When God called us to this ministry over nine years ago, Sheryl & I thought we were being called to take care of a few orphans and to make a difference in their lives and that’s all. Although the orphanage is still a very important part of what we are involved with, God has expanded that ministry to include the very vital ministry of the education of many children in the remote villages of Haiti.
It was in June of 2000 when we were aware that 4 villages near Tricotte, the village of our orphanage, would be losing their schools due to suspended support. We were asked about taking over the school ministry in those villages, but we said NO. We believed that God had called us to take care of these orphan children and that was enough. However, we agreed to pray about it and as we did we felt God wanted us to take this step of faith. God later confirmed this to us after we took over these 4 small Christian schools.
Now seven years later God has led us to a total of 28 villages where we have 28 schools with over 6500 children, each of whom we have the opportunity to educate and feed. How would we ever have guessed what God would do through this school ministry! Each day as these children are educated and fed they are also taught God’s Word. As they go home to their families they share with parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters and friends. The result of that is that the hearts of the adults are becoming open to their spiritual need as well.
An example of that is the village of Remoussin. We started a small school in Remoussin two years ago. A few months later an evangelistic team went there on a Sunday afternoon and shared in a children’s gathering. That afternoon 60 children responded to the invitation to receive Christ as Savior. The adults asked that a team come and share with them. That was the door to the evangelistic crusade this past December. And what a time that was as God used that outreach by Pastor Diogene and his ministry team to reach 180 more of His chosen ones.
When I talked to Pastor Diogene by phone last week, he said that the temporary church that was put up in December, and holds about 250 people is packed out every Sunday. They also have a midweek Bible study and that is also very well attended. The new Christians in Remoussin are hungry and looking for as much teaching as possible.
It is estimated that there are over 1,000,000 children in Haiti without the opportunity to go to school. In the north central part of Haiti alone, where our ministry is focused, we estimate there are over 100,000 children unschooled. Our school director, Norius, tells us that he has requests from people almost every week for us to come, begging us to start a school in their village. Norius is now praying about and prioritizing those requests before he presents them to Pastor Diogene and me this month.
Every year we turn down many of those requests as difficult as that is. We want God to lead us to the next “Remoussins” where He is already at work and trust Him to do that. We appreciate your prayers for wisdom as we make these decisions.
Glenn Bridges, Terry Gilliam & I will be in Haiti the first two weeks of February. I am hoping to visit as many of our schools as possible on this trip. Glenn & Terry will be focusing on drilling a well or two with our new well drilling equipment. We have been waiting for several years for this day and are excited about the prospects of providing pure, clean water for the villages. We see this also as an avenue to share the Living Water with needy Haitians.
Thank you for partnering with us as we continue to trust God to supply all of our needs. He is always faithful!
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie & Sheryl Bovenkamp