February 2009 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

I’m relaxing at the guesthouse in Port-au-Prince , Monday, January 26, waiting for the arrival of a team from North County Christ the King Church. The weather here is perfect – gets up to about 80 during the day and down to 70 at night. January is by far the best month to spend in Haiti when one considers the temperature.

The team will be spending next week putting on roofs and pouring concrete floors in six houses of the flood victims in Bethel. The people have been preparing for us to arrive. They have hauled sand and gravel from the river. They have dug their foundation hole. And they have helped the masons make cement blocks and install them. The walls are now standing and ready for the floors and roofs for their new houses. Then at the end of our week of work we will have the joy of worshipping together with God’s people on Sunday. We trust that God will use this time in Haiti to impact each of our lives as we serve Him by serving needy Haitians.

As I was talking to Pastor Diogene this morning he excitedly shared what God is doing as a result of the flood relief help in Haiti. So many of you have given generously and have made it possible for Starfish Ministries to help numerous Haitians, first of all with food, and then with housing. God has used these efforts to soften hearts of spiritually needy people and many have trusted the Savior during the past few months.

Pastor Diogene says that the current spiritual climate in Haiti seems to be very much like the early church that is written about in Acts 2. Verse 46 tells us that the early believers spent much time together, worshipping and encouraging each other, and continuing in verse 47, “praising God and enjoying the favor of all people. And the Lord added to their numbers daily those who were being saved.” Pastor Diogene’s churches have been “enjoying the favor” of the people in the villages. The church people have reached out in the name of Jesus to the villagers with food, made possible with your financial support, and whatever else is needed. These villagers are realizing that the local witchdoctors do not care about them but the people from the church do care. And as a result “the Lord is adding to their numbers” on a very regular basis “those who are being saved.”

These new Christians immediately receive a Bible and a person to disciple them. The men are assigned a Spiritual Brother and the women are assigned a Spiritual Sister. They meet together once a week and are taught how to study the Bible and how to grow in their personal relationship with Jesus.

As this team goes to Bethel we are praying that God will use our efforts as well. We go as servants of Jesus, doing whatever He asks us to do, whether it is giving out food, pounding nails, troweling cement or sharing the Word for His purposes alone. The people need food. They need a roof over their heads. They need an education. But most of all they need a Savior.

Thank you so much for your partnership with us as we serve the Lord together with our Haitian brothers and sisters. We really appreciate all your prayers and support.

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie & Sheryl Bovenkamp