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So He Squeezed an Entire Orchard into one Tree!

I’m a Facebook lurker. That means that I love to see what other people are doing, but I very rarely comment on anything. And I never post anything on my own page. I must admit that sometimes friends post so many things that I wonder if all that they do is post on Facebook all day! Well, about six months ago I received a message from a lady who was a middle school kid when we were first married. She lived across the hall from us when our oldest daughter was just an infant. She would come over almost every day to play with her. She found my Facebook page and wondered if we were the family with the cute baby, Bethany. It has been fun reading her posts and seeing the woman that she has become over 30 years later.

Well, this morning she had shared a video about a crazy tree that grows 40 different kinds of fruit. When I watched the video, I saw this most beautiful tree that blooms in pink, white, and crimson every spring. It produces plums, peaches, apricots, nectarines, cherries, and almonds each summer. Amazing! What had happened was that an art professor learned that an orchard that was growing heirloom and antique fruits was closing down, he didn’t want to lose all of those special varieties, so he combined them into just one tree. He used the process of grafting to attach branches from 40 different kinds of trees to just one. Ten years later, this tree is producing wonderful fruit of all different kinds.

This story reminded me that as Christians we are really grafted into one tree – God’s tree. Ephesians 1:5 tells us that God “predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.” God has adopted us into His family as a true son or daughter. Then in the fifteenth chapter of John, Jesus refers to Himself as the true vine, with His Father as the gardener who prunes the vine so that it will be even more fruitful. Verse 4 says: “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”

This beautiful picture of a tree with “adopted” branches made me think of the Body of Christ, with people coming from every tribe and nation around the world. As long as we abide in the vine (stay attached to the tree), then we produce lovely fruit that brings glory to God. I’m so glad that Dena found me on Facebook so that we could continue a friendship that started so many years ago. And I’m thankful to all my Facebook friends for sharing inspirational articles and videos with me. The picture of this tree will stay with me for a long time.

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon C. Brobst, Ed.D.
Director

Happy New Year!

Happy 2018, and welcome back to ICSV! I trust that you had a relaxing and enjoyable time with your family and friends over the holidays. My husband and I spent Christmas in Prague and then took a short trip to Barcelona, Spain during the first week of 2018 to enjoy the lovely, sunny weather. We had a wonderful time, but we are glad to be back at school and to see you all.

It is hard to believe that we will be halfway through the school year next Friday. Already, families that are leaving Vienna have moved on or will be doing so during the next few weeks. Having to say goodbye to dear friends is one of the hardest parts of living in an international community. Even though it is exciting to welcome new and returning families to ICSV, it is sad to see others leave. This can be especially hard for our students, who would be classified as Third Culture Kids (TCKs). Because they either live or go to school (or both) in a community that is not similar to their home country, they have to adapt to a new way of thinking and communicating. In reality, ICSV is basically a “third culture.” It’s not completely Austrian, even though we are located in Vienna, and it’s not American, even though we speak English and follow a curriculum that corresponds somewhat to what is done in the United States. Instead, we are a mixture of cultures, for everyone that comes here brings a bit of their homeland with them.

TCKs are known for forming deep friendships quickly. This may take people a bit off-guard, as they may share their private thoughts and feelings much more readily than the non-TCK who takes time to develop a close relationship. Because of this, it often hurts more when a friend leaves, even one that has only been here for a short time.

So if you are leaving ICSV this month, please be assured that you will be remembered fondly and that we will continue to pray for you wherever God takes you. If you are coming new to ICSV, be assured that you are welcome here and that we want to do everything possible to make this time of transition a positive one. If you are staying at ICSV, please reach out to the new families so that they can become quick friends with your children. And remember that it is okay to grieve the loss of a friend while making a new one. TCKs say that even though all the goodbyes are difficult, they would never trade the chance to meet people from all over the world for anything. Going to school in an international environment is super special and an opportunity that we shouldn’t take for granted.

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon C. Brobst, Ed.D.
Director