First let me apologize for the delay in getting this last update on the Yap mission finished. It is with both sadness and excitement that I bring my final stories to each of you. So much has happened since I started the transition back to the states and I didn’t want to leave anything out.
Thank you all for your prayers and support. Without your willingness to answer God’s call none of this would have been possible.
A little over two weeks ago I left Yap and came home to the wonderful state of Kentucky. My last project prior to departing Yap was to finish the library. I thought two months was plenty of time to organize, label and shelve the over 4,000 books that had been donated to the school library, but I was sorely mistaken. When I realized I had only two weeks left in Yap, I knew I was going to need some help. I enlisted the help of three marvelous young high school students from the school. I can honestly say, that at that point, GOD MOVED, and with their help, the work was completed!
It was not completed with much time to spare. God often does not give us time to waste and there was no wasted time on this project. I spend most of every day working on the library before I left. The teachers pulled together to make sure I packed my bags and mailed all my packages home. They even helped with my three aspiring young librarians after I departed with cleaning up and adding the final touches to the library.
I was blessed with a going away party from the church and school. It was a sad moment when it came time to say goodbye to the many people on Yap who have supported me and been my family away from home. Leaving Yap means arriving at the airport at midnight for the 2:00 am flight to Guam. Despite the late hour, I was met at the airport by a group of teachers, friends, church members, and fellow missionaries I have been honored to work for the past 8 months. The people God placed in my life while I was on Yap will forever be a part of who I am; who God created me to be. Their love and prayers will be an invaluable part of me forever.
Arriving in Guam I was physically and emotionally exhausted. When we are no longer able to go on our own, God steps in and takes over. If you have ever travelled with me or spent much time around me in the airport, you know that I am an avid believer that airports are one of God’s holy places. Countless miracles have happened in airports around the globe. And in that airport, 8000 mile from home, God began writing the next chapter of my life.
It started with a message from my sister. It simply said, she thinks she has found me a teaching job at a Christian school in Kentucky. When I landed in Hawaii, I had the contact information for a woman who is looking for a new technology instructor. When I reached Houston, I emailed the headmistress of the school. On arrival into the Cincinnati airport, I had an email asking if I could interview for the position the following day. So what else can a good young missionary do but stop and pray. So I did.
The following day, I got up, got ready, and headed down the road for the scenic forty minute drive from my home to the school. I met the headmistress and administrator, and began the wonderful dance of the interview process. After everyone’s questions had been answered, they gave me a tour. I thought this was a good sign, especially when they started introducing me to the teachers we passed in the hall. Then I head back home to sleep off some jet lag.
By dinner time, I have an email asking for my references. I feel pretty sure they are going to offer me the job. So, I ask mom to pray with me before heading to bed. We asked for God’s wisdom and direction so I can make the choice He wants. After the prayer we give each other a hug and planned to head to bed. Immediately the phone rings. At 10:00 pm barely 24 hours after I arrive home from an 8 month mission trip 8,000 miles around the globe, I am offered a teaching position that I never actually applied for at a Christian school I had never really even heard of. I was asked to teach technology to students preschool to 12th grade.
If I had know what I really wanted in a job, back when I started praying about what I would do after I left YAP, this would be the job I would have prayed for. There is nothing I would change about this job. I get to meet students of all ages and experience the joys of teaching something I am passionate about in an environment where I can share my faith with both students and teachers alike.
You might ask, What does this mean for my mission work and for Sent Missions? We are not done. As I take the next few months as an opportunity to be a missionary on American soil, I hope each of you will keep me and Sent Missions in your prayers. I fully believe, God is not done with us yet. I am certain that there are many places God needs me and others like me both at home and abroad. So many communities are torn apart by war, poverty, and politics. So many children need love, support, and education to become all God wants them to be. Sent Missions will continue to fundraise and gain the support needed to go and meet the needs of Gods children around the globe. This is not the end, it is only the beginning.
As we move into this next chapter, I ask only that each of you keep your eyes, ears, and hearts open so we may hear where we will each be Sent next. #sentsummer17
Last week I had the amazing privilege of going to the outer islands of Ulithi. The Ulithi Atoll was the US military base in the Pacific during World War 2. These islands have a rich history that stretches back to when the islands were settled by the Yapese people. The Japanese came to Ulithi first and brought hardship and slave labor to the people there. When the Americans arrived and took control of the islands the Ulithian people were thrilled to be free of the Japanese and their harsh ways. Following the American involvement in Ulithi, quite a few of the natives now have some American heritage.
Ulithi is a gorgeous place, filled with pure white sand, crystal clear ocean, fabulous coral reefs, and amazing people. The island I visited was called Ferdai. It was one mile long and you could see the ocean on both sides while walking the island. I also got a chance to visit the islands of Asor and Falliop, but for a much shorter stay.
I arrived in Ferdai the way most outer islanders travel, by ship. Yap Navigator is a cargo/passenger vessel. Passengers can rent a cabin, but most chose to stay on the deck or hatch for a much cheaper voyage. The ship was crowded for this trip and there were wall to wall people. I spent my one night aboard sleeping on my hammock at the front of the ship. Sleeping in a hammock on a rocking ship on the ocean is a little like getting rocked to sleep I would imagine, that is, if you don’t get sea sick.
We arrived in Ulithi in the wee hours of the morning. We had to wait until sunrise, before boarding smaller boats and heading to shore. My traveling companion and one of my friends, Carmen, is from Ferdai and her sister, Agnes, came to great the both of us when we arrived. We loaded our stuff onto an island taxi, also known as a wheel barrel, and headed for the home of Agnes and Henry. After arriving I took a short nap in a shaded hammock that wasn’t moving to the rocking of a boat. Then we headed out to meet all the islanders.
Of course, everyone offered me food and I felt like I spent my whole first day there eating. While I was eating of course I got to have some amazing conversations with the people and get to know them. Over the next few days we explored the island, visited the people, prayed for the sick. I shared about my culture and faith and they shared theirs. I learned about how families are structured in a small island community and how the social hierarchy in Ulithi works.
The life these people lead is so simple, uncomplicated, and full of joy. They live off the land, eat the food that grows there, hunt in the waters, build shelter from the leaves. There is no waste and little want when you live life like that. The trash on the island, the waste, it was western waste, things imported to “improve” the island life. Plastic bottles, broken electronics, and the makings of a western life are found across the island. But like all things these eventually wear out and what is left has nowhere to go. There are no landfills on an island that small. So they just get piled around the island, the get into the ocean while more trash washes up on shore.
My eyes were opened to the way these people live. With no wifi, internet, no way to travel off the island, my world was quiet. I understood that verse found in Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God…” In America we try to be still, but are consistent fight for more time, for more energy, to accomplish our many tasks in life get in the way. God wants to be with us, for that we have to be still. I got to be still. I got to listen to God. I got to hear God in a powerful way. I was free, I was at peace. For a week, I lived the simple life, something few these days get to do. Their was no schedule, no rush. I could sit by the ocean, under a mahogany tree are read his Word. I could pray, for hours, I could seat and listen, and I could hear God’s voice.
We left for the island of Asor the day before we had to fly back. After the 45 minute boat ride between the islands we arrived. I got to see the funeral of a chief, sleep in a women’s’ house, and meet more of the amazing people. I got to see an island worship in a way I thought I could never see. When a body arrives on the island it is shown the upmost respect. Islanders for all the surrounding islands came and sat by the water’s edge waiting. When the boat carrying the body came to shore you could hear the singing on the next island over it was so load. They sang through the night and into the morning until he was buried. His body was never left alone. And then, all too soon, the last morning came. Our bags were packed on the boat and we made the very short trip to Falliop. We lugged our stuff to the short airstrip and watched the small plane land. The Pacific Missions Aviation pilot loaded our bags on board and we all got on. I even got to ride co-pilot. Then we flew from Ulithi to Yap.
For me, Yap has always been this tiny corner of the world that few ever heard of. It was the end of the earth. Then I went farther. I went to a tiny, mile long island, that fewer have heard of. I met people that few knew existed. And I let them know, that God has not forgotten them. God knows where they are. God does not forget his people, He has written their names on His hand (Isaiah 49:16). He remembers them and He will send someone among them to lead them to Him. When I left Yap was small, but when I returned I found it enormous.
My prayers, and yours I hope, will be with the people of Ulithi. May God send them a messenger to guide them to Him and a deeper understanding of God’s ways. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Ulithi, to the ends of the world. I’m glad I got a chance to meet you.
Well the summer session has started and the 35 students currently in attendance. We are enjoying the more laid back, fun atmosphere that is summer school. Joy for learning is the summer school motto and the kids and staff are living up to it.
Now that my kindergartens have left me for 1st grade I get to spend more time working with all the students here at the school. I fill much of my day working with the many different students in the two classrooms and helping them find new and exciting ways to learn.
I am also working on the library. A few years ago my home town church, Eastland Church of God, sent a team of educators to Yap to work at the school. While they were here they set up the library. Since then the library has expanded and more to a new location to accommodate the growing number of books. Since the move the books have been out of order and the problem has been worsen over the last few years. So all the books are coming off the shelves and being sorted, labeled, and re-shelved. It is exciting to see the library start to come together again. Although it is currently a mess I have high hopes of finishing this project before I leave.
Last weekend the church here at the school celebrated Father’s Day. We started church by giving each father a nunu (a flower filled wreath worn on the head). Then, after a wonderful sermon by Pastor Robert, we had a potluck meal complete with a huge tub of chocolate ice cream (a rare and expensive treat here on Yap). I love getting together with the church and sharing some food with them. It is one of the best ways to connect and get to know people.
The next week will hold some new adventures as I plan to step away from the school for a week and see a little more of the island and it’s people. I will, hopefully, be boarding the outer island ship this weekend or early next week for a week away on some of the islands that are part of the Yap state. I am excited to have this rare opportunity that few travelers have ever seen.
This week please pray for a safe journey on the ship, for the completion of the library, and for the students and staff here at the school. Your prayers and giving are working hard here on Yap and we could not do this without you.
Graduation season has come and gone at the Yap International Christian School. The first batch of high schoolers are ready to begin this fall, a dozen students are graduating from their classes and headed to a new class, and over 50 awards were handed out this past week. Two weeks ago we closed out the Kindergarten and Advanced Reading Classes and ended with a kindergarten graduation ceremony. I am so thrilled to say that thirteen out of sixteen students will be moving on to 1st grade! The next week we had two separate awards ceremonies for our younger students, third grade and under, then our older students, fourth grade and above. Both ceremonies were beautiful and exciting.
One of our volunteer teachers, Ms. Kayla, choreographed three separate modern dances and managed to teach them to the different classes in less than six weeks. The parents were really moved by the students’ performances. To top it off, Ms. Stacy and here class of first, second, and third grades performed a traditional Yapese dance. Usually Yapese dancer start to prepare for their dance many months in advance, but in only a matter of six weeks Ms. Stacy and her team had those students dancing like the pros.
I am so proud of the students and staff here at the school. The students are amazing, and it is so great to work with them every day. The staff is even better though. They are the front line of student success and they work hard to make sure that all students are succeeding in their classrooms. I am so proud to work with these teachers and I could not envision a better staff to complete the school year with.
Now we are all taking a break for two weeks and looking forward to the start of summer school in June. Many of my teachers have the summer off and will be traveling to the outer islands to visit family and relax before the start of the school year. Five of my favorite teachers (oh who am I kidding, they are all my favorites), will be hanging out with me this summer for some amazing summer school fun. I can’t wait to see what this summer holds for Sent Missions on Yap!
Well. April is done and May is just beginning here on Yap. We pray that May will continue to gift us with rain. The last few weeks of April brought enough rain that the fires across the island are out, the number of trees falling into the road has lessened, and the air has gotten less dusty with each passing rain. We are so thrilled to see the dark clouds gather over this island. The reservoir is still dangerously low, but hopefully with a little more rain we will be able to see some improvement in the water level.
Well enough dark cloud talk, let’s talk school children. The kids only have two weeks left in the school year and are desperately trying to stave off end of year procrastination to get their work done. Hopefully we will be able to pull off the work, the three separate awards ceremonies starting next week. Also the soccer tournament and table tennis tournament in the next two weeks. Oh yeah, and then there is a wonderful two week class break for summer, and then the start of everyone’s favorite time of year, SUMMER SCHOOL!!!
Yes summer school starts up in a month, and although we are all excited, the teachers are looking forward to the two week summer break. The students would like to say that they are looking forward to it as well. And to be honest it will be great to get a chance to relax after a few months of working a job previously filled by two people.
So, Yap is doing well and so is the project. Care packages for the school are starting to come in. The teachers and I are all excited about meeting some of the needs the school has. Keep Yap in your prayers this week.
Nov 29, 2015 | 19:31 pm
With just a little over a month to go until I head off to Yap. I am truly excited to see what God has planned for this trip. Nine months is a long time and I can't wait to see what He has planned.I have been fund raising for the last few months. So far the startup costs are covered and plane tickets are purchased. Now I am working on raising the funds for each month. I am so thankful for all the people who have already pledged to support me monthly! I am so grateful and I couldn't do it without you! I am looking forward to see God work and provide the funds for this trip.
Oct 18, 2015 | 08:27 am
This month I started my own Non-Profit that is tax-exempt! What does this mean you ask? Well this means that any money you give to Sent, Inc. will go directly to the Yap fund. AND you will receive a receipt in the mail that you can use on your annual tax return. I am so excited that this non-profit is finally up and running. I loved getting to see how God was able to use people to accomplish this task. Everything came together quickly in a way only God can do! If you want to give you can do that through PayPal or a check mailed to our Sent, Inc "office" (aka, my house). Click on the Support tab to donate!
Aug 16, 2015 | 16:11 pm
So your probably wondering, What is Brittany up to these days? While, nice question! Right now I am working on graduating this December. Then I'm embarking on my longest trip by traveling half way around the world to the island of Yap. There I will be running a school and working with the church plants on Yap. But first, I have four months to raise about $20,000. SO the FUNdraising has begun. Ready. Set. Go!