I really enjoy taking teams to Haiti. Mission teams that go to Haiti, are often seen as people who go out, and in some way, help the poor of that country. Yes, helping the poor is part of what we do. But I also enjoy seeing how God impacts lives of team members as we work together, pray together, worship together, and reach out to needy Haitians together.
On our first Sunday morning in Haiti the team all went to Pastor Diogene’s church in Port-au-Prince. When visitors were asked to introduce themselves a man stood up in the back of the church. I would guess him to be about 40 years old. He gave his name and then added that he was not a Christian but came to church that day to turn his life over to Jesus Christ. At the end of the service, the man was invited forward and he prayed to receive Christ as his Savior and Lord. Our team witnessed God at work in the lives of people in Haiti.
During the week we had the opportunity to show the children’s version of the Jesus Film in two more of our schools near Tricotte. On Tuesday morning the team hiked up to the village of Biscaille with the video equipment and a small generator on their backs. This was the first time any of the children in our school in that village had seen anything like that. The next day we drove to our school in Champagne and showed the film there. Many of the children responded to the invitation to follow Jesus. Once again, the team joyfully witnessed God at work in the hearts of these precious lives.
Worshipping with the believers in Tricotte is always a treat for team members. Even though we are asked to share in song, give our testimonies, and even preach, we are the ones so blessed by the privilege of worshipping with our fellow believers in Christ. During the visitor introduction time, a young mother stood up with her 6 month old baby. She shared how desperate she was. While pregnant with this first child, her husband was killed during the uprising in Gonaives. Fleeing to get away from that environment, she had recently moved to Tricotte. Once again we saw God at work, as Starfish Ministries was able to do God’s work in supplying her basic needs while the people of Tricotte reach out to her and love her.
Yes, the team was busy at construction work too, and accomplished more than they had expected–not necessarily what they had planned to do, but many smaller projects that had been waiting to be done.
The training of Christian leaders in the country of Haiti is a huge need. Pastor Kim and his team led a three day seminar for church leaders from the Port au Prince and Tricotte churches. Over 60 of these leaders came to the LeXaragua Hotel for valuable leadership training while enjoying a retreat from their normal activities. As our ministry grows the need to put leadership in the hands of the Haitians is essential, equipping them with the tools to reach out and use their gifts to make a difference in their country.
As we returned home we felt richly blessed, not because of what we had done but because we saw a great God at work in many lives, inviting us to come along side of Him and accomplish His work in His time.
Thank you so much for praying. Oswald Chambers once wrote, “Prayer does not equip us for greater works — prayer is the greater work.” Many of you are involved in that “greater work”. You tell us that you are praying for Sheryl & me, the ministry, and the teams that travel to Haiti. Thank you so much for those prayers — God continues to use you to accomplish His purposes through your prayers.
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie & Sheryl Bovenkamp