I just returned from a couple of weeks in Haiti. Glenn Bridges from California was back with me for the first time in nine months. Our friends in Tricotte were so excited about having Glenn back in town! We also had a team from Central Washington University. They ministered to our children at the orphanage with English teaching and a lot of playing and nurturing. This team was also able to share music, testimonies and some drama in the villages of Biscaille and Ti-David.
On our way to Ti-David we made a stop at an older couple’s home in Beaudois. Two years ago we had heard about this couple’s very poor living conditions. Daniel, Glenn & I visited them at that time and discovered that they lived in a mud hut with a thatch roof that leaked whenever it rained. The dirt floor was then mud! And they had no means of fixing it due to the handicap condition of the husband. His wife tried to support them by buying five gallon quantities of gasoline, splitting it into quarts and selling it to motorcycle drivers. But she had used up the money to buy food for them and had nothing left to continue the business.
Through your help we were able to build them a small house with a concrete floor, concrete block walls and a metal roof. And we were able to help her with some start up money to continue her small business. And now she is able to support herself and her husband again. Thank you for your help in making this possible.
So we stopped in to visit with them this past week. The wife was off at the market selling some of her quarts of gasoline but the handicap husband was home sitting in the doorway of their home. When he realized who was there he was so grateful. He thanked Daniel over and over again for the house and the support that has helped them survive. The team had been learning some songs in Creole and they sang them for this man. And what a touching moment that was! Mr. Alphonse sat there with tears running down his face. Now I think this may have been the first time I’ve seen a Haitian man cry. But the message of those songs by this team really had an affect on Mr. Alphonse. And in turn that had such a positive affect on the team. To be able see the response to their ministry to this handicap man brought real joy to their hearts. Praise be to God!!
The medical clinic construction in Tricotte continues to progress. Glenn was able to work with Garry, our Haitian construction manager, to make decisions concerning the final phases of the construction. Glenn also worked on the water systems, testing out a new hand dug well at the creek below the orphanage and discovered we have a very adequate 60 gallons of water per minute. We are so thankful for that source for the clinic and orphanage needs!
And we were able to purchase a little over an acre of land that runs from our orphanage property to the creek below. Thank you for your help to make this possible as well. This land will be used for orphanage gardening and its location means plenty of irrigation water. In addition to that there are three mango trees and two avocado trees on the property. On this property we will be able to grow most of our vegetables for our orphanage needs.
One afternoon last week Daniel and I were just leaving Tricotte to go to the bank in Gros Morne, a large town about 30 minutes (by vehicle) from Tricotte, when a group of Haitians came by carrying a stretcher with a person covered with a sheet. As they got close we saw that the group was excited and we soon discovered it was a young mother about to give birth. (The sheet was to keep the sun off her.) Daniel offered them a ride to the Gros Morne hospital and soon the stretcher was tied securely in the back of the pickup and four women and the husband climbed in the back with her. And then the rough “ambulance” ride to Gros Morne began.
Now the road between Tricotte and Gros Morne is very rough, taking us through rivers, potholes and numerous bumps. Daniel drove and tried hard not to hit the bumps too hard and at the same time trying to make it to the hospital in time. Every few minutes the screams and cries came from the back and I prayed that the next bump wouldn’t bring the baby. God answered and we made it!
Again this experience showed us the need for the clinic in Tricotte. This new mom had already been carried from up in the mountains near Biscaille for about 45 minutes and without a ride she would have had another two hour walk. We are looking forward to providing health care in Tricotte and along with that having the opportunity to present the gospel as well.
Thank you so much for all of your support! Your partnership continues to have such a positive affect on needy Haitians lives. Thank you for all your prayers for this ministry!
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp