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:


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!)

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:


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.




A Trip to Chicago

As the weeks of October began to fly by,  Stephen came home announcing that he was planning on attending a conference at the end of the month that would help the school develop a HomeStay Boarding program. He was really excited about this concept, because it was something that he had a vision for since his years working at Shenandoah Valley Christian School in Virginia.  A HomeStay program would open the door for international high school students to attend particular schools in the United States.  The idea was not to use a dormitory to house these students, but to ask local families to take in one or more students into their home.  Each family would be given a certain amount of compensation by the school for room and board and they would be responsible for making sure the student had transportation to and from school.  This would all be included in the tuition charged to the students’ parents.

Stephen used Southwest to find an affordable one-stop flight to Chicago.

Therefore, Stephen was off to Chicago from Monday, October 24 to Wednesday, October 26. The conference was hosted by Wheaton Academy in West Chicago. Stephen was able to attend various workshops concerning all the logistics of bringing international students into a U.S. school system and finding host families to take care of them.  He got to meet some of the international students who attend Wheaton Academy and talk to administrators from schools where the HomeStay Boarding program is working.

The keynote speaker of the symposium was none other than Dan Egler, who had once been a secondary principal and director of the Alliance Academy in Quito, Ecuador.  Stephen had first met Dan Egler at various events held in Quito for ACSI.

Stephen returned to Lake Jackson very excited about starting this program at Brazosport Christian School as soon as possible. He has a vision for 15 international students to start attending the school as early as the second semester of this year. It took a few meetings to convince some of the teachers at BCS, but everyone is on board for this new project. The school currently has a handful of international students, but all of them live at home with their parents who have moved to Lake Jackson, as well. So, the biggest challenge right now would be finding the host families who would be willing to take on one or more students right after the Christmas holidays.

It’s an amibition plan.  But those of you who know Stephen know that he doesn’t every dream little. Keep him in your prayers as he works to make this project a success that will help the school grow.


October – Coming Up For Air

Date: October 25, 2009
Location: Quito, Ecuador

It was nearly three months ago that I (Cristina) began planning for our next batch of posts to add to this blog.  I was excited about some of the topics I wanted to share with all our friends and family.  I planned on writing these little articles at the end of August and taped a little sticky note up above my computer for my “End of August Blog.”

Suddenly, the end of August was upon us like a rushing torrent of activities that would carry us into the new school year.  The only recourse was to dive in and get started. There was new teacher orientation, followed by returning teacher orientation and several days of “in-service” sessions that focused on faith integration into the classroom.

The torrent only sped up as classes began on September 7.  The weeks rushed by as we juggled our school responsibilities with our home responsibilities and other projects we had on our plates.  Before we knew it, we had finished five weeks of school and were handing out progress reports.

We continue to speed our way along to the end of the first quarter; which is less than four weeks away. However, I am finally coming up for air in mid-October and I’m excited to get back in touch with all of you.

Please browse through our categories to find the answer to the following questions:

Under TCK Views
*Why is loose change so important to carry around the streets of Quito?
*What has Stephen been learning about the culture and language in the past few months?

Under Ministry
*What is the Alliance Academy International doing to celebrate their 80th anniversary coming up in November?

Under Family News
*Did Cristina pass the two sections of her Ph.D. exams that she had to repeat this fall?
*As a full-fledged 2 year old, what new things has Jared learned to say?
*At nine and a half months, has Luke become mobile?

We look forward to the e-mails we receive from all of you.  Know that if you send us a personal e-mail, we will take the time to write you back personally.  We appreciate your prayers, encouragement and support of our ministry.

The MK Meier Clan (Cristina, Stephen, Jared & Luke)
e-mail: crcmeier@yahoo.com

Two year old, Jared, and 9-month-old, Luke enjoy a "ride" in the basket mobile.

Two year old, Jared, and 9-month-old, Luke enjoy a “ride” in the basket mobile.


An 80th Anniversary Event

If I could find a time machine, I might be tempted to travel back to November 3, 1929, when the doors opened for the first day of school at the fledgling missionary school that would come to be known all over South America as “La Academia Alianza.” 

The Alliance Academy International (http://www.alliance.k12.ec) has seen many changes take place its eighty years of existence.  We are excited to be a part of this ministry during this time in which we have the opportunity to commemorate the past 80 years of academic school years that have taken place within the school. 

The school began as many missionary schools do.  A group of missionaries with the mission known as “Christian and Missionary Alliance” (CMA) were concerned about the quality of education that their children were receiving and wanted to start a school where their children could get the education they needed to attend a college of their choice.  The couples organized a classroom atmosphere in one of the rooms of the Alliance Mission House on Cuenca street in downtown Quito, and that is how eight students became the first alumni of the Alliance Academy.

One of the interesting ways in which history comes full circle is that I (Cristina Meier) am currently teaching the great-grandson of the one of those first students.  I taught him last year as an eighth grader in Computer 8 and now he is also in my High School keyboarding class as a freshman.

The school was known simply as the Alliance Academy back then.  They occupied the Mission House classroom for 10 years until they were able to afford property across the street from another strong mission in Quito known as HCJB radio.  For the next 60 years, they have been building, expanding and finding new ways to use the property. 

One of the biggest changes the school faced was in the past 10 years.  CMA decided to pull its foreign missionaries out of Quito and leave their projects primarily to their national staff.  What this meant for the school was a huge turn over in faculty and staff.  Those CMA missionaries who wished to stay on were required to find a new mission to support them.  Some of those missionaries did that, while others decided to go home or another country to continue their ministry elsewhere.

The school itself was turned over to the Ecuadorian ministry of Education.  This meant that the school was no longer exempt from Ecuadorian national laws and had to comply to their standards of education.  The school also began to see a change in its student body. It is slowly becoming less of a missionary school and more of an international school with a strong Christian influence within its curriculum.  More Ecuadorian students are now attending the school than ever before.  More than 50% of the student body in the secondary school is from some Latin American origin. 

The school also modified its name to be called “Alliance Academy International,” in order to move away from the mission name of Christian and Missionary Alliance.

Although many big changes have taken place, this is still the school that I remember attending from eight grade to my senior year.  Some of the same lockers, furniture and equipment is still being used.  Last year, I taught Journalism using the same textbooks I had used as a student.  I was shocked to find the book with my own name still in it! 

I was excited when we were finally able to purchase new Journalism text books this year that better reflect Journalism of the 21st century.

As the month of October draws to an end, I am looking forward to the special days of celebration to take place in mid-November.  There will be a special chapel for all the secondary students on Friday, November 13.  One of the former principals of the high school, Dan Egler, will be the guest speaker.  He has a special place in my heart, because he was my principal during the years that I was a high school student at AAI.  This will be followed by a weekend of alumni events.  We are all hoping that many alumni will come back and reconnect with the school of their past. 

And we are looking forward to many more years of academic success at the Alliance Academy International.