our moving costs and getting started in this new adventure of learning a new culture and language.

Take a moment to visit the site to find out how to make this fantastic game your own:

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/classic-smashin-s-mores

If you are interested in helping us out beyond purchasing our game, you can click here to find out how to help us on a one time basis or a monthly basis.

 

 

 

Urgent Need for MK Meier Supporters

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June 2019: MK Meier Kids Preparing for our big move from the Far East to the Middle East

UPDATE FOR AUGUST 2019: We need prayers for financial support.  We are so grateful for those who are praying for us already.  We have seen God work in amazing ways to provide the money that we need to move to Turkey.  However, we are still struggling to get back into the black.  We have had to borrow money that we need to pay back as soon as possible.

PRAY THAT GOD WILL PROVIDE THE ADDITIONAL FUNDS WE NEED BEFORE THE END OF THE MONTH TO COVER THE MOVING AND SETTLING COSTS WE HAVE ALREADY SPENT AND THE MONEY WE HAVE HAD TO BORROW FROM OTHERS.

Please read below to become a financial supporter:

1) WRITE A CHECK AND MAIL IT.

How? Do NOT put our names anywhere on the check! The money is processed through the organization in a tax deductible format by the U.S. government.  Although we will receive 100% of the money you sent this way, it cannot have our name on the check.

Write “OASIS” on the “To” line.  On the bottom of the check write our project number so that they will know who the money is for.  Do not put the staff member’s name on the check (per IRS requirements).  Our project number is 004250.  Mail the check to the OASIS office in the United States. Mail the check to:  OASIS, Finance Dept., 3790 Goodman Rd E, Southaven, MS 38672.  Donors are mailed a receipt after they make a donation.  This receipt has a tear-off portion (and a return envelope) if they wish to make another donation.  

2. DONATE ONLINE: http://oasisis.org/donate

 How? Choose the “Donate Now” button.  When the new page opens, you can choose a specific amount of money.  If you are interested in a monthly recurring gift, you can choose “Monthly” and the money can be pulled out at a designated day of the month for you.  

Under the word, Designation, choose “Staff Support.”   A box will pop up that says “Staff Name or Project Number.”  This is where you can type in our names and project number #004250.  Complete the billing information.  Donors can use either a debit/credit card or a checking account. After you complete the donation information, select “Preview.”  Review the donation and choose “Donate.”

3. MAKE A PHONE CALL.

How? Call the OASIS Finance Department, any time between 8 -5 (Central Standard Time), Monday through Friday, to make one-time donations or to set up a recurring donation over the phone. Make sure to have our project number on hand: #004250.   The direct number for Kim Ponder is 662-892-4332.

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The MK Meier Summer Travel Plan 2019

We are getting ready to hit the road in less than 12 hours and we hope to connect with as many friends and family as we possibly can while making our summer trip from Portland, Oregon to Gainesville, Florida.  If possible, we would like to make stops in some of the states in between…such as California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, and Alabama. If you see that we are going to be in your area, feel free to send us a text message.  (Our summer phone numbers are listed below).

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Photo by Nextvoyage on Pexels.com

General Summer Travel Plan:

June 17- 24 – Visiting in Portland with Stephen’s mom

June 24 – travel to Klamuth Falls, OR (5 ½ hours)

June 25 – travel to Reading and then to Sacramento, CA (6-8 hours)

June 26 – visiting a friend for lunch in Sacramento, CA and travel to Hawthorne, NV (5 hrs)

June 27 – Travel to Hoover Dam, roam the route 66 road to Grand Canyon Village (10 hours)

June 28 – Travel to Salida area (visiting Four Corners along the way) (9 hrs)

June 29 – Visit with friends in Colorado Springs and travel to Amarillo, Texas (7 ½ hours)

June 30 – Travel to Dallas, TX (6 hours)

July 1 – Travel to Richmond, TX (5 hours)

July 2 – Visit with friends in Richmond and travel to Lake Jackson, TX (2 hours)

July 3-5 – Visit with friends in Lake Jackson, TX

July 6 – Travel to Semmes, AL

July 7-9 – Visit family in Alabama

July 10 – travel to Gainesville, Florida (8 hours)      

July 10 – July 28 – in Florida

July 29 – Travel to Ankara, Turkey (flight at 7:30am!)

 

Contact Information for News and Prayer Supporters:

E-mail: crcmeier@yahoo.com

News Updates: https://mkmeierfam.wordpress.com/

 

Phone numbers: (Summer 2019 only)

Stephen – 941-401-6009

Cristina – 941-401-6065

From the Far East to the Middle East

Location: Portland, Oregon
Date: June 24, 2019

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Another school year is completed for the “MK” Meier family living in mainland China. A flurry of selling, discarding, and packing intermingled with as many final goodbye meetings that we could cram into the schedule for the first two weeks of June. As we prepared for our summer break, it was more than just a preparation for summer activities. We were preparing to leave China behind us for good.

Stephen and I have felt for quite some time that this would be our final year living in China.  As we prayed for God to show us where he wanted us to go next year, the opportunity presented itself for Stephen and I to work at an international school in Turkey, and we found our hearts being drawn to that opportunity. Although we do not know very much about Turkey, our research has shown that it is a unique Middle Eastern Country with a mix of European and Asian cultures. Unlike many other countries with a heavy Muslim influence, Turkey operates as a democratic government based on European models rather than an Islamic one.  This will be change from us after living for two years in a strictly communist environment.

Where will we be working?

We will be working at the OASIS International School of Ankara (http://oisankara.org/) which has been established since 2004 and teaches primarily international students living in Turkey with a few Turkish students who hold dual citizenship. We are currently processing all our paperwork in order to get two year working visas for Turkey. Through the OASIS branch of the Network of International Christian Schools (NICS), we will be entering Turkey as educators and staff members for the international school.  The “M” word is generally discouraged when describing what we will be doing in Turkey.

What will we be doing?

After eight years of leading different schools as the headmaster, Stephen has agreed to be the middle school principal at this school and I (Cristina) will be the high school guidance counselor. Although Stephen was offered a headmaster position at more than one school within the U.S. for next year, we felt very strongly that God was sending us to Turkey. Based on that choice, Stephen was willing to accept the position as middle school principal for the next two years. Stephen loves being an administrator and whatever administrative position that he is given, we know he will thrive.  We are excited to see what God will do through him as he becomes part of the secondary administrative team at this school in Turkey.

We are also excited for me (Cristina) to step into this new role in which I will be helping 10th through 12th grade students finish high school well and prepare for college.  I spent several years studying third culture kids (TCKs) in their transition between high school and college and observing how the use of social media either helped or hindered their development from teenager to independent adult. These studies were used to help me earn my doctorate in Communications.  I am excited to be able to interact with students in a similar capacity once again.

Our children have not quite grasped this big move yet, but we are looking forward to what they will learn and experience, as well. Jared will be in middle school as a seventh grader.  Luke will be in fifth grade, Grace will be starting third grade and Seth will be in first grade in the elementary part of the school.

What do we need?

We are looking for both prayer and financial support for the following trips:

1) Praise that our trip from Beijing, China to Portland, Oregon was smooth and we did not lose a single one of our nineteen suitcases and six carry-ons.

2) Prayer for safety as we travel from Portland, Oregon to Gainesville, Florida by car for about 7-10 days of travel across the U.S. (we own a vehicle that we plan to use this summer)
*CLICK HERE: Our summer travel schedule is provided.

3) Prayer for smooth travels and provision for all our travel needs.  We cannot send any of our belongings to Turkey in crates because we’ve been told that large packages get confiscated and/or stolen.  So, the only way to bring everything we need to turkey is to carry it with us on the plane.  We are estimating that we will be carrying an extra six to eight pieces of luggage along with the 12 pieces of luggage that we will already be carrying with us. Each extra piece of luggage will cost us approximately 200 dollars.

If you are interested in becoming part of our financial support team in helping us GET TO TURKEY, please click the link below.  NICS has provided a U.S. tax deductible way for you give both on-line and through the mail.

Follow us on Facebook as we take pictures of our summer road trip across the U.S. Pray with us as we prepare to move to Turkey. Stay connected so that we can continue to communicate as friends and family in body of Christ.

BECOME A PART OF THE MK MEIER FINANCIAL SUPPORT TEAM.

Where in the world?

Date: February 13, 2019
Location: Mainland China

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Work Beyond the 2018-2019 School year

“Two to three years.”

That was our verbal commitment when we decided to pack up six years worth of “life in Texas” and move to the far east.  We somehow managed to whittle away all our prized possessions down to what would fit into sixteen large suitcases and twelve carry on bags.  Somehow all the bags arrived at the final destination and we still had all four of the kids who boarded the plane with us at the beginning of the flight.

Much as happened since we landed in this country on the “other side of the world.” With twelve to thirteen hours separating us from the western hemisphere, sometimes it has felt like we are on a completely different planet.

As we moved into the second half of our second year in mainland China, Stephen started looking for new locations where God might be calling us.  After much prayer and deliberation, we decided that God was calling us to serve him at an international school in Ankara, Turkey for at least two years.

Look for our posts from Turkey starting in August of 2019.

turkeyflag.jpgOASIS_LOGO

Meier Family Deliveries of 2013

Date: Monday, June 10, 2013
Location: Lake Jackson, Texas

Once again, I find myself scrambling to catch up after many months of silence.  My writing endeavors have been limited to reminder notes for the daily basic things of life and random posts I’ve managed to put on Facebook.  I have to admit that only about 50% of the witty and charming ideas I have thought of putting on Facebook actually make it there. Usually, my thoughts hit on something especially “Facebook” worthy at a moment when I cannot access my computer.  By the time I’ve actually sat down and logged in, I can’t remember what I had wanted to post several hours (or days) earlier.

So, when I think about writing for my blog or attempting to work on re-writing the first few chapters of my dissertation, it usually becomes a fleeting thought that never quite materializes in during the busy, awake time of my day.

The last time that I attempted to update my blog, I was still pregnant with my fourth child.  We were expecting another boy.  We had decided that his name would be Seth Adrian Meier and we were hoping that we wouldn’t have any major complications in giving birth.  We were also praying for God’s provision since our health insurance doesn’t cover maternity costs. We made our final road trip to Florida over Thanksgiving break and returned to Lake Jackson, Texas to enjoy Christmas and New Year’s and to await the birth of our son.

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(Cristina’s side of the family took pictures in Gainesville, Florida)
White – Philip’s family / Red – Cristina’s family / Black – Anita’s family / Black with design – Tim’s family

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(Christmas / Maternity Photos – December 2012)

Now, we are nearly half way through 2013, and our fourth child is nearly five months old. The months in between have brought many adventures our way.  If I were to summarize the highlights in a series of Facebook posts, it would probably look something like this:

*New Year….Baby on the Way.  We can’t wait.

(39 weeks pregnant)

*Luke had a blast at his firefighter birthday party. I can’t believe he’s four already.  I’m glad I didn’t go into labor today.

birthdaycake birthdayboy

*Uh-oh.  I found out that I do have placenta accretta and will not be allowed to go into labor naturally.  They are going to schedule a c-section for January 17.

*Praise the Lord! Seth Adrian Meier was born with no complications.  My placenta came out without any problems.  I am looking forward to going home in a few days. I am grateful for my mother being at home with my other three kids.

Seth_waves Seth_unhappy

Seth_mommy

*Jared enjoyed celebrating his “half” birthday at school today. He’s five and a half today (January 25).

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*My mom went home after her three week stay.  I miss her already.

Mommy_baby

*Grace keeps getting ear infections.  She might need to get tubes in her ears.

Grace_sick

*Valentine’s Day is so busy! I’ve spent so much time making valentines for all the kids in Jared’s kindergarten class and in Luke’s Cubbies group that I hardly have time to make anything special for my family.

Valentine's Day1 Valentine's Day2

*We’ve been discovering the true meaning of St. Patrick’s Day. Let’s celebrate missionaries worldwide.  I might even try to make some Irish soda bread.

StPattysDayFamily IrishSodaBread

*Grace is the first in our family to start seeing a chiropractor. I never would have guessed that these adjustments would work so well to help clear the fluid in her ears.  The ear specialist agreed that she doesn’t need ear tubes and that her hearing is perfect.

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*We enjoyed Easter with the kids this year.  No one was sick this time around.

EasterFamily EasterTrio EasterBoys EasterEggHunt

*Grace turned two years old!  She loved being dressed up as a lady bug for her lady bug birthday party.

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*Seth is 100 days old today (April 27)! It’s the only time I dress up in my Korean hanbok to celebrate the occasion.

Seth_100Days

*BCS had a successful auction and was able to raise a lot of money for the school.  Several scholarships were donated so that more students will be able to attend in future years.

BCS Auction

*We celebrated Stephen’s birthday at school today (May 1).  Jared’s kindergarten class came to his office to sing “Happy Birthday” to him.  Jared made a birthday cake for him all by himself.

Stephen_birthday

*Another school year is quickly coming to an end.  Jared graduated from kindergarten on May 21. We are so proud of our eldest son.

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*The weather is finally staying warm enough to bring out the pools.  The kids are excited about this summer.  Jared is already planning on what he wants to do for his sixth birthday.

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So, there you have it.  That is a rundown of the most important events that have happened this year so far.  I look forward to adding more posts in the future.  I hope all the writing ideas that formulate as I’m driving or folding clothes or making dinner actually get typed at some point in the near future.