January 2005 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

To each of you we extend A HUGE THANK YOU!! We really appreciate your partnership in this ministry. This past month again we experienced the outpouring of your generosity as we opened our mail each day. Child sponsorship through Starfish Ministries continues to grow. Each month God feeds the children in our school ministry through your faithfulness. And then this month your giving toward the “Christmas Gift List” was extremely gratifying.

The result of this faithfulness is a difference made in needy Haitian lives. Not only have our 117 orphanage children’s needs been met each month, but we were also able to give them a Christmas dinner party. Some of the older children will be the recipients of bicycles, all will get a new pair of tennis shoes and receive necessary school supplies, and there will be some new musical instruments to share and improve their musical talents.

As I shared with Pastor Diogene the Christmas giving results, he was especially excited about the opportunity to provide goats to needy Haitians. We received enough money designated for more than 50 goats. These will provide many desperate families with a new economic base. The families left homeless from the late September tropical storm lost all they had. We are helping several of these families with materials for new houses and now are also able to provide them with a goat or two in order to begin a new herd to replace those lost in the storm.

One of the recipients of a new house is a family with their 100 year old father living with them. This man was still going out into the field each day to tend the garden and goats. (Diogene said he reminded him of my own 84 year old father — still working everyday) But the storm took all they had. Diogene said that this family is so appreciative. We have been able to provide them with some agricultural supplies to replant the garden and now can give them a goat as well. This old man is now interested in hearing about the Lord. We believe God has spared him all these years for this day — the opportunity to be reached through his physical needs and thereby open the door for the Holy Spirit to soften his heart toward his spiritual need.

We now look ahead to our eighth year of Starfish Ministries. It’s so exciting to see what God has done, is doing, and now anticipate what He will continue to do in and through us as we serve Him in Haiti. This ministry has grown way beyond what we had ever envisioned as we began in 1998. Now we are becoming accustomed to the unexpected challenges and look forward to them. We don’t know what God has for us in 2005 — and that’s just fine! Our goal is to stay close to Him and allow Him to continue to guide our path. Starfish Ministries is God’s — we are simply His vessel for accomplishing His will in Haiti. We simply must keep our focus on Him and stay moldable. That’s our desire.

Please continue to pray for us and this ministry. That is the most important need today. Bernie and Glenn will be leaving for Haiti on January 5 and returning on January 21. We have not been in our ministry area since July, due to the political unrest and the storms, so we are very anxious to get there. We cherish your prayers for safety, health, wisdom, and ministry opportunities. Thank you so much!

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie & Sheryl Bovenkamp