“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,
according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and
in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen”
Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV)
On Tuesday, October 4th, as Hurricane Matthew slammed southwestern Haiti, it left behind another hideous disaster. This deadly storm had “weakened” to a Category 4 with sustained winds of 150 mph when it hit the Tiburon Peninsula. What made the effect of this storm so devastating is how long it chose to linger over the Grand-Anse department with these forceful winds and rain. According to Wikipedia, it affected 1.125 million people and caused US$1.9 billion in damage. When it finally left, about 90% of ESMI’s ministry in Jeremie was severly damaged or destroyed! But praise be to God, who is able to do more that we could ever imagine, about 60% of what was damaged has been rebuilt! Many thanks to long-time partners and new partners who came along side us, in such a time as this, and made the rebuilding process a wonderful testimony of God’s overwhelming goodness.
As one can imagine, the past six months have been intense with rebuilding efforts and at the same time wanting everything to continue functioning as “normal” as possible in Jeremie; namely schools and university, ongoing leadership training, and welcoming US ministry and vision teams.
Here are just a few highlights of the past six months:
*Evangelism through church planting and leadership development continues to be the primary focus of ESMI. 2016 ended with ESMI churches across the island reporting 4,174 conversions! To God be the glory!
* Of the 17 ESMI churches destroyed by Hurricane Matthew in the Jeremie area, 9 have been rebuilt
Photos below: the Dr. David Nicholas Chapel on the University of Jeremie (UJ) campus serves the UJ students as well as that community, Numero Deux.
*Currently working on construction of the Bonbon Church and school
*February 27-March 1: New partnership with Leadership Resources to form Leadership Team of 20 from different regions of the island who will focus on leadership training in their regions.
* May 1-6, about 1500 pastors and church leaders in Cayes trained in the discipleship program, “Celebrate Recovery.” This training was very well received and preparations are underway for the next training in February 2018.
*May 9-11, Fifth Annual Pastors Retreat in Jeremie had about 200 ESMI pastors present. Pastors again left with theology books to build their library.
*On going leadership training monthly in: Les Cayes, Gonaives, Jeremie and Mirebalais
*August 26:18 students from the School of Business and 20 seminary students will graduate with their BDiv degrees. Under their collaborative leadership, and by God’s grace, ESMI hopes to plant 15 new churches within the year.
*Praise the Lord for ministry partners who helped to rebuild the University of Jeremie (UJ) Multi-Purpose building and to add a second floor for additional classrooms.
*Professors from University of Iowa did seminars for UJ students majoring in agriculture, business and nursing
*In May, a new ministry organization agreed to partner with several UJ School of Business students to do a pilot project focusing on micro-businesses in the Jeremie area
*Prayer Request: Due to Matthew destroying the livelihood of so many who relied on the land, it has been very difficult for the families of UJ students to pay their tuition. ESMI has been seeking one-time gifts of $1000 from 100 donors to end the school year. To date, only 70 donors with one-time gifts of $1000 are needed.
*After Matthew, so many in the US, who couldn’t travel to Haiti, wanted to be able to minister in a tangible way. Alyssa, a high-school student in S. Miami, came up with the idea of packing backpacks for students displaced by Matthew. Her parents supported her in this effort. Soon after, her church community became involved and this extended to the South Miami community. Donations arrived in Jeremie in January and were quickly disbursed to families in Jeremie and surrounding cities. Over 500 families benefited from these donations.
A second bus, Bus#2, was filled in Central Florida. Donations were distributed in April through the Pastoral League of Churches in Grand-Anse (Jeremie). Twenty churches, representing many families, benefited from these donations.
*At the Lundy Children’s Village: 8 of 10 homes rebuilt, along with the cafeteria, church and medical clinic. We praise the Lord that 70% of this property is completed. Currently working on the school.
*Widow’s homes: After Matthew, so many widows were left with very little shelter. Thanks to several partners, ESMI is now working on building house #13 for one of these ladies. These are 10 x 20, two bedrooms with a small covered porch, at a cost of $5000 US.
*From February to April, ESMI welcomed two medical team in Cayes and two in Jeremie. One team ministered to about 1300 patients in four days and saw 80 conversions. To God be the glory!
*Praise the Lord, ESMI was able to restart the water business in Jeremie. Chicken Farm still down.
*Praise the Lord for ministry partners who have helped us tremendously in the rebuilding phase
*As the Lord provides, 15 new church plants to be established this year with our seminary graduates
*Pray for US summer teams, who will partner in doing medical missions, light construction and children’s ministry. The biggest team of 53 will serve in Les Cayes, June 11-17.
*ESMI vehicles are in constant repair due to extreme bad road conditions. We are now in need of two new SUVs and a ministry team bus in Jeremie
As always, we remain humbly thankful for your partnership in prayer and financial support, in seeing Haiti transformed “One City at a Time” for God’s glory. We close with a video recapping ESMI’s vision and passion for the island.
Thanks for your partnership!