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 www.esmihaiti.org.  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 http://www.facebook.com/ESMIHAITI.  “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.