April 2001 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

I’ve just returned from Haiti for the 24th time.  Pastor Diogene sends his greetings to you and his thanks for all your prayers and support.  He has been dealing with some difficult things this past month.  On February 24th, his brother-in-law died from pneumonia at the age of 41, leaving a wife and 3 children.  Theodor was a very effective evangelist in Diogene’s church in Port-au-Prince, and was a dynamic Christian, sharing his faith wherever he went.  Just a month before he died, while visiting his home village, he went to the open market and began sharing his faith.  People began gathering around.   Theodor got up and started proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ, giving an invitation, and 20 people responded accepting Christ as their personal Savior that day.  Fifteen days later, after developing pneumonia, he went to be with that Savior he knew and loved and wanted others to know also.  It’s hard to understand why – and we may not find any answers.  But we do trust God and believe that He is in control of all things, including Theodor’s seemingly, untimely death.

Now this past week a young mother of the Tricotte church has also died after a short illness.  Her husband has worked with us on projects in that area.  They had four children.  Please pray with us for this family.

Yes, life is very difficult in Haiti:  medical help is inadequate, the political situation is in turmoil, the roads continue to get worse, and rain is needed for crops.  Poverty is prevalent with little hope for improvement in the future.  The people look to Pastor Diogene for counsel and the load sometimes brings him down.  Diogene says, “There is no hope in Haiti  — except that God is here.”  In the midst of such a difficult life,  there is still evidence that God loves and cares for people in such impoverished countries.   People in Haiti are responding to Jesus Christ as their hope for peace in the depth of sorrow in this life.  Therefore, in a country of hurting people, there is much to be thankful for as many of these people are finding the everlasting answer to their many needs.

Please pray for Pastor Diogene as the enemy would like to destroy the work of God being accomplished through His servant.

The six of us who just left Haiti were challenged again as we witnessed the dedication of the Haitian Christians.  It was great to worship and minister in their midst; Pastor Tim preached the Word, Amber read to, played, and interacted with the kids, Glenn kept projects moving forward, Julie taught and prepared English lessons, and Bob learned Creole and helped teach English.

I traveled with Norius, our school director, to the schools which Starfish Ministries sponsors.  It is exciting to see the 1000+ children in these villages not only learning the academics but also the truth of the Scriptures.  A couple of these villages do not have much Christian background and Norius has put an emphasis on teaching morality to these school children.

Of course, the highlight of any trip to Haiti for me is spending time with our orphanage kids.  They are doing well.

We are thankful for the people that God has called to partner with us in this ministry.  We appreciate your prayers and support!  God is using us together for His kingdom purpose in Haiti.

Serving our Lord together with you,

Bernie and Sheryl Bovenkamp