Out to Canaan

In the 2010 earthquake which struck Haiti, close to 300,000 people lost their lives. Our church has been involved in an area of Haiti, north of Port au Prince, called Canaan. It is a mountainous, desert area that the Haitian government had given to the victims of the earthquake who were tent dwellers in Port au Prince. There was no church, no school, no medical facilities and no infrastructure in that region. But since 2014, with the overwhelming support of many friends, family members, and some churches from NEDA, God has allowed us to plant a church, to build a school, to build a clinic, and to build cisterns in order to respond to some of the physical, social, and spiritual needs of the people in Canaan. It has been wonderful to see what God has done in that area. I thank all of you who have prayed and supported the Canaan ministry in Haiti one way or another.

In addition to the contributions from a couple of churches during disasters, teams from three churches have had the opportunity to visit and to minister first hand in Canaan through construction, Vacation Bible school and preaching and teaching. They are: Grace Church from East Dennis, Mass. led by pastor David Johnson, Covenant Life Church from Middletown, CT, led by pastor Pete Zipf, and Community of Grace from Westbrook, Maine, led by pastor Ken Macleod. This Summer, Trinity Evangelical Church from Windsor, Vermont, led by Paul Voltmer, will be the fourth church from NEDA that will minister in Haiti with us. The team will be involved in preaching and teaching, Vacation Bible School, construction, visiting ministry and other ministries as God leads.

Other churches, such as Barre Evangelical church, in Vermont, Hope International Church and Valley Christian Church, both from Massachusetts, while not having sent visiting teams yet, have fully supported every annual ministry project at Canaan such as wedding, water, medical, and construction ministries.

This summer, our construction ministry is the building of a large multipurpose community room adjacent to the clinic that will serve as a shelter for the community during hurricanes and violence in lower Port au Prince, a family waiting room during the regular vaccination drive by the Haitian Red Cross, a reception room for wedding celebrations, and a meeting room for leadership seminars. The foundation has been laid already. About $ 7500.00 will bring it to completion. We are inviting you to make this dream a reality through a generous contribution for this summer ministry. Our team will leave on July 2 and return July 9, 2019

Another urgent and most important prayer need is to have Bibles available for each child for morning devotions in school along with a teacher for regular Bible lessons throughout the curriculum. Adults in general have Bibles at home, but it is too expensive for families to provide Bibles to their children, and in many cases prohibitively expensive.

Three hundred bibles will cost approximately $3000.00 US dollars, a one time expense, and a Bible teacher's salary will be about $2400.00 for the year. This constitutes our greatest spiritual need at this time.

As you are thinking of Canaan:

1. Keep us in your prayers for the Lord to provide for the Summer ministry, for the safety of our team in Haiti, and the success of the ministry.

2. Keep us in your prayers for the Lord to provide Bibles for the children in schools so that each child will have a Bible.

3. Keep us in your prayers for the academic year September 2019 to June 2020 for the Lord to provide $2400.00 a month for teachers salary (12 teachers and aids), and $1400.00 a month for feeding about 300 kids.

Any NEDA church can provide a one time gift to any ministry or a recurring gift toward the teachers' salary or the food ministry. Above all, keep us in your prayers for the Lord to allow more teams and leaders from NEDA churches to visit Canaan, and to bless Canaan as they will certainly be blessed.

We do need your urgent prayers and your support as we will be heading to Haiti this July. I can be contacted at 617-893-0563 or by text or by email. Any contribution may be sent to

Elim Evangelical Church... memo line Canaan

89 Albee street, Fitchburg, MA 01420

God Bless! -Arthur Demosthenes, Pastor

The Miraculous in the Mundane

It was a pivotal moment late 2017 when our friend, Foye Belyea. shared a passage that he believed the Lord led him to give us: Joshua 3. It was our time to step into the Jordan. As a church plant, we had been meeting in a home for two years, trying to figure out how to do this well. Outnumbered by kids by about a 2:1 ratio, our worship experience was as joyful and as taxing as parenting is in the early years. Kids leading prayer time, kids puking during communion. Joyful noises during singing, tantrum screeching during the message. Our more than patient and supportive team was willing to endure as we learned, but after almost two years, we felt like our wheels were spinning. Who were we as a church? What was our vision? How would we meet and incorporate newcomers? Some of us were running on spiritual fumes. I was battling depression and anxiety, and wondering if we could keep it going. I wasn’t sure. I was seriously considering retreat.

The fresh air came in several forms: Foye’s timely word, dear friends coming alongside to partner with us, and a God-ordained vision to not retreat, but to reset. What would a new chapter of church planting look like if we allowed God to re-shape who we were, and how we engaged each other and our community?

For years, we had tried to understand what our former District Superintendent, Ves Sheely, had meant when he encouraged us to think about church planting as pictured in Luke 10, specifically looking for houses of peace and proclaiming the Kingdom in places that are welcoming to our presence. It seemed so hard to mesh this vision of church life with the traditional structures and methods that we had come to know in a lifetime of church experiences. Our default was to do what we’d always done, and yet we sensed the Lord was calling us into an expression that was a “new wineskin” of sorts. We looked around at the places we had been serving and that had welcomed us: a local nursing home, and a homeless shelter. We realized we had already found houses of peace that we were engaged with, but that something about our meeting in the home for weekly worship wasn’t translating in our community.

We decided to begin renting space in a very popular downtown area in southern Rhode Island. We were within walking distance of the homeless shelter, and friends that we had met there starting meeting with us weekly. Our identity began to materialize as we realized that the Lord was coordinating appointments and locations for us.

After about a year in our new space, physical issues in the building left us quickly displaced, and just as we thought we were “settled in,” we found ourselves without a home. Very quickly, the Lord catalyzed another house of peace for us in the YMCA. The Y invited us to come and use their community room for our worship times, but has also asked us to be involved in other ways, including speaking at their summer camp and mentoring teens. The YMCA is very much a hub for community activity, and we have been so pleased how God has taken what seems to be speed bumps, and turned them into wide open lanes for ministry.

On Easter Sunday of this year, the YMCA was closed, so we needed to find a place for worship. A local apple winery that several of us had made connections with invited us to use their space for Easter worship. The owners have since invited us to consider meeting there regularly. Another potential house of peace.

Our time at the local homeless shelter and soup kitchen has given us such a rich opportunity for ministry. We had the privilege of marrying a believing couple that had been staying at the shelter, and are now on their own and hosting Bible study and prayer in their new honeymoon apartment. A couple of Sundays ago, the majority of adults in Sunday worship were either from the shelter, or recently connected to it. Among those friends, God has been gracious to answer prayers for inner healing and or freedom from some addictions. We are all grateful for the favor that He has on his children. The Lord has been brilliantly piecing together a mosaic from what seems at times to be a mess.

We praise God for all of your support, prayers, and partnership. We take heart in the fact that even though our abilities may be wanting, our vision may be shortsighted, and our fervor at times seems to wane, He is building His church, and establishing it in His power and strength, and not ours. We’re grateful too, for the presence of our children in church, who still lead us in prayer and worship, and also remind us of His faithfulness to use us and delight in us, wiggly as we may be. —Brian Browne, Pastor