I tend to focus a lot on an overview of our jobs, especially Brian’s. My job is a little more straight-forward: I teach. I’m a mom. Period. Brian’s job is quite a bit more diverse, so I thought I would take a little bit of time and delve into what exactly my husband does on a weekly basis. Be forewarned, though: it’s kind of hard to explain and changes regularly!
Brian’s official title is Head of Maintenance. This covers a huge variety of things. Let me break it down to what is currently going on.
Mondays are spent making lots of lists and figuring out the week. The main thing Brian is in charge of is the students’ work hours every afternoon, Monday through Friday. A lot of Bible schools in the States do this as well (the one we attended included). It keeps the cost down and, above all, helps us to see how students do during “work” which is not always fun or easy. One thing the students have to keep in mind is that they are here to learn how to be in full-time missions, which is not always easy, fun, or pretty, and sometimes requires doing jobs that are not in our job description, are not the most flattering, and are not recognized… or even noticed sometimes. This is what work hours do for our kids. Honestly, over these last three years, work hours has helped us see some students flourish and show obvious potential for full-time ministry, and it has shown us the students who are here because they have nothing else to do right now and couldn’t care less about authority or the “dirty side” of ministry.
What Brian does with work hours is decide which things are priority to get done and assign them to the two who are leaders over the kids in the afternoons. This includes anything from cleaning the classrooms to cutting the hedges to pulling up grass from between the decorative rocks. I think two of their current tasks are varnishing the brick walls outside the dorms and pulling weeds from between rocks around the campus. Brian tries to meet weekly with the two that are leaders to see how things are going and hear of any problems that he has to deal with. If ever there are issues with kids not doing work hours or having attitudes about work hours, Brian is pulled in to deal with it. If he can’t remedy the issue, it gets taken to somebody else and so on.
Work hours take up a lot of Brian’s time. The kids probably don’t understand what all goes into planning their work hours and making sure they have the right tools and that things get done correctly. Brian spends the better part of Mondays working on just the work hours. Then once a month, he comes up with a budget and price list of all the equipment needed to keep the work hours going.
Brian is also the Mr. Fix-It of the campus. Tuesday through Friday, Brian busies himself with all manner of fixing around the campus. Most recently, he has fixed locks on doors and fixed (for the umpteenth time) a broken water line [normally hatched in half by a machete in the hands of a teenager not paying attention while chopping weeds]. This week, Brian will be helping another co-worker install a new toilet and sink in their home. Brian helps the other missionaries out a lot with their maintenance needs around their homes, from washing machines to clogged toilets (like I said, the “dirty” side of ministry) to gas leaks.
Brian has been finding time here and there to fix up our home as well. We were given the funds to put down a floor on our first floor and just this weekend Brian finished tiling our kitchen. He will be putting laminant down in the rest of the downstairs and building shelves and doors for my kitchen cabinets (the littlest one in the house is getting quite mobile and has decided that everything in my kitchen is up for grabs. Literally). He’s also going to get our staircase a little more child-proof! All these things are becoming priority since Elena is in the beginning stages of crawling and we really can’t hold her off on this stage of life just because our floor isn’t done.
Brian also helps out with projects outside of our campus. He drew up the plans for and then helped build an apartment for some co-workers, off-campus. This week, he will be drawing up plans for a house for somebody who attends one of our church plants.
On weekends, Brian works here at home or tries to catch up on things around the campus. One of the things he does on weekends is to burn all the brush that gets pulled or chopped during the week. We do a lot of burning here… of pretty much everything… but Brian doesn’t like to do it when a lot of people are around because it results in a lot of foul-smelling smoke. He also needs the time to tend the fire otherwise entire areas catch on fire… like our garbage area (I mean, no, that never happens…).
And that is Brian’s life in a
nutshell. Somehow he still manages to be the best husband ever and a wonderful father.
You can pray specifically for Brian:
- To have lots of wisdom as he works with the Bible school students
- For his health (he’s had more issues with health already this year than ever in the last two years combined)
- For physical stamina as he works long days, a lot of physical labor
- For wisdom as he is now daddy and husband
- For his Spanish to improve so he can continue to take advantage of the opportunities he has to be a light to the men he deals with outside of here (like his concrete supplier, the truck driver, the lady who runs the local tienda, and some mechanics)