Saturday, June 30, 2012

Six Months In

Six months ago I became a married woman. It was a pretty exciting day.

In the six months I've been married, I've learned quite a bit about myself. Here are some of the big lessons I've learned:

1. I don't really like cooking. I especially don't like cooking every single day. I'd be content to eat grilled cheese every night for dinner. That husband of mine really likes to eat, though.

2. I need my own space to sleep. I like to cuddle, but when it's time to sleep I don't want anyone touching me.

3. There are certain things I don't like sharing. If chocolate or the computer are involved, I prefer to keep them to myself.

4. I don't like anyone talking to me when I'm crying. When I'm throwing myself a pity party, I don't want my husband to interrupt it with his encouraging words or probing questions. I just want him to hold me and let me cry. Thankfully he's learned this lesson too and doesn't try to figure out what's wrong with me while the waterworks are on full blast. Now he just waits until I've finished crying to ask what that was all about. (He's a smart man.)

5. I have excellent taste in men. My husband is patient and gentle. He makes me laugh every day. He cooks, he cleans, he pampers me. He is nothing short of ah-may-zing.

Happy six months of marriage, chouchou! You are a great husband and I am so thankful you are mine. We'll have to celebrate the 6th month mark when I get back to Haiti.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Philo Yearbook

A couple of weeks before the MTM senior class graduated I helped them make a yearbook of sorts. We ordered one for each student as a graduation gift. I used a website I had never heard of before, so I was nervous about the quality of the books. However they turned out really well!

Here's a link to the book, so you can see it if you'd like. You can even order it in any size you want!

We ended up getting the 9"x7" softcover with express satin paper, and it was an excellent book.  The students loved it!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hoping for a Miracle (When I'm not crying my eyes out)

Sometimes I feel like my posts need a disclaimer. This is one of those. I hesitate to share this post because I'm feeling  very raw emotionally. I don't' want to offend my ministry partners or give them a reason to doubt my emotional stability or ability to minister in Haiti. However, missionaries are real people with real emotions and life is just as messy for missionaries as it is for Christians on the home front. With that said, here's where I am today.

My favorite Bible verse is Romans 15:13 "May the God of hope fill you with all peace and joy as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

I like it because it applies to nearly all situations--happy, sad, frustrating, confusing, etc. I also like this verse because I really like hope. It's such a comforting and uplifting thing to have in your heart and life. (By the way, what noun category would you put hope in? Is it an attribute, characteristic, emotion, feeling? I don't think it's any of those, but I don't know what to call it other than thing.) I also like that the reward for trusting in God is not getting what you want, but something far better peace and joy. But not just some peace and joy. ALL peace and joy. So even if God answers my prayers with no, not now, wait, or some other generally undesirable response, I can still have ALL peace and joy when I trust in him. And then! I will overflow with hope.

Have you ever met somebody overflowing with hope? I find those people refreshing and contagious. I want the same hope they have.

But, today I am definitely not one of  those people. I'm certainly not overflowing with hope. Mostly I'm overflowing with tears of frustration. I'm in the stressed out, worrying camp. Actually, it seems I've put up a tent and staked it down there. I might start building a permanent residence in the worry camp if I don't get a handle on these deceiving emotions.

We need renters for my house in Mishawaka. I was so confident in May that God would provide what we needed. I was hopeful then. Today is June 25th and all the people initially talking to us have lost interest, which I suppose explains why I definitely feel more desperate than hopeful.

BUT we asked our prayer partners to pray with us for 15 days about this issue. It's only day 10 of our two weeks of prayer. Please consider joining us in prayer for the next 5 days that someone will rent the house in Mishawaka.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Countdown for a Busy Week

6 days until Mountain Top Ministries graduates it's first class from high school

5 (and a half) months pregnant this week

4 times I've been kicked by my son since starting this post

3 days until our MTM friends arrive for graduation festivities (and bring all the things I've collected at the MTM office over last couple of weeks)

2 guests arrive this afternoon, Mr John the plumber/baker and a high school student who will be hanging out with me and my students this week

1 week from today I get to see my family in the US!

0 times I've heard "Feliz Navidad" and "Under da Sea" today... meaning the English camp at the school next door is OVER!! (This might just be the most exciting item on my list. I can't count the number of times they played that _(insert adjective of your choice)_ CD since Thursday.)

Friday, June 8, 2012


In the U.S. I never thought about cement. There was no reason to think about cement. (Click on the pictures to see them better.)

But in Haiti, cement is very present in my life, so to speak. I think it's because cement production is a much bigger task here. First you have to gather the supplies: small rocks, sand, cement, and water. Then you have to get them to the right location. Getting a truck load of sand to some building sites can be... tricky. For those of you who have never been here, it's hard to explain why it's tricky. Roads are not exactly the same in Haiti as they are in the US.

Anyway, back to cement. After you have the supplies, someone has to mix the cement... by hand. I have never seen a cement truck in Haiti, but my husband assures me that there are trucks (he actually said, there are big buildings in the city, do you think they mixed the cement by hand?). I have seen little mixers, but mostly I see junk ones along side the road. The "recipe" for cement changes with the type of construction. For example, Willem just had the basketball/soccer court resurfaced in Gramothe. The guys made a rough cement for the base and finished it off with a layer of very fine cement.

After the cement is mixed it is transported to where it will be used. Most often the cement is mixed wherever the sand has been dumped and then it's carried in wheelbarrows or buckets to the actual location of construction.

All the photos in this post are from the resurfacing of the basketball/soccer court in Gramothe. They guys started working on a Friday and they were finished by Thursday. The kids played on the finished sections as the guys were working, and they LOVE that they can actually bounce a basketball again without wondering which way it's going to go. I love that I can walk across the court without wondering if I'm going to sprain an ankle.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Today's Holiday: "God's Birthday"

Today is a holiday in Haiti--in French it's called Fete Dieu and in English my student's say "God's Birthday." When I ask my husband or the students about this holiday they just tell me it's a Catholic thing and that's all they know. Being the curious person that I am, that just isn't enough information for me. We have today off school and I wanted to know why.

I took matters into my own hands this morning and googled it. Apparently the translation of the French name is a bit misleading because in English the day is called "The Feast of Corpus Christi." The super simplistic explanation of the holiday is that it celebrates the presence of Jesus Christ's body and blood in the Eucharist (communion). I assume that Catholic churches and other denominations that believe the communion elements turn into the actual body and blood of Christ celebrate today with a church service and communion.

At our house, we celebrated "God's Birthday" by sleeping in and having a lazy morning. Later today we'll take some exams to the copy shop for the school and hopefully go to Handal, the Haitian Wal-mart, if they are open. And if my husband is in the right mood I might even be able to talk him into a "sandwich griole" from Giant Supermarket.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Life Straws

Last week a group of four (that originated in Florida) came to Mountain Top Ministries to distribute Life Straws. A high school chemistry teacher started a Peace Jam club at her high school this year and the students raised nearly $12,000 to purchase individual Life Straws. Their goal was to distribute the individual water purification straws to people in Haiti who do not have access to clean water.

On Wednesday the group went to each high school class to give a lesson on how to use the life straws. Then they gave one to every student. On Thursday the group presented the Life Straws to the elementary students and then hiked to the waterfall to view the water source for Gramothe. Life Straws were given out in the village of Gramothe, as well as the clinic on Friday and Saturday.

The remaining Life Straws will be taken to Dumay next weekend and given out there.

For now here are a couple of pictures from the Gramothe distribution. Another post will follow with more pictures of the Life Straws in action.

Third graders receiving Life Straws (my husband is the handsome one in yellow)

Some 8th grade students were pretty excited about their Life Straws!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bad Blogger

Hello. My name is Britney, and I'm a bad blogger.

Last week I promised posts about the Life Straws that were passed out as well as the cement work that was happening in Gramothe. Well, I wrote the posts in the Gramothe computer lab and saved them to add pictures later... like when I got home that night. However, I forgot and the posts are still saved as drafts here on the blog. Such is life I guess.

Hopefully I'll remember to post the pictures tonight (because they are on my computer at home and not here in Gramothe with me).

I'm sorry for being a bad blogger. Maybe someday when I grow up, I'll actually do a good job!

Student Spotlight: Magalie

Magalie is very energetic young lady. She's an only child by both her mother and her father, which I find rare in Haiti. She's from Gramothe, and I think she's been in the school since it opened. Magalie is very short, but very fiesty. She always has a ready comeback for her classmates, and she can even spar with them in English! In addition to being witty, she's also compassionate. She often comes to me on the behalf of another student. Sometimes she translates their request for a pencil or pen, other times she tells me of a much bigger need. But she's always looking out for others.

Magalie is a multi-talented young lady. She can play the recorder quite well, and she taught herself with the aid of a little book she found. She's currently working with Johane to make paper bead jewelry (she came up with a bracelet design I'm still trying to wrap my brain around). And she also participated in the art class during Easter week--she had some pretty impressive art work!

Most excitingly, Magalie decided to give her life to Christ this year. She's been one of the few consistent students in Arold's new believers Sunday school class, and she's also been attending Willem's discipleship class on Monday afternoons.