Why Church Planting and Leadership Development? (Part I)
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church,
and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (NIV)Matthew 16:18
A few months ago, at our denominational gathering in Tennessee, a colleague asked me, “So what’s the latest?” I began to relate to him about the arrest of my neighbor, whom I’ll call, Jean. Jean is a “conveyor.” This means he works for a witch doctor and is able to raise the dead, transform them into zombies and move them from villages to villages as needed by the witch doctor. OK, I can hear your voices saying, “Now, really Dony? You can’t believe that.” Let me continue. Jean’s zombie had caused the death of two people in our small community, Numero Deux (Number Two). Everyone was afraid to be on the road after 6:00pm. Even those who were Christians and worked with me would leave early enough so they were home before dark. After four weeks of living in fear, the community found out Jean’s identity and that there was another conveyor and actually two zombies. A large crowd, about 4,000 people, gathered on the small runway strip near our home. These people were angry and determined to rid the community of Jean and his friend. Jean heard of their intention and called the police for protection. The police came. But instead of protecting Jean, they arrested him. Why? They listened to the people, knew of the unusual deaths in the Numero Deux community, and believed the people. Jean was even tried by the courts and found guilty and imprisoned. His friend escaped but is unable to return to our community. The zombies were never found, but the unusual deaths stopped. And for now, life has returned to “normal” at Numero Deux. This is just one of many stories that plague our small country.
Partners, the spirit world is very real in Haiti. Satan is real. His workers and the work of darkness and evil are real. These principalities and powers are keeping our people in bondage and the only answer is the Gospel because in the end, we know that the Church will remain and the gates of Hell will not prevail. This is why Louis and I are passionate about ESMI’s first E-Evangelism with the focus on church planting and leadership development. This is the foundation of the ministry and serve as the pillar for the three other E’s to be effective: Education, Empathy and Economical Development. By evangelizing and training leaders to get the Gospel out to communities like Numero Deux and then, to see God’s Spirit do His transformational work, is what ESMI is all about. And so, I’m excited to share with you about Church Plants #119 and #120 which both began in May. In the last update, we shared with you about the church in the marketplace. This is church plant 119. ESMI’s 120th church plant also started around the same time after evangelical outreach services were held during the pastor’s annual retreat this past May. Here are a few photos of the two newest church plants:
Praise & Prayer Requests
1. Praise for Parrotti Church Plant/Preaching Point at the celebration of its first anniversary in July. They had 91 conversions and 47 baptisms.
2. Praise God for the more than 100 adults and children who came to faith this summer
3. Pray that we can identify 12 churches and/or individuals to partner in building 12 community chapels in the different villages over a 3-year period: Yr. 1-build chapel ($10K), Yr. 2-build school and Yr. 3-establish a small business.
4. Pray that God will raise up spiritually strong Haitian leaders to mentor and coach our young church planters.
5. Pray for physical strength and endurance to train, equip, and recruit new church planters.
6. Pray for balance of time with ministry and family as the laborers are few.
Thank you for your faithful prayer and financial support as we partner in the ministry of the Gospel. Next week, we’ll focus on the other 3’E to share more on all that God is doing. Our prayer and invitation is that you’ll “come and see!”