“In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy
because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.”
Philippians 1:4-5 (NIV)
Jean-Paul (named changed) was recently deported and living on the streets of Port-au-Prince. Even though he was returning to the country of his birth, it was a country that he really did not know. He was broken and broke as he wandered the streets of Port-au-Prince and slept wherever he found shelter. But that warm Thursday morning, there was an irresistible urge, an overwhelming prodding in his heart that forced him to enter the First Baptist Church of Petion-Ville. There inside, behind the pulpit he heard an American passionately speaking, in a language he was familiar with, about the struggles he went through with drug addiction, and how a merciful God delivered him from this addiction and its consuming pain. Jean-Paul broke down. He needed to speak with someone. He knew he needed Christ. Pastor Acene, the senior pastor, and myself met with him and shared the good news of the Gospel.
What Jean-Paul walked into on that September morning in Petion-Ville was a seminar being held for 300 pastors and church leaders on “A Renewed Life- Overcoming Addiction.” A couple days before, the same seminar was held in Goniaves where 200 pastors attended. This program was well-received by the pastors and Christian leaders, and is being implemented in about 300 churches.
We praise God for how He is using ESMI to preach the Gospel within the Haitian community in Haiti and the USA. Our focus is always to train, equip and mentor pastors and church leaders so they can reach their community effectively with the Gospel that can “Transform Haiti One City at a Time.”
Here’s a brief summary of what God is doing through ESMI as we focus on the four E’s:
EVANGELISM: Leadership Development and Church Planting
-Teaching Elder (TE) John Kinser did seminary training on Eschatology and will return twice a year.
-Dr. Neal Hegeman of Miami International Seminary (MINTS) continues to work with our pastors in writing a complete commentary in Haitian-Creole on the books of the New Testament
-Sean Martin of Leadership Resources has been training twenty of our key leaders for the past three years. Once these leaders graduate, the goal is to open three sites in other parts of the country.
-This summer, after much perseverance, ESMI received the final documents recognizing the Reformed Churches of Haiti (MERH) is a national denomination. As God provides, the pastors plan to gather for General Assembly next May.
-Working on establishing the fifth presbytery in the Southeast Department/State. In September, the credential committee of MERH met with several pastors from that department interested in becoming a part of the denomination.
-Over the past nine months, ESMI constructed nine new church plants and hope to do seven more before the year ends. We praise God for making this possible as each of these sixteen church plants will have at least 200 congregants.
-On December 8, 2018, by God’s grace, the University of Jeremie will have its first graduation of 85 students including 16 seminary students ready to do church planting in 2019.
In the last five years, over 250,000 Haitians from ages 20-35 have migrated to Chili, Brazil and many other South America countries. Our country is loosing the next generation. For this reason, ESMI has established a secondary school in Les Cayes, South Department with an emphasis in the curriculum on training and equipping the next generation to be ambassadors for Christ and their country. We want them to be agents of transformation with the Gospel. In September, 960 students enrolled in this new high school. This gives us the opportunity to reach 800 families. As part of the requirement for enrollment, parents/guardians must attend the monthly meeting. It is in these meetings that the administration will dialogue and give ideas to the parents on the importance of encouraging their children to develop a heart for their home land. Pray with us toward that goal for these 960 students and their families.
-In August, with the assistance of the University of Iowa, Professor Dimy Doresca, University of Jeremie, graduating Agriculture student, Sylvain, attended a three-week seminar on entrepreneur/business development. This was a great encouragement to not only Sylvain and his family but to his community.
-Our hearts are in prayers for the many victims of Hurricane Florence, the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, and now the devastating hurricane called Michael. In the midst of these, on Saturday, October 6 at 8:11pm, almost two years after Hurricane Matthew, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck northern Haiti, about 14 miles from Port-de-Paix. One of ESMI’s church plant in that city was affected. The children at the Fayeton Village, Gonaives felt it. We praise God that they are all safe, but there was some damage to the Fayeton buildings. Out of fear, the children have been sleeping in the classrooms. Pray for me as I will visit this area on Monday, October 15. Here are some photos of the damage in the Port-de-Paix area:
-Over the summer, three of our girls died: two in a tragic motor accident in Jeremie and one, in Fayeton, succumbed to an illness. Please pray for family and friends as they continue to grieve.
-Thankful for ministry partners who work tirelessly to raise needed funds to care for the children at the different sites: Ride 4 Orphans (www.ride4orphans.com) to install solar systems at the village sites; Mt. Carmel’s (www.emmanuelhaiti.org) annual 5K for the Emmanuel Village; Haiti Hope Alliance (www.hha.com) annual gala for the monthly Mirebalais pastoral training and the Lundi Village; Chicago Friends of Haiti for Cavaillon Village; and Give Hope with their annual gala for Cambry Village. On Saturday, October 27th, Give Hope will have their 5th annual gala. For more information: http://www.givehopeglobal.org
–Grateful to all our summer teams who ministered to the children and the medical needs of the communities in Cayes, Jeremie, and Gonaives.
-We are still seeking funds to rebuild the chicken farm that was destroyed during Hurricane Matthew in Jeremie. This project provided employment for 40 people.
-Prayerfully seeking someone to oversee the business aspect of the ministry
CHURCH PLANTING USA
-While this deserves a newsletter of its own, I would ask for your prayers for wisdom and continued strength as we plant churches in Central Florida, and seek to connect Haitian leaders in the continental USA with our PCA denomination.
Pray with us for the:
1. University of Jeremie graduation on December 8th
2. Monthly leadership training on four campuses: Cambry, Jeremie, Gonaives and Mirebalais
3. Development of the new presbytery in the Southeast Department/State (Jacmel)
4. Thankful for the funding of five new church plants to be done in Goniaves, Jeremie, and Port-au-Prince
5. Need for an office and training center in Central Florida for leadership development
Again, we thank you for your faithful prayers and financial support for our family as we do ministry both here in the USA and Haiti for His glory.