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, July 31, 2018

Haiti trip 7/30/18

Today was a very successful and productive day on all fronts! Kids were loved, played with, and cared for. Every orphan at Cavaillon was seen by our medical team - 85 of them! - plus the housemoms, who are key to children’s good care, so keeping them healthy is a wise investment! These hardworking women got a little TLC and a gift package provided by our team members. They were very appreciative of the special care.

The water team at LaHatte made such good progress that they are expecting to “shock the system” (give it a major cleansing which ensures the water produced is healthfully drinkable) tomorrow and give it the all clear to begin producing water again. The village should start seeing health benefits almost immediately, with their own trained "water board" to keep it running and in good shape, trained by our folks and an organization called Living Waters, which partners with our team members in Haiti.

The orphans at Cavaillon were in good shape medically - some scabies and malnutrition, but that seems to be with the children who are new residents at the orphanage, so the team was hopeful that would improve the longer they are there. A few typical scrapes and burns that are part of being a kid, but nothing major. And that in itself is worthy of a moment of thanksgiving - in the not so distant past, their condition as a whole caused concern. But not today! Safer and cleaner living conditions and more nutritious food does wonders. To those who sponsor these children financially (providing their food, education, and housemom care) please know it’s making a difference.

Besides a careful check from our docs, all kids had a ‘scabies wash’ (to do just a few doesn’t do any good - it’s a skin parasite that causes crazy itching, and is very contagious - unfortunately common in group homes in tropical climates), and the medicines to re-do it as needed are left with the housemoms. Then it was on to the ‘new clothes’ station. What fun for them! They only have new clothes when our team visits and provides them - and just like kids everywhere, their clothes get worn out or too small. The Texas team had this as their “priority packing” and they were ready!

After the medical visits, fun was had by all! Games, songs, just sitting together getting some personal attention - it was a very fun day for the children. And the team :)

Tomorrow, the full team will go to LaHatte. The medical and children’s ministry team will do what they did today in Cavaillon - seeing as many people as they can- while the water team does their “shocking” work. LaHatte is a bit further than Cavaillon from the Guest House, so it will be a shorter time spent on site. The team has to be back before nightfall each day as the roads don’t have much in the way of streetlights - actually, nothing in the way of streetlights. Sometimes, they don’t have much in the way of roads, either! The team will be traveling in two sturdy pick up trucks, “Haitian style” (in the back) for some. Other teams have sworn it’s better than the rides at Disney :) As always, they’ll be accompanied by ESMI drivers and staff.

Getting pictures from the team is proving problematic, as cell coverage seems to work for voice, but not text. WiFi works only when the electricity is on, which can be spotty. We regret that we can’t share pictures with this update, but we’ll hope to catch up as the week goes on!

Please pray for:
  • Continued good rest (and electricity)
  • Continued good health - so far only a few have had any “travelers’ stomach” issues
  • Continued safety in travel, with no delays that would impact how much they can get done at LaHatte
  • Patience and teamwork as they set up in a new location, and peace and calm while working with the residents
  • Opportunities to share the love of Jesus in word as well as in deed
  • The children of Cavaillon - that God would physically protect them, and that they would grow spiritually into young men and women of God. Pray also that their physical needs would be met through the continuing generosity of their sponsors (ongoing and new, as needed).

Monday, July 30, 2018

Haiti trip 7/29/18

The team got plenty of opportunities to share in worship with their Haitian brothers and sisters today at three different services - 7:00 am in Cayes at Bon Berger (Good Shepherd), where our own Pastor David was the guest preacher for the first time. No small audience there - the service is televised to a good portion of Haiti as well as picked up to livestream to Haitian expats all over the world. He might have preached to two million people people today - through an interpreter! No pressure :)

The second service was at 10:00 at the second congregation of Bon Berger in Cambry, where the guest house is located. Pastor Chad was the guest preacher there. The congregation was excited and pleased to hear that their Pastor Louis would be doing a “pulpit swap” in this fall with Chad, when he visits Chicago and preaches at Chad’s church. It was a wonderful way to tie the two churches together.

Along the way this week, friendships will be renewed between our team members who've gone on multiple trips and Haitians in various locations we visit regularly. It's a special time for both, and speaks volumes of the love and concern our ministry displays for the Haitian people - it's not a "once and done", but instead, our teams come back, and care about them.One of the pictures below is a reunion between a team member and a boy who first met 5 years ago. He waited for our team member to come down the hill this morning so he could be the first one to greet her. Both were happy to see each other!

The afternoon was spent sorting. And sorting some more! The duffels that were carried in yesterday came from three or four different states via our team members, and each location had a “priority” list of items to gather from donors and pack - underwear, shoes, clothes of different sizes, bedsheets, etc. The Chicago team also had several thousand dollars worth of medicines and water systems materials in their duffels. It will all be used during the week, but had to be repacked in a sensible way for the first few days of ministry. It will all be reorganized as they go, but the big job was done today. The repeat team members were able to lend their experience, which is always a big help in tackling this massive job, and the Texas crew did a lot of prep work before they came - 240 sets of clothes were bagged and tagged by gender and size before going in the duffels. That was an immense help!

The third praise time opportunity came this evening, when most of the team headed back to Cavaillon via coach bus. The worship in all three places was vibrant, joyful, hot, and LOUD. Haitians believe in expressing their faith with exuberance!

It was a welcome and unusual treat for the team to get to spend time with the kids (and today the community) of Cavaillon this early in the week, and it will help the rest of their time there tomorrow and Tuesday be even sweeter as the kids will be familiar with them and be ready to just enjoy the time more. It’s also great for the medical team, who usually miss out on the fun and games because they’re focused on their clinic tasks for the most part. Part of the team, though, is planning the “fun and games” and will just focus on loving on the kids. How great is that!

And the first “wrinkle” which people doing ministry in Haiti have got to be ready for - the bus they took to Cavaillion broke down on the way home and Pastor Louis, after some delay, was able to get alternative transportation back to the Guest House for them. The team is told repeatedly to expect things to happen on “Haiti time”, to be flexible above all else, and if asked to do something by the team leader, the answer is “ok, sure”. It’s the only way people can manage the realities of the situation there while working with a large team of people they’ve (in some cases) just met. It’s a wonderful, joyful, heart filling, heartbreaking, mentally, physically, and spiritually stretching week, and it’s unlikely this first wrinkle will be the last!

The water team will hive off Monday to go to LaHatte, the next place being set up with a water system. It’s really a “reboot”, as there was one there previously installed by another organization but it has been non-functional for quite a while. The need is pressing, as the leaders of the village could see quite clearly that when the water system was running, cholera was eradicated - and when it failed, it came back. There is no doubt that clean water saves lives in Haiti - in fact our engineer friends say it’s the best way to save lives. On Tuesday, the water team will go back to finish the job while the rest of the team goes back to Cavaillon.

The team will appreciate prayers for:
  • another night of good rest after a long day (and with that, reliable electricity which powers the air conditioning), safe travel to Cavaillon and LaHatte tomorrow. It still feels great outside with a breeze, but gets hot quickly inside.
  • the teams to quickly get into a good work rhythm in order to maximize what can be accomplished
  • safety in travel
  • patience with delays. The schedule calls for devotions at 7:00 in the morning, then breakfast. They hope to pull out of the compound at 8:30. 
  • health as people acclimate to the heat and the food
  • opportunities to share their faith and encourage the children, housemoms, and others at Cavaillon
The team is grateful for your support and partnership! Enjoy some pictures from their day.

Haiti trip 7/28/18

And they’ve arrived! Travel was smooth and customs even smoother - no delays in their flight or meeting their coach bus and hired escorts at the Port au Prince airport. At customs, there was a brief check of paperwork and they were on their way - the bags weren’t even opened. That is a far cry from what the teams have come to expect, and a welcome change! Every bag arrived, as well. Given their precious cargo, that’s a wonderful blessing.

Things went so smoothly that a last minute decision was made to “swing by” Cavaillon on the way to Cambry, where the team will stay this week. They arrived as the children were starting to eat dinner and were able to hear the children sing a blessing before they ate, and then visit a bit. The children were delighted to see some familiar faces on our team, and returning team members recognized several kids, as well. It will be fun to go back for longer visits during the week.

After settling in to the Guest House at Cambry and eating a dinner of fried chicken, brown rice, plantain chips and peas and corn, it was time for a team meeting, showers, and finally - bed. The electricity was on, and although the heat and humidity were not oppressive today, it will help our team to sleep in air conditioned rooms.

Tomorrow will start early, with church at 7:00 and 10:00. The afternoon will be spent unpacking and organizing medicines, clothes, and water systems supplies - close to 2000 pounds of duffel bag contents brought in by team members. A potential trip back to Cavaillon for evening worship is being considered, as well.

Please pray for good rest, for electricity (which helps the rest!), for health, and for the team to quickly get into a rhythm of teamwork as they tackle the sorting tasks tomorrow. Pray, too, that their times of worship with Haitian brothers and sisters would be uplifting and a blessing to their spirits as they start their week of service. Ask God to go before them in their tasks, their interactions, and their conversations this week, as they serve “nan nom Jesi”, in Jesus’s name.

Cell service is spotty (especially for texts, for some reason) but a few pictures made it through. The changes seen in the pictures of the Cavaillon orphanage are remarkable to those who’ve been a part of this ministry for a while. When our teams started coming, children at this orphanage sat on a dirt floor to eat out of communal bowls near an open fire pit where their food was cooked once a day. Many children had rampant scabies and the tell-tale orange hair of malnutrition. And now look! Praise God!

Haiti Trip 7/27/18

Our team of 22 is gathering in Miami tonight. Once assembled, they'll have their first full team meeting - they are coming from Chicago, Texas, and North Carolina so it will be a fun evening of pizza and team building as they make their final preparations to arrive in Haiti tomorrow.

The day tomorrow will be one of the longest of the week - they're meeting a shuttle to take them back to the airport at 4:00 am. Their day will include travel by bus first, then plane and then a LONG bus ride from Port au Prince to Les Cayes/Cambry, where they'll be staying at the ESMI Guest House for the week. Fortunately, it's a coach bus so they'll travel in relative comfort, with their own security escort just to allay any concerns for safety, given Port au Prince's recent demonstrations - which all agree have calmed down completely. But still, reassuring to have the escort.

Before that long bus ride, a long wait to get through customs. Always a challenge with up to 45 duffels (50 pounds each) stuffed with medicines, water systems supplies, clothes and shoes. Please pray that all of the contents sail through customs without any difficulty and without any additional cost.

Their plane arrives in Port au Prince at 9:15 am Eastern Time tomorrow morning. Your prayers for their day of travel will be greatly appreciated.

Our hope is that you'll receive an update each night on the team's activities, including some pictures, and definitely some prayer requests. We consider you an integral part of the work being done by the team this week, as nothing will be accomplished without the prayers of God's people. Thank you in advance for partnering with them in this way. There is a prayer guide attached to get you started!