Wednesday, February 19, 2014


So, my name hasn't been Britney L Smith for quite a while. Since I haven't been posting much anyway, I decided this is a good time to move my blog to a URL that is more fitting. You can find any new posts (no promises on frequency!) at
the address is NOT case sensitive. I just did that to help you see the words easier

If you read this blog through an RSS feeder, you'll want to update my address. Thanks for all your support over the years!! I hope you'll come with me to this new blog. :)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

long overdue Isaac pics

Sunday, January 26, 2014

confessions of a maladjusted former missionary

It's been a while since I've written anything here. Mostly that's because I have a hard time keeping up with being a mom, a wife, and a full-time public school teacher. But, another major factor in neglecting writing is that I've had a hard time adjusting to life in the States. For most of the past 8 months, and probably longer than that, I've been cocooning myself from the world. I suppose my philosophy was that if I drew into myself and ignored the world, I could avoid some of the pain of leaving Haiti. I've become a master at avoiding interactions with people that might lead to meaningful conversations. The only thing cocooning myself did, though, was isolate me during a time when I desperately needed to be surrounded by people who love and support me. Change is hard no matter what, but this particular change was extreme. We left our jobs, our first home as a married couple, Arold's family, our friends and coworkers, our church, the ministry to Haitian students we loved so much... Everything about our lives changed in one fell swoop.

Logically, I know we made the decision to follow God's leading and move the United States. Irrationally, I felt like God did this to (instead of for or with) us. In the beginning I was hurt and angry, feeling like God had sent us to the US and forgotten about us. When I'm being reasonable, I can see that God is still using us--maybe not in the way we'd like, but working through us nonetheless--and that he has a purpose for our time here. Arold is taking Bible classes, we are learning about various models of ministry, and we are working on becoming financially independent. Knowing that our time here is preparing us for future ministry is the balm to my hurting heart.

Living in the States has been good. We stayed with my parents for the first seven months before moving into an apartment of our own. They adored having Isaac there every day to tickle and cuddle and keep out of the dog food. It was a true blessing to live with them while we transitioned to life here. We enjoy the stability and conveniences of living in a developed nation. And, I personally am thankful for hot showers every single day.

But as good as it is to have access to the conveniences of the modern world at my fingertips, I'm still learning to reconcile the desires of my heart with the reality of today.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Finding joy


That's my one word theme for this year. I think God knew I would need a daily reminder to find my joy in him.

Most days I look at my life and see all the things it is not. I'm working instead of staying home with Isaac. Arold and I are working secular jobs instead of doing the full time ministry our hearts long to do. I'm cranky and short with people at work instead of bearing the fruits of the Spirit (which are love, joy, peace, patience,kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control). My life doesn't look like I think it should, and I'm having trouble coming to terms with that.

Instead of focusing on what is "wrong" with my life, I'm counting my blessings today and finding joy in those things.

  1. Isaac's hugs and kisses
  2. Isaac reaching up for Daddy as soon as he saw him this morning
  3. having one of my former Mishawaka students in class again this year
  4. Facebook messages from my Haitian students
  5. the pale sunrise on the way to work this morning
  6. my office mate at work being awesome
  7. Luci's "checking up on you" text

Thursday, October 24, 2013

(untitled post)

I really would like to make writing regularly on this here blog a reality. But I kind of think that's not going to happen in the foreseeable future. Trying to balance work, family, and the rest of life has been more difficult than I ever imagined.

I don't hate my job, just the fact that it sucks up so much of my time. In fact, there are quite a few enjoyable aspects to my job. But it's not what I want to be doing.It's just that, truth be told, I'd really rather be doing other things. Things that involve the western third of an island in the Caribbean, education, sustainable jobs, and the like.

In the moments when I'm alone, I like to think about my future life. I imagine the house we'll build in Haiti and the ministry we hope to do. I imagine what our family might look like a few years down the road and where our kids will go to school. I imagine cooking and crochet classes. I imagine myself fluent in Creole and friends with my neighbors.

Unfortunately that's not a reality right now. Until we are completely debt free, I will be doing this balancing act. Hopefully I get better at it sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

So many things

Ay. Ay. Ay.

It's been a while, huh? My life is so full of reading logs and essays to grade that I barely have time to sit down. Forget about time for reflection and writing. People keep asking how we're adjusting to life in the States, and I don't know what to tell them. I haven't really had time to think about how we're actually doing. We've just been going, going, going. Thankfully that feeling of just barely keeping my head above water is slowly fading. Or maybe I'm just getting used to all the hustle and bustle of life in the U.S.


In other news, Isaac turns one year old today. But not until 9:25 pm. I still have a baby for a few more hours. It seems unreal to think about this day last year. I was certain I would be pregnant for another week. Then, BAM, my water broke. Three hours later we were holding our precious little boy. I remember the euphoria of those first few hours with Isaac. We couldn't take our eyes off of him.

Now, we can't take our eyes off of him either, but that's because he'll get into the toilet if we don't watch him like a hawk. Ha! He keeps us on our toes for sure.

A few weeks ago I drove through a part of town I haven't been in for a looonnnggg time. Honestly, I wanted to close my eyes to avoid seeing the run down, rotting apartment buildings and the barred windows of the cash advance business on the corner. I thought about locking my doors (you know, because some thugs might have wanted to jump in my car while I was at a red light), and I also considered trying to find an alternate route that would allow me to avoid the adversity and despair of the inner city. 

How easily I forget that my subdivision, I-don't-have-to-fight-for-anything  life is not the reality that so many people live in. Four months ago I saw the faces of poverty every day, and embraced them. A few months of living surrounded by privilege and suddenly I'd rather ignore the injustice in my own backyard.

I disgust myself.

It's been difficult for me to transition from "official" missionary work--where every activity and day has purpose--to just another average Joe. I'm thankful for a job where I can impact the lives of others, but right now it just feels like a job. Making a difference in my co-workers' and students' lives is secondary to teaching the curriculum and keeping up with paperwork. When I really think about it, I know I haven't really left the "mission field." But most days I don't really feel like I am being used by God.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

keeping them close

I'm preparing to start school here in the States, but I really miss my students in Haiti. 

 I'm planning to print these pictures, and a few others, to hang in my desk area at school. 

So, even if I don't have any Haitian students sitting in my classroom, at least I can see some beautiful Haitian faces while I'm working in my janitor's closet turned office.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Cutie Patootie

 Isaac loves music, especially when he helps Daddy play the keyboard.

Isn't he adorable?

Our first boat ride. Arold's not showing off his phone, he was making a video.

Isaac and his friend R. She is four months older than him, but he's a good 3 pounds heavier and at least an inch taller. Crazy kids.

Isaac helped himself to a snack while Mom was doing something else.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

starting to sink in

We left Haiti six weeks ago. I know in my head that we moved here, but until today it mostly felt like we were on vacation. Visiting my family, eating ridiculous amounts of junk food, and showing off my hubby and baby, you know? (Well, it probably hasn't felt like vacation to my husband who has been working the last two weeks. Praise the Lord for a job!!)

Today I went to meet the administrators and the English department chairman at the high school where I'll be teaching (Goshen, for anyone local). I'm getting excited about meeting my new students and having a mission field again. I found out which classes I'll be teaching, saw my office area, and picked up my keys. It's kind of fun to start something new.

But today was also a reminder that my ministry in Gramothe is complete. Magalie, Faubert, Ricardo, Tania, Ogimene, Ameline, Rony, and all the rest of them aren't my students anymore. They are forever in my heart, but they aren't my students.


Change is hard. I know I'll have new students to get to know and love, but I really miss my MTM students today.

Monday, July 8, 2013

getting settled

Well, we've been in the States about a month now. There's not much to report other than we both have jobs and we're trying to get settled.

The first few weeks felt like vacation. Except for the parts where we were job hunting for Arold. That is definitely not the stuff of a vacation. Praise the Lord he was finally hired by a company in Goshen. Someone from church got him the job and we are incredibly thankful for God's provision!

There are many wonderful things about the United States. Hot water--all the time. Access to a full sized washer and dryer. Fast food. Smooth roads. Air conditioning (though someone doesn't appreciate it as much as the other).

But there have also been many adjustments for us. We miss Arold's family, our students, our friends. My husband hasn't said so, but I think it's safe to say we both miss the food. We miss our life in Haiti, but we are getting settled here. Arold has started working. Isaac is doing a trial run at daycare while I help them out for the next two weeks. We are trying to get plugged in at church (we're attending Brenneman Memorial Missionary in Goshen for anyone wondering).

Sometimes I think it would be nice to just cocoon ourselves inside my parents' home and stay hidden away as long as possible. But I know we need to set down roots and make a life for our family here.

Overall, I'd say we're doing well. Both my guys have adjusted much better than I thought they would. I just need to remember to give myself grace while we make this transition.

Keep praying for us, will ya?