Our ultimate goal for the children at the Starfish Ministries orphanage (as well as for all those we minister to in Haiti) is to see them mature into disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. We desire for them to bring glory to our God and Father through obedience to His word. And we hope that they will in turn minister to their countrymen – both now, in and around the orphanage, and as they become adults, as leaders in their churches and communities.
Everything we do at the orphanage is done with this end in mind. We have a deep affection for these children, and we count it a privilege to provide for their basic physical needs – a home, food, and clothing. But we recognize that God has called us to do this in order that we might be able to minister to them spiritually as well. Meeting their emotional needs and the nurturing that takes place at the orphanage are also important as foundations for their spiritual edification. And the education that Starfish Ministries provides, both for the orphans and for those in our schools, is necessary to prepare them for adulthood and to put them in positions where they can be effective ministers of the gospel.
But it is the spiritual training that is most important – the daily discipline provided by the orphanage administrator and house parents, the nightly devotions and instruction from God’s word, and the other discipleship and shepherding that takes place in the orphanage. This is the ministry that has the most direct effect on the thing that is most important: who these children are in Christ.
Because of this, it was such a joy and encouragement to receive the letter we did from the children in the orphanage. It was written by those children – without any prompting from us – to their sponsors. But we share it with all of our supporters, as an example of the difference your support is making in the lives of Haitians. We believe it reflects the attitude of those served by many of the areas of ministry in which Starfish Ministries is involved – the children in our schools, the victims of the earthquake, those who drink clean water from the wells we’ve drilled, and many more.
At risk of sounding like too-proud parents, we see displayed in this letter two godly characteristics – contentedness and gratitude. These children, who by our standards have very little, are truly satisfied with what God has given them. And they are quick to express their thanks to God and to you. These are characteristics not often seen in those who have much more than these children have, and seeing it in them gives us great joy.
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. –3 John 4
We are proud of these children. And we are quick to follow their example and thank God and thank you. We thank God for the things He is accomplishing in their lives, for it is truly His doing. And we thank you for the role that you so faithfully play as together we continue to make disciples in Haiti. God is honoring your faithfulness!
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp