Wednesday, June 24, 2009

KIDS!

Did you know that I have four kids?  Wow, that is a lot of kids, but thankfully they are the best kids in the world!

A cynical person would say "Every Dad says that they are the luckiest Dad in the world so doesn't that just make you normal."  or "Kids have been learning to walk, talk, go the bathroom on their own, grow into adults, for thousands of years so why are you so excited that your kids are doing the same things?"  On some level I suppose they are right but I would bet you some good money that the cynic quoted above has never had children.

Sure my kids are only four of millions upon millions who have mastered a language, learned to walk,  and have thankfully learned to control their bladder on their own but they are my kids.  The fact that they are my kids makes all the difference in the world!  

Most of us who are fortunate enough to be parents may not think of this very often, if ever, but I think one of the major reasons that our kids are so special to us is that we intuitively know that our kids are a gift, that in truth they actually aren't ours at all.  They are simply a miracle that we did not earn or deserve.  A husband and wife comes together in love and out of that love miraculously emerges this little person who somehow arouses all the love that resides in every cell of their mother and father's being. 

The gift of children is almost too good of news to be true.  These beautiful little lives are given to us to care for, to bring joy to, to train, to nurture, and most incredibly to get to know and share life with.  It truly is a picture of God's grace.  Our God is a gift giving God, His giving knows no bounds. 

So yea my kids are definitely the best kids in the world and I am so very proud of them. :)  Moving to Chicago has been very hard on all of us but Emily, Alise, Luke, and Natalie have put their trust in us, their parents and have been faithful in following us wherever we bring them.  If you ask them they will tell you that they terribly miss all their friends (adult and kid) in Willmar, that they miss life in a smaller town, they miss their big house, nice yard, running the halls of FCC, and even their disobedient dog.  But through it all they have faithfully followed.

When Jesus says that we should have the faith of a child He knew what He was talking about.  It seems that as Anita and I brought my kids through this incredible journey they have just continued to believe.  They have spent very little time complaining or whining.  In moments of frustrations they have not shouted, "Why did you do this to us," as I fully expected they would.  Even during the bad days they have continued to believe Mom and Dad when we told them that this is what God wants us to do.  They have believed us when we tell them that they will be protected, that they will find new friends while keeping their Willmar friends, and that no matter how hard it gets Jesus would not leave them or forsake but that ultimately He would see them through each day and each month of this new adventure.  They believed and God has proved faithful.  It is enough to make you want to dance!  

 

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thoughts from Dave

Hi Everyone!  I realize it has been forever since I have written on the blog.  In the next few weeks I hope to share many thoughts as I look back on my first year in seminary.  It has been an incredible year in so many ways.  These next blog entries will be as much for me as they are for you as I take time to reflect on our experiences these last ten months.  Overall God has proved faithful and we have learned a lot!

GRADES!

The goal of coming to Seminary was learning a lot and getting a degree.  A Masters of Divinity degree to be exact.  I am happy to report that I am on track to complete this goal.  I have thoroughly enjoyed being able to focus solely on my studies.  Anita and I have been blessed by God and by so many of our friends and family who have allowed God to use them.  Because of this it was financially possible for me to use this year to focus on my family and see them through this year of transition and then to focus on taking as many classes as I could.  During this year I have read countless pages and have learned so much.  I continue to be impressed with the knowledge and passion that the professors at North Park possess and I have strived to soak up as much of it as I can!

This fall I took fifteen credits which amounted to five classes.  Here is a summary of each of them:

Spiritual Journey 
Was a one credit pass/fail class which I passed!  It was taught be a very wise retired prof.  He was from Nebraska so I was surprised that he possessed so much knowledge!  After each lecture we had small groups to discuss the lecture.  In my small group is where I first met Oscar (he and his wife Lina) are our good friends from Sweden) and Julio who is from Columbia.

Greek 
I had a great teacher for Greek who made the class fun, interesting, and applicable.  The first semester wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be.  I made it through with an A minus.

Christian Heritage I
This history class met every Tuesday night for three hours.  Let's just say I hope to never take a night class again!  In the fall semester we looked at the Church from the time of the early Church until the Reformation.  It was interesting to me to see the development of our faith to what it is today.  Many of our creeds and confessions came from the Church working hard to correct and defeat the many heresies that inflitrate the church.  We should be thankful to all the people who devoted their lives to the study and teaching of the Gospel and to the many hundreds who gave their very lives in defense of the Gospel.  I managed to pull and A minus in the course.

Christian Theology
Probably my favorite class in the fall semester.  Our professor led us in some very interesting class discussions as we worked through the different areas of theology.  Our professor was careful to lay out what beliefs were unbiblical and what different people believed within each area that was Biblical.  It was then up to us to read, study, and decide what we believed.  It was a very challenging and thought provoking class.  I received a B plus in the course.

Communicating the Faith In A Contemporary World
I really enjoyed this class as again our class time was filled with many interesting discussions.  We looked at how evangelism has been done in the past, in the present, and how it will be done in the future.  It was a good opportunity to look at our world and our culture and discuss how to be present God's word to our world today.  I pulled an A in this course.

My fall GPA was a 3.670 which I was very pleased with.  When I was in undergrad I quickly learned which books I had to read and which ones I could get by without reading.  This year was the first time in my academic career where I read and enjoyed reading every book that was assigned.  Again I really appreciated being able to have the time to really dig and in and learn as much as I possibly could.  Having come from a lengthy ministry experience I found it very easy to see how the knowledge I was gaining would eventually be put to use in a ministry experience!

The spring semester was a different animal.  The fall semester was really slow paced whereas the spring semester quickly launched into high gear and never really let up.  One of the main reasons was that I tackled 18 credits instead of the 13 I had in the fall.  Here's a synopsis of how it went.

Ten Commandments
A great class taught by our Theology Prof and our Old Testament Prof.  We looked at how the ten commandments were given after the Israelites were saved from Israel and were offered to the Israelites as a charter of freedom.  Grace always proceeds the law, it does now and it was the same in the Old Testament.  The pattern is reflected in Christ willingly dying for us on the cross to save us and then offering us a new way to live if we choose to follow him.  Grace always proceeds law.  I got a B plus in this class.

Interpreting Old Testament I
In this class we looked at Genesis through II Kings.  I really enjoyed our professor and I learned much about the Hebrew people and the Old Testament in general.  In this class I received a B.

Religions and Cultures
In this class discussed all the major religions of the world.  I was able to attend a Jewish Synagogue and a Buddhist Temple.  These experiences were very interesting and somewhat surprising.  I never would have imagined that a service at a Buddhist Temple would have been structured very much like a Church Service you or I might attend.  While their theology as much different they had a piano prelude, sang hymns, had a sermon, did responsive readings, and gave announcements.  I was a very western service and was very interesting to be a part of.  I got an A in this class.

Introduction to Preaching
In this class we had a most interesting prof and I'll leave it at that.  I enjoyed really looking at preaching, what it is, and how to do it effectively.  Much of the class was spent in listening to classmates sermons and then giving two of my own.  After each sermon we offered feedback to each other which was a great experience.  I am working harder at s-l-o-w-i-n-g down when I preach.  In this class I received a B.

Christian Heritage II
We still met every Tuesday night, did I mention that I hope to not do that again?  This semester we started at the reformation and went up to present day.  I received an A minus in the spring semester as well.

Greek II
Greek definitely got harder this semester.  Our whole class paid a price for having a month off during Christmas time!  Most of us were scrambling from the beginning of the spring semester as we quickly found out the first semester was just a warm up!  Down with Greek Verbs!!  They are not much fun!  I scrambled through and pulled out an A minus for the class.

So the Spring semester ended with a 3.447 GPA and I was happy to escape with that!  

This summer I have taken an amazing Eschatology (end times) Class and I will take six credits of Hebrew in six weeks starting July 6th.  So in one year I will have finished 40 credits!  I believe the whole degree is approximately 95 credits!  It is safe to say that I am well on my way to completing my degree.  Again I really want to thank you for all your prayers, financial support, letters, and visits.  It has meant so much and with out it this year would not have been possible!


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Catching Up on News from Us

Whew!  We have had a busy few weeks.  I am just now sitting down to update the blog, but there is too much to report so I'm going to have to summarize because there is supper to prepare and Dave's parents are here with us this weekend.   To get more detailed pictures, I'll have them all on my facebook by the end of the day.  
Two weekends ago, we took our Swedish friends and headed to Minnesota for a wedding.  We stopped by at my parents house and stayed the night.  This was a perfect time to get a picture of all of us together since it's not too often that I see my parents and sister's family.
Matt and Janell hosted us while we were in Willmar.  He we are outside of the Dairy Queen because it's a real treat since they aren't very common in Chicago.  From left to right, here we are: Oscar, Lina, Anita, Dave, Janell, and Matt.

Last weekend, we Ostercamp's all met at Wisconsin Dells.  Here is the cousin's picture.  We had such a fun time playing in the water and visiting with Dave's parents, brother, and two sisters.
Here are my kids with their aunts.  We had just finished swimming for the day and it was time to head back to Chicago.  It looks like Luke is quite tearful, but he actually has pool eyes from keeping them open in the water too much.

Today, Emily and I ran in a 5K (3.1miles) with her Girls on the Run group.  We had a very fun time and it felt good to accomplish even just a short run.  Here we are before the run.
Here are some of Emily's group from Peterson Elementary.
Here we are after the run.  Yeah!  We did it!  There were about 3,000 runners.
Natalie is typically on Dave's shoulders as we walk around Chicago.  Sometimes if Uncle Matt is around, she will beg a ride off of him.  So here Uncle Matt is getting some pay-back.
Here we are with our cheering section.  From left to right: Larry, Sandy, Matt, Unity, Dave, Anita.  Then in front: Emily, Luke, Natalie, Alise.

Oh, yes, here we are waiting for the bus and waiting and waiting!  It took us about as long to get home (5 miles) on the bus as it would have to drive from Minneapolis to Willmar.  We tried to keep a smile on our face and the kids are in to identifying cars (they're really good at Toyota, Honda, Volts Wagon, Ford, and Chevy) so that kept them busy.

Posted by:  Anita O.