Ministry Amidst COVID-19
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.' For he will deliver me from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and a buckler." - Psalm 91:1-4 (ESV)
It has been a very difficult month watching COVID-19 destroy the lives of so many around the world. We all have been affected and can easily lose heart. But we are praying with you for God's strength as we go through this together, and we are asking Him to constantly remind us that we are not alone for He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. He has promised to be with us forever. His promises can be trusted.
HAITI AND COVID-19
On March 16, Haiti closed all flights from Europe, Canada, Dominican Republic and Latin America. On March 19, Haiti confirmed its first two cases of Covid-19, declared a "national state of health emergency" declared, and closed all its borders. On April 19, the prime minister stated that this state of health emergency will continue for another month. Four deaths have been confirmed so far and the number of actual cases is difficult to determine.
Thanks for your continued prayers as the ten Children's Centers have no cases of the virus. Continue to pray for God's protection over the country and God's provision for the many needs that are present with the country once again in a lock-down.
2019 LOCKDOWN - WITNESSING GOD'S GOODNESS
The political unrest in 2019 shut down the country for most of that year. Yet God continued to do His transformational work. Because of your partnership in the ministry of the Gospel:
- 3,142 people came to know Jesus as their personal Savior
- 15 churches were planted
- 350 students in pastoral training
- Purchased 12 motorcycles for pastors in the remote areas
Thank you for making it possible to serve so many and preach the Gospel practically!
50,240 families were fed during the food crisis. ESMI served these families through the five presbyteries and the churches. You gave so generously that in 2020 ESMI focused on serving the widows, the school teachers and students as school re-opened in January.
2020 - LOOKING AHEAD: Church Planting and Leadership Training in US and Haiti
COVID-19 has caused us to reschedule a few events in Haiti such as: the Marriage Retreat for Pastors and Their Wives and the very first General Assembly of MERH, or in English, Reformed Churches of Haiti, the newly formed national denomination.
By God's grace, ESMI's primary goal of church planting and leadership training continues amidst COVID-19. We are utilizing both Zoom and Facebook to teach and preach weekly. Students and followers have been joining us from Haiti, Brazil, French Guinea, France, Chile, and Canada. We praise God for the opportunity to remain connected and at the same time spread the Gospel to an even larger Haitian population.
With the help of ministry partners, the goal is to plant 12 new churches in Haiti. We are currently working with the Berakah Community Church in Central Florida, and as the Lord permits, to start another work in Central Florida later this year.
SPECIAL UPDATE: Bakery
We praise God for our ministry partner, (Jeremiah) 29:11 who saw a need to help our aging orphans develop business skills. They invested in establishing a sewing business and bakery. By God's grace, both are doing well. Today, the bakery is not only serving the children centers in Jeremie with fresh bread, but is also a business generating funds for the young men to become independent.
PRAISE & PRAYER REQUESTS
- Praise God that His work continues amidst COVID-19.
- Zoom and Facebook have been the two main platforms for teaching and preaching in Haitian-Creole daily. We praise God for the responses that show a deep hunger and thirst for His Word. Here's the link to the facebook page for MERH, or the Reformed Churches of Haiti
- Praise God for the leaders and ministry teams in Haiti. The pastors are doing small group studies in homes. Pray for strength and wisdom.
- Pray for Haiti's leaders as they deal with COVID-19
- Two young men from the Cambry Children's Center are here in the US undergoing medical care. Pray for Chi Chi who is in Charlotte, NC and Kensly who is in Chicago. Grateful to our ministry partners, Give Hope Global and Chicago Friends of Haiti in caring for these young men.
- Pastors Ezechiel and Serge attended a leadership training seminar in Sao Paulo, Brazil and were unable to secure flights before Haiti closed its borders on March 16. They have been in Sao Paulo since. Pray that they can find a way to return home soon even though Haiti has extended the lockdown for another month. Pastor Ezechiel oversees the Fayeton Children's Center and is the moderator for the Gonaives presbytery and Pastor Serge is the pastor of the downtown church in Jeremie.
- In the Florida Haitian churches and church plant, more than 90% of the congregation has been laid off. For example, in a church of 300 members, only three are still employed. This is indeed a very difficult time for the Haitian community as their income not only provided for themselves but also for their family members in Haiti. This is number one income of families in Haiti: the financial support from family members in the USA. Trusting God to help us all through COVID-19.
"Glorious and majestic are his deeds, and his righteousness endures forever. He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and compassionate." - Psalm 111:3-4 (NIV)
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