A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

Rather than try to explain all of the incredible things that I have been experiencing the last (nearly) two months since my last blog update, I think it would be most efficient to share a bunch of pictures of what’s been happening:

Staff retreat at El Faro on the east coast of Guatemala. This was a great time of refreshing and relaxation at the end of a very busy year!

We were blessed with the attendance of pastor Will and Lindy Wilson to bring us encouraging messages focusing on “changed lives, changing lives.”  It was a great time of sharing in life-giving fellowship.

We also had time to goof off and have fun as staff. It’s nice to have the opportunity to let lose after always being the “responsible ones” in charge of others’ well being.  It is so refreshing to spend time laughing together.

Our time at the Faro was certainly a blessing! I flew home to the U.S. a week after the retreat.

My neurologist appointment in Chicago went very well. It is always great to see Dr. Goldman and catch up! I am still in the same stable state that I was since my check up last year. My current shunt is plenty old and will need to be replaced as soon as I start to have symptoms of hydrocephalus. But praise God for protecting me and sustaining me in every way this past year and please continue to pray for my health.

After spending only four days at home, I traveled with my family to Florida to celebrate Christmas with my relatives whom I don’t have the opportunity to see very often. We had a great time playing games, enjoying the beach, and eating! I got to teach them all how to play Monopoly Deal, a game that I had learned in Guatemala at the staff retreat! (And coached multiple cousins in strategy through gruesome games to secure the WIN!)

We also did our annual white elephant gift exchange, this year with my brother participating through skype from Afghanistan!

Early morning walks on the beach provided great quality time to chat with my mom and aunts. I love reflecting on all that God has blessed me with this past year! Thank you to all of you for your love and support. It really means so much to me!

Dra Sara picked me up from the airport when I arrived back in Guatemala late at night and I went with her the next day to her shift in the NICU. Greenville College student Amber joined us and we had a great time together! Abbey and I were blessed to have Amber living with us in our apartment the past five weeks and we look forward to her coming back as a summer intern!

Then it was straight to the clinic the next morning after our night at the hospital! We are very pleased to be able to provide our patients with a warm, vitamin-rich drink this year as they wait in the waiting room. It’s so good to be back!

We have been so blessed in the clinic with an abundance of medical donations so that we can properly run our clinic and provide for the needs of our patients! We are SOOO grateful for everyone who has been blessing our ministry so generously! God is faithful in sustaining this ministry as many discover His love within our clinic.

We received our first two week outreach group of the year from my alma mater, Greenville College!

We also hosted a group of Greenville staff as part of a vision tour to different SI countries. I was so very excited to get to see my Spanish professor and adviser, Dr. Reinhard.  He has been one of the most influential people in my life and I am sure that I would not be in Guatemala if it weren’t for him. He shared his passion for Latin American countries and the Spanish language with me and has also inspired me to use my education to make a difference in this world and the Heavenly Kingdom, for God’s glory.

We had one student (Andrew) assisting us in the clinic, but we got a lot done! We started on a census of the community of El Gorrion to weigh and measure kids 5 years of age and younger in order to combat malnutrition in this area.

This was my favorite part of the two week outreach. We were able to minister to a 12 year old girl who had suffered a mini stroke, causing partial facial paralysis. She struggled and fought a lot with her siblings as they constantly insulted her and put her down. Her emotional suffering and anger was manifested in severe physical symptoms. Andrew and I were both deeply impacted by how Dra Sara ministered to Blanca by reassuring her of her worth in God’s eyes and reminding her that the creator of the universe loves HER and hears her cry. We gave her her very own Bible to take home and left her with some homework reading before she comes back in next week to receive her second of 4 nerve injections.

Please keep Blanca in your prayers as she works hard to learn how to deal with her anger in a healthy way. Pray that she would encounter God and learn about forgiveness and mercy. Also pray that she will find herself beautiful as she is, a daughter of God.

Hopefully you are all familiar with Evelyn’s story by now. Andrew and I visited her and spent some time reading the Bible with her and Francisco. Evelyn was so happy to have Andrew there and to hear his story of his Christian walk. Andrew encouraged her with James 1:2-4  “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I had also visited Evelyn earlier in the month to give her and Francisco a children’s Bible story book that my sister had bought for Francisco. They were so excited to have received such an amazing Christmas present! Their joy was really contagious!

On Thursday, Andrew and I went to the hospital in Chimaltenango to observe surgeries. We were very blessed to see a variety of procedures including an external manipulation of a broken arm, a herniotomy (hernia surgery), a cesarean section,  cleaning a severe burn, and a man getting the tip of his finger sewn back on.  I had a nice little conversation with the Chief of Surgery, Dr. Escoveto, while he was operating on the hernia. He mentioned that he had one year of experience in neurosurgery and that he had implanted multiple shunts.   …  Well, I couldn’t just NOT say anything.  I got to share a little bit of my story with him and we had a bit of a bonding moment. He is a wonderful doctor and I am looking forward to exploring the doors that this conversation may have opened up to minister to the staff at the hospital.

Thank you for keeping our ministry in your prayers! We are all very excited for what this new year holds in store for us here in Guatemala. Every ministry site at SI Guatemala has new and exciting things happening, so please keep us all in your prayers. You can also be praying for the other country locations of Students International, including the newest one which will be beginning in a very short while in Nicaragua. Pray that God would have His hand over everything that we do and that many people would be blessed through our ministry but above all, that they would discover God’s saving grace in their own lives. God bless you all, and happy New Year!

love, Britney

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