August 2003 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Late Saturday night, August 2, fourteen of us depart for Haiti.  We have six students from the Chi Alpha Ministry at Washington State University along with three team members from California and five from Lynden.  The focus of this team will be to continue the English teaching at the orphanage.  This will be the third summer we have done this and the results are evident as many of our kids are doing well in their English.  In fact, I’ve had the opportunity to use two of our older boys to translate for me, and they have done very well.  We’ll also get involved in some construction, distribute some clothing and shoes to the orphans, and love on those kids as much as possible.

Pastor Diogene, Norius (our school director), and I will be finalizing our school ministry for September.  This includes final decisions regarding villages in which to start schools. When I get there we should know what the enrollment will be for our existing schools.  From that we can set the budget for this next school year.

We ended the last school term with a few more than 2600 students.  We anticipate approximately 50 additional students in each of our nine existing schools for an increase of about 450.  With three or four new schools starting with approximately 150 children in each, we are estimating an additional 500 students in the new schools.  In the elementary schools we are expecting a total of about 3500 children.  What a great opportunity to reach into the lives of these additional 950 kids!  Most of them have never heard about Jesus and will have the opportunity to hear and trust in Him as their Savior.

Our cost to educate and feed one child in Haiti is $4.50 per month.  That provides for the headmaster and teachers salaries, school uniforms, school supplies, cooks salaries and the food.  With 3500 children in September, our school ministry budget will exceed $15,000 per month.  We currently have 215 of those children sponsored at $25.00 per month which provides $5375.00 per month.  The additional money for the school ministry comes from general donations.  We are so thankful for how God continues to supply.

I Thessalonians 5:24 tells us, “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”  As I read and meditated on this verse this week, I recognized how faithful God is.  He has called us to this ministry and will never fail to bring His purposes to pass.  We can have such confidence as we step out in faith and obedience to do what He has called us to do.  We believe He has called us to reach out to almost another 1000 children this school year and that He will “bring to pass” everything needed to accomplish that.  We praise Him for His faithfulness!

We are currently making plans to send a large container to Haiti. This would allow us to get additional well drilling equipment, generators, and general construction supplies there.  There will also be room to ship smaller items that we have accumulated over the last couple of years. Our goal is to have it arrive and clear customs in Haiti prior to our November trip. We would like to invite you to help us fill the container.  Below is a list of needed items.

  • Good used children’s clothing
  • dresses, skirts, blouses, T shirts for girls  (sizes 6X to ladies 10)
  • No girls pants or shorts unless suitable for boys to wear
  • dress pants, jeans, shorts, dress shirts and ties, T shirts for boys
  • new underwear for girls and boys
  • new socks for girls and boys
  • belts, scarves for gals/women, earrings, jewelry
  • Haiti is very hot, no sweaters, coats, etc.
  • Good used or new shoes and sandals
  • School supplies
  • pens, pencils and pencil sharpeners
  • spiral notebooks
  • backpack book bags
  • chalk
  • crayons
  • Good used bicycles
  • Good used or new sheets
  • bunk beds or twin size but any size will do
  • fitted or flat
  • Good used or new towels
  • Tooth paste and unused toothbrushes
  • Tablespoons
  • Please check with us about other possible items

These can be dropped off at our home at 1811 Main Street in Lynden or at Westside Building Supply at 8353 Guide Meridian Rd in Lynden.

Thank you so much for your faithful support.  We truly recognize you as partners with us in this ministry as you pray and give.  Thanks for praying for the team that is just arriving in Haiti as you’re reading this letter.

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie & Sheryl Bovenkamp