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Hello!! A very late Happy New Year to all! I realize that I’ve been super slack in updates lately, but I guess that just means I have a bit more to share with you now. The last couple of weeks have seemed rather chaotic to me as we try to wrap up one year and begin another.

Just after my last post, I got the awesome chance to celebrate Christmas here in Australia with my brother, Mykee. It definitely was a new experience and very different from what my own family’s traditions are, but it was so fun, nonetheless. Filled with friends, food, late nights and much laughter, it was a Christmas to be remembered. Having Mykee here made it not as difficult to be away from the rest of my family. I also took a few days off after Christmas and stayed with Mykee in Sydney to just relax and hangout in the city.
After Christmas, I settled back into work, as much as one can ever really settle here. We were really busy sending off our October DTS students on outreach and preparing for the January schools to start. Soon enough we managed to get all our current students sent out around the world to places like India, Borneo, Amsterdam, and Mexico. Only a few short days later we celebrated New Year’s and then welcomed a new batch of students into our makeshift family. Our doors opened to around 30 new students (I’m not actually positive about exactly how many we have) and we got into the swing of things! They started their lectures on the 6th and have been going super steadily as they get more and more used to life here.
As for me, the last few weeks have run together in a great big blur. I am doing more at work than I ever have been, which is fun and exciting, and also super tiring. My role has shifted a bit again and I’m now a part of the enquiries team. So when someone goes on the YWAM Newcastle website and asks for more info about what schools we offer, I am one of the people to give them a call. It’s really cool getting to chat with people around the world and it has been pushing me out of my comfort zone quite a bit. I mostly work within our email inbox doing what I do best, ORGANIZING! I file, sort, and respond to all kinds of emails from so many people. I love it.
I’ve also been working more and more with the National Records office for YWAM Australia. You may have read it before, but if not here is the gist of what I do: Every school run within YWAM Australia has to be logged and sorted so that we have records for the government. It is my job to make sure all those records stay in order. So there is actually an incredible amount of work that goes into every start and finish of a school and I seem to be learning just HOW MUCH work it really is. We are trying to get all our records from 2014 in order and there seems to be some rather decent size holes that need patching. For the last few days I’ve been processing spreadsheet after spreadsheet and sending endless amounts of emails. I love the work, but, partnered with my work in student communications, I’m starting to feel how tiring balancing different departments can be. I wish I could clone myself several times and then maybe there would enough of us to share the work. It really is true in the Bible when is says, “The harvest is plenty but the workers are few.” We could use a lot more staff around here to function at our ideal capacity. Until then, we’re relying on God’s strength and grace so that we can get done all we need to.
One really quick testimony that I want to share from last week! So on Fridays the communications team goes in at 6am (4am in winter) so that we can call people in Europe at reasonable times (Darn time zones). Last week was my first time calling people and I got to make this call to a girl in England. I was seriously so nervous, but it ended up being the best conversation! She was so sweet and eager to know more about YWAM Newcastle and who we are. I got to share a bit of my testimony with her and pray for her. She was so encouraged by it and so was I! Calling strangers is definitely something that I’m super freaked out about, but our weaknesses are where God’s strength shines through the most.
|     So work has it’s incredible ups and downs and so have many other parts of my life at the moment. As you may know, health has been a pretty big struggle for me for a long time now. It seems like every other week I have some part of me that isn’t feeling so well. I’ve had a few bumps with minor sickness already this year unfortunately, but I’m hoping that that will be it for 2015. Please be praying for my health and that I’d have some kind of crazy strengthening in my immune system because it seems to be in shreds lately.
I also, rather frustratingly, broke my laptop almost two weeks ago. It was definitely really annoying and caused a decent amount of stress as all of my work is done on a computer. However, thanks to my techy brother for ordering me a new screen and my roommate for lending me her laptop for a week, I am now up and running with no major damage done!
Personally I’ve been a bit weighed down and feeling pretty exhausted; there seems to be all these little things that are pushing for me to just give up and go home. Health being one thing that has made me want to run home to my momma on several occasions. I’ve also been feeling decently homesick for friends and family and even other things like the cold and my fireplace (Australia is really REALLY hot at the moment). The other thing that has been a battle is my finances. I’ve been super blessed to gain a couple more supporters in the last few weeks which is an incredible answer to prayer; however I’m still not meeting the mark of what I need to see coming in. Currently I’m receiving $300 per month, but my goal is to see around $600 coming in. The fees that I pay for living on the base are $440 per month and then I have additional expenses like transport, laundry and vitamins/probiotics (both have been helping a decent amount in the sickness area). In addition to these monthly fees, I’m going to be in need of a new visa and health insurance to cover my second year here; those will come to around $1700 together. I was also hoping to go home to visit for about a month and I would then be in need of a plane ticket of which I have been way too overwhelmed to look into prices lately.
I would love to have some people partnering with me to do what God is calling me to do. I made a commitment to stay here for two years as that is what I felt God calling me to and at the moment, I do not have the finances to remain here for my second year. I know that God is faithful to provide and I am trusting him to bring people who want to stand beside me in bringing God’s kingdom to Australia and all the other nations that we reach out to as a base. I would ask that you prayerfully consider supporting me monthly. I’m looking for at least 6 more people to give $50/month (can be more or less). Or if you’re interested in giving a one time donation, that is also much appreciated and needed. Information for supporting me can be found right here: http://www.ywamcanada.org/donations.html Or you can send me an email at britt.laird95@gmail.com.
Prayer is also a very needed thing for me! My biggest prayer requests would be: health and finances. A lot of little things fall into those categories (i.e. rest, visa, money to visit home at some time this year…). Thank you so much for taking your time to read this and catch up with what I’ve been up to. I’m super keen to chat with people so if you’re more interested in hearing about what’s going on here, shoot me and email or a message on facebook!

Much Love,
Brittney
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