July 2004 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

When I talked to Pastor Diogene this week, I asked how things were going in the village of Bethel. His enthusiastic answer, “Unbelievable!” Last Tuesday the Bible Study team from Diogene’s Port-au-Prince church arrived in Bethel at 3:00 PM. That’s an hour before the Bible study was to begin and that’s a miracle in itself. But when they arrived at the big tree in the middle of the village, there were already people waiting. And by 4:00 there were 138 people ready to hear the gospel message. Just eight weeks ago they started this outreach Bible study with 14 people and each week the group has grown. There are over 20 of them that have become Christians. What a tremendous working of the Holy Spirit in these lives! The people are so hungry for the truth of God’s Word.

Pastor Diogene shared with me by phone this week, “I’ve been giving these people Bibles and hymnbooks and assigning them homework. They are coming back prepared to share what they are learning. It’s like a picnic!” he said. “They are so excited to have a Bible to read and study.”

The village of Bethel has been a stronghold of Satan for many generations. Voodooism has been the prevalent religion and the signs of witch doctors are obvious throughout the village. But that stronghold is being broken down. Please pray for these new believers in Bethel and the many more who are at the threshold of becoming followers of Jesus. The enemy is working to prevent this revival but he has been defeated and will not prevail. A gospel song I enjoy says “I’ve read the back of the Book, and we win!!”

Bethel is just one of many villages in Haiti where God is at work. As I met with Pastor Diogene and Norius (our school director) last month, they shared with me the many villages in which they believe God would have us start schools in this fall. I was expecting five or six but as they continued to share the needs, they listed 11 new and unreached villages that they would like us to consider reaching out to this fall. So I ask myself, “Can we handle this much growth in one year?” And the answer is, “No, we can’t.” But God can, and we believe He is calling us to take these steps of obedience and reach out to these needy and lost people of Haiti. The fields in Haiti are white unto harvest and He is calling us to be part of the reaping.

We don’t know how He will accomplish this large growth. As you know, we don’t believe that God wants us to plead for money. We are to present the needs and opportunities and allow Him to provide as He always has. Some of you have asked how you can help. There is always opportunity to sponsor children in our school ministry. We have over 300 children available for sponsorship right now. Also many of our sponsors have chosen to give more than the sponsorship amount each month. Most of that we use to help with the school feeding program. Still others choose to give in a general way each month and encourage us to use where it is most needed at that time. Others give to specific needs such as Bibles for the new believers in Bethel. Others share about this ministry with family members and friends and encourage them to get involved in sponsoring or other support.

We appreciate all the financial support! God has blessed this ministry with very faithful and generous supporters. We continue to be committed to using 100% of the donated funds for the work in Haiti.

As important as the funding of the ministry is — it is not nearly as important as praying. We are truly thankful for those of you who are committed to praying for us and this ministry on a regular basis. That’s where the work is really done and as we grow we sense that need more and more.

Thank you for partnering with us!

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie & Sheryl Bovenkamp