What seems impossible to us is possible with God. The task before us is overwhelming but as we move forward, trusting God, He is putting the pieces together. We hope in this update you will see the amazing way God is moving and we are going forward believing Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Evangelism through Church Planting and Leadership Development in the USA and Haiti:
In January, I participated in two Haitian pastor’s convocations with Dr. Bresile St. Germain in the Florida area. We shared about the ESMI church planting efforts with the Presbyterian Churches of America (PCA) in the USA and in Haiti. I also visited our existing Haitian-American PCA churches in North Miami and Naples. Our pastors remain encouraged and continue to persevere in God’s work. I am currently working with Dr. Feliton Jacquet and Ricot Fertil, two Knox Seminary graduates, who are in the process of transferring their credentials to the PCA. There is also an interest in Boston where an estimated 70,000 Haitians reside.
In Haiti, we welcomed Dr. Neal Hegeman of Miami International Seminary (MINTS). He did one week of intensive training with twenty of our key leaders from across the island. He encouraged us as Haitian pastors and leaders to write and compile our own book of Bible commentary for the Haitian churches. Each of us have begun our first draft. We were all energized and pushed to do more with what we were learning.
Photo: January 2012 leadership training with Dr. Neal Hegeman
Pastor Bresile was with us in March and on May 28-31, ESMI will host 120 pastors at a retreat training in Jeremie.Photo: March 2012 Leadership Training with Pastor Bresile St. Germain in the cafeteria on the University of Jeremie campus.
Here’s a photo of our newest church plant building in BonBon, Grand-Anse. Pastors Ginoits and Honore have already started evangelism and small groups in the area. God’s willing, services in the new building will begin this June.
Photo: April 2012, Bonbon church construction underway to be completed before services in June
Education in Jeremie
When we moved here, the vision was to begin a seminary. The fact is that a number of our pastors in Haiti do not have any formal theological training, and those who do have, have not been refreshed in a very long time. As we are here, the vision now includes a university, and a secondary school, the School of Joy, is under construction to prepare the students for tertiary studies. God’s willing, the School of Joy will open in September, and by faith, we have begun the second floor of this building, anticipating that God will bring the needed funds by June. Madame Pierre, the merchant from whom we purchase our construction material said: “Pastor, is the funds what you are worried about? Take whatever material you need. School has to open in September.” Such is the trust and faith of one business woman about the expectations of what ESMI is bringing to the Jeremie community. Pray with us and for us to remain open and faithful to His leading.
And it is by faith, we will have Pastor Arcene Nicholas join the staff in Haiti this month. He is not only a pastor but also a lawyer and educator who has served on the board of well-known schools in the Port-au-Prince area. He will leave his growing church of 4000-membership in Petionville to join us here in Jeremie. This is a step of faith that he feels called to do. He has been with ESMI since the earthquake; he saw how God used ESMI to respond to not only the needs of the people but also of the pastors and felt led of God to have a more active role in what God was doing through ESMI. Anticipate with us the great work the Lord will do in this community under Pastor Nicolas’ direction in the area of education.
We thank the Lord for the three pastor’s homes built earlier this year, a total of 15 homes since the earthquake. We praise God for Pastor Guercy Meme who has been overseeing the rebuilding of these homes. Pastor Guercy maintains a relationship with these leaders and others in the area who are still seeking assistance. When not in Port-au-Prince, he is at the Cambry Children’s Village and church. Pastor Guercy will return to the US at the end of May to work on his fund raising. How has he seen his time in Haiti over the last two years? Having never sheparded a church, he believes that God was using these two years as a training ground for him. His vision is to do a church plant in Gressier, the epicenter of the earthquake, with Evelyn, his new bride of ten months.
Since January, ESMI has welcomed 191 short-termers to Haiti. We praise God for each team member and how He uses them as His hands and feet to bless the people of Haiti. Teams were involved in children’s ministry, medical missions, construction, and pastoral and teacher training.
The last medical team of 12 saw God move mightily as they ministered to over 600 patients from the community in a two-day period. Then on the last day, they did a 3-hour seminar with about 80 nursing students representing two schools in the Jeremie area.
Economical Development in Jeremie:
The Chicken Farm business is currently underway. We have received funds to build two of the six stalls needed to house 6000 chickens and we are currently seeking funds for the additional stalls. The vision is to connect a fish farm to this where the excrements from the chicken are used to feed the fish and the excrements from the fish, along with the water will be used in an aquaponics vegetable garden for the children’s village in Lundy.
On the Homefront with Dony and Sharon:
As a family, we praise God for the adjustment over the last 16 months. The girls are keeping healthy and our house is being transformed into a welcoming home. We are blessed to share it with our visiting missionary teams and pastoral teachers. Most recently, under Louis’ leadership, we hosted delegates from Port-au-Prince who were in Jeremie to discuss the preservation of the natural environment. The community meeting was held in the cafeteria on the university campus with a good turn-out of mayors, judges, teachers, and community leaders from the Grand Anse department/state. While we were told to prepare meals for 17 people, we ended up hosting 54 people in our home! This is just one example of how flexible we have to be on a daily basis. I praise God for the support of my family as we serve here in Haiti.
1. May 28-31, pastoral retreat for 120 pastors at the seminary/university campus
2. BonBon church to begin services in June
3. Summer team ministry in Les Cayes and Jeremie
4. ESMI missionary staff support fund-raising efforts
5. Chicken farm as a lucrative business to support a few of the ministries in Jeremie
6. School of Joy to open for school year 2012-2013
7. Ongoing leadership training in US and Haiti
8. The rainy season in May and hurricane season
Thank you all for your faithful prayers and financial support as we serve the Haitian community in North America and Haiti. Please visit our website, www.esmihaiti.org, to see more of what God is doing as we partner together for His glory.