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.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Haiti Trip, June 2011 - Day 1

Well I am finally back in Haiti.  You can tell that the rainy season is in full swing.  The temperature and humidity are both up and the thunderstorms are broiling around us.  For those of you that have been asking how the progress is coming along…SLOW!  There is still quite a bit of debris around Port-au-Prince.  Some of the roads are being cleaned up and repaired, but from my assessment it looks like if the government or their image is being positively impacted then something is being done.  If it is for the common person then life is the same.  Also, the jury is still out on whether or not the new President and his team will make much difference.
Here are a couple of pictures from the drive to Carrefour.

We went by one of the special houses today that our construction team has been working on.  A church in Columbia, SC funded this one for the family of a young man that they have been sponsoring in the USA for college.  There is more work to be done, but the family will complete this work.  Tomorrow and the next day I will be able to get some pictures of some of our regular homes that we have been building.

We are working on house number 11, but as of this time this will be the end of the funds for these homes.  You might recall that each home costs around $4,500 and are being built for pastors or widows.  Please be in prayer for additional funds to be made available for these homes.
While we were driving to Carrefour we drove past the village that is being build by another NGO.  I shared about these houses about 9 months ago.  They are 12’ x 16’ and constructed out of plywood.  The expectation is that the owner will build around the structure with concrete block when they can get the funds to do so.  These structures are already starting to show serious weathering.  When I checked out the NGO website they showed up at cost of $6,700.

Well it is time to head off to bed.  Tomorrow we head up top Gonaives to visit a couple of construction projects and meet with some government officials to plan for a waterline to one of our orphanages.
More to follow…

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

El Shaddai Ministries International
David B. Short, PMP, SCPM
Projects and Development Director
C: 937-823-0809
H: 937-431-3984
F: 610-887-7103

Monday, June 13, 2011

Haiti Update: May 2011

Bonjour…Kòman ou ye?  (Good morning…how are you?)…

Hello again from the Projects Desk of ESMI.  Well, another month has flown by and I find myself late again this month with this update.  I really hoped to get this email out last week, but I was in Virginia Beach, VA at the Presbyterian Church of America General Assembly manning our booth from 8:00 AM until 11:00 PM and never had much of a chance to get the email out.  It was a great conference and gave us (ESMI) many chances to meet with new churches and organizations and share the story of the work that we are doing in Haiti.  It sounds like we will be trying to sign up for more of these kinds of conferences with other denominations in order to get more churches educated on the opportunities available to help rebuild Haiti.

I will be heading down to Haiti next week.  Below is a brief outline of what I will be doing on this trip.  As in the past, I will try to send out daily emails with pictures in order to give you all a firsthand understanding of what we are up to.  Please be praying for this trip because Haiti is in the midst of it’s rainy season and this much moving around the country can be difficult.

  • Gonaives (Artibonite Department)
    • Review the Fayeton project and meet with the government officials on a water line project
    • Measure the property at Mapou to get ready for building an orphan home there
  • Port-au-Prince (Ouest Department)
    • Review the progress on the home construction activities
  • Jeremie (Grand-Anse Department)
    • Measure the details of the university property to prepare a preliminary plot plan
    • Measure the property at Lundy to review progress on current projects and prepare for locating a business there
  • Les Cayes (Sud Department)
    • Measure the property at Maniche in order to layout the design of the school and get pictures for a donor
    • Measure the property at Savannes in order to layout the location of the school and medical clinic
    • Visit the river bank at Cherette if possible (the area has been flooding)
  • Anything else that I can get accomplished while there
Now for some updates:

This project has basically been completed.  There is some additional work to do to tie the gabions into the banks on both ends, but this will be delayed until after the rainy season.  Louis has reported that the floodwaters have reached the top of the new river bank and even overflowed some, but that everything is holding.  Praise God for the donors and volunteers that helped to make this possible.  Without this project we would have probably lost our school, orphanage, and church this year because the rain has been more than usual.  If I make it in to this site I will post pictures.  Our thanks go out to our partners from the different churches in the Chicago, IL area that funded this project.
We have continued to make progress on our school addition at the Fayeton site.  Below is the most current picture that I have.  We had to remove the second story of the existing structure due to poor construction.  We are replacing it with additional, single-story classrooms.  This is one of the sites that I will be visiting next week.  Additional pictures will be forthcoming.

On this upcoming trip I will be meeting with the local government and their engineers to put together the final plans for running a water line out to this facility.  Since the facility is so close to the bay we have not been successful in drilling wells that would hold up against salt intrusion.  Renaissance Church from Ontario, Canada is coming alongside of us to fund this new project.


The Haitian construction team is continuing to move forward on home construction.  I don’t have any updates at this time, but here is the family that is receiving house #11.  This is Pastor Harry Etienne.

If you, your church, or your business/organization would be interested in sponsoring one of these homes the cost is $4,500 and you can donate at our website.


After the earthquake in 2010 ESMI purchased some land in the Jeremie area (Grand-Anse Department) and started building the Lundy facility.  This facility has a church, a school, a medical clinic, and an orphan village.  We have been blessed to have this site adopted by Long Hollow Baptist Church in the Nashville, TN area.  They have become a critical partner at this facility and the children are definitely the benefactors.

Recently the Rotary International chapter in the Dominican Republic came alongside of us and provided the needed funds to build a retaining wall for the orphanage in Lundy.  This project is almost completed and I will be assessing it while on the trip next week as well as reviewing and plotting the upper part of the site in order to place a new business that will support the church and other endeavors in the area.  Below are some pictures of the retaining wall, which is almost completed.  Thanks again to our partners at Rotary International.


Just a brief update on this project.  We are almost done with the David Nicholas Chapel.  While we are building the other structures on the campus we will be using this one as both a church and classrooms.  Dony, our President recently finished our first seminary class here with over 120 participants.  We have a few donors interested in helping with this facility so when I get back from Haiti I will be quite busy finishing up the designs and detail drawings so we can develop our estimates.  Please be in prayer that this funding will all come together.  Our desire is to have the university ready to start up in October.

There are so many other activities going on across the country.  This is our busy season hosting short-term teams into Haiti.  Each team is busy doing many different kinds of projects that include such things as medical clinics, Vacation Bible School, small construction activities (lockers, benches, school desks and church pews, gardens, etc.) and many other activities.  Here is a great YouTube video ( that Christ Covenant Church from Matthews, NC put together from their recent team that visited some of the ESMI sites in the Sud (South) Department of Haiti.  If your church or group would be interested in sending a short-term team to Haiti then check out our website.


As mentioned earlier in the email, I will be heading down to Haiti next week.  Keep an eye out for my updates.  As mentioned last month then Laura and I will be heading out to California mid-July for a family reunion and my youngest daughter’s wedding in August.  While in California I hope to be meeting with some churches, a couple of partner ministries, and possibly a quick drive to San Luis Obispo to meet with some professors at the university about helping with our work in Haiti.  Please be in prayer for these trips.


For those of you that have been following our progress on raising our support we are currently at 45%, which comes to 72% with one-time donations added in.  God is still providing for us on a month-by-month basis and our base of supporters is continuing to grow.  Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

We continue to look to God to provide our support and there looks like some promising opportunities to pull this together in the months ahead.  It will be good to have this in place so that I can devote all of my time to doing the work that I am called to do.

Thanks again for your interest in what we are doing in Haiti.  If at any time you would like to be removed from my mailing list please let me know and I will take you off.


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

El Shaddai Ministries International
David B. Short, PMP, SCPM
Projects and Development Director
C: 937-823-0809
H: 937-431-3984
F: 610-887-7103