February 2012 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Haiti!  Glenn, Doug, Doug’s dad Bob Jarvie and I have spent the past week in Haiti.  Doug stayed in Port-au-Prince to continue well drilling in that area with the help of his dad.  His goal is to complete three more wells before we return home on February 2, and as of today, January 27, he is well on his way to completing the second one.  So we are praising God for good success in providing good pure water for many.

Glenn & I continued on to Tricotte arriving on Saturday, January 21.  We had a great day on Sunday as the Tricotte church body of believers marched to our new Starfish Ministries Medical Clinic site directly after the morning worship service.  They circled the entire clinic property, held hands and prayed as we dedicated the site, the construction, and the medical clinic ministry to the Lord.  It was a powerfully moving time as we sensed the presence of God in our midst.  And then the next day the project began.  Glenn and our Haitian construction manager measured and staked out the site for the foundation excavation of the building.  Now a week later much of the excavation is completed and the foundation is begun.

On Tuesday we traveled to our school in Ti-David, about 15 minutes from Tricotte.  We took photos of 30 of our students there in need of sponsors.  A fourth grade girl, Joline, stood off away from the rest of the kids.  She was leaning against the school building and propped up with one homemade crutch.  Director Daniel asked her to come and she hobbled over.  We inquired about her condition and heard a sad story.  When Joline was two months old she was severely burned in the cooking fire.  I asked if she could show me the extent of her injury and lifting her skirt a bit she showed her left knee area.  Behind her knee she has severe scar tissue which keeps her leg from straightening.  I asked if there was any other area that had been affected so she took off the sock on her left foot and revealed a deformed foot.  It also has a lot of scar tissue from the fire.  And Joline has never been to a doctor since the accident.

I asked Joline about her family.  Her response, “They have nothing.  By coming to school at least I have food once each day.”  Joline’s mom became sick in 2007, has never recovered, and is bed ridden.  Her dad does some small gardening to try to support the family.  Joline has one brother and six sisters.  So it seems life is tremendously difficult.

But in spite of all the tragedy in this family, Joline had a smile on her face most of the time.  When I asked her if she is a Christian she beamed, “Oh yes, I am.”  Our school director Norius has started a church in Ti-David in the temporary structure that we put up in October due to classroom needs.  The people of the area are excited about having a church in their village and last week 45 adults attended the service.  Joline said that this past December she started coming to the church, and it was there that she responded to the gospel.  We praise God for His Hand on her life.

Now we are planning to take Joline to a surgeon to see what can be done.  It appears to me that surgery would enable her to get use of her leg and she may even be able to walk without the use of the crutch.  If any of you are interested in helping to make that possible please let us know.

As we see situations like Joline’s, we see firsthand the tremendous need for the medical clinic.  The people of this area are so excited.  Last night Pastor Joe came to the house and thanked us for moving forward on the clinic.  He said he personally has prayed for years for this and is thanking God and you for helping to make this a reality.

Again thank you so much for your support.  We really appreciate your partnership with us as we minister in Haiti.

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp