February 2006 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Nodi Ambroise came to the orphanage when he was about ten years old. We don’t know much about his parents but we do know that Nodi went to live with his grandmother when he was very young. His grandmother sold a little produce at the market in order to provide for herself and Nodi. When Nodi was eight years old, his grandmother became blind. It then became his responsibility to provide for himself as well as his grandmother. So Nodi would try to sell a little at the market but mostly would beg and steal to get a little food for them.

When Nodi was about nine years old, Uncle William came to visit. He found Nodi sick in bed and hadn’t eaten for several days. Had the uncle not come when he did, Nodi likely would have died. After taking care of the immediate needs, the uncle went in search of Pastor Diogene. He had heard about Pastor Diogene and the orphanage and knew that Nodi needed to go someplace where he would be taken good care of. In 1993 Nodi moved into, what is now, the Starfish Ministries Orphanage.

During the next few years at the orphanage, Nodi was often sick. We assumed that he was suffering from the results of malnutrition in his early years. He went to a medical clinic from time to time but it wasn’t until about five years ago that Nodi was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. This is a non-curable hereditary disease that causes extreme pain at times and also attacks the immune system. With the help of a daily dose of vitamins, the disease is now somewhat under control.

Often when I’ve been in Haiti, a report would come from the orphanage that Nodi was sick. I would go to pray with Nodi and try to encourage him. He would be on his bed, moaning with pain. But there were always several of his orphanage brothers around him. They would be rubbing his pained body, bringing him water and food, singing and praying for him. It was good to see the love and compassion that these boys had for Nodi. They were experiencing his pain as they tended to him.

A few years ago, Glenn Bridges began to develop a relationship with Nodi. Nodi was always wanting to help in whatever way he could, so Glenn began to give him small projects. About four years ago, Glenn asked Nodi to record the weather patterns throughout the year. He made him a chart and had him record the daily rainfall, temperatures and wind patterns. Nodi did an outstanding job of following through and completing this task.

This past summer we hired Nodi to handle the maintenance around the orphanage. Glenn wrote up a description of all the items he would be responsible for and gave him a time schedule for maintaining them. He was directed to record every item he was dealing with. The main responsibility was the generator. Nodi was to start it in the evening and turn it off at the designated time. He would also do the normal service on the generator as well as on the inverter and batteries.

We were back in Haiti in November and found that Nodi had done an excellent job. The mechanical building was cleaner than ever before. And Nodi obviously has an aptitude for electrical, plumbing and engineering. We are now paying Nodi $12.00 per month and Glenn helps him with financial training as well. He is saving and tithing and has a little money to spend. We also hired Luckner to be his assistant and pay him $6.00 per month. This is giving Luckner, a young man who struggles in school, the opportunity to learn from Nodi and possibly take over Nodi’s job someday.

Nodi has done well in school. He is now in the ninth grade in our secondary school in Beaudois. He became a Christian soon after arriving at the orphanage and has grown in his relationship with Jesus. Nodi enjoys singing and often leads the children in worship at their evening devotions.

We thank God for bringing Nodi to the orphanage. It is our goal to help him and each one of his orphanage brothers and sisters achieve their God given purpose. We believe that someday God will use each one in His Kingdom.

Thank you for your partnership with us. Your prayer and financial support is making the difference in Haitian lives.

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie & Sheryl Bovenkamp