Tuesday, December 18, 2012

santa's helpers

I just couldn't resist. 

Monday, December 17, 2012


We appreciate your prayers this week.

  • Isaac and I leave on Wednesday to spend Christmas in the States. Please pray for safe travels, a calm mama, and a happy baby while traveling. My mom is meeting us in Ft. Lauderdale, so I only have to do the first leg by myself. Even with my mom meeting us, I am really nervous about traveling with Isaac by myself. 
  • Pray for Arold as he spends the next two weeks by himself. And pray for me and Isaac. It's never easy to be apart. 
  • Praise the Lord for our safety while driving the streets of Petionville and Port au Prince. The traffic is scary and we had a close call today with a motorcycle. We're so thankful for God's protection!
  • The youth in Gramothe are hosting a week of prayer. They asked Arold to preach tonight. Praise God for these young people who are growing in their faith and leadership skills.
  • Please pray for the administrators and teachers at the school as they wrap up report cards for the first semester. It sounds like there will be some changes in staff after the new year, so we appreciate your prayers for the right people to be hired and that the transition goes smoothly for the students and staff.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Spirit

This little guy loves looking at the Christmas lights we hung in our living room, but he's not so sure about the Santa hat.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas & Coffee

The plan was that all three of us would go to the States for three weeks during the holidays this year. However, the delays with Arold's visa mean that he's stuck in Haiti for at least another month. After much deliberation and tears (on my part), we've decided that Isaac and I will spend Christmas in Indiana without Arold. I'm really, really bummed about that part. I was looking forward to having my husband experience Christmas with my family. Christmas really isn't a big deal here (to my horror). Since his family doesn't have any traditions for this season, he just doesn't get my Christmas cheer.

So, I'm beyond excited that Isaac gets to meet his grandma and grandpa, Uncle Jason, and my entire extended family. But I'm also really bummed that we won't be spending our first Christmas as a family together. And I won't be in Haiti for our anniversary either because it's extra expensive to travel between Dec. 20th and Dec. 31st. But my husband assures me we will have lots of time to celebrate before school starts on Jan. 7th.

I'm bringing Haitian coffee with me. You can purchase a 10oz bag of delicious Haitian coffee for just $6. Pick up in Mishawaka and Goshen on Sunday Dec. 23rd. Or I can mail it to you on Dec. 20th, but I don't know what shipping will cost right now. Cash, check or PayPal. Leave a comment telling me how many bags you want, or e-mail me britneyLsmith (at) gmail (dot) com.

Growing up!

Here's a comparison of our little guy at 1 month and 2 months old. Can't believe how big he's getting!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Expanding the Lab

Our friends from Illini Life Christian Fellowship have committed to maintaining the computer lab in Gramothe. In March of 2010 they brought 14 laptops, equipment to make the lab internet ready, a server, and then they built a computer cart to house all of the equipment. It was a huge blessing to our students and made it possible for us to teach computer skills to more students. Last spring they added three more laptops to the arsenal, and spent a considerable amount of time doing "upkeep" in the lab. Their commitment to making our students tech savvy is incredible!

In planning for their trip this February, they asked us for a wish list. Since our dream is to be able to teach all 250 high school students how to use the computer, we gave them a big list. Molly wrote back and said she thinks it's doable; they just need to ask the right people to support the project.

Sooooooo, I thought I would give YOU the opportunity to partner with Illini Life and Mountain Top Ministries. You can help Haitian youngsters in a very tangible way. Molly and Jay put together a website with information about this Lab Expansion project. Check out their website and consider making a tax deductible donation. Instructions on how to contribute to expanding the lab are at the bottom of the main page. (You'd send the money to the Illini Life church, who will purchase the computers and other supplies to bring to Haiti.)

High School Class Sizes

Since I haven't been to Gramothe since before Isaac was born (and he's 2 months old now), I am deprived of interaction with my students and also having stories to share. (when I started this post I still hadn't been up to Gramothe, but I went to church on Sunday so I have technically been there since Isaac was born)

So, I snatch up any papers my husband brings home and work hard to decode them. They're all in French, remember. I'm constantly asking him if anything interesting has happened at school... the answer is almost always no. (the punk!)

This week I found a list of the class sizes. The high school numbers are down a little this year, but I'm not complaining. Teaching a class of 50 students is really challenging. Without further ado, here are the high school class sizes (some of them are approximations--since the paper with the actual numbers disappeared I had to try to remember them all).

7th grade: 50 students (always a big class)
8th grade: 32 students
9th grade: 30 students
10th (freshmen): 25 students
Seconde 11th (sophomores): 25 students
Rheto 12th (juniors): 32 students
Philo 13th (seniors): 11 students

Monday, December 3, 2012

Prayers this Week

Hey, thanks for your prayers. We really appreciate them! Here's what we're praying about this week.

  • Rosias (aka Mouse to those who have been here) fell after school on Thursday and broke his arm/wrist. Beth took him to the Baptist Mission, so he has a cast and an appointment to go back this Thursday to get it checked out. Pray that his wrist will heal quickly and completely.
  • Praise God that Rosias's aunt found a job! 
  • Another student, all I know is that she's 15, fell on her way to church Sunday morning and hurt her wrist, too.  Beth wrapped her wrist and loaded her up with some ibuprofen. Pray that she doesn't have any broken bones and that she heals quickly. Micka will check her wrist for swelling in the morning and keep her supplied with ibuprofen.
  • Britney and Isaac went to church yesterday for the first time since he was born. Praise God for safe travels on the ATV and good fellowship with our church friends.
  • As always, please pray for our safety and health. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A New Era

Mr. Isaac turned two months old last week, and I think we have officially entered a new era. Previously, we were doing pretty good if Isaac would sleep three hours at a time. He got up at least twice a night to eat, and  sometimes he threw in an extra feeding just keep things exciting. I've been telling him for weeks, maybe months, that he should try to sleep for four hours at a time, but he didn't listen to me.

Well, four nights ago Isaac slept for five, count them FIVE, hours in a row. I didn't go to sleep until about 2 hours in, though, because I was sure he would want to eat around 11pm. So the next night as soon as he went to dreamland, I got in bed and promptly fell asleep because I was hoping for another five hour stretch. Well, he only slept three hours, but he did sleep 5 hours the second stretch of the night. And the next two nights he's slept at least one 5 hour stretch. It is AMAZING. Getting so much sleep at a time makes me feel like a new woman!

In non-sleep related news, Isaac has discovered his tongue. He sticks it out randomly and licks his blankets, bib, hands, and anything else he can get his tongue on. He also does this weird lip sucking thing that is quite hilarious. It's really fun to see him becoming more aware of his surroundings and interacting with us more. He started smiling a couple weeks ago, but he never wants to smile for the camera. I'll leave you with the one picture we have of him smiling.