“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable,
through the living and enduring word of God.”
1 Peter 1:23 (NIV)
Dear Praying Friends,
It’s now three months since Hurricane Matthew struck and devastated 80% of Southwest Haiti. Some communities and villages are no more since then. As I reflect on this verse, I am reminded that as we help people regain some of their significant losses, their perishable items, our goal is to keep pointing them to what God considers imperishable. It is in the latter that we can find true comfort.
The gathering of the pastors in Jeremie on November 21 and 22 was indeed an encouraging time for these men and lay leaders. About 270+ pastors and lay leaders were present representing several denominations and communities in the Grand-Anse department/state. There were testimonies of God’s protection during the storms. And then there were stories of how much they, as pastors, had lost along with their communities. As each one heard the plight of the other, much time was spent in prayer. There is really no one else for these leaders to turn than to God. There are no State-Farm Insurance companies or FEMA to seek for assistance with rebuilding their churches or homes. These men are literally on their own and wait upon God’s intervention. At the end of their time together, the pastors all voted to rebuild 10 of the most remote churches. Thank you for making this possible as 10 of these communities are currently rebuilding/re-roofing their building to serve their community because of your donations.
Something special also happened at the very end of the conference. An older pastor in age and ministry, who had recently become blind, shared his own personal struggle before the hurricane and how life was even more difficult after the hurricane due to his blindness. He could no longer be a pastor and he had no means to care for his family. The church he shepherded for years was unable to assist him and his family. Hearing of their fellowman’s plight, the pastors were moved to do a special offering. They collected about 195,000 gourdes ($3000US) to assist this pastor in rebuilding his home! It was indeed a time well-spent with these men. Thanks to Pastor Bresile St. Germain for giving of his time and for his passion in wanting to encourage these men. The next week, he went on to do the same in Les Cayes.
Thanksgiving with the Life Song Community Church Team, CA
We know Thanksgiving is a very special week and an extra special day to be with family. We felt blessed that six folks from Life Song Church in California would choose to spend the time in Jeremie, Haiti. Dr. Endo and his team worked on documenting the medical files for the children and workers at the Lundy and Emmanuel Children’s Villages. The hope is to have these in Google docs so they won’t get damaged by the next storm or disaster.
Then, it was time to take photos in the hope of creating an album that you can have to pray for each of the children and their care-givers. The team also did two days of painting the homes for the new Lundy pastor and his family, the home for the children’s village supervisor, Mme. Wans, and the cafeteria.
Then, the Life Song team worked with Mme. Marie Michelle, ESMI Children’s Ministry Coordinator, in restarting the Bible Club in Bonbon after Hurricane Matthew. More than 85 children turned up that morning for Bible lesson, prayer, fun time and craft.
A Few Photos of Lundi Children’s Village Reconstruction
ESMI is thankful to the donors who are making the rebuilding of the Lundi village possible. So far, re-roofing and reconstruction of 9 of the 10 homes have been completed or are under way. One of the homes had to be totally destroyed. Thanks to the Long Hollow and 127 Worldwide teams, the re-roofing of the cafeteria was completed on November 19.
The rebuilding and re-roofing of the church and medical clinic are underway.
The biggest challenge will be the school. ESMI has hired one of the best Haitian engineers to redesign and oversee the reconstruction of the school building. This will be the strongest structure on the property and will be the place of refuge, Lord forbid, should there be another category 4 hurricane.
For now, the cafeteria will be used for school until this building is complete. Here are the benches being worked on for the cafeteria.
El Shaddai Church at Versailles (downtown Jeremie)
Thanks to special friends in North Carolina who made it possible to begin the rebuilding of the El Shaddai Church at Versailles. Here are some photos of the re-roofing and then service this past Sunday, December 4th, 2016.
The Dr. David Nicholas Chapel on the ESMI HQ/University of Jeremie Campus
Very thankful to the church leaders in Boca Raton, FL, who made it possible to begin the rebuilding of the Dr. David Nicholas Chapel on the campus. There was more destruction to this building than was anticipated. Here workers had to tear down the eastern wall, just like that at Lundi, before being able to begin re-roofing.
Pastoral Convocation at El Shaddai Church in North Miami, FL
Well, after serving in Haiti for almost two weeks, Pastor Bresile and Dony returned to Miami, FL to do a full day of training at the El Shaddai Church in North Miami on December 3. The time was well spent encouraging and teaching the pastoral leadership of that church. It is hard to believe, but some 23 years ago, with the planting of this church came the birth of El Shaddai Ministries International, Inc. To God be the glory!
Special Prayer Request- The University of Jeremi
On Monday, December 5th, the University of Jeremie resumed classes. It is with a huge step of faith that we do this knowing that the entire student body has lost everything and cannot afford to contribute toward this school year’s tuition.
The University of Jeremie is now in its fourth year. We were seeing many register over the summer for classes, and a new school in civil engineering was to be started. But October 4th changed all that. The students and their families lost everything that day: their homes, their land, their source of income. They see no way of paying for this year’s tuition. We count on your prayers for God to do the impossible of carrying the university through this year.
Thank you again for your ongoing financial and prayer support. We count on your prayers for God’s continued strength as we do feel the tiredness of the relief effort but cannot stop to rest…at least not yet.