“but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)
It’s hard to believe but ESMI is now in its 20th year of ministry in Haiti. It all began in 1995 when Louis and Martina, with their then two of seven small children: Kristofer and Lyssa, felt a strong call to return to Haiti. The ministry began in Cambry with the four E’s on that site: the church representing Evangelism; the school representing Education; the small home with 14 orphans and the clinic representing Empathy; and the ice factory representing Economical Development. Thanks to their commitment to the Lord, ESMI has now branched off into other departments/states, desiring to replicate what was started in Cambry with the hope of “Transforming Haiti One City at a Time!”
The month of May is always an exciting month for ESMI. Louis and Dony got to do what they are passionate about … training leaders for church planting and leadership development, ESMI’s first E–Evangelism.
About 150 pastors were present at this year’s Annual Pastor’s Retreat in Jeremie, May 4-8. At least 8 of Haiti’s 10 departments/states were represented. Thankful for our ministry partner, Long Hollow, for sponsoring this retreat for the third year. This year’s focus was on “The Call of the Pastor.” At the end of the week, all the pastors got a copy of “The Pastor’s Life” in French to add to their library.
Then on Sunday, May 10, seven of the seventeen churches in the Grand-Anse department/state came together for their annual worship. You can enjoy the worship with us.
In order to accommodate more pastors,
the Pastor’s Retreat was also held in Gonaives on April 21-24 with over 95 pastors in attendance. It’s always encouraging to see these men of God leave refreshed in the Lord both spiritually and physically.
Ministry in the US
On May 15 and 16, I had the privilege of doing a pastoral training with MNA Church Planting Coordinator Ted Powers.
At the end of the training, like in Haiti, the pastors were given a book to add to their library. The training was well received by these men. They have asked for the next training to be on “Ministry and Marriage” as this is the greatest challenge that they see within the Haitian churches. Pray with us that we will be able to help the pastors face this challenge.
Some other highlights from the past five months:
1. One of ESMI’s newest ministry partners, Covenant Presbyterian Church in Palm Bay, FL, is assisting with the revitalization of a church plant in the marketplace in downtown Jeremie. This church is literally in the marketplace. As we head to church, we park on the side street and then walk through the market to the church building. We pass by the vendors with their fresh produce on the ground and multi-colored umbrellas shading them from the Sunday morning heat.
One cannot miss the distinct smell of rotting fruit and vegetables with that of onions, garlic, and all the other spices mingled together. With only the second month into the revitalization of this church, we are now looking to add a second floor and upgrade the facility. Pray with us in these coming months for the spiritual growth/revival of this church and wisdom in the outreach programs to the hundreds of vendors and buyers who are right at its doorsteps every Sunday morning.
2. ESMI is getting closer to have all the 118 churches fall under the MERH-Members of the Reformed Churches of Haiti. Hope to tell you in our next newsletter that we have the official paperwork in hand.
3. Thankful to all our teaching elders/pastors who continue to give of their time in training our seminary students and pastors. Earlier in the year, we had Pastor Nat Osborne of Central Florida participate in a three-day conference and pastoral training. Then Dr. Neal Hegeman of MINTS (Miami International Seminary) continued his training with our master’s program students; Pastor Kinser of First Presbyterian Church, Macon opened our second semester by challenging our high school, university students, and seminary students during chapel. Thankful also for our two PCA pastors who assisted with the pastor’s retreat/training in Gonaives and to Pastor Pete for his participation in the pastor’s retreat in Jeremie earlier this month.
On January 7, ESMI welcomed the first agricultural team. This team of 12 was made up of Tennessee farmers, agricultural professors and students. The UJ agricultural students came in a couple days earlier from their Christmas break to hear from these US farmers and professors. Both students and teachers had engaging conversations on soil and farming. There were also lots of laughs! It was hilarious translating from the Tennessee southern “slang” to American English and then to Creole/French.
The Challenge of Educating the Very Poor
Like so many other developing countries, educating a community involves more than just building a school facility. It also involves assisting students financially as much as possible, without taking away their dignity, as well as educating the community/parents on the importance of education. Haitian families are confronted with the choice of using their extremely limited funds for food for the family vs tuition for one of their many children. Thanks to several of you who have responded in providing scholarships for the university and seminary students.
Since January, we’ve welcomed seven missions teams: five medical/VBS teams, a construction team, and a vision-casting team. Teams have served in Cayes, Gonaives and Jeremie. The impact of these teams on the children and the community is always a tremendous blessing. For example, because of the service of the medical team in Goniaves, the clinic there has been able to keep its doors open to serve the community. There are now two doctors who are strong Christian leaders. These men did their medical training in the Dominican Republic and are currently overseeing this clinic at the Fayeton Children’s Village. They have a desire to serve and so with their own resources, they started a nursing school. This school meets at the Fayeton Clinic, and the students are getting “hands-on” training as they serve the community.
The water business is finally underway selling water by the 5-gallon bottles as well as in small plastic bags and producing ice. With summer fast approaching, the hope is that sale will increase significantly. Thankful to our ministry partner who made this possible.
Chicken farm continues to do well seasonally. The next step is to introduce layer chickens on this farm to begin selling eggs.
The Bonbon church was given a little over $1700 to start a fishing business by purchasing a boat and putting a small motor in it. Pastor Laguerre and his congregation are encouraged by this new business to assist them in serving their community. You may recall that this church plant, being only two years old, has already planted six others. To God be the glory!
Praise & Prayer Requests
1. Thankful for the opportunity earlier this year to participate in the mission conferences of long-time supporting churches in Texas, Florida, and Georgia and new ones in North Carolina.
2. Between June 6-August 15, we’ll have approximately 11 missions teams serving in Cayes, Gonaives and Jeremie. Please pray as we partner together in serving these cities and their communities.
3. Several ESMI board members and missionaries will be at this year’s PCA General Assembly in Chattanooga, TN. Stop by Booth #529 to hear more about what God is doing in Haiti through ESMI.
4. Revitalization of church in the marketplace of downtown Jeremie
5. Challenging financial needs of the School of Joy High School and the University of Jeremie as we finish this school year.
Many thanks to you, our ministry partner, for your ongoing support in seeing the gospel spread across the country of Haiti one city at a time!