July 2005 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

In the very remote village of Corail, we started a school last September. Earlier that summer, seven of the village leaders of Corail had come to Pastor Diogene in Tricotte. They had heard about Starfish Ministries’ school ministry and begged Pastor Diogene to consider starting a school in their village. As they shared about the conditions, God touched Pastor Diogene’s heart and he agreed to their request.

Our director of school ministries, Norius, later hiked up to Corail to take inventory of the needs. The hike took three hours. He saw many children receiving no education. He suggested we begin a school in September of that same year. We budgeted for 230 children, one headmaster/teacher, and five additional teachers. We also helped to provide temporary classrooms made of wood poles with a very rustic tin roof system.

Three weeks ago, Pastor Diogene hiked up to Corail for the first time. That day there were 306 children in school. He counted 72 students crowded in the first grade class. Pastor Diogene was very impressed with what was happening educationally in this school in spite of the terrible conditions. He was also convinced we needed to improve conditions and provide for the many children waiting to come to school when room is available.

We are now in the process of building a permanent eight classroom school in Corail. This is no easy feat considering the distance and difficulty in getting materials to the site. Pastor Diogene encouraged the villagers to start carrying rocks, sand, and gravel from a nearby stream for use in the foundation. We will deliver the rest of the materials as far as a truck can travel, and the villagers have agreed to carry them the rest of the way. Can you imagine carrying a 94 pound bag of cement on your head for three hours up a mountain trail? These villagers are eagerly doing exactly that with thankful hearts for an opportunity to educate their children.

One of our contractors from Tricotte has agreed to go to Corail and head up the construction process, planning to have the classrooms ready to be occupied in September. We will hire as many local men from Corail as possible in order to stimulate their economy.

In September we have a team going to Haiti with hopes to back-pack video equipment in to the village to show the children’s version of the Jesus Film. This will be quite a shock for these village kids– the first “blancs” (whites) to come to their village and then the first movie picture. We trust that God is preparing hearts and that many will trust Jesus as Savior and Lord.

Even though many of you may doubt this, I plan to join this young team and make the hike to Corail. My wife has agreed to help me get in shape. I have 2 1/2 months. I need your prayers!

It’s so exciting for us to see how God prepares the way to make Himself known to these remote villages in Haiti. We believe He desires to show Himself in a deeper way to us also. Sometimes these roads involve trials, discouragement, and challenges. But we can always find Him in the midst of them if we only seek Him.

We are making final decisions as to which four or five villages to reach out to this fall with new schools. We are seeking God’s direction and again ask you to pray that we would be sensitive to His leading. Thanks so much for your encouragement and support as you partner with us in God’s work in Haiti.

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie & Sheryl Bovenkamp