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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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.

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ACSI accreditation

November 2012

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Under the supervision of Stephen Meier, Brazosport Christian School (BCS) recently accomplished something that no other Christian school in the United States has yet to achieve.

Under the supervision of Stephen Meier, Brazosport Christian School (BCS) recently accomplished something that no other Christian school in the United States has yet to achieve.

The school was due to go through the normal accreditation process.  However, Stephen introduced a new concept to be added to the accreditation process.  Instead of striving for simply renewing their current accreditation with ACSI (Association of Christian Schools), they also wanted to become accredited with SACS (also known as Advanced Ed) which is an accreditation program used more often by secular private schools.  Although many Christian schools have achieved accreditation with both ACSI and SACS, this is first time that a Christian school has requested to process both accreditations at the same time with the help of a team from ACSI.

This became possible only recently, because ACSI has partnered with SACS in order to send a team of administrators to process both accreditations at the same time. Stephen’s first few months of the school year were focused on that goal of helping the school complete this dual accreditation process with success.  For several weeks, I would see stacks of binders being brought home as Stephen filled out all the proper paperwork that was needed. He supervised his principals and teachers as they created standards, collected evidence and created master binders that would reflect all the important curriculum and activities of the school.

The accreditation team from ACSI arrived on the afternoon of October 14 and visited the school from October 15-17.  After interviewing teachers, visiting classrooms and looking through countless binders, the team decided that the school was approved to be accredited by both ACSI and SACS.  It is such a new process that no other school has yet attempted to do the same thing.  Stephen was able to become part of a trail blazing effort that produced successful results.

The school was due to go through the normal accreditation process.  However, Stephen introduced a new concept to be added to the accreditation process.  Instead of striving for simply renewing their current accreditation with ACSI (Association of Christian Schools), they also wanted to become accredited with SACS (also known as Advanced Ed) which is an accreditation program used more often by secular private schools.  Although many Christian schools have achieved accreditation with both ACSI and SACS, this is first time that a Christian school has requested to process both accreditations at the same time with the help of a team from ACSI.

This became possible only recently, because ACSI has partnered with SACS in order to send a team of administrators to process both accreditations at the same time. Stephen’s first few months of the school year were focused on that goal of helping the school complete this dual accreditation process with success.  For several weeks, I would see stacks of binders being brought home as Stephen filled out all the proper paperwork that was needed. He supervised his principals and teachers as they created standards, collected evidence and created master binders that would reflect all the important curriculum and activities of the school.

The accreditation team from ACSI arrived on the afternoon of October 14 and visited the school from October 15-17.  After interviewing teachers, visiting classrooms and looking through countless binders, the team decided that the school was approved to be accredited by both ACSI and SACS.  It is such a new process that no other school has yet attempted to do the same thing.  Stephen was able to become part of a trail blazing effort that produced successful results.

A Homecoming Update & Prize Winners

November 2012

At Brazosport Christian School (BCS), their annual homecoming event was supercharged this year by a fund-raising event set to deliver prizes to a few lucky participants who took the time to donate money to the school. To attract donors, the school contacted a local car dealership to provide the school with a brand new vehicle to give away in a raffle at the school’s home coming game.  The only requirement for those who wished to participate would be to buy a raffle ticket worth $20.  For each ticket purchased, the greater the chance the person would have to win the car.  Although the free car was the grand prize, there were various other prizes to be given.

There was a $1000 gift card and a free iPad to be given away.  Tickets were given to each of the students at the school and classes competed against each other to receive a special prize to be enjoyed in the future. Jared was excited to participate even though he didn’t know very many people to whom he could sell the tickets.

The night of the homecoming game in early November, BCS students and their families filled the stands.  Friends and supporters and many who had purchased tickets were also there.

Half way through the homecoming game, the box of raffle tickets was brought to the middle of the field and the winning names were drawn.  /The winners turned out to be perfectly matched to their support of the school.  Each winner had already provided a lot of financial support to the school in the past.  It felt really good to watch them claim their prizes.

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BCS is Unstoppable

August 2012 – Struggling economic times and future economic security seem to be topics on a lot of people’s minds in the past few years.  As we quickly approach the election of a new president, each candidate works hard to prove that he would the one to turn the economy around in the next four years.  The past four years have had far reaching effects on people around the world.

Its impact on Brazosport Christian School (BCS) began as a gradual decline in student enrollment.  A school that was incorporated by families in the Lake Jackson community began with an enrollment of 92 students (kindergarten through sixth grade) in 1980.  By 1994, they had increased their staff and student population to include seventh through twelfth grades, as well.  They continued to grow after moving to a new facility that included two buildings.  Their enrollment was reaching 300 students by 2009.  As tough economic times hit the housing market and unemployment began to rise, the enrollment rate at BCS began to fall.  By the time Stephen accepted the position of superintendent, enrollment was half of what it was capable.

However, budget cuts did not enough to keep the school from falling into debt.  It was around the end of the first semester when Stephen realized that the school was hitting a major financial crisis.  They had begun to rely mainly on major donors to get them through the school year.  Half a million dollars was given to the school in the fall, but it was quickly swallowed up by expenses that needed to be paid.

Stephen came to a dawning realization that the school was not going to survive past the current school year if nothing changed in the next few months.  After several months of advising the school board to explain the situation to the school’s community at large, they finally agreed.  Two meetings were held a month before the 2011-2012 school year ended to disclose the financial struggles of the school and to explain what needed to be done in order to insure that there would still be a BCS for students to attend in the 2012-2013 school year.

The main message given to the school’s community was the following: If the school did not raise half a million dollars by the end of the school year, BCS would be forced to close.

The message that was taken away by the BCS community was simply this: We can’t let that happen.

We watched in awe as different people in the community began to step up and offer donations or fund-raising activities.  Several teachers at the school offered to take salary cuts.  Some of them were willing to work for $1.  By the week after graduation, the school had raised a little over $250,000.  After going through the budget once last time, Stephen was able to make up the rest of the costs through budget cuts.

At the same time that all this was taking place, we were starting to see an increase in enrollment.  One of the biggest fears was that we would lose families in the community once they learned of the financial situation of the school.  Although there were some families who withdrew their children, the school greeted the new school year with an overall increase of 40 students which included 70 new students.  Some of the biggest increases were in the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes.  For example, there were only 10 kindergarten students who finished the school year in 2012.  At the beginning of the fall semester, there were 18 students (and one of them was our son, Jared) enrolled.

Over the summer, I had marveled at this miracle turn around in such a small Christian school.  I’ve heard of so many little Christian schools having to close their doors in the past few years, because they can no longer afford to keep operating.  BCS was becoming proof that when faith and community come together, miracles can happen.

One day, I was listening to Chris Tomlin’s song, “Our God (is greater).”  The bridge goes like this:

BRIDGE
And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
What can stand against?

I thought about the fact that Stephen is in charge of choosing the school’s theme at the beginning of each school year.  He has to come up with a slogan, theme verse and song.  I asked Stephen if he had been thinking of a theme yet.  When he told me that he hadn’t, I told him that I thought “Unstoppable” would be an encouraging theme slogan after going through such a tough crisis at the end of last year.   Chris Tomlin’s song would fit perfectly, and the theme verse is right in the song.

Stephen presented it to the school board and school staff members and they all liked it.  The school year began with this slogan printed across their announcement board, “BCS is Unstoppable.”

Thanks to God and a community of believers, BCS really has become an unstoppable example of determination and strength in the face of adversity.  It may have been down, but it is certainly not dying out of the community.

We are currently finishing up the fall fund-raising project.  BCS was trying to raise $70,000 with a car give-away.  Every ticket sold would be placed in a drawing for one person to win a car at the Homecoming Game on the evening of November 2.

Although, BCS was only able to reach half of that goal by their deadline of October 26, Stephen is still looking at this event as a great way to advertise the school.  It will be interesting to see who wins the car (and other prizes) on the night of the Homecoming Game.

Those who are interested in giving to the school can visit their donation page on the web:

http://www.1bcs.org/support/index.php

A Trip to Waco

April 2012 – We had been living in Texas for ten months before we made an overnight trip (as a family) to any other location in Texas.  In November 2011, we made a trip to Mississippi.  In March of this year, we made a trip to Mobile, Alabama and to Gainesville and Ocala, Florida to visit family.  But we had not done much traveling around Texas.  We had driven up to Houston several times, Galveston and even New Ulm, but we never traveled so far that we had to spend the night there.

One afternoon, Stephen came home talking about the BCS varsity boys’ baseball team being invited to the state championship games in Waco and Belton, Texas.  Stephen wanted to travel with the team to attend the games and then asked if he might be able to take Jared with him.  I thought about it a while and then asked him why not all of us go up there together.

So, we made our first family trip up to Waco, arriving there just in time to watch the team with their semi-final game. The final game was to be hosted in Belton the following afternoon.  We found ourselves a hotel on the outskirts of Waco, at dinner at a nearby IHOP and then took advantage of swimming in the indoor heated pool (since it was still too cold to swim outdoors).

The following morning, we took our time leaving the hotel and then had a picnic lunch in the park area of a Ranger Museum.  The picnic table was underneath a perfect climbing tree and we all took turns getting up into the tree.

We missed most of the final baseball game because Stephen didn’t realize that Belton was a city about 45 minutes south of Waco.  When we got there, we were there to watch the final innings in which the BCS team won the state championship for the first time in many years.  Everyone was excited about the victory.

We made our way back home that evening after stopping to pick up some dinner.  It was a short trip, but it gave us a chance to see something new in Texas.

Speaking of Conferences

February 2012 – This first year of being a ‘head of school’ (superintendent) of a school has been filled with some familiar experiences and many new experiences for Stephen.  It has been a year of growth and learning in his career that he will be able to use both here and in any school that we might relocate to in the future.

Stephen Meier is ready to give a work shop at the ACSI conference.

One of the things that he has been able to do is attend and speak at conferences.  In early February, Stephen attended an ACSI conference in Galveston in which he gave his own workshop.  He got to talk about a favorite subject of mine: the third culture kid.

Stephen had presented a couple of workshops while being a principal at the Alliance Academy in Quito, Ecuador.  Still, this was the first time that he was able to do a workshop in his new role as the head of school at Brazosport Christian School (BCS).  The conferences lasted two days, in which he traveled back and forth between Galveston and Lake Jackson so that he could still come home each evening.

One important achievement that Stephen reached at the end of his first year at BCS was receiving his ACSI certificate specifically for being a superintendent.  With this certificate, he is becomes a licensed superintendent for the next five years.  During that time, he can work toward getting a permanent certificate in that position which will allow him to be eligible for this position at any ACSI school in the world.

For the time being, he will continue to use his certification and experience at BCS until God opens a door elsewhere.