March 2013 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

It has been so good to hear the results of our micro loan project in the Tricotte area. God has used this program to bless many families, and I wanted to share with you a couple of the success stories.

Octalien Pierre is the father of nine children. Two of them are married and the other seven are in school, mostly in high school. Octalien’s wife was injured several years ago and hasn’t been able to help to provide income for the family. Octalien has plenty of land to farm but needed money to buy corn seed and banana starts. So in September he borrowed 1000 Haitian dollars, which is the equivalent of $125 US. He was able to purchase his seed and banana starts and planted his crops in October 2013.

Octilien just harvested his corn last month. Some of it was used for corn meal to feed his family; the rest he has either sold at the market or stocked for next season’s seed. The bananas are still growing and will begin producing within the next few months.

Daniel met with Octalien yesterday, February 27. He told Daniel how grateful he is to Starfish Ministries for making the money available to him to help his family. He was able to help feed them, provide some funds for school tuition, and repay his loan according to his agreement.

It may have been possible for Octalien to receive a loan from the bank in the large nearby city of Gros-Morne, but the interest rate is currently at 26%!  It is probably somewhat understandable to charge such a high rate, since the risk of default is really high. But it makes it almost impossible for a potential borrower. So for local people like Octalien to be able to borrow from our Starfish Ministries micro loan project at a rate of 6% is truly a blessing and puts them in a much better position to be successful in their endeavors.

Madam Wilner Orelus is another success story. She has three children: a son and daughter in high school and another son in elementary school. Madam Wilner’s husband has been in Port-au-Prince for several years trying to find work in order to help support the family. However he hasn’t been very successful and the burden of supporting the family has fallen on her.

In December 2013 Madam Wilner received a loan of 500 Haitian dollars ($60 US) for a small business. She buys goods from Gros-Morne or Bassin-Bleu. Those goods include sugar, rice, butter, beans and flour. She goes to the outdoor market place at the river, about a mile from Tricotte, six days a week from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM to sell her goods.  This is hard work but she is willing to do it in order to feed her children and pay their tuition. She too is very grateful to Starfish Ministries for the help.

Those are just two of the many Tricotte-area people who have received small loans.  Pastor Joseph Pierre helps to administer these funds and reported to Daniel that all but two of the loan recipients from the first round of loans in September 2013 have repaid.  He expected those two to pay within the next few days.

Thank you so much for helping to make this possible. Many of you provided money for this project. Our goal is always to help the Haitians help themselves and the micro loan approach is making that possible. When Daniel is approached with a financial need his response is to pursue an avenue of helping the person provide their own solution. That often includes putting together a small business plan and helping them get started with a loan. It gives Daniel the opportunity to teach sound business practices. He also takes the opportunity to encourage them in their spiritual lives.

God is using you to help make a difference in Haitians live in so many ways. We thank God for you and your partnership with us.

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp