Ministry Amidst Pain, Loss, and Blessings
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
"And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."- Matt. 28:19-20 (ESV)
These verses remind me that Jesus has all authority both under heaven and on earth. Therefore, we can minister without fear because He is in charge and we can trust Him. He is there with us even in the times of deep suffering and pain.
DEEP PAIN: HAITIAN CHURCHES IN FLORIDA AND COVID-19
The April newsletter ended with prayers for our Haitian community in Florida. The news coming from our pastors and leaders were painful. In one of ESMI church plants, a young leader gave up in despair when he lost his job due to COVID-19. Because he saw no way to provide for his family in the US and in Haiti, he committed suicide. As mentioned before, almost 90% of our Haitian brothers and sisters lost their jobs. Several of you contributed greatly to this urgent need enabling ESMI to minister to hundreds of Haitian families across Central and South Florida. One leader described the blessing of your support "as dry land waiting for water." Thank you for standing with us in ministering to our brothers and sisters in their time of great need. You were Jesus' hands and feet in helping meet this desperate need. To God be the glory!
HEART-FELT LOSS: MY BROTHER, FRANTZ
As I finished up teaching via Zoom on Monday, June 1, I received an urgent phone call that my younger brother, Frantz, was unconscious and heading to the ER. My sister-in-law's words were that it didn't look good but to pray. By the time we got to the hospital, my brother had already gone home to Glory. He had suffered a heart attack. This hit us hard as we just had dinner together the day before. Totally unexpected, heart-wrenching loss! The month of June was difficult as we took time to mourn. Frantz was a "behind the scenes" brother who helped the ministry greatly in first putting us on Facebook and setting up e-newsletter after the 2010 earthquake. He helped set up our teaching and Facebook profile for MERH at the onset of the pandemic. If you knew Frantz, then you knew what it was like to have a true friend. He was not only my brother by blood but also by brother in ministry. His greatest and most prized possession was his family: his wife, Shella, and their three boys: Samuel, 16; Jacques, 11, and EBE, 6. Please keep them in your prayers.
ABUNDANT BLESSINGS: Church Planting/Leadership Training Center in Florida
Since our return to the States in 2016, there has been a need for ESMI to have an office as well as a leadership training center. In the last four months, we have seen great growth and new potential. We have had students from US, Canada, Brazil, Chile and all across Haiti join classes via Zoom. On July 31, 2020, God graciously provided a special property. It is a blessing beyond our imagination. We praise God for the kindness and generosity of ministry partners who gave toward the purchase of this facility in Winter Haven, FL. The plan is not only to have a training center for Haitian-American church planting multiplication in Central Florida, but also to start a second church plant. There is great anticipation in the Davenport church plant to get this new Winter Haven church up and going. It is encouraging to train leaders and then see them excited about church planting! Lord willing, the plan is to launch this new church in Easter 2021. Pray with us toward that end, and also that the Davenport church plant will be particularized by summer 2021.
SPECIAL UPDATE 1: Children Centers and COVID-19
We praise God for His protection over the children at the different villages/centers. The children and workers have been well by God's grace. The sewing business in Jeremie, which employs the youth transitioning out of the Children center, made and distributed over 2,000 masks to the other sites. The children centers greatest need is additional resources to buy food. Food is now even more expensive due to the country's lock-down because of COVID-19. The food containers from Feed My Starving Children have been depleted and no new shipment is due for awhile, again due to the pandemic. Pray that God will provide the needed funds, and pray also for consistent operational funding for all ten ESMI Children Villages/Centers.
SPECIAL UPDATE 2: Church Planting and Education in Haiti
At the end of 2019, a new church plant was built in the small village of Mayan under the auspices of the Sud (South) presbytery. The church established a school as an outreach ministry to the community. Today, that school which meets in the church, has out-grown the church facility and now needs a school building! As we reach the children through education, we can reach the parents and the community with the Gospel! Pray that God will continue to use the pastors and teachers to reach the community for His glory, and provide a school building to meet the expanding need!
PRAISE & PRAYER REQUESTS
Thanks for your faithful partnership in the ministry of the Gospel, and for faithfully praying for the ministry and for us.
- Praise God that His work continues amidst COVID-19.
- Praise God Pastors Ezechiel and Serge returned to Haiti on July 23 after being stuck in Brazil since March. They used their time to study and minister to the Haitian community in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
- Praise God that Haiti has now re-opened. Louis and Martina are back in Haiti, and Lord willing, I will make my second trip to Haiti to do leadership training in Gonaives. Please pray for this training from August 10-13. We are using Leadership Resources International's strategy of "training national trainers" (TNT).
- Praise God for the the three new church plants to begin construction this month after a hiatus due to the political unrest and then COVID-19
- Pray that God will continue to raise new leaders with a heart for the lost
- Pray for the 162 churches planted in Haiti that God will give them a vision to transform their community in Word and deed
- Pray that God will provide the funds to plant and build 12 new churches, and for a central church in the heart of the city in Mirebalais
- Pray for $12,000 needed to purchase French Bibles and theological books
- Pray for the children as school re-opens next week in Haiti with the purpose of "catching-up" 2019-2020 school year, and then starting 2020-2021 school year a few weeks later.
- Pray for the administration of Bon Berger School in Les Cayes who will try to establish remote learning for their 900+ students. Pastor Louis St. Germain asks for your prayers and wisdom on this new venture
- Pray for God's guidance over these new dates: Pastoral Marriage Retreat: November 20-22 and General Assembly in January 2021
- Pray for the Haitian churches in Florida that continue to struggle due to COVID-19.
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