Dear Friends and Prayer Partners…
Well…another month has already zipped by. I don’t know about you and where you are living, but this winter has been quite a different one for us here in Ohio. Even today I am sending out this email with a clear and sunshiny day outside with the temperature hitting the low 60’s. We still keep asking, “When is winter really going to hit us?”
January has once again proven to be a busy month with ESMI. As in the past, as the holidays slip into our past we start hitting the road running. I hope and pray that you enjoy hearing about some of our activities from the Projects and Development perspective and that you will continue to keep us in your prayers.
Homes for Pastors and Widows
We were able to finish our 13th home this past month. This home was built for Pastor Jean Edouard and his family. This family lives in the Bois-Gaman area near Gressier. We sincerely appreciate the efforts of our friends at Christ Presbyterian Church in Richmond, IN for raising the funds to help this family receive a home and move out of their tent…two years after the earthquake. Please continue to pray for this Pastor as he also tries to rebuild his church that was lost in that earthquake.
We were also able to start construction on home #14 this past week. Our friends at Boynton Beach Community Church in Boynton Beach, FL provided the funds for this home and they also have a construction team in Haiti helping to build it this week. Pastor Jean Augustin is the recipient of this home. He has a family of 5 children and is the pastor of a church with 350 members.
We are so excited that our partners are still providing funds and short-term teams to build these homes. Not only are we able to help families move from temporary structures into permanent homes, we are also able to keep 6 to 7 Haitian workers fully employed and able to support their families. Thank you for your contributions and prayers for this part of our ministry.
Facility Modifications and Upgrades
In the Grand-Anse department we are continue to build out the University of Jeremie. The structure that we are working on now is the School of Joy, which will ultimately provide primary and secondary education for up to 1,000 students from the surrounding area. We have also completed the design for a solar power solution for the entire university campus. The components are being ordered this week and our plan is to install the components and set up the existing buildings with power the last week of March. We are finding that this will be a very exciting beginning of a new era for our churches in Haiti. We believe that we will be able to start implementing basic power solutions for each of our churches for about $5,000 each. This will allow the members of the church to start using their facility more hours of the day, provide power for their schools, and enhance the lives of the members of their communities.
Dony St. Germain (ESMI President), Bresile St. Germain (Leadership Development Coordinator), and Louis St. Germain (Haiti Field Director) have also been quite busy over the last month. They are busy conducting pastor training and leadership seminars in Jeremie and Les Cayes. We are looking forward to getting the University of Jeremie to a state where we can start hosting the seminary there. Our plans are to begin this year with 150 fulltime students. Please continue to pray for us as we work to complete the university and pursue new opportunities for funding and grants this year. Pray that we will have more pastors from churches here in the United States and Canada volunteer their time and talents to help in the teaching programs that get established.
As I mentioned in one of my earlier newsletters we are doing a lot of work in the area of identifying micro-businesses that we can establish with our churches across Haiti. We have several friends and partners of the ministry that are working with us as we investigate poultry farming, fish farming, and ice factories as businesses. Please keep me in your prayers as I begin to develop business plans for these, identify locations best fitted for them, and seek to secure funding to make these happen. These will become a critical component for our work in Haiti because through these micro-businesses we can help our churches become self-sufficient as well as create centers where valuable training can be provided to the people of Haiti.
I will be heading down to the Les Cayes area February 17th through 25th. While there I will be participating with our friends from First United Methodist Church (FUMC) and Centenary College of Louisiana in Shreveport, LA on a vision trip. This team will be assessing some of our facilities as a place to stay for future trips and together we will be coming up with a plan for them to do some great work at some of our orphan villages throughout the year. FUMC and Centenary have a great partnership and will be putting together some summer long teaching activities at our facilities in the Les Cayes area teaching English and French. We are very excited about building this relationship and reaching the people of Haiti in much broader and deeper areas.
I will also be meeting up with one of our short-term teams comprised of members from churches in the Chicago, IL and Las Vega, NV areas. They come down on a regular basis and do some awesome work through neighborhood medical clinics. One of the activities that I will be doing with this team is assessing the River Bank Repair at Cherette and see how it weathered last year’ storms and what we can do to take it to the next step.
Coming up in March I have a mission’s conference that I am attending at our partner First Presbyterian Church in Macon, GA and then heading to Jeremie the end of March to help with the installation of the solar solution at the University. Please keep us in your prayers as I do this travel, and especially Laura as I leave her here in Ohio.
Personal Fundraising Status
Once again, Laura and I would like to thank you for your prayers, your thoughts and your financial support in our work with ESMI. We are so blessed to have friends and family like you standing behind us in this work. We have so much work before us and your support is what is making it possible to maintain focus and energy.
For those of you that have been following our progress on raising our support we are currently at 36% of our monthly support. I am active in the fundraising process and seek your prayers while I reach out to people that I know for support consideration.