Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Word of the Year, 2012: Faithful

In college, I formed the habit of choosing one scripture verse to be my theme for the year. I memorized the verse or group of verses, prayed it over my life, and tried to apply it to all the situations I found myself in throughout the year. It was a really good habit and caused growth in my spiritual life.

In 2009, I mixed things up and chose a one word theme for the year. In 2009 I focused on humility, in 2010 wisdom, and 2011 was patience. I don't feel like I've had an "easy" year in the mix at all. I mean, if God wanted me to focus on LOVE, I feel like that would be easy. But since the point is spiritual growth and not comfort, I guess being uncomfortable indicates it's working.

The end of 2011 was a bit... full. I prayed about a theme for the year, but I didn't really sit and listen to God much. I was kind of busy with my wedding and being a newlywed. It wasn't until a week or so ago, that I really felt peace about a theme for the year. I tossed around perseverancepeace, and other fruits of the Spirit. But ultimately I felt like God was giving me the word faithful.

So this year of 2012 (Is it weird that I always say it in Creole when I type or write it?) will be a year of pondering what it means to be faithful and looking for evidence in my life that God is faithful. I don't think it's going to take much work to recognize God's faithfulness, but learning to be more full of faith could make life pretty interesting.

Anybody else up for choosing a one word theme for the year? If so, leave me a comment with your word.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Only because some people have asked...

Recently several different people have asked me what kinds of things they could bring/send to Haiti for Arold and me. I thought a blog post would be a good way to get the information out there, and in the future I can just copy and paste the link to anyone who e-mails me.

Ministry Related Items

  • blue pens--please bring blue pens. We go through these very quickly.
  • men's neckties
  • hand held pencil sharpeners
  • erasers
  • stickers to give out in the clinic
  • water bottles
  • backpacks
  • socks--adult and children's sizes
Personal Items
  • Dove dark chocolates (or any chocolate really)
  • Crystal Light packets (peach iced tea is my favorite)
  • chocolate chips, or other chips to use in baking
  • dried fruits and nuts

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Klas Disip

Last year a group of young people told Willem they wanted to be more involved in the church. He thought it was great that they wanted to get involved, but he also knew they needed to know the Bible better to be good leaders. So, he started a discipleship class. They meet on Monday nights for intense Bible study and they even learn some church history. 
I'm not involved in the discipleship group at all, but I have seen some fruits of the class. The students know the Bible better. They volunteer to take on responsibilities in the church services. They are leaders among their peers. And they are growing closer to Jesus Christ. 

Please pray for the these young people to continue to grow and learn through the discipleship class. This is an awesome group of young adults, and I am excited to see where God takes them in the coming years!

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Glimpse of the Computer Lab

 We've been busy this month with two clinic teams back to back, so I haven't been posting much. Plus, my husband kind of likes to eat dinner every night, which puts a damper on my internet time. ;) 

Here's a little glimpse of what the computer lab looks like this week. We currently have about 45 students in three different computer classes. This week we reviewed some basics of word processing and used a typing program to help the new students get acquainted with the keyboard.

And finally, the backpack hooks. I asked my favorite Canadians to put some hooks in the computer lab for backpacks. My students always want to put their bags on the tables, but there's not enough room for the laptops and their bags. My Canadian friends didn't understand why we needed hooks if there was floor space available, but the floor is for walking not putting bags.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pre-Wedding Photos

These are some of the pictures that were snapped by guests during our wedding. We're hoping to have the professional photos by the end of the week. You can click on the picture to see it in full size.

First Day of School, Jan 2012

Amidst the craziness of clinic this week, MTM's students returned to school from their long Christmas break. On Monday I firmed up my schedule with the principal, and taught my first class of the semester. For some reason I was grumpy on Monday with nearly everyone, but I genuinely enjoyed being back in the classroom with my students. here's what we covered the first day.

  • Opening Procedure
    • Good morning class.
    • Good morning Miss Britney.
    • I'm happy to see you today.
    • I'm happy to see you too.
  • Introduction: My name is Britney Charles. I am an American, and I live in Thomassin. I am married to Met Arold (Teacher Arold). I am 30 years old and I do not have children. (We also did a mini lesson on the difference between Miss and Mrs. at this point in class.)
  • Supplies needed for every class
    • English Notebook
    • pen or pencil
    • Go for English textbook
  • Rules
    1. Listen carefully to the teacher.
    2. Take notes.
    3. No talking when Miss Britney is teaching.
    4. English ONLY. (For the upper grades only.)
  • Review (This is different for each grade level.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

So many things to say... about being married

  1. Married life is awesome! I love living with Arold and being able to talk to him anytime I want. 
  2. He cooks, and patiently explains how to make rice the Haitian way. He even trusts me to make Haitian rice when I don't trust myself.
  3. The most difficult part of marriage: sharing my computer with Arold. I really thought giving up closet space would be difficult, but that hasn't been a problem at all.
  4. He's quick to help with household chores. He's done the dishes more than I have (THANK YOU JESUS!!), and he usually sweeps at least once a day.
  5. I totally underestimated how difficult it would be to sleep with someone else in the bed. I don't know that I've slept all the way through the night since we've been married. He keeps bumping me and stealing the blanket. 
  6. Can someone please explain to me how just two people can use so many dishes during one day?! Seriously. I don't understand how 1+1 = dishes for an entire family!
  7. He's always looking out for me. He logs me into Facebook when he's finished with the computer. He takes things out of my hands to carry them for me. He checks the doors and windows before we go to bed. He makes sure my ear is covered by the blanket when we go to bed. And he takes his shower first in the morning, so I can stay in bed for a few more minutes.
I love being married!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

So many things to say... about ministry

  1. School starts tomorrow. I'm not really sure of my schedule. I'm not finished planning for the week, and I'm supposed to help "translate" for some fluoride varnish treatments tomorrow before my English and computer classes. I'm feeling a little anxious, but I'm sure that everything will be fine. I know I have the older kids tomorrow, so they had me in class last year and can understand me.
  2. There's a really big team at the guest house this week, 28 people. Most of them are working in the clinic. A handful have been working on handyman projects. It's fun to work in the clinic when there is no school because I get to help more and don't have to pay attention to the time. Plus, I like working in close proximity to Arold all day in the dossier room. ;)
  3. Thursday night a man was severely burned on his face, chest, stomach, and back by a car radiator that blew up all over him. He came to the clinic yesterday. The team spent three hours cleaning his wounds and teaching him how to care for himself. He came back today and they worked on him after church (maybe during too). The medical leader of the team said he looks really good considering what happened. His face is even showing signs that the skin will have pigment after everything heals. He'll be back for care on Monday and Tuesday. Hopefully he'll come back in two weeks so we can check on him when the next medical team is here.
  4. Church has been awesome lately. I don't know if I simply understand more Creole, so I get what's happening more or if I'm just more aware of the Holy Spirit. At any rate, it is sweet to be back with my Haitian church family again.
  5. Speaking of church, six young people stood up in the service today to say that they have decided "to walk with Christ." It was so exciting to see some of my students on the stage among those who declared their faith in Christ. I hope a baptism is in the near future!
  6. The Illini Life team that came last year to give the computer lab a makeover is coming back in March. They have some fantastic ideas for physics and chemistry in the high school. I can't wait to see what God does through this team of people! 
  7. I'm so thankful for the opportunity God has given me to serve here in Haiti. Please pray that I would follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit as I teach and live here.
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which he prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Sunday, January 1, 2012

First Christmas in Haiti

This fall while I was still in the States, I would burst into tears every single time I thought about Christmas. I just couldn't fathom being away from my family on Christmas day. There are only two times I can remember anyone missing Myers family Christmas. Once when my dad went the ER on Christmas morning for chest pains and the other was when my cousin Nichole gave birth to Danicha on Christmas Eve. (Twelve years ago. How is it possible Danicha is that old?!) There's no alternating which side of the family you spend Christmas with. Everyone is there every year. Until this year when I was in Haiti.

screen shot of Smith grandparents
As much as I cried about what Christmas was not going to be this year, I really enjoyed Christmas day. I called my parents when I woke up, attended church (which was pretty awesome), and then Skyped with both the Myers family and my Smith grandparents in Missouri. Arold was even there for the second round of Skyping and got to witness his first Myers Family White Elephant. And he wasn't scarred by what he saw! (Let's just say the Myers family plays a dirty kind of White Elephant, and keep it at that.) It was awesome to be with Arold and my family all at the same time. Though, I still hope someday he can experience Myers family Christmas in person.

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012

The last week has been a whirlwind, but I enjoyed having my family and friends in Haiti. The wedding was beautiful, the fellowship with friends and family incredible, and the unexpected blessings abundant.

AND, I'm officially married. There were days this fall I never thought the day would arrive! It was a special day, and I can't wait to see some more pictures. I'll post more about the wedding later, but here's a teaser photo of the pastor praying over us after we exchanged vows. So far it's my favorite.

Marrying Arold was the best end to 2011 I can imagine. Our first full day of married life was the best reward for a year full of patience. We're looking forward to growing closer to the Lord and each other in 2012.

Happy New Year, friends. Many blessings on you in this new year.