Mission Statement

Chicago Metro Presbytery exists to extend the gospel and to oversee the work of the ministry of the PCA throughout the Chicago Metropolitan area to the glory of God.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Haiti update 2/26/18

The team had a wonderful day with the kids at Cavaillon today. The pictures attached will tell the story...but a few details here first:
  • Safe travel today for team, and now done with dinner, team meeting, and reorganization of supplies. All are ready for a good night’s sleep!
  • The team saw that progress on the physical plant at Cavaillon is like night and day. The “repeaters” are so encouraged to see the transformations! Just a few more things to complete, plus big plans for a permanent clinic are being made, which hopefully will be built in July from ready to assemble pieces shipped from the US. One of team members is heading that up and has many of the plans already in place to make that happen. Today he and Louis scouted out the best possible locations in the compound.
  • For those of you who remember the early days of Cavaillon, where the kids literally ate their meals sitting on the ground, take a look at the dining hall. Hallelujah!
  • Another item of praise that shows how a long term commitment by so many to help these children is bearing fruit - one of the doctors said today that “malnutrition used to be the norm - now it’s the exception”. Double hallelujah. and praise and thanksgiving for the donors who literally buy the food they eat with their monthly support! The team saw 43 kids, some who had some injuries that needed tending, but overall they’re in very good shape.
  • The water system installed two years ago is working well and generating enough profits to keep it in good upkeep and pay the operators a living wage - just like the business plan was written on paper! Again, hallelujah! The team finished today since there was so little to adjust/repair. Tomorrow, they’ll head to LaHatte with some Living Waters reps (their partners in installing the systems) to check out an old and non-working system installed by someone else (not our group) to see if it can be brought back online in order to benefit that community.
  • The training going on in Jeremie is going great! The trainer, Sean, has turned over teaching to those he is training, under his watchful eye. The goal is to train multiple local pastors, who will then train others. It’s working :)
Please pray for:
  • The plans tomorrow, back at Cavaillon, to finish checking out the boys (almost all the girls were today), do some water usage/hygiene training for housemoms and older kids, and then a refresher on women’s hygiene issues for housemoms and older girls, led by Dr. Daisy.
  • That the kids would feel loved and cared for by our team - there should be time for play tomorrow, which will be great! 
  • A few team members who are feeling sick tonight, one quite uncomfortable but as of now sleeping and under strong antibiotics. Please pray that whatever it is does not spread and that these two are up and about tomorrow so they can do what they came to do. It is so frustrating to be held back by illness when the team is there for such a short time. 
  • Pray for the three going on from Cavaillon to LaHatte with the Living Waters folks, and Sean in Jeremie, for safe travels and productive days.
  • Air conditioning - not so great last night, and comfortable sleep was hard to come by. It’s on now, and hopefully will stay on.
Thank you for standing with the team in prayer this week! It is so very much appreciated.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Haiti trip 2/25/18

A day of lively worship, lots of organizational work, and getting further acclimated.

The team worshipped at Bon Berger (Good Shepherd) in Cayes, which is the first and largest of the ESMI-planted churches in the region, pastored by Louis St Germain. It is a well known church in that region of Haiti, and its services are televised locally and streamed live on the internet. As a result, it’s not uncommon for several thousands to tune in every Sunday, many expatriate Haitians living all over the world. The worship service is long (by US standards) and loud, and joy filled and lively. Our team leader, Ted, preached twice today, once at Cayes and once at Cambry, with the help of an interpreter. The team met new little friends and saw old ones, including Toto (see picture).

There was also a special third “graduation service” this afternoon at Cambry, honoring students completing training in the health services field and other vocational training offered by ESMI’s school. Ted spoke at that, too, and a few team members tagged along. After clocking in at three hours in length, they wished they’d known what they were getting into!

This afternoon, the mammoth sorting job was done. This will allow them to be strategic as to what they take tomorrow to Cavaillon as far as medicines and supplies, as it’s not possible to carry everything at once each day. It will be a nightly job to restock, re-direct, re-purpose all that they brought, based on the needs of the community they’re going to. In some places, they'll see numerous adult community members as well as kids, so meds that adults might need will be packed in greater quantities for those trips, for instance. See some pics attached of bags going to Cavaillon and some reserved for the rest of the week.

The team also got an orientation on how our teams set up medical stations and training on how to do each job that’s been assigned. Some will do vital stats like height and weight, some will do a scabies wash (scabies are tiny skin parasites that causes incessant itching, leading often to skin infections, and it’s rampant in tropical regions and especially easy to transmit in shared living environments like orphanages; our teams treat every child they see on every trip). There’s a full scale mobile pharmacy to dispense meds prescribed by doctors, which the housemoms are given for each child and administer as needed.

Last thing for the evening is "the parade of showers" - 16 people and two bathrooms. Talk about advanced planning abilities!

One correction from last night's update - there were 35 large duffel bags brought into Haiti, not 65. Forgive the typo!

Please pray:
  • For restorative sleep aided air conditioning, even in cramped and shared sleeping rooms. The short night last night, the long day in new surroundings today, and the busyness of the day all take their toll. Everyone wants to hit the ground running tomorrow.
  • For the team to continue to quickly coalesce into a smooth working unit. They did a great job today sorting and working together. There’s always more to do than can get done every day, and working well together means more are served.
  • For continued good health as the week goes on.
  • For safety in travel. The trip to Cavaillon tomorrow will likely be in a few four wheel drive open bed trucks (travel between ministry sites is part of the adventure of ministry in Haiti; some say better than a ride at Disneyworld). It will be about 45 minutes. Also please pray for a timely departure with no hiccups. They hope to leave about 8:30 EST, but things run on Haiti time. 
  • For the work the team will do in sharing the gospel along with medical care. Every person seen by the team stops at several “stations”, one to take vital stats, for instance, before seeing a medical provider. At most stops, they are prayed for as well. The gospel is shared numerous times during the day. 
  • For the water team who will be checking the water system at Cavaillon, installed last year.
  • For the continued work of the pastoral training team in Jeremie. A picture is attached of a building being used in Jeremie to house orphans there. 
Thank you for praying!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Haiti Update 2/24/18 #2

After an unexpected delay at customs, which clearly underscored the need for flexibility when doing anything in Haiti, the team got on their way to Les Cayes about 12:30 Eastern time. The five and a half hour bus trip was long but uneventful, and they were grateful to arrive at their home for the week in Les Cayes. Their host, ESMI co-founder Louis St. Germain, is well known to “repeaters” and will provide a safe and welcoming place for them. Their typical home base, the guest house at Cambry, is in use this week by another large team who spends all their time at Cambry, whereas our team will travel each day to other locations. Some pictures of their home away from home are attached, as well as some of the team. Also included: some pictures of the work of our "satellite team member", Sean, teaching pastors in Jeremie.

The Cayes team's goal tonight: eat, meet as a team, settle in, shower, and get to bed. Tomorrow will be a long day!

After church at Bon Berger in Cayes (some will go to more than one service) the team will tackle huge task of sorting 65 duffel bags each stuffed with 50 pounds of medicine, clothes, and other supplies for use all week. It’s hard to imagine how much stuff that is! As the week goes on, things will be re-sorted for transport each day as needed. The contents of those bags truly is a huge part of their visit and contribution to the people of Haiti, and it was all donated or paid for by donated funds. If you had a part in that, the team thanks you for your generosity!

The schedule calls for two days at Cavaillon on Monday and Tuesday. This location, which houses a school and an orphanage, has been “adopted” by a consortium of individuals and churches mostly in Chicagoland. Donors cover the entire cost of their food, lodging, schooling, and housemom care. It was hard hit by the hurricane in October 2016 and has been substantially rebuilt and stabilized against hurricane force winds from the ground up. Improvements were already underway there prior to that devastation, and the team is eager to see the completed compound - and the kids! Doctors will check each one out (there are about 85 kids living there), chart their progress, and work with housemoms where ongoing treatment is needed. All will get vitamins and deworming medicine at the very least. And new clothes! The team also brought new sheets for each bunk bed. The kids will be excited!

Praise God for safe travel today. Praise God for the safe delivery of the bags filled with supplies, and that they left customs with all of them.

Please pray:
  • For good rest in a strange place and cramped quarters (by our standard), including that the air conditioning stay on to facilitate that.
  • For refreshment and joy as our team worships with Haitian brothers and sisters tomorrow. The services are long, loud, and often hot - but joyous and a taste of heaven as people of different cultures, languages, and nations worship together in one place.
  • For the team leader, Ted, who will preach three times tomorrow, twice in the morning and once in the afternoon
  • For a good sense of team as these 16 individuals, some of whom only met yesterday, start to figure out how to work together, leveraging their gifts and abilities to serve God and others in the best way possible, and that their joy in doing so would be obvious to all they interact with.
Thank you for praying! Your contribution to the work of this team is immense, and they appreciate it very much.

Haiti update 2/24/18

The team has arrived safely in Port au Prince and has their bags, but the courier meeting them with government approved paperwork to bring the medicines through customs is nowhere to be found. Other ESMI staff are there and looking for him, and one has gone to a government building to try to pick up the paperwork...but they are stuck there until this is resolved.

Please pray they are cleared to leave with all the medications soon.

Thank you!

An update - the team has cleared customs and is on their way via bus to Les Cayes, probably a four hour trip at best. The person with the medical paperwork they needed got their arrival time confused with another team coming in at 4:00. He brought that team's paperwork, which caused some issues and resulted in an additional fee to get through - but they are through, with bags intact.

Thank you for praying! Please keep it up :)

Haiti update 2/23/18

A team of 17, representing seven Chicago area churches plus folks from 5 other cities outside of Chicago, are meeting in Miami tonight before beginning a week in ministry in Haiti. One person is actually already in Haiti, starting a week of teaching pastors in Jeremie to the north, and they won't see him all week!

The others will travel together first by plane to Port au Prince very early tomorrow morning, and then by bus to Les Cayes, a five to six hour trip. They will be hosted by Louis St. Germain at his home in a suburb of Cayes called Cite Lumiere. It will be a tight fit!

From that as a home base, they'll visit four or five locations, by bus, during the week. Medical teams and water purification teams will be busy all week. The days are long.

The team has 3 doctors, 2 nurses, 4 people who are trained in water purification systems, and a whole bunch of helping hands to do whatever else is needed. The "non-medical" folks make it possible for the medically trained people to be most effective by doing anything and everything else to make things run efficiently. The water team will work independently on most days, even when at the same site as the medical teams. Of the 16 people on the team, most are "repeaters" as Haiti missions team members, which will help in many ways.

Our goal is to send an update every night, with pictures and prayer requests for the next day. For tonight, please pray:
  • For safe and smooth travel tomorrow out of Miami, into Port au Prince, and to Les Cayes by bus. Travelling in a group of 16 is difficult, especially when each person is carrying two 50 pound duffel bags full of supplies - medicine, clothes, bedsheets, and water purification system parts - plus their own small suitcase and a backpack. 
  • That all of those bags would arrive intact and go smoothly through customs. That can be a tense time of waiting, examining bags and paperwork, and sometimes being told there are new 'rules' that apply to bringing supplies in that usually cost money, paid directly to the customs agents. Pray that all will be well. 
  • For health for the team. They've all come to work, and not feeling well will be a hindrance. Pray especially for adjustment to the heat and humidity, which is intense even in February. 
  • For good rest, and for electricity and air conditioning to be reliable in the evenings. It is difficult to sleep well - sometimes sleep at all - without it. 
  • For opportunities to share the love of Jesus in both word and deed, regardless of language barriers. 
Thank you for praying!