El Shaddai Ministries International Creates Unique Business Model to Finance Haitian Church Plants

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Charlotte, NC, In the aftermath of the earthquake devastation in Haiti, one organization has been able to offer much needed recovery assistance and keep its church related ministries moving forward. That organization, El Shaddai Ministries International (ESMI) had already created a network of micro-businesses that provide income for their Haitian churches. These established micro-businesses have allowed each local church in Haiti to focus on directly assisting their communities as recovery efforts continue.

Dale Austin, ESMI's US Field Director with Titi who was orphaned after the 2004 floods in Haiti

Our goal is to provide economically stable churches that are debt free so that our pastors are able to focus all of their attention on helping people. Our network churches are able to care for a community’s spiritual needs and provide employment opportunities for these communities.

Charlotte, NC, In the aftermath of the earthquake devastation in Haiti, one organization has been able to offer much needed recovery assistance and keep its church related ministries moving forward. That organization, El Shaddai Ministries International (ESMI) had already created a network of micro-businesses that provide income for their Haitian churches. These established micro-businesses have allowed each local church in Haiti to focus on directly assisting their communities as recovery efforts continue.

ESMI has worked in Haiti for over 20 years. Their organizational structure is based upon the four “E’s”: Evangelism, Education, Empathy and Economic development. The fourth E, economic development, has been implemented since the organization’s inception and it plays a vital role in planting and growing churches that are not dependent on outside funds to remain open.

ESMI has successfully started almost 50 churches using their ministry blueprint to help each congregation become self-sustaining after 1 year. Initially, land is purchased and a building is erected with funds donated by US churches. A pastor is provided with a motorcycle and is guaranteed a salary for 1 year. As construction continues, a plan for a micro-business start up is presented that will fund the church. After that 1 year period, both the church and the micro-business have been launched. The church is then both debt free and self sustaining, ready to serve as a ministry in its local community.

Several of ESMI’s churches are supported by bakeries that are located on church property, some have purchased additional motorcycles that are used as taxis, and the newest church, in the city of Jeremie, is supported by a dump truck service. Agricultural businesses have been encouraged as well, including a fish farm that grows Tilapia and then sells the fish to relief agencies to be dried and used as a protein supplement in other areas of Haiti.

One of the largest businesses that ESMI has helped establish is an internet call center where not only income is generated, but employees are also trained in basic internet technology and computer skills.

“Our goal is to provide economically stable churches that are debt free so that our pastors are able to focus all of their attention on helping people. Our network churches are able to care for a community’s spiritual needs and provide employment opportunities for these communities.” said ESMI’s US Field Director, Dale Austin.

Austin recently left the corporate world to become a full time member of the ESMI staff, raising his own support while assisting the organization here in the US. He is responsible for working with churches, educational organizations, medical groups and others who have the desire to assist ESMI in helping the people of Haiti recover from the earthquake’s devastation and develop the resources they need to lift them from poverty. He has just returned from Haiti this past week.

For more information about the work of ESMI visit http://www.esmihome.org.

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Chuck Robbins
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