We are often asked about the future of the children in our orphanage – what is likely to happen to them as they grow up and leave the orphanage? And what, if anything, are we doing to prepare them?
It is our goal at Starfish Ministries to provide each child with the education and training to do what whatever he or she desires and has the aptitude to do, and to continue to support that child as long as it takes to receive that education. Of course, this looks different for every child. Here are a few examples of those who are receiving their training right now.
Three years ago we moved Franky and Luckner from the orphanage to Port-au-Prince. There they began apprenticeships at a mechanics shop whose owner was willing to train them in exchange for the assistance they could provide his business. While there, Franky and Luckner have learned the trade well and are now ready to use those skills to begin to support themselves. During our recent trip to Haiti, Bernie delivered a collection of mechanic’s tools to Luckner, which he’ll need as he and Franky begin looking for employment.
Shella was one of the oldest children in our orphanage. She was one of the first three to graduate from high school and enter the university. She will graduate in October with a degree in business administration and is now exploring options for starting a small business in Port-au-Prince. She and Bernie talked while we were in Haiti about possibly opening a small café, and he challenged her to put together a business plan that they can review together on a future trip.
Daniel Fontil was in Port-au-Prince attending high school when the earthquake struck in January 2010. He was the only one of the children in our ministry who was significantly injured in the earthquake and had to spend a few days in a hospital. After being released, he moved to Jean Rabel, a city in the northern part of Haiti where he has family. He has fully recovered from his injuries and completed his final year of high school. His desire is to become a pastor, and his goal (and our plan) is for him to return to Port-au-Prince later this year to attend a seminary there.
Bruno has wanted to be a doctor from the time he was a little boy at the orphanage, but there are relatively few openings at the universities to study medicine. Praise God, Bruno scored high enough on his placement exam to be accepted at one the universities! He registered this week, and will begin his undergraduate studies in the fall.
Bruno has also agreed that, once he has completed school, he will spend two years serving the people of Tricotte and the surrounding area as a way of giving back. He has also indicated an openness to make Tricotte the permanent home for his eventual medical practice. So it appears that, in addition to providing for Bruno, God may also be in the process of providing Tricotte with a long-term doctor!
Thank you for your partnership in all of this. Many of you have contributed to the support of these young people and others. Bruno’s education will be more costly than most, and one family has already expressed interest in covering the entire expense, while others have continued to faithfully support children at every level of education. It is a true blessing to us to be the stewards of your gifts.
Serving our Lord together,
Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp
P.S. We have hired Daniel Thelusmond to be the new Haitian Director of Starfish Ministries. He is from the village of Tricotte and has been a friend of this ministry for a long time. He was an elementary school teacher in Port-au-Prince prior to taking this position and has a heart for children. But most importantly, he is a godly man whose foremost desire is to please his Lord. We look forward to introducing him to you in greater detail in future newsletters and perhaps even in person at some point in the future.