Loving What He Does

Loving What He Does

I know we just came off of a nice break, and Christmas, and New Years, and that’s all supposed to be the highlights.  And there are some sweet memories (and a lot of sick ones.)
But today? Today was where it’s all at…today I left the finance pile on my desk and left a homeschool pile with Lauren (the daughter of two of our visiting professors whom the girls have deemed a far more fun teacher than mom), left a happy Nora with her beloved Gertha and did the most basic, fundamental, first thing we do at Emmaus after prayer: I just went to class.
And it was so good.  I wish I could have taken you.  And I’m so THANKFUL that over 100 men and women from all across Haiti, most of for whom such education and equipping seemed IMPOSSIBLE, today, were there too.
It was beautiful to hear Dr. Jerry Caskey, a man who is just never going to be content with how things are in the world, whose whole heart is so obviously dripping for Jesus that it pours out his eyes more than once or twice a lecture.  He’s teaching Synoptic Gospels to our first year class, and today they were going through different kind of miracles and what they SAY, what they meant, what they mean. I could have stayed all ten days, it was so interesting, and relevant, and fresh.
And it was beautiful to see Simeon translating the material and language and ideas as passionately as Jerry is.  I was proud and I was thankful, because what good is bringing Jerry’s heart and mind and experience all the way here if nobody understands it?  That’s a big calling our staff who translate take seriously.
What’s more beautiful that this?  What’s Haiti need more than this?  What do I need more than this? An earnest, thorough, digging and receiving of the Word.
And then there is Ms. Pam, who has been spending at least a month a year of her life at Emmaus since before Matt and I came in 2007.  She wouldn’t tell you so, but she’s quite brilliant, and the students have finally stopped trying to stump this female who carries the reputation from year to year as one who can run rings of theology around anyone in this love-to-debate culture.
This just encourages more good conversations in this Systematic Theology 2 class, and I loved watching her translator, Blaise, dig into his own Bible countless times when students couldn’t quite get deep enough, searching it out for himself, Pam, searching it out along with them.

I love this second year class…they’ve never found a thing they can’t make fun, and I just relished this more the joy and community they have with each other.  After being spread all over the last month, these brothers and sisters are obviously happy to be working together again.
Talk about brains.  I didn’t even try to figure out what these three were talking about, but with Fanfan stepping into the Academic Dean position, and Dr. Joyce Thornton mentoring him through (while also running all of our masters programs and frequently teaching), I’m just THANKFUL for the highly intelligent, faithful and detailed man Fanfan is and the brilliant, no-nonsense, get-it-done woman Joyce is (as long as she has an unending supply of coke and coffee 🙂 to come alongside Matt and HELP.  Like, really really help.
Another God moment this morning finally coming out of my first trimester survival stretch was chatting with AnneYolie and Phida.  Phida you know we know and love and send and there’s just nobody better at compassion and Gospel-sharing here in Haiti.  But AnneYolie’s just been with us since September, and she is a humble and uber-capable woman we have prayed earnestly and deliberately for for y-e-a-r-s.  She’s a major team player, anxious to learn and it is so good to have a great receptionist, the center lady of it all, after all this time without (or, for a few months, worse than without!)
And I KNEW when I passed through the cafeteria that Edlin would be faithfully making his billionth gallon of juice, that Granny and Paulcine would be shredding their thousandth head of cabbage.  And I knew they’d be chatting and laughing, because they always are…what a testimony.  What a testimony of support ministry, of servant ministry, of faithful followers of Christ.
I ended up in the library, always doubling as our only large classroom, which is necessary when what you see here is third year.  What a joy it was for me to sit back and watch Larry and Verna (and really Leme, too) co-teach the music and theory class.  Incredibly talented and culturally sensitive (Larry grew up in Haiti and just glows when he’s “home”) they have the joy of teaching an across-the-board major love of the Haitian Christian…MUSIC.
There was lots of singing, lots of practicing, lots of conducting and testing and examples and nodding as techniques our pastors, worship leaders, and singers have been using for YEARS finally make sense, have a name, have a reason.
Verna plays the opening chords for English hymns she knows that apply various theories, Larry belts out the name of the hymn in Creole, someone yells out the hymn number (not that it matters, because nobody has a need for their battered hymn books) and in a matter of seconds, the room is full of boisterous melody, strong and harmonious as most of the students clap or conduct in their seats, and Verna is laughing again with Leme, who may have lost his voice by the end of this week.
I really could have just sat in that worship all day if I hadn’t already spent so much time in the other classes – there is no such thing as a half-hearted singer in Haiti, nor should there be when we worship in ANY country.  It’s never forced but always ready, not about individual talent, but about a very deserving God, and somehow Haiti has wrapped it’s roots around the idea that worship is the same as prayer, prayer the same as worship.

It makes for a holy class, as holy as the other’s digging deep in their Bibles.
What a morning, one I am so thankful and grateful to have experienced and to be some small part of.
As are you, as are you.  Wish you were here.
I’m off to the 1-6 pm combined masters class, with our MACL (Masters in the Arts of Christian Leadership) and our MED (Masters in Education) students come together for Dr. Joyce Thornton’s Fundamentals of Teaching class…better equipping over 40 principals, school directors, teachers and and school administrators from elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities throughout Northern Haiti…what a need, what a gift.
They Are Here

They Are Here

One of my favorite days of the year was yesterday and today…the days all the students come home!  As much as God’s at work through us and Emmaus sending people OUT…I love when they come in, too.

Everyone is so grateful to be back together, most of whom were in full-time ministry all summer, and most of them, with very little support or help or family.  To be together again with their mentors and brothers and sisters and prayer partners and accountability partners and friends is a joy obvious to anyone.  As with every August, most are a little worse for the wear, this battle we’re all a part of not easy.  Everyone’s a belt notch smaller (and most were on the smallest notch to start with) and everyone’s got stories of struggles and triumphs from the past 2 months.  

What really encouraged me, today, was to sit in the back and see 7-8 young men and women stuffed happily into each pew, HERE, voluntarily, asking for help and training in sharing and being and knowing and living the Gospel.  I mean, that’s a miracle, isn’t it?
Isn’t that deeply encouraging?  Today, there are 100 young men and women in HAITI, a place many feel to be hopeless, in a world many feel to be hopeless, gathered together from the ends of the country asking to be trained in and sent out in the Gospel.  Asking to live, asking to die, the Gospel.
His HOPE is in that.  His HAND is in that.  For the thousand without-hope young men and women we drive past just to get to the airport, for the millions of young men and women without-hope around the world, there are those who know Him and who carry Him brightly, strongly convicted that their lives and futures are not their own, and who are coming in to grow, and going out to share, and no one is making them.  No one is asking them.  No one is forcing them.
God’s called them.  For those without hope.
And they. are. here.
Right in front of me.
That excited me today.
I hope it blesses and encourages you, too.
There are some special things scheduled for this afternoon…can’t wait to see Him at work, and to share it with you!
50th Thanksgiving Service

50th Thanksgiving Service

On Saturday, May 6, we had a Spirit-filled Thanksgiving Service for 50 years of existence. The service was held at the Evangelical Church of Vaudreuil and participants included past and present seminary Directors, Deans, Students, and Staff. With many choirs and approximately 1000 in attendance, it was a wonderful sacrifice of praise that we offered to the King of Kings for 50 years of developing Christ-like leaders for the spiritual transformation of Haiti!

EBS Rector Dr. Matt Ayars and EBS Founder Dave Graffenberger

EBS Rector Dr. Matt Ayars and EBS Academic Dean Rev. Lucner Piere (with EBS Professor Bill Edler)

EBS Students Left to Right: Joan Dejak, Jean Mardochée, Eliab Alexandre, and Levy Dieujuste

EBS Students Aldy Joseph and Sundy

EBS Students leading worship


EBS Doyen Rev. Lucner Pierre

EBS Students

Enoch Firmin leading his choir

EBS Fonder Dave Graffenberger

EBS Student Rujerry Francois leading worship

Our dear Esther




We had the most just GOOD convocation service this past Wednesday.  It was just GOOD.  The worship was fantastic. The sermon was convicting and humbling, the prayer time was powerful, praying over our first year class was beautiful.  Listening to them read their commitment to holy living and humble service and to be family…reading with our staff and students our promise to live life alongside and to minister to them and equip them and love them. It was all just GOOD.  Wish you coulda been there.

This is a special first year class.  Some of them are incredibly intelligent.  Many of them are very hardworking.  Several of them are just radiant leaders, many of them have sincere hearts for service and ministry, many of them radiate a true love for Jesus and a desire to love Him and give Him well…they’re beloved men and women.

Do you support a student at Emmaus yet?
If you don’t, please pray about coming alongside one of these men or women.  We need your help equipping and discipling and caring for them, and Christ-in-them-in-Haiti is such a powerful investment in His kingdom.

Please be praying for our first year students with us!

It was a good long week and we are pretty well beat this evening.  Carol and I almost have everything balanced in the office, intensive courses finished today, Lily and Sofie had a bunch of their friends over this afternoon, we grilled out with our visitors, and Matt and I are both getting ready to start teaching again this week!

Next post…things we think are normal, but you might not…

Merry Christmas From Emmaus!

Merry Christmas From Emmaus!

I (Stacey) sent out this update for EBS today, and wanted to share it with you, too, from today:
Long before the sun had it’s chance this morning, powerful songs of praiseradiating from the chapel woke our family.
At first I was confused, and then remembered that on the last day of everysemester, deliberate times of thanksgiving start the day.
Because it is no small deal.

It is said that between 40-60% of children in Haiti will never attend school, at all.

Of those who do, 60% won’t have the opportunity to finish 6th grade.
Imagine how many young men and women get to finish high school!
And it is said that only 1% of high school graduates are able to ever continue their education.
Add in all the many struggles of daily life, need, sickness and natural disasters…?
This image of a full cafeteria from our Christmas party a few days ago is a 
Big. Deal.
God has been faithful in the lives of very many men and women, through very many days, through a very challenging time in the country…and this morning He woke us up at the other end, and no one wants to let that miracle pass by unnoticed.
God has been faithful and made it possible, and so have YOU–
your giving and your prayers.
We thank God for using you so faithfully this Christmas.
Keep on lifting us up, and we continue to remember you in our prayers and praise, with a thrill of hope this Christmas.
Merry Christmas, God with us!
Christmas Time at EBS!

Christmas Time at EBS!

It is hard to believe that this is our last week together at Emmaus Biblical Seminary for 2016!

Monday, President Matt Ayars preached on the paradoxical truth of Christmas…ALL that God is–His sovereignty, His grace, His love, His power–all wrapped up in a tiny baby.

If He can do THAT, surely He can take all that we are, a meager offering at best, and do something amazing through us…in our lives, our communities, in Haiti and in the world.

[Full Message]

Praising God for an amazing semester, for the fantastic students, faculty, staff, donors and prayer-warriors who are the EBS family, and for the life-changing, mind-blowing, world-transforming gift of Christmas.

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