Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Max is pretty tech savvy compared to the majority of my other students, and he often helps whoever is sitting next to him. He easily became friends with Rosias and Monley (Mouse and Porcupine for those of you who have been here) at the beginning of the year, and I've noticed a big improvement in his English skills even since January. I've been very impressed with this young man this year, and I hope that he continues to impress me!
Friday, May 25, 2012
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
We've had lots of issues lately with the electricity. Sometimes the power plant doesn't give any electricity for a few days. If it goes too long, our inverter looses its charge and we're left with no power. This happens very rarely. We don't use a lot of electricity to begin with, and we try to pay attention to how long its been since we've had public power. It's a different life than living in the U.S., land of constant electricity, but it works.
However, the past couple of weeks have been rough. There was a problem, still is a problem, with the power coming into our street. We noticed the public power hadn't been on for a while, but when it did return our street was still in the dark when everyone else had power. We could see other people's lights taunting us from our candle lit living room. The neighbors had been calling EDH (the power company), but weren't getting any luck in getting someone to come out. Finally Willem found and EDH guy and asked him to come and check it out. Apparently the wire to our street isn't the right gauge. The EDH guy rigged it so that it will work for now, but it could go out again in the future.
In addition to that, our landlords had some electrical work done on our apartment, and apparently we are getting four more batteries for our inverter. This should double the amount of electricity we can hold in reserve for the times there is no public power. That is awesome. Except the batteries aren't connected yet and our inverter lost power last night around 8. I almost had dinner on the table (this is our normal dinner time), so we got out the flashlight and ate in the semi-dark. We adapted and enjoyed just talking to each other before we went to bed.
All these recent issues with electricity have made me realize something about myself. I get grumpy when there's no power. Really grumpy. Having no power makes me alternately want to cry and feel sorry for myself or throw rocks at something. In my desperation I might even write things like, "Life was so much easier when I lived in Indiana." in my journal. But I guess you'll never know that for sure. Ultimately this grumpiness is selfishness; I'm irritated that I didn't get my way.
Here's the problem with being selfish about electricity... I know it's not constant. I know I won't always have it. I shouldn't get grumpy about something that I know isn't guaranteed. If I lived in the States where electricity is a constant thing, I could understand being upset when it's out for several days. But I live in Haiti, where the only thing guaranteed about electricity is that it's not going to be constant!
But more importantly than not being selfish about inconsistent electricity is the fact that I live in a country where there are people living in tents because of an earthquake that happened 2.5 years ago. They don't have electricity. They don't have clean water, let alone running water. They don't even have rooms in their dwellings. They get wet when it rains, and swelter the rest of the time. How can I complain about the lack of power for a few hours when these people lack...almost everything?
Lord, open my eyes to more important things than electricity and help me to see what's really important.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Monday, May 21, 2012
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Q. So, you're fluent in Creole, right?
A. Um... no. I am still very much learning the language. As far as speaking goes, I can generally express the basic version of what I want to say, but I'm often corrected. But that means they understood what I wanted! If I have time to think about what I want to say, the conversation goes much more smoothly. But if I'm put on the spot, then I forget my Creole and make a mess of things.
My listening skills are getting better, but there are still a lot of things I don't understand in Creole. I'm probably the best at understanding school related conversations, but I'm also getting pretty good at figuring out the sermon on Sunday too. If I know the verse or theme of Sunday's message, I can normally get the gist of what's being said.
If I were a serious student I could probably understand a lot more than I do now. But my students love to translate for me at school, and normally either Arold or Beth is with me when I go out. I have a bad habit of letting them talk for me at the first word I don't understand. Maybe someday I'll be brave enough to flounder on my own.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
I've been praying a lot that God would provide renters for my house in Mishawaka. Several people have told me that they forwarded my contact information, and that is encouraging. I hadn't heard much lately and was praying about it quite a bit yesterday. And then last night and this morning I found two e-mails in my inbox about families wanting to look at the house!
There are two families who are interested in seeing the house in the next week or so, and one that seems really, really interested in renting from us. I'm praying that one of these families will be the next renters. But if they aren't, I know God is going to answer our prayers and provide renters one way or another.
Please keep praying with us.
Monday, May 14, 2012
Remember the team that came way back in February to paint the elementary school? If you don't remember them, they were only able to prime the outside of the buildings. Another group of people worked on the classrooms and still another group started the final coat of blue paint, but only were able to finish the 5th and 6th grade area. Well, this week the project was finally finished. And it looks amazing!! (Click on the pictures for a full screen view.)
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Q. What do you and Arold eat? American food or Haitian food?
A. I do most of the cooking and I'm much more proficient at American food, so that's what I make most of the time. However, I have mastered some Haitian dishes that taste pretty good--even if my husband thinks I don't add enough salt. And, Arold cooks too. When we're both home, it's almost always a team effort to get dinner on the table. Sometimes he just does the cooking though.
Here are some links to some of our favorite dishes:
- Homemade Pizza, using this super easy crust with no yeast--we eat this at least once a week! (I use a modified version with more flour and some olive oil from one of the comments.)
- Baked Mac & Cheese, using the sauce from this recipe
- Mostaccioli, recipe from my friend Kristin (basically it's pasta, seasoned beef, sauce, and parmesean baked to ooey goodness)
- Homemade yogurt, easy and delicious! (only I eat this, he's not a fan of yogurt--but there is Haitian yogurt I could buy at the store... but I'm cheap so I make my own!)
- Indiana Style Corn Dogs--we've only had it once, but it will probably be a frequently used recipe
- Rice and Bean sauce--this is Arold's favorite meal of all time, but pizza is a close second
- Chicken cooked in sauce
- grilled ham and cheese sandwiches--my go to when I don't want to cook
- Bannann Peze, twice fried plantains--these are typically a side dish, but sometimes we make a ton of them and eat them as a meal
For breakfast Arold eats an egg sandwich (American) or seasoned spaghetti noodles with ketchup and mayo (very, very Haitian). I always have the egg sandwich, unless we're out of eggs and then I find something else to eat.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
My husband mercilessly teases Viergina (pronounced vee air-gina, with the second g sound in garage) because her boyfriend is the student body president. Arold has made up a song about "Madam President" that he sings whenever he sees her, and he frequently asks when they are getting married. She's clearly embarrassed when he does this because she blushes and turns her face away, but it must not bother her too much because she continues to seek us out.
Monday, May 7, 2012
Arold and I enjoy working for Mountain Top Ministries. We get to help people at the medical clinic, disciple new believers through a Sunday school class, and help with a variety of projects. But what we really love is building relationships with the students and investing in their lives. HOWEVER, we could not be the hands and feet of Jesus in Gramothe without our many ministry partners. We may be the "go-ers," but it takes senders and intercessors to make a successful ministry.
We are blessed to have so many intercessors. I've tried to count them, but it's impossible to know for certain. I can tell you that I send our prayer updates to 111 e-mail addresses. If only half of those people are faithfully praying for us, that still makes 55 prayer partners. We depend on these partners to pray for our ministry, our students, and for us. Prayer is a powerful and effective tool, and we need others to join with us as we serve here. We can't do it alone!
In addition to intercessors, we need people who are willing to send us to the mission field. It would be impossible for us to minister in Gramothe without financial support from others. We'd have to find "real jobs" to support ourselves and that would leave little, if any, time for our students in Gramothe. We are blessed to have 11 very faithful families/individuals who serve as our senders. They partner with us each month for about 54% of our support. Then there are two churches who give about 14% of our monthly support--putting us at 68% funded each month. To date the rest of our financial support has come from one-time donations from a variety of individuals and organizations.
We use the word "partner" to describe those who support us with prayers and finances because they are very much a part of our ministry. They may not be in Haiti working at the school, but they are vital to what God is doing here. Arold and I are the ones who are physically present, but these senders and intercessors are just as much a part of empowering Haitian youth to live their lives for Christ.
If you're not currently a part of our ministry team, we'd love to have you join our team! To receive our prayer updates, e-mail me at britneyLsmith (at) gmail (dot) com letting me know. If you want to partner with us financially, you can set up automatic monthly donations on the Mountain Top Ministries website. Or you can give a one-time gift on the MTM website by clicking on "Donate Online." (It's under the Get Involved title on the right.)
Friday, May 4, 2012
I've been pretty grumpy this week. It's mostly due to the fact that I'm too focused on myself and how some things didn't go my way. And those things that didn't go my way? They don't really matter. My life wasn't changed because I didn't have electricity when I wanted it or that I got a little wet on my way home from school. So, I took some time this morning to refocus on the One who does matter, on the One who did change my life.