English news - february
VINCE AND DENISE ESTERMAN
BATTLING STRONG ON REUNION ISLAND
Here come our latest dot point news. • Firstly, as we write our hearts are heavy coping with the news of our beloved pastor Trevor Chandler, our father in the faith, having passed away this week at 86 years of age after a long battle with a breathing infirmity. More than anyone one else, Trevor shaped the way we think and act. We will be eternally grateful for his investment in our lives. We are glad that his struggles are over but we feel the loss greatly
. • Life has times of pain and joy that sometimes coincide. We have just returned from a quick trip to France to attend a pastors retreat for all the pastors of the movement we founded back in 1989. The movement is in great heart and moving forward. That same weekend Vince preached at the 25th anniversary service of the church in Evry, in the Paris region, which we planted in 1988. It now gathers around 400 people.
• Our church plant on Reunion Island has experienced some teething problems. After starting with quite a bang, we have been confronted with the instability of the islanders. There was a drop in numbers in the last months of 2013 due to one family turning against us, another family moving to France and sadly, some new converts falling away. We start 2014 with around 30 people including kids. But the future looks bright with those who are with us highly motivated.
• The work with the young guys with an alcohol problem has also experienced highs and lows. Some have had a real touch from the Lord but the bottom line is that they want to continue drinking and carousing. You can lead a horse to water… We are hopeful that two or three will pull through and provide us with a base to reach others. This is a mid-to-long term work.
• We have moved the sketchboard outreach to a beach on the west coast called Boucan Canot. Here, every Saturday, hundreds of young people gather and you can see them, often aged 15 or 16, passing the bottle of rum around on the beach under the watchful but passive eyes of the police patrol. The rum is a national poison here.
• As you can see from the above dot points, there are plenty of prayer subjects for intercessors. Thank you to those who regularly pray for us.
• Denise organised a wonderful Christmas presentation called « Noël sous les Cocotiers » (Christmas under the coconut trees ). All the kids were dressed in typical créole outfits and sang so well. She is amazing in the way she gives herself totally to the kids, never worrying about the the day of small beginnings.
• We have launched a public meeting in the west coast town of St Gilles. This is a very tourist area and a centre for people having come from France to settle on the island. They are called « zoreil ». « Oreille » is the French word for ear and the origin of « zoreil » is that people coming from France would stretch their ear to try to understand the locals speaking créole, or pidgin French.
• So what do we feel God is doing ? Ths work has started in the south of the island and we have seen some great conversions. Yet, there is a sense that we may need to base ourselves on the west coast. We are praying about this. The next 5 months will show us which way we need to bounce.
• With the downturn in numbers over the last few months we have also had to face the challenge of covering the costs of this church plant. Ultimately it falls back on the two of us. If you would like to contribute to our support and to the costs of planting this new church just send us an email and we will send you our bank details. Thank you for considering us in your missionary commitment.
• Finally, let us leave you with the memory of Pastor Trevor Chandler, who from his youth was a powerful preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He never waivered from this. In fact, the final Sunday he preached was in the church we planted in Ipswich, Australia, in 1980. It was only a month before he died and that day, despite his breathing difficulties, he preached twice. We loved him and we will miss him greatly.
• Facebook English wall … Vince Esterman Facebook French wall … Ministère Vincent Esterman Website www.estermanministries.com • Thank you all for your love, prayers and interest in what we are doing. We love you and wish we could see you more often. God bless, Vince and Denise