January 2009 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Thank you so much for all of your support.  It is such a blessing to reflect on this past year, seeing how God has used many of His people across the United States and Canada to meet the needs of the poorest of the poor in the country of Haiti.  We have seen many children grow this year through the feeding, education, and orphanage ministries of Starfish.  This is done by way of your continued sponsorships and it’s been exciting to see your faithfulness in that.  We’ve also received at this time much giving toward the Christmas list items, including gifts from children wanting to bless those children less fortunate.  Many days we have felt as if the windows of heaven have opened up to bless the flood victims of the recent hurricanes in Haiti.  Food relief has flowed in and we have witnessed God supplying enough funds to build over 35 houses for the homeless in Haiti.  Our hearts are full of joy as we see what God is doing.  Your partnership with us in prayer and financial support is truly making a huge difference in the lives of many.  

Pastor Diogene and his ministry team spent Christmas week in Bethel again.  The strongholds of Satan and his demons have been broken down over the past few years in that village.  The last week of the year has always been the time when the witchdoctors gather and call up the demons of Haiti to do their demonic work.  But the past couple of years the demons no longer are coming – the Christian activity in Bethel has taken hold and the demonic power has been limited.

Sunday morning, December 28, several new Christians from Bethel were baptized.  Diogene and his team, along with hundreds from Bethel, started marching at the church on their way down to the river.  As they went they sang songs of praise and worship while marching through the entire village.  Under one large tree in the village they were stopped by demonstrating witchdoctors.  Diogene said that he had never experienced anything like this before.  The Bethel witchdoctors had called on four of the most powerful witchdoctors in all of Haiti to come and help them call up the demons and fight against God and His people.  The witchdoctors had poison powders and liquids that they threw on the Christians with the intent of killing some of them.  Diogene and his team continued to sing and pray as the witchdoctors threw insults and curses at them.

At one point Diogene began to lead his team in singing a song about the walls of Jericho falling down at the blowing of the trumpet and the shouts of the people.  As they finished singing this song, they began counting to seven.  When they hit number seven, two of the witchdoctors fell immediately to the ground and couldn’t get back up.  They had to be carried away.  The power of God struck them down!  Diogene and his team are really on fire for the Lord and are anxious to do battle with the enemy.  They have seen such a demonstration of God’s almighty power.

We have seen so many challenges and hardships on the Haitian people during 2008.  It seems that there is one disaster after another.  I’ve often prayed that God would give them some relief from all this hardship – but oh, how we have seen God move in their hearts as a result of so much turmoil.  God is using these most difficult of times to reach these people.  Forty-two more people became Christians in Bethel this week.  We praise God for Pastor Diogene and his ministry team who so faithfully proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and are willing to endure the opposition. 

On that Sunday night the people of Bethel and the surrounding villages crowded in to the outside service.  They praised and worshipped God for hours!  Diogene said that the people refused to leave – they couldn’t stop worshipping the God whom they had seen at work in their midst that day.  It is such a privilege to be part of what God is doing!

Thank you for your continued prayers for Diogene and his team.  They along with other teams across Haiti are stepping up their ministry efforts.  Diogene said, “The enemy is getting hit hard and we’re going to keep on hitting.”

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie & Sheryl Bovenkamp