Friday, December 2, 2011

Haiti Update: November 2011

Dear Friends and Prayer Partners…
Greetings again from the Short household. I hope and pray that this update finds you doing well and enjoying this festive time of year. This update is going to focus on the activities that I have had the privilege of working on this past year. The items listed below have taken place since January 2011 and fell under my responsibility as the Projects and Development Director with ESMI. Hopefully this will give you an understanding of how valuable your thoughts, prayers, and financial support has been to the people we work with in Haiti, Laura, and me. 


Homes for Pastors and Widows

Pastor Guercy Meme

 the in-country guidance of Pastor Guercy Meme we have completed five homes. Another one is currently under way, which brings the total number of homes that we have been able to provide to those who lost there homes in the earthquake to twelve. We were also able to finish Arcene Bac’s home, which was a special project sponsored by a church in Columbia, SC. If you check out some of my earlier updates in my blog you will see pictures of some of these homes. The exciting news with this part of the ministry is that we already have three churches lined up to build new homes after the first of the year.

Facility Modifications and Upgrades

ESMI Locations
This year has been very busy from a project perspective all across the country. As you might recall, we are operating facilities in four major Departments in Haiti: Artibonite, Grand-Anse, Ouest, and Sud. Below are some of the activities that we have been conducting in these areas. Note that this does not include some of the smaller projects that our short-term teams worked on such as painting buildings, building school desks and church pews, building gardens and sports fields, and various other critical activities that helped to improve the lives of our brothers and sisters in Haiti.

Fayeton School Reconstruction
Artibonite, Fayeton Orphan Village - The main project here was the reconstruction of the school. We had to remove a second story that was not built to our standards and then add new classrooms to double the size of the school. The school started operating in October. We also added a cistern under the floor of the church. This area is very dry and the need to store water is critical. We started working on a project with the city of Gonaives to run a water line out to our facility but the project has been held up by the city officials trying to redirect our funds to a different, non-related project. We also had one of our short-term teams install a playground structure for the children (orphans and students) at this facility.

Mapou Orphan Village (WMI Unit in back)
Artibonite, Mapou Orphan Village - We were able to partner with Water Missions International to install a community-based water purification system at our facility in Mapou. This unit can provide up to 10,000 gallons per day of purified water. We are now able to provide this clean source of life to the orphans, students, church members, and surrounding community. We have also been able to enter into a partnership with one of our sponsoring churches to adopt this site. We are sure that you will hear many reports next year from this site as it grows and gets enhanced. We are already in the process of negotiating for adjoining property so that we can build new homes for the orphans here. 

Jeremie University Layout
Grand-Anse, Jeremie University - This facility has probably consumed the most of my time throughout the year. At this site we are in the process of building a national level university. We will begin with the first department being a seminary, but our desire is to add other departments that might include business management, construction management, language, and various technical programs (machine repair, solar energy systems, etc.). So far this year we have been able to construct the Dr. David Nicholas Chapel, the Cafeteria/Fellowship Hall, and various infrastructure projects (Water Missions International water purification system, septic tank, and public restrooms). The next structure to be started before the end of the year is the School of Joy, which will ultimately provide primary and secondary education for up to 1,000 students from the surrounding area. We also have the designs done for the Administration/Classroom building and are working to secure funding for this. Another critical component of this facility is that we are working with SonLight Power to implement a solution that will provide solar power for the entire campus.

Lundy Retaining Wall from above
Grand-Anse, Lundy Orphan Village - We have had a lot of activity at this facility. The church that has adopted this site has built classrooms, support buildings, and many other critical support projects. I have not been managing these projects but have been excited to see all that is being done for the children at the orphan village and the members of the church there. This partner averages one team per month working at this facility. If your church would like to discuss partnering with one of our facilities please let me know. A major project that I did oversee was the installation of a retaining wall. When we first built this facility the decision was made to put the boys dormitories on the hill. This was before we started implementing more rigorous engineering standards. It became necessary to add the retaining wall to ensure that the hillside did not collapse below the buildings. The Dominican Republic Rotary International funded this project.

Sud, Bighouse Orphan Village - At this facility we were able to install a security wall around the facility. This area outside of the city of Les Cayes has a lot of voodoo activity and having this security wall is helping the children feel much safer.

River bank after last flood
Sud, Cherette Facility - This facility sits on the edge of a river in the Sud Department. The storms this year have cause this river to flood multiple times. We have been able to build a large retaining wall, however, the flooding has been so bad that the damage to the river bank has extended much further upstream than we were able to address. We are still reviewing our options with this site and are blessed to have a civil engineer coming down on a short-term trip after the first of the year to continue to assess the problem. He was the designer for the solution that we put in place.

Sud, Les Cayes #1 - This is one of our larger churches in Haiti with a weekly attendance around 4,500. We will be working with one of our donors before the end of the year to put in a cistern and solar powered pump to provide water to this church and the surrounding community.

Sud, Savannes - Savannes is an area within the city of Les Cayes that has been deemed as one of the roughest areas in the city due to drug and gang activities. Last year we planted a church there and this year we were able to finish it and start having services there. We also have some partner churches from the Chicago area that are going there on a regular basis to do church related work and medical clinics and we are seeing an enormous impact on the community. We are now in the process of seeking funding to build a school and medical clinic on the church property. Hopefully I will be reporting on these next year.

Total Value - Thanks to your contributions to this ministry and my personal support to do this work I have been able to manage approximately $800,000 worth of projects this year. Many of these projects have been completed and some are in the final stages of design and fund raising. Thank you again for making it possible for me to be able to do this work.


One area of the ministry that I am also getting involved in is the establishment of micro-businesses. We work with donors here the United States and Canada that desire to help the churches that we plant become self-sustaining. Some of the micro-businesses that I am investigating and will soon be putting together business plans for are ice factories, tilapia farms, poultry farms, and cyber cafes. This is a whole new area of expertise for me so please be praying for me as I develop the skills needed to do this effectively. I will also be working next year to build relationships with donors outside of our normal church circle to donate funds to these activities.

Travel for 2011

One question that I often get asked is when will be my next trip to Haiti. In 2010 I traveled to Haiti ten times for a total of eleven weeks. Most of this travel was related to the earthquake and getting up to speed on ESMI and the work that we are doing in Haiti. This year has been different. I have been able to travel to Haiti for a total of four weeks so far. However, I have also traveled to Florida, Georgia, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Chicago, Indianapolis, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and California to participate in various meetings with donors, organizations, and conferences to help build the ESMI base of partners. It is a blessing to have such a dependable team in Haiti to work with so that I can manage the projects remotely and leverage my ability to work with donors and supporting organizations here in the United States. As my personal funding gets more stabilized I will be travelling to Haiti at least once per quarter.

Personal Fundraising Status

As I have shared in past updates, our ability to do this work is based on the generous support of friends and family like you. Many people that we run into still believe that this is something that we do in our retirement years. Unfortunately that is not the situation. This has become my new career and it is such a blessing to be able to use all that I have learned working for big business to make a difference in the lives of those in desperate need. My salary now comes from donations from people like you. As you can see from the news above there is a lot of work being done with your investment with so much more to do.

We have been blessed with enough donations this year to keep us fully focused on doing this work. Below is the last report that I submitted to the ESMI Board of Directors so that they were aware of how we are doing on our support. January begins a new year and we will be starting from scratch again. If you would like to provide either a one time donation or a recurring (monthly) donation to keep us doing this work you can do that on our website at Donate for David Short. It is also important for you to know that 100% of these donations go to what you are designating them for. ESMI operates with no administrative overhead.

Once again we want to thank you for your ongoing support in the form of thoughts, prayers and financial donations. This coming February will be the two year anniversary of doing this work in Haiti and it has only been able to be accomplished by your support. We will be praying for you and your families throughout the Christmas season.

Remember...In all that you do: Walk with God and follow your heart!!!
God Bless you and have and awesome day!!!
Esse Quam Videri

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Haiti: Another Perspective

Sometimes it is helpful to get another person's perspective on a place like Haiti. What you often hear from me are the reports of our projects and the issues that we are often confronted with. Recently I was forwarded this account from Melissa Hedden Roper. Melissa just spent a week at our Cassamajor facility in the Les Cayes area. Here is her story (used with her permission.

Melissa and Stanley
On Thursday of our week in Haiti, the October team traveled to Cassamajor, a church plant and orphanage about 45 minutes away from our home base of Cambry. After negotiating a rather treacherous turn around a washed out creek bend, the old school bus we traveled in had to back up the final leg of the road to the village. Within minutes of arrival, the medical team began to set up for a full day of work, and our first patient, a teenage boy from the orphanage, arrived. As he sat alone on the bench outside the clinic in his neat blue checked school shirt waiting to be seen, I was drawn to him by his sweet, sincere face. I asked him, in one of the few creole phrases I knew, “What is your name?” The reply came back in English, “My name is Stanley”. I admit I had to suppress a chuckle at the decidedly un-Haitian sounding name. His English wasn’t perfect, but good enough to break down that frustrating barrier of language that plagued us during our trip. He told me how he and his sister had come to the orphanage after his parents died in the earthquake. As we chatted more, I discovered that his English skills were a result of a summer course the pastor, and orphanage director, had put together for the older orphans. When it was time for his exam, Stanley and I said goodbye, but he had an amazing request for me. It wasn’t the usual desire for my sunglasses or my watch or even candy. This precious boy asked if I could get him a French/English dictionary. The educator in me leapt for joy! “Yes, Stanley, of course I can get you one. I will send it back with the team coming in November.” He thanked me profusely and with a hug, left.

That wasn’t the end of Stanley that day. He found me again, excited to show me something. I couldn’t quite understand what it was, so he simply led me to the pastor, spoke for a moment in creole, and then we started off together towards the pastor’s home across the street. When I arrived, the pastor’s wife kindly seated me in a chair in the foyer. Stanley sat in a chair next to me and soon a guitar appeared. Stanley was also learning to play the guitar and he wanted to show me his progress! For the next 30 minutes, I listened and sang along as Stanley and the music director from the church played a range of recognizable hymns and choruses. It was a precious moment in time that I will never forget!

Stanley found me again later in the day, this time with his English teacher in tow. The teacher reiterated the need for French/English dictionaries and asked for one of the most basic of teaching tools- a world map. I was delighted to promise a delivery of 10 dictionaries and two maps in November.

My last encounter with Stanley came right as we left. I gave him a final hug and a smile and praised him for being such a kind and diligent boy. He very quietly and shyly asked for one more thing. He said, “Do you think you could get me an English Bible?” “Yes, Stanley, I can get you a Bible”.

Stanley has become for me a symbol of hope. Hope for the future of Haiti. Stanley epitomizes what I saw over and over among the children I met. He is bright, eager to learn, and loves the Lord. His pastor, or “Father” (as the children call him), has the foresight to understand that education is the key to a better future. He is using what limited resources he has to give opportunities to the young people in his care to learn skills such as English as a second language and music. And most importantly, Stanley is part of a community that prays. When we arrived in Cassamajor, a weekly prayer meeting was in progress. The church on campus was filled with men and women who commit to pray each Thursday from 6:00 am to noon. Six hours of nothing but prayer in a hot, sweaty, dark, building. Prayer to a God who knows. Who loves. Who is coming again. Yes, Stanley, there is hope for you.
It is through the loving actions of people like Melissa that the Stanley's of Haiti are getting a new hope in their lives. If you, your church, or civic group would like to participate in one of these trips let me know.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Haiti Storm Update: October 2011

Dear Friends and Prayer Partners…

Please find below an update regarding the tropical storm that I reported in my last email. Please continue to keep the people of Haiti in your thoughts and prayers.

"After the rain comes the good weather." After the heavy rains that have swept the whole country, calm returned on afternoon of Wednesday, October 12th. The five days of rain has caused much turmoil in the Les Cayes area of Haiti. The Southern Department was the most affected. The damage amounted to millions of dollars and the loss of four lives was recorded.

ESMI had multiple emergency calls come in from our churches all over the area.
  • Les Anglais Church, Pastor Lajoie: The Christians had taken refuge in the mountains. The waters flooded the city and it was not possible to stay safe in the home. Many animals were lost, plantations flooded, and there was chaos everywhere. Also according to Pastor Lajoie after the disaster, many of the homes and streets were filled with mud. The lack of tools (pick and shovels) makes it difficult, or impossible in some cases, to do any clean up. Unfortunately, the bike Pasteur Lajoie owned to get around was washed away. He finally found it, but it no longer has any value. It is completely destroyed by rocks carried by the water current. 
  • Cherette, Pastor Nerva: Pastor Nerva called with tears in his eyes. The panic was at its highest point. The riverbed has degraded further and continuing to move toward the church. Prayer is essential because of the imminent danger of losing the church. The river has already prevailed in less than two years over 25 meters of land on which houses the church and other buildings in the village. The smaller children were placed in safe places and the older people who were able to swim remain on alert for any possible overflows. Damage after the disaster is enormous: a pregnant cow, three pigs, other animals and clothes were washed away. There is always the risk of infectious diseases in the upcoming days, which is a threat to the children. The presence of a medical team is necessary for children and the region. 
  • Savannes, Pastor Mongerard: The waters have invaded the field around the property and entered several houses. The church has become a place of refuge. Over 70 families are seeking refuge. After the passage of the tropical depression, the damage of the community was much: loss of mud houses and property, loss of animals and other possessions. The church did not receive damage due to the flooding directly, but it has indirectly. Among the people who took refuge in the church, there were people with bad intentions. We have had several things stolen including a mixer and an electric generator. More than a dozen chairs were also taken away. Pastor Mongerard's house is flooded. He lost all his books. There was water at the back of his house. Until this morning there was more water in his house from four water springs gushing up from the floor. 
  • Darivager, Pasteur Mongerard: The waters have not penetrated into the houses, but the animals at this site have died. 
  • Pelerin, Pasteur Louisy: There has been no access to the church due to the flooding. The water has invaded the whole field around the church. Fortunately the church is equipped with a foundation high enough, this is what prevents the water from getting inside the building. The people of the region have sought refuge inside the church. They made their home until morning. A plantation of maize, peas and other crops was completely destroyed by the flood. Pelerin has approximately 1 square of land. 
  • Picot, Pasteur Amazan: There is no current access to Picot. The road is cut. Pasteur Amazan almost lost his life and his family. He was returning from a church service when the waters of the river flooded the streets. He rushed to take refuge in a safe house not too far. He was released unharmed. 
  • Fonfrede, Pastor Raphael: The church is flooded. The pews are wet and shaky. 
  • Carpentier, Pastor Joseph: a lot of damage, we do not have all of the details. 
  • Bigarouse, Pastor Elysee: a lot of damage, we do not have all of the details. 
  • Casa Major, Pastor Renaud: a lot of damage. Praise God that the water has not penetrated into the church. They lost a horse, two goats and a several poultry. 
  • LaHatte, Pastor Pierre: The Pastor lost his bike. His life was miraculously spared. Part of the church was flooded. The children’s’ homes had no damage. 
  • Cavaillon, Pastor Leon: The children are on an alert status. Water has entered the rooms. Mattresses, bedding and food has been damaged. We now need to put everything back into a usable status. 
  • Cambry, John Franklin Director of the orphanage: The house of the girls is completely flooded. This house was built by our partner, Spanish River Church. Unfortunately the roof is cracked from the earthquake of January 12, 2010. The children were so scared. They were in a panic. Their books and mattresses were damaged in the flooding. We estimate that it will cost $4,500 to fix the roof and remedy this situation 
From Pastor Louis St. Germain, Haiti Field Director: “During difficult times, we realized the depth of the power of the bond of love that unites us all. Each of us was watching over the welfare of the other. We could not sleep without knowing how is someone who is in a vulnerable place. We cannot forget to glorify God for the blessings of the cell phone. It is this tool that keeps us connected to each other during the disaster.”

General Notes: After the floods, we expect a major contamination at a different level. Most people in the mountains await the arrival of the rain to clean their homes. They take advantage during this period for discharge into floodwater waste of all kinds. That's why last August we had 17 cases of cholera after the passage of a hurricane the hit the Cherette area hard. And also, given that the waters are contaminated, there could be additional epidemics of typhoid and other bacterial diseases. We will need some water filters for the people in these regions. A medical team is also needed to provide real help to the people in these areas.

Many of you have asked how you can help. First and foremost is to keep Haiti in your thoughts and prayers. With the infrastructure there continuing to be inadequate the needs of the people remain very high. If you would like to assist in a more tangible way then financial donations are the most effective. It is still very difficult and expensive to get physical donations into Haiti. Financial donations can be wired directly from our account here in the United States to our account in Haiti and put directly to work to those areas of most need. All donations are 100% tax deductible and 100% of the funds go to work in Haiti. If you wish to make a donation please go to our website at We would also love to host medical teams in the most affected areas.

Thank you for you continued support of ESMI...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Haiti Update: September 2011

Immediate Prayer Request

Louis St. Germain, our Haiti Field Director, informed us yesterday that since Friday the western peninsula of Haiti has been inundated with heavy rain. This is a tropical depression that is moving through the area and that should pass by Wednesday. This much rain causes the rivers to swell quickly and the surrounding areas to flood.

Here is a list of areas and churches that are flooded at this time:

  • Downtown Les Cayes is totally flooded. 
  • The road to the Pelerin church is flooded.

  • The road to the Picot church is flooded. 

  • The Torbeck church is flooded. 

  • Our Cherette facility (church, school, and orphanage) is Flooded. All the children have been removed from the site. The river is in a fury. We have water inside the church and in the orphanage. We are praying because the pastor doesn't know what to do. He had just called Louis and was in panic and tears. 

  • Our Casa Major facility (church, school, orphanage, and medical clinic) is on alert now as the level of the river is rising. 

Please lift our brothers and sisters in these areas up in your prayers. There are already reports of fatalities coming out of the area and the resources to help in the recovery are very limited.

Projects Update

I do not have a lot of new updates for you since the last email went out in September. My work has been focused on working with potential donors to secure funding for upcoming projects and developing detailed design documents for new structures that we are targeting over the next few months.

Here are some of the projects that we are working on and/or trying to raise funds for:
A new church plant in BonBon in the Grand-Anse Department.
  • The Administration Building at the Jeremie University. 
  • The School of Joy in Maniche in the Sud Department. 
  • New children’s homes at the Mapou facility in the Artibonite Department. 
  • Developing a solar power solution for the Jeremie University. 
  • Working with the city of Gonaives to run a water line to our Fayeton Facility. 
  • Securing funding partners to establish various micro-businesses at several of our facilities throughout the country. 
  • Working with our partners that have been sending short-term teams to work with our brothers and sisters in Haiti as they plan for their trips next year. 
  • Putting together pastor training classes and seminars to be taught at the Jeremie University. 
Continuing to host short-term teams to our facilities. Please be praying for us as we work through these and many other projects. There is so much work to be done and we need God’s guidance to be prioritizing our time and resources effectively.

In Closing…

It continues to be exciting to be a part of this work that is going on in Haiti. The people there have such great need and yet they have so much to offer each of us. I would encourage you to consider joining us at some time on a short-term trip so that you can meet the people that we are serving and get to know them personally. Your life will be changed forever.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Haiti Update: August 2011

Hello Dear Friends and Family…

I don’t know about where you live, but here in Ohio, it is becoming quite apparent that the seasons are starting to change…Fall is in the air.  This has been quite an eventful year so far and our Summer was probably the busiest one that we have ever had.

On the personal side…

I had my appendectomy, which was quickly followed by a drive out to California where we spent five weeks.  During those five weeks we visited with family, attended our family reunion, and met with various business people, college professors, and churches to share the story of what is going on in Haiti through our work with ESMI.

And of course!!!  We also had the privilege of being a part of the wedding our youngest daughter Amanda to Alex Krulj.

The wedding was a beautiful Serbian Orthodox ceremony followed by a nine-hour reception (party).  It was so much fun being welcomed into the Serbian community.  The bride and groom are now back in Ohio attending school again and starting to look for home to purchase.

El Shaddai Ministries International Update…

I would like to start this update off with a resounding, “THANK YOU!”  You have all been so supportive of our involvement with this ministry.  It has been 1 year, 7 months, and 7 days since I stepped foot on the soil of Haiti for the first time in my life.  Little did I know then that I would be working full time in a ministry that focuses on transforming the lives of the people of Haiti.  It has been such a joy to be able to use the gifts and talents that have been bestowed upon me throughout my career in this way and to have such an awesome team to be a part of.  This would not be possible without your support.

ESMI Website and Facebook

Our website has been in the process of a major redesign and the results have been fantastic.  Check us out at  The site is still in development, but I am sure that you will find it very useful and informative.  One big change is that you will be able to drill down to each of our sites and get information specific to that site.  We only have four up at this time, but should have as many as 85 sites available to visit in the near future.

We have also established a Facebook Page.  If you use Facebook check us out at  “Like” us while you are there and you will be able to keep up on our activities as they get posted.

Projects Activities - Cherette

In the May update I shared that we had completed Phase 1 of the riverbank repair at Cherette.  Cherette is a small community in the Les Cayes area, which is in the Sud Department of Haiti.  This site is pastored by Pastor Nerva Janvier.  The facility contains a church with 350± members, a school with 132 students, and an orphanage with 122 children.  Due to the close proximity to a major river this site is subject to regular flooding during the rainy season.  Our partner churches in the Chicago and Las Vegas areas provided the funds and the expertise to help us to install as set of gabions along the riverbank to stop the erosion that has been threatening the entire community.

In early August, Hurricane Emily brushed pass the southern side of Haiti.  Even though this was downgraded to a Tropical Depression it still left a lot of rain and destruction in its wake.  Below is a picture from the gabions in Cherette that was taken several days after the storm.  As you can see, the river is still very full.  The floodwaters were actually a couple of feet above the bank in the background and still caused a significant amount of damage.

Please keep this area in your prayers.  We hope to have a plan in place for Phase 2 of this repair.  We will also need your prayers for the funding for this project.

In the future I will send out Hurricane Update Emails when a hurricane is approaching Haiti.  If you are interested you can bookmark the Weather Underground, which will give you a snapshot of the weather over Haiti.

Projects Activities – Jeremie University

We have completed the chapel at the Jeremie University and have started working on the cafeteria/fellowship hall (see photo below).  I am now in the process of designing our administration/classroom building, which will be the next one that we start on.  We are also in the process of developing options of setting up a micro-business at the university site to help fund the construction and ongoing cost of operating the university.  Please keep this important site in your prayers.

Orphanages Update

We are continuing to restructure the operations of our orphanages.  God has blessed us with some very valuable partnerships with other ministries and churches that are coming alongside us in this part of our ministry.  We still have a great need to supplement these partnerships with additional funds for those children and orphanages that have not yet been adopted.  If you, or your church, would like to become a part of this ministry please send me an email and I will connect you to the person on our ministry team that will help you with that.

Schools Update

We are also excited, proud and encouraged about a recent development with the students of the schools that we operate in Haiti.  The children deserve a "pat on the back".

In the Haitian education system older students are required to take National Exams to complete their education.  These exams require students to travel into the city and sit with hundreds of other students for testing that can last for three days or more.  It is a very stressful time for the older children.

In Haiti only 25% of students taking the Rheto Exam (11th Grade) and 55% of all students taking the Philo Exam (12th Grade) pass.  These National Exams are an important part of the education system in Haiti.  Students who fail must repeat their classes until they pass.  It is not unusual to find students in their 20's still in school.

We are proud to announce that over 95% of our students have passed their tests this year.  Congratulations to our students, teachers, housemothers, pastors and our ministry partners who made this all possible.

In Closing…

Once again, Laura and I would like to thank you for your prayers, your thoughts and your financial support in our work with ESMI.  We are so blessed to have friends and family like you standing behind us in this work.  We have so much work before us and your support is what is making it possible to maintain focus and energy.

For those of you that have been following our progress on raising our support we are currently at 44% of our monthly support.  God has blessed us with enough one-time donations that brings our support for this year up to 99%.  This is a great blessing because now I can spend the remainder of the year trying to secure new sponsors that will carry us on into the future.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Haiti Update: July 2011

Hello Dear Friends and Family…

I thought it would be a great time to put out my July update.  I know it is a little bit early, but it has been quite an eventful week already and the next four weeks will be pretty full.  The last trip to Haiti was a very successful one, which provided a lot of information for me to use on my upcoming projects.  I will share more about those later.

Last Sunday Laura and I had the opportunity to go on a motorcycle ride with some of our best friends.  It was a great ride and we topped it off with some frozen yogurt in Oxford, OH.  About 1:00 AM I woke up with some pretty good cramping in my lower stomach and I figured it was another opportunity to deal with lactose intolerance.  By 8:00 on Monday morning it was becoming pretty obvious that it was something more serious so I went into the emergency room (by way of urgent care first) to see what was going on.  I was diagnosed with appendicitis and by 6:00 PM had an appendectomy and was not feeling much of anything due to the medications.

We praise God that this did not happen while I was on one of my trips to Haiti or two days later in the week.  Why two days?  Well on Thursday morning, we loaded up our Jetta and drove from Ohio to California… non-stop.  That was a 36-hour drive and we are sure glad that it is over.

We are now in northern California visiting with my parents with a full agenda of activities scheduled over the next few weeks.  It looks like I will be setting up my office on their porch over the next two weeks to do my work.

Next weekend my family all comes together for their annual reunion up at Lake Almanor.  The weekend after that Laura and I head back down to the San Francisco Bay Area to participate in my daughter’s baptism into the Serbian Orthodox Church.  While in the Bay Area I have various meetings set up with different executives to discuss what we (ESMI) are doing in Haiti and looking for opportunities for partnering on different activities.

After these meetings Laura and I are heading down to San Luis Obispo to meet with various professors in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at California Polytechnic State University.  This is where I went to college (many years ago).  We will be exploring possibilities of finding areas where work being done at the college might be able to come alongside of our work in Haiti.  These should be some interesting discussions.

From San Luis Obispo we head back up to the Bay Area for my daughter’s wedding.  Our return trip home will be by way of Las Vegas where we will be meeting with a church in the area and exploring additional opportunities for partnership.

We are excited that God has lined up so many opportunities to share our story and the work that is being done in Haiti.  Please hold us up in your prayers as we work through these next four weeks.  I still need to move at a slower pace in order for my body to heal effectively.  I need wisdom to be able to do the follow up work from my last trip.  As I shared in my last email here is what remains on the list of activities that I have on my plate at this time:
  • Design, estimate, and help secure funding for the orphan homes to be built at Mapou.
  • Redesign, estimate, and help secure funding for the buildings at the university in Jeremie.  This includes the Cafeteria/Fellowship Hall, the Administration Building, the Classroom Building, the Dormitory and the Visiting Staff Bungalows.
  • Design and estimate the school to be built at Maniche.
  • Modify the design and estimate for the school and medical clinic to be built at Savannes.
  • Plot all of the GPS information gathered on GoogleEarth.
  • Update our assessment information on all of the sites visited.
  • Continue raising my personal support.  For those of you that have been following our support raising progress we are now at 45% of our monthly needs with pledges and have had an additional 27% come in through one-time donations, putting us at 72% of our needs for this year.
All of these are critical so please pray that I will be a good steward with my time as I work on these while visiting with my family, conducting the meetings planned, and participating in my daughter’s wedding.  I guess that is not too much to ask is it.

A couple of other prayer requests…
  • Please pray for Pastor Guercy Meme.  He has become a very special friend to me as he has hosted me so much while I have been in Haiti.  Today (July 17th) he and Evelyn will be joining in marriage in New York.  Please pray for them and for Guercy as he too is in the process of raising his support.
  • Also please prayer for our very special friends, the Moad family.  John’s mother passed away this morning after a long bout with cancer.  It is a bittersweet time of loss and rejoicing that she is now finally free of the cancer and at home in heaven.
We are so thankful for your prayers, your thoughts and your continued support for our work in Haiti with ESMI.  You are all in our prayers as well.  Please continue to be praying for the people of Haiti as the rainy season ramps up and hurricane season is fully upon us.  There has also been a rise in cases of cholera across the country and the people are so vulnerable at this time.

Remember... In all that you do: Walk with God and Follow your Heart!!!
God bless you and have an awesome day!!!
Esse Quam Videri

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Haiti Trip, June 2011 - Final Email


Well, I have been back home for a few days now and am finally able to get this final email out.  These trips are always so wonderful because I get that firsthand reminder of how special the people of Haiti are, just how well off I have it here in the United States, and how much still needs to be done in Haiti.  I would like to thank you all for your willingness to receive my emails and put up with my ramblings.  I was able to accomplish a lot on this trip and thanks must go out to Dony and Sharon St. Germain, Louis St. Germain, and Guercy Meme for being my hosts.  I know that I ran them ragged with all of my running around taking pictures, getting GPS coordinates, and asking many questions.

Now comes the fun part…doing the followup work generated from this trip.  Some of it includes:
  • Organize all of the photos taken and get them sent out to donors as reports on funded activities.
  • Plot all of the GPS information gathered on GoogleEarth.
  • Update our assessment information on all of the sites visited.
  • Design, estimate, and help secure funding for the orphan homes to be built at Mapou.
  • Develop the property layout for the university in Jeremie.
  • Redesign, estimate, and help secure funding for the buildings at the university in Jeremie.  This includes the Cafeteria/Fellowship Hall, the Administration Building, the Classroom Building, the Dormitory and the Visiting Staff Bungalows.
  • Design and estimate the school to be built at Maniche.
  • Modify the design and estimate for the school and medical clinic to be built at Savannes.
  • Continue raising my personal support.
Fortunately only about 9 of these need to be done in the next 2 to 3 weeks.  Wait…that is all of them.  Please be in prayer for me that I will be a good steward with my time and resources to get these done.

My next “trip” will be starting July 14 where Laura and I, plus my daughter and her fiance will be driving from Ohio to California.  While there we have a family reunion and my daughter’s wedding going on.  I will be taking my remote office with me and continuing to work while also spending time with my parents and extended family.  I also hope to be meeting up with professors at two universities, various NGO and corporate executives, and various other meetings to share our work in Haiti.  Hopefully new partnerships will be established so that our work can expand and be better supported.  We will be getting back home around the 16th of August.

I will leave you with one last picture.  This one was taken while we were at Savannes measuring the property.  This is one of our newest churches and we have seen so much happen here already.  In this picture people from the church, people from the community, and our team all gathered together for me.  This is why we (ESMI) are working in Haiti.  It really is not about the buildings…it is about the people.  We come from a part of the world that is so richly blessed in so many ways.  When home I never have to worry about getting water out of my tap and drinking it.  First, it always comes out and second, it can be safely drunk.  I never have to worry about flipping a switch in my house and having the lights go on.  I can go to sleep at night in a clean, comfortable bed with air conditioning running to keep me comfortable.  I always have food in my refrigerator and on my shelves.   I am blessed to be a part of an organization that desires to reach out to our brothers and sisters that do not have all of these amenities and encourage them, teach them, bless them with our abundance.  Thank you for helping me to be able to a part of this team.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Haiti Trip, June 2011 - Day 6


Well, this will be the last email from Haiti on this trip.  The final, wrap up email will come from the USA.  As with practically every other day that I have been down here today called for flexibility.  I was able to visit three of the four planned sites today.  You will have to read to the bottom (or skip if you want) to see why.

Our first site that we visited was Maniche.  This is a church that we built way up in the hills outside of Les Cayes in the Sud Department.  Unfortunately the internet here doesn’t let me send too many pictures at a time, but I will be posting everything to my Flickr account and you can check out the views from this site if you are interested.  I will send the link in my next email.

The purpose for visiting Maniche was to measure the property and locate the existing buildings on the site.  We (ESMI) have a donor that would like to build a school in honor of a close relative who is very sick.  It was such a joy to meet with the pastor who had already sketched out his vision for the school.  He does special programs with the children in the area and has about 300 children that will be attending this school.  This area is about a 2 hour drive from any larger community, on a gravel road up a mountain.  Most of these children do not currently have access to education.  Below is a picture of the church.

To the left of this picture is a spectacular view overlooking a large valley.  This next picture is probably the best picture that I was able to take on this whole trip.  This little child was sitting on the porch of one of the buildings on the property.  As I squatted down to get this picture I realized that this is the reason that I am here in Haiti.

I know that there is so much work to be done to change Haiti into a new country and provide for her people new education, hope and lives.  I also know that I will not see the fruit of these changes in my lifetime.  It will take 3 to 4 generations of children like this one to recreate this country.  What I do know is that the work that I am able to do with ESMI is helping to lay the groundwork for children like this one.  That is not wasted work, but very fruitful and fulfilling work.  I am able to be here doing this work because of the people back home that are faithfully paying my salary.  As most of you are aware, I no longer have a company that pays my salary, or sets aside funds for retirement, or provides for insurance.  I now work for a small, and sometimes struggling ministry, or faith-based NGO, that is focused entirely on transforming the Haitian community.  And in order to work with this organization I need to raise my own support.  For those of you that are supporting Laura and me to do this work…THANK YOU!!!  You were all here with me loving on children like this one.

The second site that we were able to visit was Big House (Bigarouse in Creole) where we have a church, an orphanage, and a school.  Hopefully you are beginning to see a pattern here.  In Haiti the church is the center of a community.  Once a church is established then the orphanage and the school and the medical clinic all follow.  We also try to help the church set up a micro-business to support all of this.  This type of community offers a holistic approach to deal with the issues of life in a country of such dire need.  At Big House we have a team coming down in a couple of weeks to play with the children and do fix up projects around the site.  Once again I was able to take a picture of the reason for our work…

These are some of the 72 orphans that we have under our care at this site.  Again, thanks go out to those of you that support these children with your resources, your prayers, or by coming here to love on them.

The final site that I was able to visit was Savannes.  This is a new church plant in the roughest area of Les Cayes, a city of over 250,000.  Some of our partner churches in the Chicago area are coming alongside of us in the development of this site.  I have developed the plans for a school and a medical clinic and these churches are now raising funds to build these.  They will be in one building located to the right, and behind the church.

Our final stop was supposed to be the riverbank repair project at Cherette.  It was on our way back to Carrefour so we were going to go get some final pictures of the project.  Well…once again the need for flexibility stepped in.  Our car caught on fire on the way there.  And since the road out to the site is fairly rough the replacement car would not be able to make the trip.  Fortunately I was able to get pictures and a video of the gabions working during the last storm from one of our Haitian staff.

Another vehicle succumbs to the roads of Haiti.

Once again, I would like to thank you all for putting up with all of my emails and ramblings.  I know that most of you are extremely busy, but that you also have a heart for this part of the world…especially after the earthquake.  I hope and pray that my journeys here provide for you a small glimpse into how Haiti is doing and what one small group is trying to do to bring new life to these precious and beautiful people.

May God be with you all and bless you as he has blessed me.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Haiti Trip, June 2011 - Day 5

Hello all…

This will be a short email tonight…very poor internet connection.

Today was a travel day.  Flew back to Port-au-Prince from Jeremie.  Drove to the bus area (there is not such thing as a terminal) and took a bus to Les Cayes.  Door-to-door, 10 hours.  With commuting like this I never complain anymore about commute traffic in the states.  Tomorrow we visit our river bank repair project at Cherette, a school and medical clinic site at Savannes (future project), a school project at Maniche (future project) and a security wall at Bigarouse (project just starting up.  After all of that we drive back to Carrefour so I will be ready to head to the airport at 5:00 AM on Sunday.  Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Haiti Trip, June 2011 - Day 4


Today I made it out to Jeremie is a quick 30 – 45 minute flight from Port-au-Prince.  In Jeremie we are building a university, which will include a seminary for training pastors and a village nearby in the area of Lundy.  The Lundy village has a church, an orphanage with 138 children, a medical clinic, and a school.  Long Hollow Baptist Church in the Nashville, TN area has partnered with us by adopting this site.  We will soon be adding 5 more classrooms, a cafeteria, and 2 more orphan homes to the site.  Below is an overall view of the facility from up at the boy’s orphan homes.

One of the projects that I was inspecting was a retaining wall.  The boys’ orphan homes (three buildings on the top of the picture) were built before we started applying more rigorous construction methodologies.  The hillside is fairly steep and thanks to a gracious gift from the Rotary International group in the Dominican Republic we have been able to put a retaining wall in to protect the hillside.  Without this in place we have not been able to occupy these homes.  We have some final details to finish on the wall, a little bit more removal of the hill behind the homes, and some repairs to do from a mudslide to complete and we can then start moving the boys into their new homes.  Below is a picture of the retaining wall.

The other project that I checked out was the chapel that we are building on the university property in Jeremie.  This is about a 12 acre area where we will be building a complete university (classrooms, dormitory, administration building, cafeteria/fellowship hall, and chapel).  I am reworking our designs so that some of the buildings can have a second story added in the future when enough funds come in.  We are in the process putting together the funding for this project.  Our desire is to have departments such as a seminary, business management, construction management, and language when we get fully ramped up.  We hope to have enough in place to start teaching the seminary classes this September.

Below is the latest picture of the chapel.  Dony hopes to start having church services there in 2 to 3 weeks and expects to start off with 100 to 200 participants.  It was exciting to walk through the chapel since this is the first larger building that I have designed for down here.  The guys have done a great job with it.

The final activity today was to drive out to BonBon (about 5 miles further out) where we are planning to do a church plant.  BonBon is considered a remote place by the Haitians.  It is pretty far from any larger cities.  Below is a picture of a typical home in this area.  There is a river that divides the area, which floods on a regular basis.  We will be partnering with a Baptist church on one side of the river where they will be building a small church to replace a small, forty year old preaching point that they have.  We will building a larger church, a school, and a micro-business on the other side of the river where there is more people.  This way when the river floods the people on both sides of the river will still have a place to worship and fellowship.

Well it is time to sign off for today.  I can definitely tell that I am at the halfway point in the trip.  The body is getting tired.  Tomorrow I fly back to Port-au-Prince and hitch a ride with Pastor Louis to head to Les Cayes where I have 3 sites/projects to visit.  Thanks for your prayers.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Haiti Trip, June 2011 - Day 3


Today was another productive day.  I was not able to get a flight out to Jeremie today so we used the day to scope out some potential property for a new village that we are looking into building.  We are targeting the Gressier area and hopefully have a new partnership forming with another ministry in the USA that will help with the construction of the main portions of the facility.  Please keep this all in your prayers. 

We had to check out the property in kind of a low profile way.  As I mentioned yesterday, when the owners see someone like me walk up to check out the property the cost triples.  Our strategy is to work with a local pastor who finds out what property is available and then we go look at it without indicating to anyone that we are actually planning on purchasing it.  If it looks like viable property then our Haitian team here will begin the process of finding out the price for the property.  I will not actually show up on the deal until after it is closed. 

Here are some example pictures of the different properties that we looked at.  Today was our hiking day.  By the way, the Gressier area is about 5 miles from Leoganne, which was the epicenter of the earthquake last year.  Over 90% of Leoganne was destroyed. 

For those of you that have been following my journeys here in Haiti for a while you will remember  that one of the problems that I have pointed out is the lack of infrastructure.  One of those is garbage service.  From what I understand the government is very random about picking up and removing garbage.  It is not that the Haitians don’t care about their surroundings, but it is that they are not being taken care of by those in political positions.

Below is a typical scene on the streets of Carrefour.  The mayor regularly comes out and share how much he is doing for the people and yet this is what it looks like.  Pastor Guercy was telling me that last week the residents decided to pile all of their garbage in the middle of the street, which forced the mayor to get it cleaned up.  And I complain under my breath about having to roll a full garbage can out to the street once a week. 

To end on a good note…Pastor Guercy was telling me today that he has children from the neighborhood in every other Saturday to do a children’s program with them.  He averages about 200 children.  When possible he schedules these activities to match up with visiting teams from the USA.  Here is a picture from one of his groups.  It is so good to work with people here in Haiti that have such a heart for their fellow Haitians. 

Tomorrow I head out to Jeremie to do more assessments out in that part of the country.  I am not sure if I will have Internet so if you do not receive a message I will send one when I get back here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Haiti Trip, June 2011 - Day 2


Today Pastor Guercy, his brother Bookson, and I made it up to the Gonaives area.  This area is in the Artibonite Department, which is where the cholera epidemic started last October.  As I talked to Pastor Guercy about this I found that the epidemic appears to be actually worse than back in October…it is just not talked about very much.  With the rainy season ramping up the cases of cholera are ramping up as well.

Our first stop was at our village in Fayeton (see below).  Fayeton has an orphanage, a school, a church, a medical clinic and a larger bakery.   We are rebuilding the school to replace the second floor, which was constructed poorly.  The new structure will be one story and will house both primary and secondary children.

Above is the layout of our facility and below is a picture of the construction progress on the new school that will be ready for use when the school year starts back up in October.

After visiting the school and orphanage we held our meeting with the construction firm that works for the government running water lines.  They will be putting a water line out to the Fayeton facility so that we have good water for the children there.  The meeting was held in the way that we run our meetings here in Haiti.  I briefed Pastor’s Guercy and Woodman on the issues that I needed resolved and let them go into the meeting.  We have found that whenever Anglos show up the price triples.  We had an estimate for the project but I found a few errors in their calculations.  The construction firm will be reworking the estimate and we should be able to move forward around the beginning of next month.

From here we went to our facility in Mapou and did some measurements of a new piece of property that we recently purchased.  At Mapou we have a church, an orphanage, and a school.  Currently the orphanage is a wing attached to the church.  Our plan is to build apartment style orphan homes on the new property so that we can move our 126 children into these homes and provide them a better environment.  Now comes the challenging part of the project…raising funds to pay for the homes.  Keep this in your prayers because we need to move quickly in order to meet some new laws that have been put into place here in Haiti regarding orphan care.

I have had the opportunity over the last 15 years to do short-term missions trips to Mexico (at least a dozen times), Thailand (5 times), and now Haiti.  The one thing that is constant in these activities is change.  Today was no different.  As we were heading back to our guesthouse in Carrefour we found out that one of our children in the orphanage in Fayeton had to be admitted to the hospital and was diagnosed with an urgent need for a blood transfusion.  Below is a picture of this precious little child.

Apparently he is having a problem with his liver and needed the blood and will be on some medication for a while.  The nearest supply for blood is Port-au-Prince, which is probably about a 4 to 5 hour round trip.  We went back to the orphanage and shared the problem and the solution with the older children (over age 16).  Four of them, two of the housemothers, and Bookson came to the hospital with us to give blood for the child.  The latest report is that he is doing much better and is sleeping well with medication being given by IV.  Thanks to those of you that got our prayer request and were praying for him this afternoon and evening.

It is days like today that give me vivid reminders as to why I am doing this work in Haiti.  It is not about the homes being built…even though this provides a family a safe place to live.  It is not about the larger buildings being built…even though churches, schools, orphanages, and other buildings are needed to help the Haitians start new lives.  It is about each individual, each child, each mother, each father, each widow, that we (you as well) can touch in the name of Christ as Jesus said in Matthew 25:35-36, ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’

Thank you all for support ESMI and me personally so that I can do these things to those in need.  Without you I would not have been here today.