Thursday, July 9, 2015

Last Post

Dear friends and supporters,

It’s hard to believe, but I have come to the end of my time in Germany. How do I describe and put a capstone on the end of three years of joy, new experiences, growth, change, hardship, pain, and beauty? I’m not sure. I’ve been a tangled mess of emotions and feelings the past few weeks. I’m excited to come back to the Bay Area, my home, and begin a new job, make new friends, re-kindle relationships with friends and family, and truly be able to spend time with my boyfriend Josh after ten long months apart. I’m nervous about all the new that comes with moving, and about jumping into a new job that will be quite different from the experience I’ve been gaining for the past three years in small town Germany. I’m feeling anguished about leaving the people I love in Germany, and about the fact that some of them I may never see again in this lifetime. I’m going to miss the place I’ve called home for three years, and the opportunity to see new places, experience new cultures, and learn more about God in the process. That’s the tip of the iceberg, honestly. But God is good. He has been good to me, and has shown me over and over again that He cares for me, and is with me always- that’s not going to change! I have held fast to the verse Jeremiah 33:3 these past three years, and God has kept His promise in that verse, and I know He will continue to do so. “Call to Me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”

Some Last Events:

Field Day
A fun and typical event for German schools is a sports day, in which the students compete in different events that they have been working on during their PE classes. We took the day off from classes two days before our last day of school, met at the sports field in Kandern, and had a great day with beautiful weather! There was sprinting, an 800 meter run, a long jump, and throwing. All our students had a marvelous time, and were given awards for participation in addition to any awards they won in the individual events.

Summer Fest
On June 19th we had our end of the year summer event. We held a graduation ceremony for my 4th graders, who will all be moving to a new campus next year. My German kids will go on to German secondary school, and my English kids will either move back to the states (2 of my kids) or they will attend Black Forest Academy’s middle school. We also presented for our Creative Arts classes. Our theme this time was “Journey Through Time” in which we explored the history and development of different topics. The dance group performed some ancient and modern cultural dances, the choir sang songs from different areas in Christian history, my group learned about different architectural styles through time, etc. We had a great time!

Saying Goodbye to My Kids

I’ve been with this class for two years now, and it was incredibly difficult to say goodbye to them. I know them better than any other kids I’ve had, and I know their families. I’ve invested in them, watched them grow, and now have to entrust that God will use my time with them to His glory.

Saying Goodbye to Hanna
I also said goodbye to my partner teacher and friend, Hanna. God blessed me when he brought the two of us together three years ago. He gave me a partner teacher, a close friend, a kindred spirit in a time when many things were new and had to be learned. She has been a joy to me, and I have learned so much about teaching, culture, and God from her.

Last Trip to the Alps
My friend Bernice said that we all have a place that is our “heart home”- Switzerland has become mine. The majestic beauty of the mountains, valleys, and nature speaks to my soul. I’ve met God there, seen the works of His hands, and shared beautiful experiences with loved ones there. I’m so thankful that I had one last opportunity to visit before I left Europe. My three dear friends and I went to a lake up in the mountains near Kandersteg, and then drove to Lauterbrunnen Valley to see the incredible waterfall there that falls off the cliff. Living just two and a half hours from this beauty for three years has been such a blessing to me, and I hope some day to be able to return.

Saying Goodbye to Friends/Family
It’s not a place that makes a home- it’s the people. God provided some beautiful friendships for me in Germany, and they have become my family. In some ways, due to our shared experience of living and teaching abroad, they know me better than anyone back home does. I’m going to miss them dearly, and while I am ending some long distance relationships by moving back home, I am creating new ones with these loved ones.

What's coming up next for me?
I’m officially back in the Bay Area (I arrived on July 2nd), and have about three weeks of “vacation” before I begin training for my new job on July 19th. I put vacation in quotes because during this time I will be recovering from jet lag (they say about a day for every hour in the time difference, which puts me at 9), sorting my things, looking for an apartment, catching up with friends and family, and finishing up some paperwork for my mission agency and job. I do hope to have a good amount of time left to relax and do some fun things. :)

I will be working at a charter school in Redwood City- a new startup campus for Rocketship Education. I’ll be teaching English-Language Arts to lower elementary aged children, and I’m very excited! It’s going to be quite an adjustment, and very different from what I’ve been doing for the past three years, but I like challenges, and plan on jumping right in.

Lastly, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for partnering with me on this incredible journey that God has taken me on. You have supported me, prayed for me, and encouraged me these three years, and I could not have done it without you. Your involvement has made a difference. I saw it firsthand, and feel wonderfully blessed to have been able to be a part of the work that God is doing in that part of the world. Germany will always hold a very special place in my heart.
All my love,

Contact Information:

Cell phone: 650-863-7540

Note: I have pictures from all of these things, and they went out in my e-mailed newsletter. If you would like to receive that, please contact me. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015


2 Corinthians 9:8-11 (The Message)
God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so you're ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done...This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to god. 

I have another update for you...

In just two short weeks, God has abundantly provided everything I needed and more

THANK YOU for responding to my letter, and for your selfless gifts. I was utterly and completely blown away by your generosity, and by your willingness to support me in my last months here in Germany. Thank you for continuing to believe in my ministry here, for your prayers, and for enabling me to love and pour into my fourth graders until the end of the school year.

God has used you to remind me yet again that he will continue supply all my needs, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I'm quite honestly speechless.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Amazing Mucus!

We're learning about the immune system in class, and this week we talked about mucus! One, it's disgusting, but two, it really helps our bodies get the germs out. We talked about what its job is, why our bodies make more of it when we're sick, labeled the different areas of our sinuses, etc. 

Since we were learning about mucus, I decided we should probably make some. I happen to be quite the slime making expert, thanks to my three summers working with Mad Science. I don't, however, have all my awesome slime making materials here in Germany, so we made the "oobleck" version with cornstarch and water. 

(Language side note: just because you translate something on google translate does NOT mean it's an accurate translation. What I thought was the correct translation of cornstarch in fact did not exist, but thankfully, Rachel and I searched the aisles at the grocery store and I was able to find it. For those of you who want to know, cornstarch in German is Speise Stärke). :) 

My kids freaked out, and had a blast. I took some faceless photos so I could share them with you. These photos were taken in the earlier section of the experiment...we got a little, uh, messier as time went on. 

Yay for mucus!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Please Read

Update: In just a few short days, I have received many emails and encouraging notes from people. Thank you for praying for me! God is so good, and he is taking care of everything. Already I have half of the amount that I need! As I referenced in my post below, he always uses these difficult times to blow me away, and this is no different. THANK YOU for being willing to help!

That being said, I need just $1750 in either one-time gifts or monthly pledges to be fully supported through the end of June. Can you help with the remaining amount? 

Thank you again for your prayers! God is so good. 

Dear friends,                                                                                                                     

I have to start by saying thatthis letter is very difficult for me to write. It was only a year ago did I sent a similar letter to you, and I struggle with being in the same Circumstances again. I want to write openly and honestly to you, Which is hard for me to do, Especially When It's about something like finances. We're not often so open with others about personal things like money, but it's part of living life as a missionary, and I've learned how to be more open.

I received an email on Thursday from TeachBeyond's finance department, Stating did my financial support coming in every month was not enough to cover my "paycheck" and did my main account balance has been depleted as a result of supplementing my monthly needs.

Here's the honest part, with the numbers:
-  Every month, my wonderful supporters monthly selflessly give a total of $ 1100th
-Since My monthly needs are about $ 1950 all the one-time gifts I have stored in my main account have been supplementing my monthly needs by $ 850 each month.
-Since It's been six months of supplementing, my account is now of of of of basically empty.
-I Do have $ 300 set aside to pay for my German taxes, Which Should be enough.
-I Have enough So in a sub account to cover my plane ticket home this summer.

The really honest part is I did need an additional $ 3.500 to make it through the next four months until I come back home. And if I do not, TeachBeyond has to reduce my monthly "paycheck" by Increasing to 25% each month, meaning 'that' in four months I would not have a "paycheck" at all Which is understandable, They Can not:.: Because be in the business of covering for missionaries everytime theywill experience financial hardship.

I was insecure about writing to you about this, I was afraid you might be confused :: because. After all, I left back in August with enough support to last me through the year, and here I am in March, six months later, telling you did I do not have enough after all. I want you to knowthat I have tried to be a good steward of your selfless generosity. Please understand did just about all of my monthly "paycheck" goes to paying my bills and living expenses. As all of you know, there are always unexpected parts of life, and I've had some unplanned expenses this year ... things like doctor's bills, gluten-free groceries (Which are more expensive), utility bills surprise, etc.

I was recently reading in Matthew, and came across Matthew 6:34, and I like The Message's translation. It says, "Give your Entire attention to what God is doing right now, and do not get worked up about what may happen tomorrow or May Not. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up When the time comes." In my three years here, I've learned did Whenever I begin to worry about what's coming up next, that's When God blows my worries out of the water with something amazing. I'm trusting did He wants to help me finish my time here, and finish well, :: because He has called me to do that.

So I'm writing to ask you to consider one of three things:
1) Can you donate a one-time gift to help me reach my $ 3500 need?
2) Can you sign on as a monthly supporter for just four months to help me finish out my time here in Germany?
3) If you are already a monthly supporter, can you increase your gift each month?
TeachBeyond has made it really easy to give-I now have my own donation website! Just follow this link, and you can give a one-time donation or sign up for monthly donations. 

Lastly, I want to say thank you. Thank you for praying for me, supporting me, and for caring about what God is doing in this little school in the corner of Germany. I do not know how to fully convey what it Means to me. May God bless you as you serve him where you are.

In Him Alone,
Amy Collins
Isaiah 46: 4

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Happy New Year

It's been a while since I've sent out a newsletter, I know, but I'm happy to report that one will be on its way this week via email or snail mail (if I don't have your email address). It will contain pictures of my kiddos and some of the events from this fall, which I'm not allowed to post online. If you're not on my list and would like to be, just email me at and I'll add you.

I had the opportunity to go home for Christmas this year, and it was really refreshing to spend some time away. It has been a difficult few months at work, for reasons I don't necessarily need to dive into, and I needed some time to reset my perspective and rest. I was able to spend time with family and friends, and I can't express how much of a gift that was after four months away. When you're gone you miss out on things, and I had a lot to catch up on. Most of my time was spent with my family, which is just what I needed. I was also able to see my lovely (and pregnant) friend Rochelle, my dear love Wendi, her husband, and my adorable nephew. In addition, I spent a significant amount of time with my boyfriend, Josh, and am happy to report that now, after five months of dating, we've spent a whopping three weeks together in person. Oh, the joys of long distance. That being said, it was lovely to interact and have conversations without the necessity of a screen. :)

One area of my life that hasn't been as warm and fuzzy as of late is my health. Before Christmas break I contracted strep throat. It had been going around the school and my roommate Rachel had it too, so it was just a matter of time before my terrible immune system decided to pick it up. I got some antibiotics, missed some school, and felt better. Over Christmas break I felt okay, but as I was traveling back, I began to feel absolutely terrible again. Not sure what it was, I went to the doctor on Monday this past week (I flew in late Sunday night) and what did I have? Strep. Again. She told me I couldn't teach the three days of school that week that we had, so I've been hanging out at home, resting, and sleeping on the couch. I officially go back to work tomorrow, and I hope that I'm well enough to make it through this week. My energy levels aren't necessarily up to par, but we'll see. I would so appreciate prayer about this- my desire is to start the new year off well, and being sick makes the idea of jumping feet first into school again difficult.

As I look ahead to these last 6 months in my second home, my mind struggles to stay in the "here and now". As I'm sure you can understand, or have experienced, when you need to begin making plans for the future, you tend to travel there in your thoughts without always meaning to. I've been thinking ahead to where I'm going to apply for jobs, where I'll potentially get hired, where I want to live, what life will be like in the Bay Area again after living in another country for 3 years, etc. There's a lot to think about. But I have also had great talks with God about wanting to finish this year well- with my students, their parents, my colleagues, friends, etc. This has been my home and my life for so long, and I will be sad to leave it. There's a lot I'm going to miss. Several people have pointed out to me that I need to soak up as many experiences as I can while I'm still here, because I'm "never going to be able to do it again". It's sad for me to admit, but I can certainly see their point. I probably won't. So I'm striving to keep my mind off the future as much as possible and on the present, because I have quite a bit to do in my remaining months here. We're busy in 4th grade. :)

One verse that I came across in my reading recently stood out to me, and I plan to write it down and put it up somewhere in my room. One of my weaknesses is forgetfulness, and it sneaks into multiple areas of my life. I want to be intentional about remembering all of the amazing things I've done while I've been here, and have yet to do. Many fond memories and deep friendships have been created. God's got big plans for these 6 months, and I can't wait to discover what they are.

Deuteronomy 4:9 (NIV)
Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Weekend in the Alps

Adelboden, Switzerland has been one of my absolute favorite places to visit since moving here to Europe and experiencing it for the first time my second month here. It was my first experience in the alps, and since then, it has held a special place in my heart. There is a chalet that belongs to my missions organization that is very easy (and incredibly inexpensive!) to rent, and a few friends and I had the opportunity to spend this weekend there. Bonus-it's only about two hours away. How lovely to spend a weekend away, get some wonderfully fresh air, see the beautiful mountains that bear marks of God's craftsmanship, and share in quality time with dear friends. So thankful to live in such a beautiful place.

View from the chalet windows.
Hike to the waterfall (you can see it in the background).
Such a dear friend.
Oh, silly roommates. 
Our group, minus two!