ThirstySouls Ministries Emerged
Eventually Vern Annis left his pastorate at Calvary Assembly, but he developed a close friendship with Jacques and Marie Merine and continued helping with the work in Haiti. It was this relationship that stirred Pastor Vern and his wife Kathy to begin to talk about whether God was calling them to do something different than they had in the past. Was God asking Pastor Vern and Kathy to become coaches for people God was calling as missionaries who had no process to prepare them? They began dreaming about a new approach to foreign missions. What emerged was a “missionary greenhouse.” Just like young seedlings need a period of protection and amplified sunlight and enriched soul, so do men and women taking their first steps into their life-calling, serving God cross-culturally.
A Great Commission Family
Thirsty Souls Ministries (TSM), a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, was established in 2004 as a “Great Commission Family.” TSM is a ministry where people who sense God’s call to the mission field find encouragement, coaching, equipment and support. Today there are several independently led ministries who operate under the umbrella of TSM, serving in three difficult mission fields: Haiti, Israel and Myanmar (a Buddhist country). They are reaching the lost, spiritually misguided, poor, and even those who self-identify as enemies of Christianity. No American missionaries are on staff in any of the ministries. TSM is committed to developing indigenous leadership; God’s Kingdom rule is being advanced by making disciples who make disciples. Each of the ministries in the TSM network use approaches adapted to their own country, but the end goal is evangelism, seeing communities come to Jesus Christ. Pastor Vern and Kathy are involved relationally with each of the ministry leaders, have deep friendships with them, and function as mentors. TSM also provides accounting and donor management services for its ministry partners.
In 2006, Simeon’s Cry became the first partner of TSM. At that time, they were sharing the Gospel with Jews and Arabs living in Israel. Over time Simeon’s Cry extended its influence to include Bedouin communities, Israel proper, as well as the Palestinian territories. Today the ministry is involved in DMM (Disciple Making Movements) and CPM (Church Planting Movements) in Israel and Myanmar (formerly Burma). Although Pastor Vern and Calvary Assembly of God had been helping Jacques with projects in Haiti since 1998, Source of Life Ministries was not formalized until 2008 and actually became the second ministry partner of TSM. The latest ministry to join the TSM network is called E-4 (based on Ephesians 4). It is comprised of a group of pastors who are committed to unity, Biblical disciple-making, and church planting in York and Adams Counties in Pennsylvania. (For more information about TSM go to their website at www.thirstysouls.net)
Source of Life Ministries Established
After Calvary Assembly of God helped get the work in Lamondrit underway, Jacques truly hoped it would be the end of his personal work in Haiti. Remember that as a young man, Jacques came to the United States to escape the poverty of Haiti and would have preferred to forget the country he left behind! But the Holy Spirit continued to nudge his heart.
On one of his trips to help his brother’s work in Haiti, Jacques noticed a young boy on the streets of Port-au-Prince who seemed to be staring at him. He wrestled with that memory for two years, then he finally scheduled a visit with Pastor Vern to tell him that he could not escape the thought that God wanted him to start a children’s home in Haiti. He sincerely believed that his pastor would confirm that he did not have the training or natural talents to lead such a ministry and would agree that the idea was not plausible. Jacques thought he would be able to say, “See God; I tried!” Instead Pastor Vern said, “If God is telling you to do it, then you better do it.