Haiti Support letter

 

Following is a copy of our support letter for our “Go Fellowship” position starting july 9th for 6 months. If you would like to receive a hard copy of the letter please respond with your address and we can send one within the next week or two before we embark on this great adventure.

 

Dear friends and family,

Have you ever had a moment where you thought, “This is it. This is what I was made for”? Have you ever found yourself so passionate about something that you knew you would go to great lengths to pursue it? What if this is the life Christ envisioned for all of us? I know that God created us to experience this in ways unique to each other, but for me this happened looking into the big brown eyes of a little Haitian girl curled up in my arms. Jon Foreman’s lyrics to “Your Love Is Strong” suddenly made sense.

The kingdom of the heavens is buried treasure

Will you sell yourself to buy the one you’ve found?

The kingdom of heaven is worth selling ourselves for and trading in our lives of comfort and self-seeking. So with LOTS of prayerful consideration and thought, we decided to trade in the life we know for a life in which we’re trusting God to cut the path for us.

The Ferguson’s are excited to share with you our new and upcoming adventures! As you may remember, we were given the wonderful opportunity to lead the Shelterwood mission trip to Haiti this past March. We have considered doing overseas work since we’ve known each other, but getting to lead that trip as a married couple and learn more of what life outside our comfort could look like confirmed this dream that we wanted to go and serve. After returning back to the States we contacted Global Orphan Project with our interest in their organization and last month we received a call from them asking us to join their Haiti field team for 6 months starting in July!

We can’t believe how good God is to give us this opportunity! Here’s a quick overview of our role with GO (Global Orphan) in Haiti: our position is called “GO Fellows”. We will be responsible for leading and coordinating Vision Trips (5 day mission trips that occur nearly every week of the year). The main purpose of the Vision Trip is to raise awareness of the orphan situation. Raising awareness creates a larger platform for GO to create sustainable programs in Haiti. We have a lot of training to do because it is essential that the GO Fellow be knowledgeable of the culture and understand how these trips impact the children in the villages, both short term and long term. We are also excited because Shelterwood will be going on another trip in November and we will get to see familiar faces and watch God go to work within that group!

We are sending you this letter for this primary purpose: we need prayer warriors! It has been a difficult transition leaving what we know for something we’ll have to learn as we go. During the past month we have stepped down from our jobs, moved out of our cozy apartment, sold a lot of belongings, and left friends and family. We know this is the season God is calling us to, but there’s still that part of us that desires the comforts of family, friends, and American living (hot showers will be very missed!). Will you partner with us in this next season? Will you pray for us as we will be adjusting to life in Haiti? Will you pray that the love of Christ will become so evident to these orphans that they can’t ignore Him? Our desire is that they will find their Heavenly Father sufficient despite not having an earthly father. Will you also pray for God’s provision for us, physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially? Thank you for being in our corner. We wish we could adequately express how much it means knowing we have incredible people who are thoughtful toward us.

It is very important to us that you know how much your recent support has meant to us. From our wedding last September to our trip in March to this new season we’re entering into, it has all been possible because of your loving encouragement and support. We acknowledge that we are able to do the things we have because you’re willing to love us so well and join us in our service. We thank you for that! We want to keep an open door for you if you desired to give monetarily to GO or us. While it doesn’t cost us anything to go to Haiti, it will cost GO around $6,000. Our position will be voluntary so while GO considers that amount to be part of the cost of staffing they also ask that we raise support to help offset that cost. We have been very diligent in our budgeting, however, we will still have bills back home plus personal expenses for trip preparation (immunizations, travel/medical insurance, school loans, supplies, approximately $1600) that we will need to focus on. If you feel led to give to GO for our trip you can make your check payable to Global Orphan Project (tax deductible). If you feel led to help support us while we have taken this voluntary position you can make the check out to either Brian or Courtney Ferguson. We ask that all forms of support be mailed to Brian’s parents (Jim and Pam Ferguson). The purpose in this is so they can gather all the support and ensure that it is properly deposited, whether to Global Orphan’s office or to us individually. Their mailing address is:

Jim and Pam Ferguson

C/O Brian and Courtney Ferguson

7514 27th Ave NE

Seattle, WA 98115

 

We thank you for prayerfully considering this, but mostly we are thankful for you. It’s so fun for us to know that we have such supportive friends and family with whom we can share life. We are currently working on an online way of keeping everyone back home updated. We will be sending more information soon on how to keep up with us, if you choose. Thank you again. We love you and are so grateful for you!

 

God bless,

Brian and Courtney Ferguson

Haiti 2.0

So going back to Haiti has been on me and Courtney’s heart for while. We have been in touch with the global orphan staff. We have interviewed and thought we where going to have wait till the end of summer to be able to go. Then thirsday night we got a call from mike (director of haiti) who is the contact guy in Haiti and he said they really wants us to come ASAP. So he offered to fly us out a few days after my brothers wedding around June 10th and then we would be there two weeks then I would fly back June 22nd for a camp I’m working at this summer and would then meet Courtney in Alabama for her friends wedding July 6th. We would spend a few days in Alabama and then fly back to Haiti till sometime in December. Nothing for sure as of this point. I have spent a lot of time praying this weekend and asking for wisdom and guidance because it would be a quick transition from shelterwood to Haiti, and there are a lot of financial and logistical hoops to jump through. All this to say please pray for us, it is a very exciting, and a little overwhelming time. But God is good.

Love,
the Fergusons

Haiti through Courtneys eyes

Sorry for the delay in posting, we have been back for about a week and it has taken us some time to process and recover. I decided that since my wife is much more gifted at writing then me, she would probably be better at describing our trip, and how we are processing the experience. And a HUGE thank you to all who prayed and helped support us on this trip, God did some amazing things and i am so thankful that YOU all helped us make that a reality. Any now without and further adieu i give you my wife’s first blog entry…

Well we made it back to the States. I think I should be happy to be home and sleeping in Thank you 2my comfortable bed in my heated apartment (it’s been in the 30s here – brrr!). I think I should be happy to be back to hot showers and consistent electricity. I think I should be excited to drive my car again on a highway system that actually has rules (in Haiti the rule is don’t get ran over and use your horn often). I think I should be happy to be back in my home church, with full roofing over our heads as our expensive sound system cranks out the praise music. And honestly, I am. I am grateful for all of these things. But in all of these things I have discovered something I didn’t expect to find: distraction. Shouldn’t we have a better capacity for prayer if we aren’t concerned with freezing or starving (or heatstroke if you’re in the Haitian heat)? Shouldn’t our comforts free us up to focus more on God and draw closer to Him? Shouldn’t the privileges of a hot shower, running water, sleep without a mosquito net, or even privacy – shouldn’t all of these things enable us to move closer to God?  I’m frustrated by how easily my attention is shifted away from Christ and to my comforts, my rights, and my entertainments. The thing is I don’t think anything is wrong with any of these comforts – the issue is when we use these comforts as an excuse to drop God a notch down on our priority totem pole. The truth is any of us could have been born into any other circumstance than the one we were born into. So why do we take these blessings and use them to curse God?

Distractions. We have allowed gifts of comfort to transform into distractions. It seems illogical to envy an impoverished, barefoot orphan living in the slums of third world Haiti. DSC_0032But their joy was impossible to ignore. And their joy was not sourced from the old adage “ignorance is bliss”. These kids knew how to use our iPhones and cameras, they knew that the clothing we wore was nicer than theirs as they worked feverishly to wipe us down every time we stood up from sitting in the Haitian dirt, they knew the world we came from as we tried to understand theirs. These children were neither unintelligent nor unaware of our “privileged” backgrounds. But maybe we have gotten things backwards. Maybe they are the privileged ones. Maybe, their simple smiles hold more joy than we have ever experienced because, maybe, they have experienced God in ways we haven’t allowed ourselves to. What if we have gotten it all wrong? What if the American Way simply isn’t the Way?

In chapter 8 of the gospel of Luke Jesus introduces us to different types of soil that seed (the Word of God) can fall on. In verse 7 we see that some seed fell among thorns, “and the thorns grew up with it and choked it”. Verse 14 explains that the thorns represent “the cares and riches and pleasures of life”. I don’t think Jesus is bashing a heated home, running water, or a fully roofed church building. But I do think Jesus is hitting a hard point for our American Dream chasing society. Jesus recognized that these comforts, if chased after only for self-consumption, would create enough white noise to drown out His sweet voice.

The joy of the Haitian people I met who knew Christ reminded me of another story Jesus told. In the gospel of Matthew we are introduced to one verse, but in this verse is described the abandonment and love we as Christians should have toward our Savior.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”

(Matthew 13:44)

How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter into the kingdom of heaven (Mark 10:23)! The truth is there are far too many American Christians who would not be willing to sell all they own to gain the kingdom of heaven. But look at that scripture again: in his JOY he sold all he had. This man, probably thought as foolish by those around him, was overjoyed to part with all of his belongings because he knew the reward for being able to purchase the field that contained his treasure. I think back to all the yard sells my family had when I was younger. I can remember having to go through my toy chest and pick out items to sell.Thank you 1 I can remember specifically a teddy bear my mom wanted me to include in the yard sell. Do you know that I had not even touched that toy in a year, at least? Yet as I was asked to give it away there was a strange clinging that occurred at the thought of having to part with this cute and cuddly toy. Everyone has experienced this odd and sudden connection to that item we don’t want to rid of. Why does this happen? Why do we place so much value in our items and our belongings when Christ says, “Look! In this field is buried treasure! But you must come see for yourself!” Sorry Jesus, but I’m too busy mourning the loss of my teddy bear to come look at your field (or flat screen TV, dream home, or whatever it may be). Alas, we are too quick to choose complacency and mediocrity over the greatest thing there is!

Sure, we’re ok with choosing to become a Christian, attend church on Sunday, give our 10%, write checks to those who travel for missions, applaud those who do “crazy” things for their faith, but that sold-out, taking-the-bible-too-literally Christian culture just isn’t for us. Or is it? What if that crazy, sold-out, taking-the-bible-too-literally is exactly how Christ tells us we should be living? Scary? It should be to those who don’t want their comforts tampered with. Now all of this isn’t to say that I am the fiercely obedient Christian that Jesus says we should all look like. Far from it. But I am saying that the reality of Christ has been exposed to me and it hit me directly in the face. It kind of hurt, actually. Jesus stepped up and started pointing to all of these areas in my life where I choose comfort, security, anything else over Him. God is a loving and gracious God certainly, but He is also a jealous God. He does not want me choosing His gifts over Him. That brings me to my next point.

What are we pursuing? When we say “yes” to Jesus are we choosing Him or His blessings? When we pray do we pray to get closer to Him or to get an answer from Him? When we give do we do so out of obligation or to be able to pat ourselves on the back, or do we give in hopes of blessing God? These are questions I have to ask myself. What am I ultimately after? The benefits and blessings of God, or God Himself? I pray this question catches in your throat the way it did for me. Because I think we do have it wrong, have it backwards. If the way is Jesus and not comforts, rights, etc., then shouldn’t I be after Jesus, not comforts, rights, etc.? Shouldn’t I be after the One who is able to justify, not His justification? Shouldn’t I be after the One who knew me before I was born, not His answers to my future-seeking questions? Shouldn’t I be after the One who is able to pardon all sin, not His sin insurance? Do you see what I’m getting at? It’s not that the offspring blessings of Christ are wrong, but when we are ultimately seeking those to bless ourselves instead of seeking Christ Himself, we are missing it! Christ is THE greatest thing there is. He and His Father are the buried treasure!!  We have to see this. We have to be willing to sell everything to gain the kingdom of heaven! O that God would remove the American Dream haze and untint our vision so we could see what we’re truly pursuing verses what God tells us to pursue.

I am grateful for my brief time in Haiti and pray for future moments there. I pray also for those reading this – that these words wouldn’t be read and brushed aside as something written in an emotional response to a “mission trip high”. I pray you hear the truth in what God is revealing to me and I pray that God begins to reveal those same areas to you. And maybe, God will turn things upside down for you. And maybe, we’ll see those comforts solely as gifts and not rights. And maybe, that will shift our focus from things to God and, in turn, from God to people. And maybe, we will begin to see the work that we were intended for all along. Just maybe. But we have to choose God. We have to choose Christ. And we have to stop choosing “me”.

DSC_0133

This is another segment of a doctument that Courtney wrote for shelterwood… “Jesus really made himself known to one of our Shelterwood girls in Haiti. This beautiful girl struggles with food and weight issues and these had really intensified in the weeks leading up to the trip, so much so that leadership questioned if she should still be taken on the trip. The first morning we were there she confided in staff that during the trip she was going to remove herself from the center and not make the trip about her. This must have been just the remedy she needed to free her from the bondage she was in because during our time in Haiti our team got to see the lively and free

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girl we all knew was hiding behind her chains. Praise God that the love of those beautiful orphans showed our Shelterwood girl that God is REAL and God is BIG – bigger than her problems, as she testified at the end of the week! The normally quiet and insecure girl has broken out of her shell and shared her story with the entire Shelterwood campus upon return and now volunteers to lead the girls house in prayer whenever she can. God is good! (pictures to the rights)

 

 

Finally here is a link to the slideshow i made for the trip. Please do not repost this publically. We do have confidentially rules at shelterwood so unfortunately i will probably have to make this link private in a week or two.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EL_eo9VK3vs&feature=youtu.be

Haiti here we come

Thank you for all of your prayers, all of the money has come though, God is so faithful. And thank you for everyone who was able to support us financially, it is such a blessing.

It has been a lot of work getting everything ready but we are almost there. Please pray for safety, traveling graces, and for the ability to handle crisis as it almost inevitably arrises with our children. It has been snowing quite a bit so also prayer that our flight doesn’t get delayed/cancelled.

I really am overwhelmed by everyone’s amazing support/prayer for us. And I eagerly anticipate what God has planned for this trip. Can’t wait to share.

Love you all,

Brian f

Haiti and stuff

I don’t really know where to begin. Things have been hard recently. Not feeling at home in Missouri, missing my friends and family In Colorado, and work just seeming harder than ever. Everything kind of came to a head about a week and a half ago when I felt like we where on the verge of just quitting shelterwood and moving back to Colorado. Two weeks ago Courtney stepped down from her position as shift supervisor on the weekends and has been helping to coordinate all of the logistics for tr mission trip. This was a difficult but very necessary step. It has been a difficult position for her and things have just been building up over time. God was faithful, and we where able to have Courtney be kept on my shelterwood for the mission trip position. We are still trying to figure out what to do after the trip but we are taking things one step at a time.

We do still feel led to come back to Colorado, but I realized that my desire to do so a week ago was more out of fear(of being In Missouri forever) than because it was the right time. While I was at church the week I just had a very strong conviction that it wasn’t time to leave yet. I felt God saying, I know things have been rough but I have a plan. I also realized that a lot of my trouble has been brought upon myself. Like I complain and am frustrated that I don’t have a lot of friends or a strong community outside of shelterwood and its probably because I havnt really tried. So I signed up to join the worship team at our church and have been intentional in inviting people over from church to hang out, and I have been very suprised with how much of a difference it has made. Also felt convicted that I was really with drawing socially at shelterwood. I havnt been very relational recently which is not like me but everytime I try to be I just feel really uncomfortable. Granted I have had dozens of very unpleasant(to say the least) experiences with a lot of the kiddos over the last year and a half and I realized that thy had began to take a toll on me so I have been making a list of particular events that stood out from te last year and have been taking time to pray through them and forgive the people who wronged me. This could take awhile but I realized that if I keep holdin onto all this crap I won’t be able to love these kids let alone tolerate them much longer until I surrender these burdens.

Finally the long awaited mission trip is almost a week away. First of all I want to thank everyone who has been praying for us and this trip, we always covet yor prayers. Second a huge thank you to everyone who has blessed us with a financial contribution we have recieved $2900!!! We have just over a week to raise a couple hundred more, so please pray that God will show up and the money will come together in time.

Love brian

A new year

Things have a little challenging recently, today 3 people Courtney was close to left Shelterwood. One was a little who Courtney has been extremely close with for almost her entire time at shelterwood (she graduated). Another was a staff member who Courtney was close to (she also made our wedding programs). We have also just both been struggling with not feeling settled here in missouri.

We have been busy working to get the kids and ourselves ready for the upcoming mission trip. If you want a copy of the support letter we are sending out for the mission trip please reply to this post with your address, or you could also just send in a check addressed to shelterwood to 3205 N Twyman Rd Independence, MO 64058

Here is what our support letter reads… (it has pretty pictures to)

We have been in Kansas City for about a year and a half and have both been promoted to the position of shift supervisor at Shelterwood and we work weekends together. We have been married for just over three months now and are enjoying our life as newlyweds. We have been given the amazing opportunity to lead the Shelterwood mission trip to Haiti this year. We will be leading a group of about 30-40 kids and staff where we will work with kids orphaned by the 2010 earthquake. I, Brian, was able to attend this trip last year.  While our group was less than half of what we will be taking this year there was an incredible impact on the students who went and it was the therapeutic turning point for several of them.

 

The focus of our trip is simple – help these kids recover and rejoice again. Activities will include playing, singing, games and crafts. The simple act of loving these children, of becoming their family for five days is just like treating a physical wound. During our visit we will also have an opportunity to worship with the local church in Haiti, as well as be exposed to the sights and sounds of post-quake Haiti. We will also carry down clothing, shoes and other supplies that will be distributed to orphanages throughout Haiti.

I am so excited to see how this trip impacts the lives of these teens. While the students at Shelterwood are given various opportunities to serve throughout their stay, there is something special about traveling to a place where they have so little but love so much. It really makes you appreciate all of the things that are so easily taken for granted. I cannot wait to see how the Lord uses this trip in the lives of these teens.

One of the ways you can help us is to pray for the trip, the ministry we will perform, and the teens we will be taking. Only with prayer support will we be able to bless the children in the orphanage.

The other way to assist us is through your financial support.  The cost of the trip is $3200 for both of us ($1600 each), with airfare to/from Haiti. Your contribution will allow us the privilege of participating and is a tax deductible donation. If you feel led to make a financial contribution please make checks payable to “Shelterwood” and enclose in the pre addressed return envelope. (Please leave the memo/note section of the check blank)

God is transforming lives through the care provided to orphaned and abandoned children around the world. We are humbled to be joining Him in this work.

God bless,

Brian & Courtney Ferguson

Encouragement

This is a facebook message I got from a former shelterwood resident who got pulled from the program a few months ago. This was extremely encouraging for be bc I feel like most of the time we don’t really get to see a whole lot of heart change in the kids. And it can get discouraging so when something good happens we learn to share I with everyone to help keep things positive…

FERGUSON!!! What’s up? I was talking too a few of my friends here in ******
bout shelterwood and how the worst parts were the restraints they put us in when we flipped out and instantly thought of you( cause next too Hughes) you had the most painful restraints! But on a foreal note, the talks I had with you were life changing, I can honestly say I’ve never been in a place where I’ve felt so much love. I miss shelterwood like crazy!! I wish I had understood the chance I was given too make things better in my life. Please tell all the littles too make their time there count cause if they don’t they will look back on their moment at shelterwood with discouragement thinking the same thing I was. I did take some lessons away from there though, I learned that god throws difficult tasks and difficult trials not too trip us up or too watch us fall, he does it too see if you will ask him too help you up. You really did show me love even at my worst, I look back and sometimes wonder how you didn’t just punch me in the face sometimes. You always showed me love and never left me too fend for myself. My parents split a few weeks after they pulled me (I live with my brother and dad) and it took me every last ounce of strength too not turn back too my old habits, a lot of that strength came from prayer and the advice you have me too keep movin forward even when it seems hopeless . Now I can say I am a bright kid, a kid who accepts himself and accepts others. I have a strong relationship with god and I owe part of that too you. I remember talkin about religion with you in the middle of a storm one night while I was meditating. You gave me millions of reasons for god while I gave maybe 4 foolish reasons for Buddhism. You didn’t put me down for trying too be Buddhist (like some of the littles) you didn’t criticize, you let me do my own thing and then when I needed you (even though I didn’t know it at the time) you were there. I remember mountain biking on the trails and eating it thousands of times, wanting too turn back and you pushed me forward, I remember cuttin through all the brush makin the trails and I was goin on and on with crazy ideas of tree houses and buildin somethin in that bus back there and I swear you listened too every last word where as most people would’ve told me too calm down or just straight told me too shut up. I am still that squirrel from over the hedge lol. But even during restraints when tensions were high and I gave you no reason too respect me or show any love towards me it felt like it almost pained you just as much as it pained me too have too restrain me. Even while I cussed and screamed you tried too calm me down. When I was openly defiant you respected me. I wish I could have the shelterwood experiance over again, I would take my time there alot more seriously but I wanted too send you a message saying I truly am thankful for everything you did for me there and I am truly sorry for all the stuff I put you through cause honestly I probably gave you the worst of me just cause you were in the the higher position of the house. Happy New Years fergi hit me up when you can or even better text me at *********when you get the chance. Tell all the littles I said hi and tell em too get what they can because they might not relize it yet but one day once they’re gone they will either look back and say, “that experiance was the hardest but I got the most out of that place” or “I wish I had done it right the first time.” You are a true blessing fergi I guarantee you there is a kid in there right now who needs someone and you are the man too help him, cause I was that kid and you were the first too help me on my first day at shelterwood.

Hit me up soon bro,

Haiti

Shelterwood is going to Haiti again this year and Courtney and I have been asked to be the trip leaders! We have been wanting to go to Haiti togeather for awhile. Last year Courtney couldnt come because she was planning on going on a mission trip with her church in Alabama around the same time. Then we where going to try to visit the orphanage (that shelterwood went to) in Haiti on part of our honeymoon but it just was not logistically or financially possible. Courtney and I began emailing our CEO over the last couple of weeks and yesterday he approached us and asked if we would be trip leaders for Haiti. The trip will be the last part Feburary. We are out of town this weekend for Adam hogans wedding in New Orleans. Adam hogan was one of my roommates and fellow big brother for the last year at shelterwood, and was one of my groomsmen. Now I am going to be in his wedding. Once we get back we will begin the process of fund raising. Please be praying for us and for this trip.

In other news, things at shelterwood look to be getting crazy again. Friday we will have 33 boys in the house. Now some of you may say, whoah, hold on arnt there only 32 beds in the guys house? To which I would respond, well kind of. There are 32 beds upstairs in the two halls (walnut & white oat). But there are two additional halls down stairs, hickory hall has 3 rooms being used for offices and one room (which can house 4 is open. Also elm hall has 4 rooms, three of which are occupied by the big brothers. Anyway someone made a mistake and allowed one too many “intakes” (which is what we call it when we get a new kid) and we need to figure out where to put him.

There are a lot of changes that coming to shelterwood in the next couple of days, weeks and months. Please be praying for us and for this ministry.

Love Brian

Marriage

Forgot to bring my laptop to work so I will write this on my iPhone. I realized I havnt written a post in awhile and I wanted to catch y’all up. It’s almost been 2 months since I got married! There have been a lot of Adjustments and work has been challenging at time but overall things are really good. Marriage is a wonderful thing. Some of the adjustments I was referencing before are 1) this is the first time iv ever lived with only 1 person. So iv just been adjusting to having less easy access to socialize. 2) paying bills, getting Courtney on my insurance ect (all those fun grown up things). Highlights of marriage, building an awesome fort out of our 4 post bed. Having nerf sword fights (special thanks to mark g). Having thanksgiving with Courtney’s parents at our place. Getting to go to church togeather every week. And getting to hang out with my best friend everyday.

We want to move back to Colorado very badly but our friends Chris and nancy will be planting a church in north Kansas City next year and we feel led to help them.

Love you all
Brian

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18 days!

Some how its 18 days till im getting married. I feel like my life is blur. For the past several months my whole life was consumed with work, and wedding planning. And now 18 days out only a few details remain. Its weird i feel like i don’t know what to do with myself. I had my first official weekend “On point” last friday-Sun. Friday was pretty calm but Saturday was pretty crazy. Two kids who have been struggling for awhile snapped and cussed out every single staff member in the lobby for literally over an hour. Some of the insults where shocking and somewhat offensive but there where times that i was trying really hard not to laugh because i was having flashbacks to the fifths grade when calling fat was a major insult. It was a rough weekend for me. I felt overwhelmed trying deal with the additional stress of being the one in charge, while constantly discovering things i didn’t know, wasn’t trained or just don’t like doing. On friday we had a new shelterwood record. Me and the Hall director had to put 9 kids on a subsystem. We run on a points based system where the kids need to earn between 10,000 and 13,000 points a day to earn privileges for the next day and continue to progress in the program. Small infractions like swearing, or doing certain things without asking permission cause a student to lose 1,500 points. But when something major like kids fighting, running away, using drugs happen they loose between 85,000 and 100,000 points. Once you loose 30,000 points or more you are on a subsystem that you have to work off before being returned to your normal daily point system. There have been weeks and entire months that have gone by with no one getting a subsystem but in one day me and the hall director put 9 kids on subsystems. We met with each kid individually, explaining what happened, what they were losing points for and agreeing on specific target goal that they could achieve to get back large chunks of points for. All this to say it took 4 hours to meet with all the kids and process their subsystems on friday, Woof. This of course set the stage for the epic rant and controlled anarchy of two students saturday.  The 4 hour subsystem meetings, the 1.5 hours of anarchy, it is amazing what stress can do your body and your mind. I think you can learn a lot about someone when you see how they handle stress. We all of course have our natural proclivities in this reguard. Some people cave, some cry, some get angry or depressed, some people lash out, others become controlling. I found that my response to stress and anxiety from the lack of control on saturday was to first, initially freak out, then become angry, then to maintain as much control was possible, (eliminating the audience, keeping the troublemaker isolated, and preparing myself to intervene if necessary) and then during various breaks in the madness retreat the bathroom to vomit.

When all was said and done the situation had been resolved, i was, concerned primarily with my visceral response of vomiting and secondarily my intense and somewhat unrealistic desire for control. I was processing with courtney the next day and realized that my personality was possibly, partially to blame. I thrive in harmony, i generally do not enjoy conflict, and would say that i go so far as to avoid conflict if possible. This kind of sucks because i work in a place where is in one way or another almost always conflict of varying degrees either between students or sometimes staff. I realized that a lot of times that i let my emotions be dictated by my surounding. If the house is calm and generally well ordered i LOVE IT, i love my job, i love my life, it is well. But then things are crazy, there is disorder, disrespect, anarchy, my life seems to fall apart. Courtney wisely pointed out that this is no way to live life and is probably actually quite sinful because i am trying to control things are ultimately in Gods hands. Yes i have a sway in these matters, and No i can’t just sit back and let things blow over but i do have a choice about how i let things affect me. With that said i realized that the only way that i could have peace in the midst of chaos was  remembering that God, NOT me was in control. It was and is very humbling. But i know that if i want to continue working at shelterwood, i HAVE to have this mindset, because it is folly to think that i can actually control these kids. “Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” (1peter 4:19). This verse nailed me today, and i realized that this needs to be my mindset when things get tough. I have to entrust myself and shelterwood, and the kids that i am responsible for caring for to the Lord and continue to do good. Boom, nuff said.

Now im going to eat chick Fil-a and play tennis with my almost wife.

In Him,

Brian