We praise God for His encouragement here in Haiti over the last three months. We’ve had ministry partners serving with us…walking hand in hand, side by side, in the labor of the gospel. The snapshots below tell very little but we hope it will be enough to show God’s faithfulness and goodness as we serve Him together in Haiti.
The three newest church plants in the Grand-Anse department (Jeremie) hosted their second annual convention at the Dr. David Nicolas Chapel. This gathering also included the “off springs” of these plants. The church that meets at the Nicholas Chapel went evangelizing over the Easter weekend to another community some 30-45 minute walk uphill. They shared the gospel with about 100 people and 29 came to know the Lord. Since then, the members have returned every Tuesday to that community and now there are 79 new converts. Praise God! The members themselves are planning to buy a very small piece of land to build a “preaching point,” similar to what was shared in the last update. We praise the Lord for how these new church plants are catching the vision of evangelism by church planting multiplication.
We also praise the Lord for our ministry partner who sponsored the roofing of 24 of ESMI’s preaching points in Gonaives and Jeremie. The congregations that meet under these thatched roof “hangers” range from 100 to 300 in membership. A lot of ministry has been going on for years under these structures and much praise is being offered by these pastors for the enclosures.
Pastoral/leadership training continues to be the heartbeat of ESMI. From May 13-17, ESMI hosted about 100 pastors and leaders from as far as Cap-Haitian, in the north, at the third annual training/retreat in Jeremie. Pastors from Long Hollow Church joined Pastor Bresile St. Germain in the week’s event. The Haitian leaders got a different approach to teaching and sharing the gospel as Pastor Jeff Lovingood had them roaring with laughter during his sessions. At the close of the week, the leaders all left with a French textbook on systematic theology. Each year as Long Hollow sponsors this retreat, we hope to build these pastors’ library. So far, they have received the following in French: the John McArthur Study Bible, Experiencing God, and a book of commentaries on the entire Bible written by African theologians.
The final touches are now being added to the Seminary Building. We praise God for Kathy Pappas, wife of ESMI board member Mike Pappas, who collected and shipped the needed furniture for this building. The seminary building is also headquarters of the newly formed denomination, the Reformed Churches of Haiti. How did this come about? Well, after ministering in Haiti for these past 18 years and seeing over 70 churches planted and many more wanting to be affiliated with the ministry, the next step was to help these churches organize themselves into presbyteries. As these churches become part of a presbytery, they then can begin taking care of each other and having a vision that extends from their own community, to their city, and to their department.
In February 2012, Covenant Day School in Charlotte, NC, came up with a project that they thought would be helpful not only in education but also as a potential small business for Haitian youth. The project was to develop an aquaponics farm. This project was well received by their school community and other visiting missionaries as they raised funds to build a prototype on their campus. In April, the CDS teachers and students came to set this project up in Jeremie. The team in June completed the project. Two CDS science teachers also offered training to the School of Joy teachers on how the aquaponics farm could be used as a teaching tool. Miniature aquaponics ponds were created for the teachers to do experiments in their classrooms.
Also in April, Scott Dillon, CDS High School Principal, and Heather Mills, CDS Teacher, participated in a teacher training seminar for the ESMI teachers and principals from across the island. This was very well received by the Haitian educators. In June, two other CDS teachers who are also professional Math consultants offered training to our elementary school teachers in Lundi. There were lots of lively discussions on the such topics as teaching fractions.
Thanks to our ministry partner who made it possible to begin the construction on Phase 1 of the University of Jeremie Dormitories. We will share more with you later this summer on this other aspect of the University of Jeremie campus…continue to keep this new construction in your prayers and what it could mean to the community of Jeremie and the surrounding cities .
ESMI is very thankful for all our ministry teams that have labored with us since January. The medical teams have assisted us tremendously in the ongoing care of the children at the six Children’s Homes in the south. They have also served those communities well. We think of First Methodist of Shrevport Church and Give Hope, Inc. who saw two children with life-threatening medical needs. These children, with their parent, are currently in the US and by God’s grace, are doing well after their surgeries.
We look forward to welcoming our summer teams and serving with them.
Another aspect of educating our youth, is empowering them. And this is done by providing opportunities for work. No job can be too small when it comes to giving oneself an education. Those of you who have been to Jeremie and seen where the newest high school is situated, know that there are no businesses in the immediate community where a young person can do a part-time job to pay his tuition. The immediate community is green and so agriculture/farming is what everyone does best. We are thankful to one ministry partner who supports several students by purchasing chickens for them to start their own small business. The newest small business for the School of Joy students is what we will call “The Goat Project.” We are thankful to the CDS French class who raised funds to purchase several of these goats. How does this project work? The student is given the job of caring for this goat owned by the School of Joy. When the goat has a kid, the first will belong to the student and the next to the school and so on. This is an “unwritten” farmers contract that the community is familiar with and respect. As these kids mature in the next six months to a year, those owned by the students can be sold for at least $60 to $80US depending on the size.
We praise God for the opportunity to build three more chicken farm houses
Other Praise Updates and Prayer Requests:
-Praise God for the opportunity given to Louis St. Germain to be the speaker at First Pres. of Macon’s missions conference this past March
-Praise God for how He is continuing to use Louis as a Daniel to the Haitian government on internal affairs
-Praise God for the opportunity granted to several of ESMI’s key leaders from Haiti to participate in Spanish River’s Church Planting Conference, Boca Raton, FL in April
-Praise God for the good reports on Pastor David Landrith’s health. Please continue to pray
-Continue to pray for Mme. Adultka Nerva as she battles with colon cancer. She is still in a lot of pain and would like to continue treatment in Cuba as the funds permit. Her husband, Pastor Nerva leads the work at Cherette and now Cavaillon.
-Pray for Pastor Bresile who will participate in the MEBSH (Evangelical Baptist Mission of S. Haiti) pastoral training later this month. This mission is very dear to his heart as he served as its president for over 20 years and saw significant church multiplication under his leadership.
-Pray for the ministry of our summer teams as they serve in Cayes, Jeremie and Gonaives
This past Sunday, June 9, we worshiped with the congregation in Bonbon. A couple weeks ago, heavy rain came through and damaged the roof. Some worshiped outside in fear of the roof collapsing and the rest of us squeezed to one side of the church. Please pray that ESMI would be able to assist the church in finding the $8,000 needed to repair the roof.
Thank you all for your faithful partnership in ministry. If you are in Greenville, SC on Tuesday, June 18, at the PCA General Assembly, ESMI board members would love to meet with you personally to thank you for your ongoing support of this ministry and to share more on how you can become actively involved in what God is doing in Haiti. Again, many thanks for your support!