Anne at College

For those of you who’ve been on a trip with us, you’ve likely been impacted by the loving smile and warm personality of Anne Lormeus.  An EBAC graduate, Anne has translated for our teams, assisted on medical trips, and been part of several Haitian choir albums.  Anne now embarks on a new journey, pursuing an accounting degree in Port au Prince.  Espwa wants to see Anne succeed and has raised enough funds for her first year.  We’ll be taking this a year at a time and monitoring her progress, but we expect big things.  If you would like to contribute to her schooling, click on her photo.  Funds received at this point will go to her second year.


Jovenel’s Dream

If you’ve been following Jovenel’s story for long, you know that he and his Agrolide organization have bigger dreams than simply owning and operating the first farm.  To hear more about Jovenel’s vision, check out the latest in our project video series: 

Thank you so much to Regan Kramer Media for this production.  If you’d like to donate specifically to this project, please click the link below and designate your gift for “New Farm” at our donation site, Razoo.   

Support the New Farm


Jovenel’s Crops

Many people ask us what kind of crops Jovenel and his Agrolide organization grow on the farm.  There is definitely a diverse selection.  Here’s what’s currently growing:


St. Anthony’s Renovation

St. Anthony’s is one of the primary medical clinics at which Espwa serves in Cap Haitien, Haiti.  Our longtime friend and medical director, Dr. Eugene Maklin, sees patients there each week.  After this past March’s medical trip, it became clear that St. Anthony’s was overwhelmingly hot, overcrowded, and too small for effective patient exams.  Between April and June, one of our network partners, Food for the Poor, was able to raise the capital needed to address some of its shortcomings.

By employing Haitian construction crews, the building underwent a dramatic transformation.  Site improvements included the following:

  • Demolishing one exterior wall and extending two rooms and the gallery
  • Reinforcing structural beams and columns
  • Reconstructing concrete slab floors
  • Repairing bathrooms
  • Replacing the electrical wiring
  • Replacing the roof with new plywood underlayment, metal roofing, and hurricane strapping
  • Repainting and refinishing

We can’t wait to return and serve at St. Anthony’s on our next medical trip and are so excited that community residents have such a nicer clinic!


Interview with Pastor Benjamin

If you received our quarterly newsletter, you’ve likely seen the video of Pastor Benjamin and the welding generator that has significantly impacted his life.  As can be expected, much of the interview had to be edited out in order to fit into the short segment within the video.  We thought it worthwhile to post the full text of the interview here so that you can get more acquainted with him, learn a bit about his church, and start to see his character. We’re glad to have Pastor Benjamin as an Espwa partner!

Tell us your name and where you serve as pastor.

I’m Benjamin Fleurant. I work at the Baptist Church Army of Christ (EBAC) of Morne Rouge.

Tell us about some of the financial difficulties you face as a church and as a pastor.

There are obviously material difficulties that we face.  But I think the root of the problem comes from not modeling the type of Christ-like living as found in the Bible.  It is difficult to find this type of Christian.

How has the welding generator been able to make a difference in your life?

We want to thank God first, and then the Espwa Foundation, who thought of supporting us in this way. The welding generator sure makes a difference.  Even though I don’t use it myself or rent it every day, at least I have the hope of renting it to find support for my family.

Tell us about the ministry with the Peace & Joy families.

Normally, in my ministry with the Peace & Joy children, I go there and teach them songs, verses, and do Bible stories. Sometimes we also talk with their parents to keep them growing and to bring them spiritual hope.

It’s a pleasure for me to work with those kids. First of all, there is a great need for the ministry, because in the area where they live, it is outside the city and there are not a lot of Christians/believers.  The work we’re doing is progressing, even though on a spiritual level, I wouldn’t say we’ve achieved the progress I was expecting.  I had been ministering once a month, but I found that time interval was too long.  Now, I have decided to go once a week.  We’re also dividing the children into different age groups (5 to 11, and 12 and older).  Another thing we hope might overcome this distance between us is to provide opportunities for the children to come to EBAC Church once a month. The objective is to bring hope to the children’s lives and for their growth.  And that’s where we are right now. I am hoping God will give us the strength we need to keep growing the ministry in Jesus’ name.

What are you passionate about?

My passion is to evangelize and teach people how to understand God better, which is based on Hosea 4:6, which says, “My people are perishing because of lack of understanding of the words of God.”

How can we pray for you, for the Peace & Joy families, and Cap Haitien?

My personal request is that God would give me strength, zealousness, and more faith to continue day by day to do His work.  For the children, my prayer request is that they would have a discerning mind so they can understand the words of God, and for them to be obedient to what the Bible asks.  And my vision for Cap Haitien is for a city-wide evangelization – for the areas where people don’t hear about the gospel – and that I can help people better understand the God’s word.

What does hope mean to you?

For me, hope is one of the greatest words.  If people are living without hope, then it’s like this person doesn’t exist. Because wherever there is hope, there is life. The best hope is Jesus. When a Christian goes somewhere, he should bring hope.  That’s why, to me, hope is life.

What do you want to say to anyone who supported you with the generator?

First, I want to thank God. Thank you to everyone who heard about this opportunity and participated to support me.  I don’t have the words to express my gratitude, but God knows my heart. I pray that God helps you spiritually and materially, so that you can continue to grow in faith and support more people to do the work of God.

 

Check out the video recap below if you haven’t yet seen it:


A Great March Trip!

We’re fresh off our latest trip to Cap Haitien, Haiti, and like with most trips, we’ve returned with even more motivation for the work we do for the Haitian people. Through medical care, family support, farming, and small business, we are grateful for the opportunities we have to build relationships and impact lives. Check out the short recap video below, and keep reading for more details about the trip!

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/160039016]

 

The team set off to Haiti on March 9th, carrying more than 19 suitcases of medications, vitamins, and medical supplies valued at over $22,000. Five members of the Espwa leadership team (Jen, Chris, Joe, Brady & Kristin) were excited to be back in-country, but we were also  privileged to assemble an amazing team of medical professionals, including two Nurse Practitioners, four RNs, and an Occupational Therapist. Another member arrived midway through the trip, bringing our team total to 11 individuals. Our primary goal for the trip was to serve Haitians through medical care, with a secondary goal of meeting with the liaisons for our other Espwa projects to check progress.

The medical team worked side-by-side with two Haitian physicians, Dr. Eugene Maklin (Espwa’s in-country Medical Director) and Wislyn Avenard, and began by serving for two days at the Blue Hills community. While there is no clinic in the small community, our team was able to set up shop in a school building run by Thomas Dieuseul and his wife. Patients began arriving first thing in the morning in order to reserve a spot in line to be seen by the team, and the waiting area was soon filled to capacity. Over two days, the team saw more than 300 patients, treating them for conditions ranging from dehydration to skin abscesses.

The team took a break from medical duty over the weekend, which gave an opportunity to experience some of Espwa’s other projects and to enjoy Haiti’s beauty. The team was very impressed by the amazing progress of Dr. Maklin’s New Hope Hospital (read about the story here). The building now has full three floors and is in the process of getting its roof, with a hopeful opening date in the July 2016 timeframe. On Saturday, the team met our Peace & Joy Families, who had assembled for their monthly meeting with our project liaison, Paul Guerrier. Pastor Benjamin Fleurant, who ministers to the families, was also at the meeting and led the children in a song while the team watched. Sunday was a wonderful day of rest, in which the team spent the morning at Friendship Island – essentially a private island off the coast of Haiti (thanks Haitian Creole Tour!) – and several members even ventured to city central for church services in one of Cap Haitien’s oldest cathedrals.

The team was back at it on Monday morning, this time serving at St. Anthony’s clinic, which Espwa has been part of since its inception. Dr. Maklin sees patients there every Monday, and it’s been great to see the relationships unfold with members of the community over the past several years. The team served at the clinic for 2 ½ days and saw more than 400 patients.  The Espwa team was grateful for all the donated vitamins (which can’t be purchased in Haiti), because it guaranteed each child received an adequate supply.  Espwa President, Jen Schmidt, summarized the week’s medical mission by saying, “We all worked so well together and everything fell perfectly into place, allowing us to treat over 700 patients!  God is good!”

While most of the team provided medical care, our non-medical members checked progress on several other Espwa projects.  The team met with Pastor Benjamin Fleurant, who regularly meets with our Peace & Joy families for Christian discipleship and relationship building.  In December, thanks to your support, we were able to purchase a welding generator for him that has dramatically helped his ability to generate income and focus more on his church and his ministry to the Peace & Joy families.  We met with Jovenel Joseph Kenold, who operates one of our main projects – a farming initiative – and who now has his sights set on a larger farm with his Agrolide organization.  We explored some of the steps that need to be taken to make the next farm a reality.  We also met with Paul Guerrier and Frantz Louis-Charles, who interface with our Peace & Joy families on a monthly basis, to discuss ways forward with small business opportunities in the future.

After 24 trips to Haiti since 2007, Chris Pfeiffer, Espwa VP, continues to learn valuable lessons with each trip.  Chris says, “I see more and more value in time spent with our Haitian friends.  Loving, caring relationships, built on consistency and trust, really matter. These take time, but are worth the effort.  I’m more convinced than ever that these relationships are more important than “doing stuff” in Haiti or “bringing stuff” to Haiti.”  This trip was just one more opportunity to show love and build relationships in Haiti.  And while progress can sometimes be slow or discouraging, we’re in it for the long-haul.

We consider this trip a major success – through outstanding medical care, network building, and inching each of our projects forward.  But we couldn’t have done it without your support.  Many thanks to everyone who donated vitamins, funds, prayers, emotional support, or all of the above!  Although each of us are back home, our thoughts and efforts to make a lasting impact on Haiti remain.  Until next time…


December Trip Update

What an amazing 2015 we had!  We ended the year with a great trip to Haiti in December.  We sent a small team to accomplish one main objective – capture some new media (video & photos) for 2016.  We took talented, south Florida cinematographer, Regan Kramer (see her website here).  In the past year, Regan produced two wonderful pieces about our great friend and Medical Director, Dr. Eugene Maklin, and we hoped to capture another Espwa story on this trip.

As you may know, one of our current projects involves helping Jovenel Kenold realize his dream of a bigger, more impactful farm that will employ locals, feed the hungry, and ultimately share the love of Christ in Haiti.  Several things have been put in motion with the new farm, but due to the size, there is a great need for start-up capital.  We filmed Jovenel’s story, and watched as his passion and vision for the project shined through.  We plan to use the footage to produce a short promotional film that will bolster Espwa’s support of the farm and raise additional funds. Stay tuned in 2016 for the new video sharing Jovenel’s story.

The Espwa team also got the chance to check up on some of our other current projects in Cap Haitien. We visited with the families of the Peace & Joy Family Project (they are doing great!), met with our good friend Frantz (of Haitian Creole Tour), saw the progress of Dr. Maklin’s hospital construction, and even spent some time at the plage (beach). Thanks for following along as Espwa continues to serve our brothers and sisters in Haiti. We hope that 2016 will be our best year yet.