March 2012 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Short-term mission teams have always been an important part of Starfish Ministries, as we have introduced groups from churches and universities to God’s work in Haiti.  It is exciting to watch these Americans and Canadians minister to our Haitian brothers and sisters and to see how God uses the missions experience to impact team members’ lives for his purposes.

Over the next few months we will take three different groups to Haiti.  Later this month, a team from First Reformed Church in Lynden, Washington, will join us.  In May a group of students from Washington State University is going.  And in June we will take another group of students, this time from Central Washington University. Continue Reading →

July 2011 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

We are often asked about the future of the children in our orphanage – what is likely to happen to them as they grow up and leave the orphanage? And what, if anything, are we doing to prepare them?

It is our goal at Starfish Ministries to provide each child with the education and training to do what whatever he or she desires and has the aptitude to do, and to continue to support that child as long as it takes to receive that education. Of course, this looks different for every child. Here are a few examples of those who are receiving their training right now. Continue Reading →

May 2011 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

In his preface to The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis wrote:

There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race falls about devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors, and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.

Lewis’s observation, written 70 years ago, defines a major difference between our enemy’s strategy in the United States and Canada and his approach in Haiti. Continue Reading →

February 2011 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

A team from SouthRidge Fellowship in Langley, British Columbia, has just returned from Haiti.  They worked hard, and we thank God for all they were able to accomplish during their 10-day trip.  Their work ranged from physical projects (setting trusses and installing roofing on a new school) to spiritual ministries (they taught VBS at two schools) to nurturing (teaching classes and doing crafts at the orphanage).  But let me share with you about one particular day. Continue Reading →

Well Drilling and Cholera

Vincent (center), Doug (right), and Nodi (kneeling) drill a well in Remoussin, Haiti

Doug and Vincent started drilling a well in Remoussin on Thursday and by the end of the day had reached a depth of 35 feet.  This is very good progress – if we hit rock or clay, the progress can be much slower.  We are grateful to God for favorable drilling conditions as well as for His blessing the work and keeping the workers safe.  It’s hard to say how deep they will need to go in order to find a adequate water.  Typically, our wells in this area of Haiti are between 80 and 150 feet deep, although there have been times where we found water at a more shallow level, and on one occasion we reached the extent of our drilling capability without finding water at all.  So we continue to commit the process to God in prayer and trust that He will accomplish what He desires.

The current cholera outbreak reinforces the need for wells in villages like Remoussin.  Without a well, people must collect their water from rivers and streams, a practice that can contribute to the spread of this disease.  In fact, in situations like the one in Haiti right now, cholera is most often spread when the water supply is contaminated by feces from an infected person.  And that is exactly what is happening.  There is no sewage treatment, so the bacteria that causes cholera eventually finds its way into the rivers and streams, putting everyone downstream at risk.

Thank you for your prayers, and please continue to pray for safety, health, and that God will provide this village with water through this well.

Serving together,

Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp

Rain, Wells, and Cholera

Bernie, along with Doug Jarvie and Vince Buys, arrived in Tricotte yesterday.  They encountered a lot of water along the way due to the heavy rains that occurred as hurricane Tomas passed by a few days ago.  But with a few detours they were able to navigate past the flooding and arrived safely.

The river near Tricotte is still high, and it rained again last night, so Doug and Vince weren’t able to begin their well-drilling yet this morning.  But they are optimistic that the river will drop today and they may be able to get started later this afternoon.

Cholera continues to be a major concern in Haiti, and it has hit our ministry.  Two more children from the orphanage – Anne and Elmath – are being treated at the clinic in Gros Morne.  They are out of danger now.  Edner, the Orphanage Director, is very proactive.  At the first sign of the disease, he makes sure to get the children to the clinic quickly so they can get the antibiotics and fluids they need.

A few of the villages where we have schools have been hit pretty hard.  Four children enrolled in the school in Corail have died from the disease and three more in David.  Remoussin, Drigeon, and Biscaille are also being affected, although there haven’t been any deaths reported from those schools.

Norius, our School Director, is working hard to communicate with all 37 Starfish Ministries schools, both to keep us informed of the latest conditions and, more importantly, to make certain our schools are doing everything possible to prevent the spread of cholera and help educate the communities how to deal with this disease.

Please pray for all of these needs: for the health of the students, their families, and the teachers in our schools and orphanage; for protection for Bernie, Doug, and Vince; and that God would use Doug and Vince’s efforts to provide clean water to one more village – which will help to prevent cholera there.

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp