18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
We are briefly winding down from what has been over six weeks of intensive training in the Jeremie/Grand-Anse department. The first week in May, we had small-group training using the Discovery Bible Study (DBS) method. There were over 400 trained by the end of May, and by the end of June, these 400 have gone on the train over 1,000 people. God’s Spirit has been involved in this multiplication of small groups across the Grand-Anse department! Here is one testimony from this training: “I’ve never seen the Scripture in that light before: analyzing the text as to what it says about God, about man, and how to make it applicable to my life!” In between training sessions, as the students asked questions about the Bible and the text, I gave the theological foundation. There is a thirst to know more. Not only is this among the pastors and church leaders but among the young people and women who were present. Everyone felt empowered to lead a small group using the DBS method. Even a shy, young, high school boy had the boldness to invite 15 others to the training and is doing three small groups of his own. This small group method is causing quite a stir in the city of Jeremie!
The day this training ended, it was time for the third annual conference/convention in Grand-Anse. Over 20 different church plants and preaching points joined together for a time of celebrating the Gospel and reporting on what God is doing in the Grand-Anse area. There were 886 people registered to stay on the UJ (University of Jeremie) campus that weekend. The School of Joy building and UJ dorm were overflowing. Pastor Bresile St. Germain, as the main speaker, focused on the theme: “Be Transformed to Transform.”
Then, the next week, it was time to welcome our pastors from across the island for the third annual pastoral retreat. Many of these pastors are also in the MDiv program at UJ. The visiting US pastor/teacher focused on the pastor, his church and his prayer life. Our pastors always look forward to this time, not only because they will be given a theology book for their personal library, but also because it is always a refreshing time. Several come discouraged, but always, everyone leaves encouraged. We are grateful to our ministry partner who has been sponsoring the retreats for the past three years and funding the purchase of these books. The pastors treasure them dearly as they slowly build their library. One pastor in Gonaives does not even allow these books to leave his home. His friend, who is also a pastor from another city, walked three hours and stayed at his home to do his own pastoral research. As close as his friend was to him, he couldn’t let him take his books!
The first week in June, we welcomed US teaching Pastor Bill to do an intensive seminar on “Pre-marital Counseling, Marriage and the Family.” Here’s what Pastor Dor said about the training: “I have lots of marital problems in my local church. This class gave me the tools I need to address a number of these issues.” Marc Antoine, a young seminary student who is single said: “I see the importance of working on building the marital relationship before building the ministry.” Another issue that Pastor Bill addressed, and is seen as a taboo in the Haitian culture, is sexual intimacy in marriage. Techniques on dealing with marital conflicts were presented and then it was time for the pastors and their wives to role-play these. Although the skits were hilarious, they were helpful for everyone to see and be respectful of their personality differences as husbands and wives.
Our final training was on “Conforming to the Image of Christ.” Of all the other seminars, this was the hardest emotionally. Our visiting US pastor made the pastors and seminary students go back into the depth of their spiritual soul and face those dark areas of their lives. It was time to deal with the bitterness and the hurts of the past that were hindering their spiritual image. One pastor shared that his father’s last words continue to haunt him and shape what he believes about himself. He had become a Christian at an early age and his father was a witch doctor. The last words from his father as he laid on his death-bed were: “You’ll never be anybody!”
All the seminars and training were designed with ESMI pastors and seminary students in mind. However, word got around Jeremie of what was happening on the campus, and so we welcomed other church leaders from the surrounding communities to taste the goodness of gathering around God’s Word and celebrating all that Christ has done for us!
ESMI is thankful for our eight visiting US pastors who gave so willingly and humbly of their giftedness in teaching and exposing the Word. They were an encouragement to those in ministry and those preparing for the ministry. ESMI’s primary goal: evangelism through church planting and leadership development was re-enforced over and over again.
And so now we are winding down from teaching. The School of Joy High School and the University of Jeremie are now closed for the summer. Several of our students are taking their National Exams. But come July 14, the vocational school at UJ will open. Pastor Mackson, whom we introduced in our last e-newsletter, has been diligently putting this program together and recruiting students. One of the main reasons in opening the high school, the university, and now the vocational school, is to have somewhere for our orphaned children to attend. Yes, there are institutions all around that they could have attended but having these institutions on our campus enables us to shape their future and see them live up to God’s full potential. The Cambry Children’s Village is currently doing the same- adding a vocational training school on the campus. When our children leave, as a ministry, we see them leaving as leaders, and as leaders God will use to transform their homeland of Haiti for His glory!
The rest of the summer will be spent ministering with teams in Cayes, Gonaives and Jeremie. We count on your prayers for us and see it as a privilege to do God’s work in Haiti.
Thank you for your ongoing prayer and financial support that enables us to train and equip many Haitian brothers and sisters for our King!
If you would like to make a financial contribution to this ministry, beginning August 1, please send your check donations to:
El Shaddai Ministries International, Inc.
c/o The Keyes Company
2121 SW 3rd Avenue, Suite 601
Miami, FL 33129