Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Student Spotlight: Ojimene

This is beginning of a new blog series. I miss my students in Haiti. Many of you tell me you enjoy learning more about specific students. Every so often I will introduce you to one of my high school students in Haiti. I'll tell you a little about their personality and what I have learned through observation and conversation.

Ojimene (woh-gee-men) is 17 years old and will be in Rheto (the equivalent of being a junior) for the 2011-2012 school year. She is timid, curious, and gentle. Ojimene lives in Thomassin 48 very near to Willem and Beth’s home. I often see her carrying water and running errands for her mother. One of the things I like most about Ojimene is her beautiful smile. She enjoys playing jokes on others and is very rarely without a smile. Ojimene patiently decodes my attempts at speaking Creole and speaks slowly so I can understand her. She is not very confident speaking English, but she is quite sassy with the boys in her class. The girl can definitely hold her own. Ojimene dreams of becoming a doctor when she finishes high school.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Support Update

This has been a very encouraging week.

  1. I received an e-mail that a couple wants to donate $1000 to my ministry in Haiti.
  2. I am tentatively scheduled to share at my parents' church on Aug. 21st. Once it's confirmed I'll share more details.
  3. Some friends e-mailed me yesterday to say they are going to partner with me for $100/month, which is totally awesome. But it's even better: they want to bless Arold and me with more talk time while I'm here in the States. I sent the "how to" email a couple of hours and go and they've already sent some minutes to Arold's phone.
Such sweet blessings.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Who do you know?

I mentioned earlier this month that I will be able to return to Haiti and my teaching position there when I am fully funded. In order to live and teach in Haiti, I need $2500 a month. Thankfully some very awesome people (most of whom sponsored me last year too) have collectively pledged $1200 per month. In order to raise the remaining support I need, I am sharing the story of how God is working in Gramothe and giving people the opportunity to partner with me in ministry. Already I’m scheduled to share with two area churches and at a camp in the coming weeks, but I would like share with more people.

Today I’m asking for your help. Would you consider your connections? Do you know a group or organization that would like to learn more about what God’s doing in Haiti? Do you attend a church that is looking for a ministry to partner with financially and relationally? Mountain Top Ministries hosts teams from the US and Canada who serve in a variety of ways (medical clinics, construction, teacher training, pastoral training, church seminars, etc). Do you own or work for a business that makes tax deductible donations to non-profit organizations? Do you know someone who is looking for a cause to champion? Do you know an individual who is passionate about education, serving the poor, or missions?

Who do you know that could potentially partner with me in breaking the bonds of poverty in Haiti?

Shoot my an e-mail at britneyLsmith(at)gmail(dot)com with any connections you are willing to share with me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Sseko Sandals: I want some!

In case you don't know I work for a non-profit organization, specifically a ministry. One of my favorite things about Mountain Top Ministries is the fact that they empower Haitians to change their own lives. They don't just give handouts to people; they do ministry in a way that gives dignity to the people they're serving. MTM teaches skills and then provides opportunities for Haitians to use those skills. It's a beautiful thing.

This week I learned about a company in Uganda that has the same philosophy. Sseko Sandals provides young Ugandan women the opportunity to further their education. In the 9 months between high school graduation and the start of university classes, Sseko Sandals hires young women to make sandals so they can afford to attend university. As their website says, "These women will not make sandals forever. They will go on to be doctors, lawyers, politicians, writers and teachers that will bring change and unification to a country divided and ravished by a 22 year-long war." And I believe them.
Check out the Sseko website to get the whole story. They just celebrated their second birthday, and they have lots of stories and pictures on their website. I am really impressed with this company and what they are doing in Uganda. After you spend some time perusing the website, buy yourself some sandals!!!

I am currently drooling over all the possibilities. I will find a way to work these sandals into my budget. And when I do, I'm sure there will be more pictures here on my blog.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

New Prayer Card

Here's my new prayer card. If you'd like me to send you one, just leave a comment with your mailing address. Or send me an e-mail.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

For those of you in Northern Indiana

I've been a little busy the past couple of weeks. I'm so excited to see so many of you at St. Mark and in the Mishawaka area. This weekend I'll be traveling to the land of my childhood to catch up with some of my very dearest friends. I can't wait to see them!

Before I make that trek though, I have some special plans. Willem and Beth Charles, the founders of Mountain Top Ministries (and effectively my bosses), are bringing their boys to Elkhart County to visit Maple City Chapel on Sunday morning. I'm excited that I'll be able to catch up with them on Saturday evening, and then attend church with them on Sunday morning. And the best part is, you can meet them too!!

If you are interested in learning more about Mountain Top Ministries, please join us Sunday morning at Maple City Chapel in Goshen, IN. Morning services are at 9 and 10:45. Please plan to stop by the MTM table in the foyer. If you want some Q & A time with Willem and Beth, or you are interested in learning more about coming to Haiti on a service team, bring a dish to pass and stay after church for the carry-in meal!

Monday, July 11, 2011


I don't know exactly when I'll be headed back to Gramothe. It would be fantastic if I could be there for the start of the school year in September, but there are some things that have to happen before I can return to Haiti. Here are some of my goals for the time I'll spend in the U.S. of A.

  • Spend as much time with family and friends as possible.
  • Clean out the storage unit I packed full of stuff last summer. Some items will eventually go to Haiti. Some I hope to sell, and others I'll give away. I'm really not looking forward to this task.
  • Raise the remaining financial support I need. Currently I have 48% of the monthly support I need.
  • Obtain a vehicle to ship to Haiti.
Arold and I praying that I will be able to return to Haiti by the first of October. Will you join us in praying that God will orchestrate all the details so I can get back to my students and the ministry in Haiti?

Monday, July 4, 2011

In the USA

I made it to the good ole US of A. It took a little longer than expected, but I'm here. I've been hibernating at my parents' house for the past several days... and eating their delicious food. I've forgotten how many yummy snacks my mom keeps in the pantry!

I think I lost my digital camera at on one of my flights. Or I could have left it at the hotel in Port au Prince. I'm really sad that I can't find it. I will start making calls about it tomorrow morning. 

Tomorrow I'm headed out to visit some friends. I'm excited to see them, and also a little nervous that I'll annoy them by talking about Haiti or Arold too much. 

If you need my phone number, send me a quick e-mail.