March 2003 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Across the river and about a half mile upstream from our home-based village of Tricotte lies the village of Nan-Paul.  Approximately 1000 people living in primitive huts scattered throughout the hillside region make up this village called Nan-Paul.  For many years the voodoo religion has held the people in its terrible grip.

However, over the past few years Christians have made small roads into this dark society.  The lure of an education has enticed a few young people to walk to the school in Tricotte each day.  Much more than an education was received, however, for they also heard the wonderful good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.  In August of 2001 over 40 children and one woman in her 40’s became Christians as a youth team from Sunrise Baptist Church shared testimonies, music and the gospel.  As a result of that response, it was evident that we needed to start a children’s church in the village to help these new spiritual babes grow in their faith.

Robenson, our oldest boy in the orphanage, was challenged to begin leading a children’s church, meeting once a week on Saturday afternoon.  This has grown to as many as 100 children at this service.

A few weeks ago Robenson told me a 45 year old man, who had been listening from behind a tree, made his way to Robenson after the service.  He had some questions.  Robenson explained that each of us are sinners.  But God loved us so much He sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins.  He told this man if he confessed his sin and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ he would be saved.  The man believed, accepting Christ’s gift of salvation and became a child of God!!

A small team goes to Haiti this month.  Doug, Glenn and I leave the 17th followed by Kim Ryan, Dean King, and Kristian, Sue and Justus Martens on the 23rd.  We all return April 1.  Please cover us with your prayers.

The main focus of this trip will be an evangelistic crusade in the village of Nan-Paul.  The nights of March 27-29 Pastor Kim and Pastor Diogene will be teaming up to share the gospel with the people of Nan-Paul.  Please pray for the Holy Spirit to speak mightily through these two men.

Pastor Diogene shared with me yesterday on the phone that he has never seen such a bad economy in Haiti in his 51 years.  As the value of the Haitian dollar decreases the price of food and gasoline increases dramatically.  At least 50 people come to him each day for help, many of them desperate to feed their children.  He thanked us for the $500 Starfish sends each month for needs such as these.  Pastor Diogene and his church leadership use this money to help as many as possible.  They have seen many of the recipients of this help begin coming to church and have become Christians.  God uses desperate times to eternally touch lives for His kingdom.  As we face the threat of war perhaps God will use this to draw people to Himself.  How might God use each of us in our own country in the days ahead?

Thank you so much for your partnership with us.  Your prayers are so important to us.  God uses you to accomplish His work.

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie & Sheryl Bovenkamp