Emmaus is now officially a member of ECFA, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability!
ECFA has been providing accreditation to leading Christian nonprofit organizations that faithfully demonstrate compliance with established standards for financial accountability, fundraising and board governance since 1979.
Being ECFA accredited enhances trust in Christ-centered churches and ministries like Emmaus by establishing and applying ECFA’s Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship, which means that when you give to Emmaus, you know that you’re giving to an organization who adheres to high standards of financial integrity, transparency and Christian ethics!
Being above reproach is of the utmost importance at Emmaus, from our financial practices to our academic standards, from our good government standing in Haiti to our holiness standards for all faculty, staff and students. How precious is the cause of Christ, the only cause that matters!
We praise the Lord for this successful accreditation, for His mighty daily help, and for donors like you joining us in much-needed prayer and giving. These prayers and financial support are developing above-reproach, Christ-like leaders for the transformation of Haiti…and the world!
(pictured: Emmaus President, Matt Ayars and Chief Financial Officer, Carol Folkeringa)
Aren’t these the guys who were supposed to be in Italy and back again by now?
Yep, they are.
But for 14 months, we have been working and re-routing and applying and reaching out and reapplying and pursuing and investigating new routes, and the door to Italy, at least for now, is firmly closed. Rujerry and Jean William’s travel visas have been denied several times, and after a year of asking the Lord to open thatdoor, we at Emmaus started asking the Lord to open His door, and to make it too wide to miss.
EBS President Matt Ayars spoke to an executive at Pioneers, a church-planting organization with a passion to see God glorified among those who are physically and spiritually isolated from the gospel of Jesus Christ. He immediately put Matt in touch with David*, a convert from Kotokoli, the major Muslim tribe of Togo, West Africa.
“After my conversion in 1990, I faced terrible persecution from my family and the community,” David shared with me this week, “But by God’s grace through signs and wonders and through my personal testimony, all the members of my family have accepted the Lord, one by one. We are today 8 people following Jesus.”
“A few years after our conversions” David continues, “my wife and I clearly received a call from the Lord to raise an army of witnesses of the Lord Jesus Christ among Muslims. Most of our co-workers now are Muslim background believers, and together we face the growth of Islam fundamentalists and Muslim leaders and their intimidations. But the Lord who calls us is faithful.”
David’s* organization is at the forefront of disciple-making, evangelism and church-planting in Togo, where the speedy growth of Islam, the carelessness of churches, and the deeply rooted Voodoo in the culture are huge challenges.
Togo’s roots in voodoo stretch next door to Benin, the West African country widely seen as the birthplace of Voodoo. Benin and Haiti share an extensive cultural history, both through the old slave trade and through the implantation of Voodoo in Haitian society as a religious force.
Several months ago, David asked if our uniquely-suited Haitian students or staff would be willing to help, and the doors Emmaus had been praying for started opening.
The necessary person of peace has emerged, has already begun an established work in Togo, and has inspired the prayers of the Emmaus community. Not only do the Togolese people share French with Jean-William and Rujerry, but our Haitian brothers also have a unique understanding and a lifetime of experience with the Voodoo ties that snare and bind the Togolese people. Rujerry and Jean-William have now graduated (May 2018), are both on staff full-time at Emmaus, and are well-equipped in the work most needed: pastoring, evangelism, and discipleship training. All of the funding needed for a three month missions trip for both of them has already been raised, thanks to many of you, and finally, visa applications have been APPROVED through the Dominican Republic, Europe and on to Togo, and passports are in hand.
Their three month trip, set to begin in January, 2019, will be two-fold. They will fly into Lomé, and spend the first two months in the extreme north in Nano. They will help the missionaries there in their evangelization work among Muslims. After the first phase, they will work in Notséin the South with David, “where Vodou reigns”, for a month, before returning to Haiti.
“Just three weeks ago,” David shares, “The Lord glorified his name by using one of our students to make a paralyzed lady walk. He just said a word and the Lord performed His miracle. The Lord spoke to my father, once a leader in the mosque, in a vision in his mother tongue, saying, ‘follow me’, and he came to serve the Lord fervently. These things are a part of our daily life working for God in Togo. Having your students join us for such a time as this will be a tremendous blessing.”
Rujerry and Jean-William ask you to please be praying for : Final travel details to be completed, strength, power and wisdom to do good work, the softening of people’s hearts, that they might be open and ready to hear, and for the people of peace they will live and work with along the way.
“I am a little nervous, for sure,” Jean-William admits as he, Rujerry and I talk about the upcoming trip. “But I’m really honored to have this opportunity to participate in what God’s doing to redeem His world. Missionaries coming OUT of Haiti are just so rare, and while I’m unsure about encountering a totally new culture and new people, the more I study, the more I think there will be many similarities.”
“After all, we have a Biblical command to GO. This isn’t our idea,” Rujerry adds, slapping one hand into the palm of the other, the common Haitian expression that something is out of your control. “The Gospel is needed everywhere in the world, and sometimes God will use a foreign person to bring the Word in a unique, fresh way. Since I was a child, I have felt a call to be a missionary, and we are grateful to be a part of God’s plan.”
Emmaus is grateful to be a part of God’s plan, too, continuing to develop Christ-like leaders for the transformation of Haiti…and the world!
As their January trip approaches, we will keep you posted, ever grateful for your help and prayers!
*name has been changed
“Can a woman forget her nursing child? Can a mother have no compassion on the son she has born? Even if that were possible, I will never forget you. I have written your name on the palm of My hands.” Isaiah 49:15-16
Born in the suburbs of Gonaïves, Jonas was the youngest of four, and sick from the start. “My stomach was hugely swollen and painful,” he remembers, “and so when I was four and my parents split up, they decided to be done with me. My father took 2 of the kids, my mother took my sister, and they left.”
A cousin tried to take him in for a few years, but she was unable to feed him, much less put him in school. Jonas’s sickness and agony continued, and finally, she left him at an orphanage at age 7, the orphanage he still goes home to now over Christmas and summer breaks at Emmaus.
For the first time, Jonas’s life was full of education, food, and stories of Jesus. He learned that the sickness plaguing him wasn’t sickness, after all, but malnutrition. So much permanent damage had been done that he underwent corrective surgery at age 10 and was finally healed. He met Jesus over and over, and started telling the 70 brothers and sisters he grew up with that one day, he would be a pastor.
The dream faded, however, at 17, when he stopped being influenced by people in the church and started to be influenced by people far from the Lord.
“One day,” Jonas remembers “I snuck out and participated in a party that brought shame to my caretakers. The orphanage was worried about the choices I was making, and they sent me away to one of their Haitian missionaries in Gwo Mourne for 22 days. There was no power, no phone service, no water, no parties. I was helping the pastor there, and he gave me a Bible, the first one I’d ever had. He told me that he could see in me great potential to lead, but that I had to decide now if I was going to be a leader for Jesus, or if I was going to lead people in darkness. He told me that every day, I had to open that Bible, and I would find what I needed.”
When Jonas returned from the mission, he told the directors that he wanted to be baptized and follow Jesus. But he still wasn’t ready to give God his future. “Do you still want to be a pastor?” they asked Jonas, but Jonas said no.
“I decided I wanted to be a dentist, because I’d helped dental teams from time to time, and I saw that in Haiti, it is NOT easy to be a pastor. I told them that I was sure God was calling me to something that would make money, not to a certain life of poverty.”
When Jonas graduated, he was pared with a sponsor from the United States, and that sponsor asked Jonas if he truly felt called to be a dentist. “I told him no, but that I was sure I was called to have money. He didn’t agree with me, but told me the same thing that missionary from Gwo Mourne had told me, to be in my Bible every day, and that God would make my path clear.” It was arranged for Jonas to study dentistry in America, and his visa work began.
“But then one night in my bed,” Jonas recalls clearly, “I was laying there and audibly heard a voice. ‘Jonas, why are you struggling with me?‘ “
It wasn’t the only voice in Jonas’s life. His sponsor showed him Jeremiah 29:11, and though Jonas began to realize that God had a good plan for him that might not involve riches or dentistry, letting that go wasn’t easy. Weeks of prayer and fasting ensued, with pressure mounting.
“People kept telling me that I had to pursue something profitable, because if my family left me at an orphanage, it was because they would be expecting me to leave the orphanage with a profession, with a way to get them money” Jonas shared. “Finally, my pastor said, ‘OK. Your family is waiting to get money from you and waiting to get a house from you and waiting to get a car from you, but what is GOD waiting for? God is waiting for YOU.'”
With that, Jonas finally stopped struggling against God’s best for his life. His very mother had forsaken her child, but God had his name written on the palms of His hands, and had a plan for Jonas’s life that could be trusted.
Another graduate from the same orphanage was in the middle of his first year at Emmaus, about 3 hours from Gonaïves, and both he and Jonas’s pastor told him the same thing. “If you want to learn philosophies about the Bible or hear what people think about it,” they said, “Go somewhere else. But if you want to have God’s Word, go to Emmaus.” Jonas is now in his second year of study at EBS.
“People always go to church,” Jonas observes, “but the rest of the time they keep repeating the same life they lived before they were followers of Christ. That is a big problem, and I think it’s because people don’t really know the Bible. I want to disciple people to be in God’s Word every day, because that is what will change who they are. God’s Word will truly bring transformation in people’s hearts, just like it did mine.”
To help students like Jonas continue to be Biblically-equipped and well-cared for through EBS Haiti, please give online here now or send checks payable to Emmaus Biblical Seminary (memo line: Student Scholarships) to 1022 Main Street, Sabetha, KS 66534.
Living in Santa Barbara, CA with his wife (Dr. Sandra Richter) and two daughters, Dr. Steve Tsoukalas is not often on campus. However, with a deep passion for Christ-followers to be rooted in the essential doctrines of Christianity, Dr. Tsoukalas is an invaluable part of what God is doing through Emmaus Biblical Seminary in Haiti, whether he’s teaching online or on island.
With Emmaus students continuing to identify “heretical preaching” as one of the major problems of the church in Haiti, we are thankful to have Dr. T, with his deep desire to educate Christians in a world full of false religions, on board.
Dr. Tsoukalas has taught a lot different subjects in a lot of different places, and he’s happy to be a part of the Emmaus family, too. “I always brag about my Haitian students,” he says. “There is a deep desire on their parts to learn truth—the everlasting truths of the uniquely true Christian Faith as revealed in and by the blessed Son of God and the Father. This desire leads to asking penetrating questions, often challenging me with conclusions I have reached in class. They truly leave no stone unturned!”
Another element to the Emmaus classroom that Dr. T cherishes is the passionate desire of the students to take to their villages and churches what they are learning, both through evangelism and discipleship.
The author of twelve books and several articles, Dr. Tsoukalas’ expertise is in Hindu Studies, non-Christian and pseudo-Christian religions, and Christian Theology. He’s also taught for Wesley Biblical Seminary and Wheaton College, and is the founder of Sound Doctrine Ministries. At Emmaus, Dr. Tsoukalas appropriately teaches Islam, Philosophy for Understanding Theology, and Contemporary Religions.
“I am truly privileged to teach the students of Emmaus the truths of the Gospel,” Tsoukalas reflects, “in part because I know they desire to learn such truths, and in part because of the joy I see in their faces for the opportunity. Their posture reflects the privilege they have—to be able to study at a university that stands for the truth as revealed by the Triune God. Passion is what makes my Haitian students incomparable!”