The news coming out of Haiti recently has been very negative. The opposition to the current political leadership has taken to the streets with the goal of seeing the current president resign. Demonstrations of burning tires, blocking the streets, and marching throughout the country have disrupted much commercial activity and education, especially in the large cities.
Then a bridge on the main national road of Haiti collapsed due to erosion and that caused major interruption to travel from north to south. Venders from the cities who make their living selling in rural market places could not get there. The farmers couldn’t get their produce to the markets in Port-au-Prince.
This, added to the “out of control” inflation, makes life in Haiti very difficult. The inflation is largely due to the deterioration of the Haitian dollar. In the first six months of 2019 it has lost almost 25% of its value against the US dollar. That comes after approximately 20% drop in value in 2018. The result – prices of necessities are up while the dollar is down and the poorest people in the western hemisphere are becoming poorer.
All the above leads to desperate people trying desperate measures to try to survive.
A couple of weeks ago, ten masked gangsters with weapons, arrived at one of our Starfish Ministries schools. They demanded to see the administrator of the school, who thankfully was not at school that day due to a sick child. They then told the teacher in charge that they wanted $10,000 Haitian, which exchanges to approximately $600 US. In exchange for that they would allow the school to continue operating. We have no intention to respond to such bribery but at the same time we have a responsibility to make sure the students and staff are safe. We appreciate your prayers as we deal with this situation.
With so many obstacles in our path you may wonder, “why continue?” That’s an easy question to answer. God never promises that things will be easy. He simply calls on us to reach out in obedience to His work in Haiti and expect Him to produce fruit from the labors. And He is and there is so much to be thankful for.
Last Sunday our Children’s Church in Tricotte shared at our Tricotte Church. Our orphanage director, Lizette, does a great ministry in reaching out to the children of the orphanage and the village. Every Sunday morning there are over 120 children meeting for worship services at the orphanage. With Lizette’s direction, they put on an entire service for the community of Tricotte. They led the singing, shared in special music, and one of the young boys shared a message from God’s Word. Pastor Patrick had the opportunity to work with the young “preacher” to help him develop his message and presentation. We are so grateful for Lizette and her ministry to children.
Last month we shared about the outreach to the villages beyond Belair. Our evangelist Herod has been sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in several villages along with others he has been discipling to help carry on the load.
A couple of months ago they started a Bible study in the village of Charbe each Thursday. More than 40 new Christians and other interested Charbites come together each week to study God’s Word and pray. God is using this to open up the hearts of more spiritually needy people.
Now during the month of June this evangelistic team reached out to two more villages. The result is weekly Bible Studies in Pendu and Cadet. When our team had introductory meetings in these two villages, they had over 100 people from each village come to hear and share interest in having ministry come to their village.
Despite the many obstacles that can get in the way of ministry in Haiti, God is working in the lives of many. We really appreciate your prayers – for Daniel as he makes decisions and handles many difficult issues – for our evangelistic team as they reach out in very tough terrain – for Lizette as she ministers to our children – for our school administrators and teachers.
Thank you for your faithful financial support which helps to make this all possible. God gets all the glory!!! He uses us to partner together to do His work.
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp