Friday, April 29, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
I send out an update about my life and ministry in Haiti once a month. In fact I just sent the April update today. Sometimes these updates have repeat information from my blog, but the majority of the updates are not repeat information.
If you would like to receive these updates, leave a comment on this post. All you have to do is include your name and e-mail address in the comment form (not to be confused with the comment section) when you leave your comment, and I'll gladly add you to the list. Or you can e-mail britneyLsmith (at) gmail (dot) com with your desire to receive the updates.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Every year there is a group of churches that put on a crusade in Thomassin, my town/area. It sounds like it's normally held on the soccer field at the top of 48 (near the guest house) in December, but this year the crusade was moved to Holy week. The location had to be changed because the soccer field is too muddy, so the crusade is being held on the school yard next to my house.
I went to the opening night festivities on Sunday with my boyfriend. The crusade officially starts at 6pm, but the singers and organizers start preparing ahead of time. I could hear music starting well before 5pm. I love listening to worship songs play throughout the neighborhood. The crusade has some fantastic musicians, so their music is especially appreciated. When we arrived it was worship time. We sang songs for about an hour, but we stopped a couple different times for some really long prayers. One of the prayers was for all the people who lived in the area. The guy prayed for people who are sick, dealing with marital problems, looking for employment, and who are dealing with a host of other issues.
Singing is my favorite part of church, especially when it's all in Creole. I'm getting pretty good at singing the select Creole songs I know. But what's even better is that I am picking up other songs pretty quickly. Sometimes I only catch phrases, and other times I know the English words to the same tune. The crusade allowed me to practice some songs I have been learning at church, but also gave me exposure to some songs I've never heard before.
After the singing there was an offering. I felt like the offering was a little awkward. Some guys stood in front of the crowd and anyone who wanted to give something walked up and dropped their money in a basket. It was a very drawn out process. I suppose the awkward part was that I felt like sharing the Good News with people should not be preceded by asking for their money. There are 30 churches who are working together to put on this crusade, and it seems like they should be able to share the costs so that they don't have to ask the community they are trying to reach for money. I guess I need to explore a little further my thoughts about taking an offering at a crusade.
After the offering a pastor was introduced and he gave the message. He read a long passage in Ezekiel chapter 19. I should probably look it up and see what it was about. After that he talked for a long time, and said the phrase "moun ki aksepte kris..." or "ou bezwen aksepte kris..." about every other sentence. (That translates to people who accept Christ... or you need to accept Christ...) Seriously, it was a bit repetitive. However, at the end there were some people who came forward for the alter call. There were pastors standing by ready to pray with anyone who wanted to accept Christ for the first time or rededicate their lives to him. There were several little old ladies who went first and then some more people. In all there may have been 15 people who eventually went forward.
I was super excited that people are eager to begin or renew a relationship with Christ. I'm especially excited about the young people I saw go forward. I don't know any of them by name, but I recognized a few of them from school. Their new found commitment to the Lord excites me. I hope that the crusade continues to refresh and awaken the faith of those in my community.
One of the requirements for me to return to Haiti long term is that I have my own vehicle. Currently I walk to and from the guest house and school when I don’t have a ride. Since the school is only 2 miles from my apartment and the guest house is between them, it’s really not a bad walk. In fact I enjoy the exercise. However, if I need to go somewhere else I have to bum rides off of other people. There are several benefits to me having my own car in Haiti.
- More time for ministry. First and foremost if I had my own vehicle, I would be able to spend more time on ministry and less on traveling. Because I don’t have my own vehicle I depend on primarily Beth to take me anywhere else I need to go. I love spending time with Beth, and we often have really good talks while we’re in the car. The problem is that with two boys in school and a guest house to run, she has waaaaayyyyyyy more errands to run than I do. Often on Fridays we leave the house at 10 am for the discipleship classes we teach at her boys’ school and do not return until 5pm or after. If I had my own vehicle I could be back by 1 or 1:30 and still do some work in the afternoon. I would also be able to go to Laboule Children’s Home on Saturdays (or whenever I wanted) to teach English, do craft projects, or just hangout.
- More flexibility. The second best advantage to being able to drive myself around is that I wouldn’t be tied to someone else’s schedule. I would be able to go to the grocery store or Laboule Children’s Home when I needed to go instead of waiting until someone else was headed that way. I would also be able to commit to other activities—like a Bible study—because I would know I could get myself there.
- Aid Team Travel. Also having another vehicle and driver would help when we have teams here. Often the teams take a tour of Port au Prince, go to Lookout Point, or head up to the Baptist Mission café/museum. Another vehicle would help transport people during those trips. Just last week some people had to stay skip the tour of Port au Prince because there weren’t enough vehicles for everyone.
- Makes life easier. Public transportation is overcrowded, unreliable, and unsafe (due to the overcrowding and crazy driving). It’s an option, but not a very good one. Beth has allowed me to bum rides off of her this year, but she needs her own flexibility back. Having a vehicle of my own would make both our lives a little easier.
If you want to donate a vehicle to MTM (totally tax deductible!) that can be shipped to Haiti or would like to donate money towards the purchase of a vehicle (still tax deductible), please e-mail me at britneyLsmith (at) gmail (dot) com.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
A grand total of four posts for April so far.
Wow. I'm a slacker.
But you know what? I'm okay with that. I think I might have something to write about later this week. Until then, enjoy the crazy spring weather for me. I'm stuck with sunny 75* weather every day.
It's a really rough life I live, right?
Monday, April 11, 2011
Then I opened the small gift wrapped box. I had no idea what was inside. Once it was open I thought I might pee my pants I was so excited. Arin and some other families sent me a KINDLE and a $25 gift card to the Kindle store!!!! OH MY GOODNESS!!! Can you believe how amazing they are?! I had never considered buying a Kindle, so it wasn't even on my secret wish list. However, it is an AWESOME gift!! I love, love, love to read. I cannot get my hands on enough books here. I have access to a library, but I frequently forget about it. I also have some audio books on my computer, but when it's not charged and there's no power I can't listen to them. Now I can download books and read them anywhere.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Last year for my spring break I came to Haiti to help in the medical clinic. Willem kept asking when I was moving to Haiti. I thought he was joking. Little did I know I would move to Haiti in September.
My friend Abby is here for her spring break. She's helping in the clinic and hanging out at my apartment. It's been such a blessing to have another familiar face around this week. Willem keeps asking her when she's moving here. She thinks he's joking.