Giving Thanks in the Midst of Challenges
Monday, November 16, 2020
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, WITH THANKSGIVING let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 4:4-7 (ESV)
Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians while in prison. He encouraged them to be thankful because the Lord is near. As we go through this time of uncertainty with the pandemic and what is happening in our world, we can be assured that we are not alone. The Lord is present with us. This promise of God's presence is certain. It gives us peace because He carries our burdens for us. Therefore, we should not let our hearts be troubled. Be thankful with us and encouraged about what God is doing in spite of us.
CAMBRY UPDATE - NEW ONLINE SCHOOL
The last three years have been more than challenging for Haiti. The political unrest has not only affected the country economically but placed a great strain on the educational institutions. Over these last three years, the country is recording only 120 days of school! It is against this backdrop of political unrest, country- wide lockdown, dealing with a pandemic, economical hardship with the decreased value of the USD, that Louis and Martina decided to set up an online school for the youth at the Cambry Education Center. There are one hundred twenty (120) 7th to 12th grade students enrolled in a stringent US curriculum taught by qualified English-speaking teachers from other countries. At the end of the program, the students will graduate with high school diplomas from both the US and Haiti. As one can imagine, setting up such an initiative was very challenging. Louis and Martina are however, so thankful to one of ESMI's major partners who provided the laptops and internet upgrades needed to operate such a program. Louis says, "We've always dreamed of providing our young people with a quality education. This is one of the surest ways to secure their future. No matter where they turn up, with their education, they will win." Pray for God's blessings on this courageous initiative on behalf of Haiti's youth.
Students at the Cambry Education Center
LEADERSHIP TRAINING: FROM HAITI TO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Since August, a team has been doing intensive training with pastors across the island of Haiti. The training involves taking one book of the Bible and spending the next three days learning how to prepare Christ-centered messages. We have done training from the Book of Jonah in Goniaves, Mirebalais, Cayes and Jeremie. In November, we crossed over into Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to work with Haitian pastors there. In another three months, the team will teach through 2 Timothy and return again to all the above sites. The response from the pastors is encouraging as they are learning to teach a series of Christ-centered messages. Indeed, God's Word is alive and will not return void!
A NEW CHALLENGE IN HAITI AT THE CLOSE OF 2020
Haiti - a poverty-stricken country plagued with the after-effects of the 2010 earthquake, hurricanes, floods, political unrest, lock-downs, a pandemic...what more can be asked of this country to bear!! And yet, there is a new challenge facing Haiti: the sudden appreciation of the Haitian gourdes against the US dollar over the past two months. This unexpected exchange rate is creating havoc. For example, two months ago, $80US would exchange for about 10,000 gourdes. Today, it is worth only 5,000 gourdes. Haitians who depend on families in the US are struggling. NGO's, like ESMI-Haiti, are finding it difficult to operate in USD funds. The past two months have been a challenge to meet monthly budget. It is really difficult to take care of the orphans and with the opening of school, we are unable to pay tuition and provide uniforms and books for the children. We are left wondering how much longer this appreciation will continue. Pray with us for wisdom and the next steps.
EXPANDING CHURCH PLANTING EFFORTS IN CENTRAL FLORIDA
We continue to be so thankful to the Lord for the Winter Haven property. It is now home to El Shaddai Community Church, El Shaddai Theological Seminary, and El Shaddai Ministries International-US office! Because there is now a place for training, our church-planting efforts have expanded to include Kissimmee and Poinciana. These cities have leaders and a core group already meeting. Now, with a total of four churches: Davenport, Winter Haven, Poinciana and Kissimmee, we have classes in Evangelism, Marriage and Family conference, and Pastoral Leadership scheduled in November and December. Pray with us for these teachings.
PRAISE & PRAYER REQUESTS
1) We praise God for you, our ministry partners, who faithfully pray over these requests. Within a couple days of sending out the last e-newsletter, God provided the funds for French Bibles and theology books, as well as two containers of food to serve Gonaives, Mirebalais, Jeremie and the South!
2) Praise God that the pastoral training across the island and the Dominican Republic has been well received. Pray for the Holy Spirit to use the pastors to preach Christ-centered messages boldly and clearly.
3) Praise God for the upcoming construction of two new church plants in South, and the completion of two: one in Jeremie and one in Gros-Morne, Gonaives
4) We praise God for Feed My Starving Children. We are scheduled to receive a container Manna-pack meals by the end of November. These pre-packed meals are such a blessing to our children and the community.
Our Greatest Challenge Today:
Pray that God will provide the needed resources to support the Fayeton Children's Village where we have 116 children. The appreciation of the gourdes has us at a new budget for their education.
i) Uniforms, Books: $9,000US (one-time cost to start school year)
ii) Tuition and one hot meal daily: $30,000US or $260US per child
Once this budget is met, it provides scholarship for an additional 200 children from the community to attend school on the Fayeton campus. Pray that God will provide 10 churches or individuals to help us meet this pressing need.
Thanks for your faithful partnership in the ministry of the Gospel, and for faithfully praying for the ministry and for us.
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