This has been an incredibly full year of growth, awesome campus projects, intense community outreach and digging deep in the classroom. There is so much evidence of God's hand as I look back through the school year, and I wanted to share some of His "top faithfulnesses" to carry, call and equip Emmaus this school year!
1. A van for EBS
After needing a source of transportation for the Seminary for an incredibly long time, the miraculous funding for it came in last year, and the van was finally purchased this past fall! We have filled it hundreds of times since then, and we are SO THANKFUL for how this transportation has equipped Emmaus to GO.
2. A first year class for the record books
Do you know what we do to recruit new students at Emmaus? We pray, and we send our current students out to minister in their homes, churches and communities. Their testimony throughout Haiti and the faithfulness of Him who Calls brought us an amazing, and incredibly large, first year class this year. They are a passionate community and have true hearts for service, and we are so thankful for the way God continues to provide men and women with hearts after His.
3. "Reaching the Heart of Haiti"
It's what we call the church plant in Fev that continues to grow and thrive under the care of alumni and current students. It's what we call the discipleship program Jodenel leads with Growth Ministries, training students and alumni to disciple those who can and cannot read in their churches, communities and church plants. It's what we call the "beautiful feet" groups that continue to go out every afternoon with Leme and Belony to communities all around us...DeMange, Makati, Pillatre...to share the Gospel and to disciple new (and long-time) believers.
"Reaching the Heart of Haiti."
And He is.
4. Computer Lab
After years of needing a new computer lab that could both facilitate more students and could give students access to Bible software and computer programs whether they were online or not, a company here in Haiti was found who could install 30 stations with one master server. While it seemed like the perfect, low energy set-up for our ever-expanding student body, at $15,000 USD, the reality of having such a lab seemed incredibly far off.
And then without even asking, someone unexpectedly approached us after Christmas and asked how the funding was coming for the computer lab.
"It's zero," I told her reluctantly. "We're just starting the funding process, and we have nothing. Do what you can, and little by little, we'll get there."
And that crazy woman sat down and wrote us a check for the whole 15. Who DOES that? God does that.
And the guys came from Port-au-Prince and it's a miracle lab that everyone loves and all 30 stations are continually packed out. Students now have access to Rosetta Stone English, Logos Bible Software, Microsoft Word and the internet, and language labs and online learning are now possible.
Pretty sure all that is the most exciting thing you're ever going to read about a computer lab.
5. Community Outreach
Emmaus has always been all about reaching communities for Christ! But this year we took servant-leadership to a whole new level, reaching out to those outside of community, giving the Gospel in some very practical ways.
Not only has that been meaningful to those throughout Haiti who have been reached, but it's been transforming for the lives of our EBS community. Serving always is.
These trips, each ministering to almost 100 people and each costing only about $200 USD, already have staff and students planning for more, and you can read about our trip first semester to the handicapped center here: "Dirty is Why we are Here", or about our recent trip to the poor house here: "If not for Love" or "Rock Bottom."
While the students have been asking for a basketball court for years, we weren't totally convinced it would be used enough to justify with soccer being so beloved.
We were wrong.
Turns out few people play "basket" because few people have access to a court.
Those who already "knew basket" are out there every evening and weekend shooting hoops and playing each other. Those who are still learning are out there at 6 every morning, dribbling with two hands and laughing at each other. I can't tell you how much fun this court has brought to our community. It's truly become the hang out place before and after dinner and we're so thankful for the court, another one-check sacrifice from a very generous supporter!
The plan is to offer some kind of a basketball clinic next semester so more staff and students can learn!
7. Harnessing the Sun
When it comes to talking about solar-energy, I have already entirely embarrassed myself by suggesting we build a cover over the panels to protect them from falling mangoes. (If you don't get why that's a problem, well...you're me.)
So I'm not going to pretend like I know much.
What I do know: the only thing we spend more on each month than generating electricity is paying our staff. Every week, we are buying and burning diesel fuel, responsible for generating 80% of our own power, with electricity only available on average about 2 hours a day (with some weeks, not at all).
I also know that we have a LOT of sun.
Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if we could use that sun to power the campus, we could save a LOT of money. We've been talking about it for years and years, since before Matt and I came, even, and these pipes mean it is finally. happening.
While we still have a lot of money to raise (panels and pipes are purchases, batteries are out there on faith), the Lord used YET ANOTHER insanely generous supporter to take this dream and turn it into a reality.
We are SO grateful to be putting this money-saving, environmentally far-more-friendly system into place and for the many who have helped!
Pray with us and join in if you can, hoping that next semester, this awesome project will no longer be a project, but how we produce our power at EBS!
8. Digging Deep
Underneath all of the new projects and exciting programs is the daily grind of Emmaus: the training, the forming, the equipping, the studying, the digging deep. At the source of all we do is a great hunger for the Word, and a strong desire to share it generously and faithfully throughout.
As you have followed, as you have prayed, as you have come, as you have taught, as you have equipped, as you have helped, as you have joined and as you have uplifted Emmaus this past year, WE THANK YOU.
I hope and pray, just from this one post, that you are deeply encouraged that God is at WORK in the world, doing far more than we ever could imagine. I hope you are encouraged that God can use absolutely anyone absolutely anywhere for His glory and for His kingdom, if He finds a heart after His. I hope you are inspired by the life-transforming Gospel, and how it reaches far and deep and wide.
I hope you know how blessed I am to be in the middle, telling these brothers and sisters about you, telling you about them, talking to Our Father frequently about you ALL and grateful to be in His hands.
Please continue to be in prayer, for us, for Emmaus, for these men and women above! Lights in a dark world, may we shine together.