Bondié ki ré lé nou an va fé sa pou nou, paské li toujou kinbé paról li. I Tésalonik 5:24. A couple of weeks ago my 15 year old granddaughter, Katelyn Bright, was in my office, pulled a Creole Bible off the shelf and began to read to me. Her pronunciation was so good, I had to turn and see if there was a Haitian there with me. A year ago Katelyn was preparing to go on a mission trip with us to Haiti so she was preparing by studying the Creole language, wanting to be able to communicate with the orphans. That trip didn’t happen due to unsafe conditions in Haiti and things haven’t changed much so she is still waiting.
This verse she read has meant much to us during these years of ministry in Haiti. For all of us non-Creole readers, it says, “Faithful is He who has called you and He also will bring it to pass.” We have experienced God’s faithfulness, have answered His call and watched Him bring to pass everything that is needed to do His work. God has used each of you to help “bring it to pass.” God has used your prayer and financial support to help meet the needs of such needy people, both spiritually and financially.
Romain Exater is a young man from Tricotte who has benefited from Starfish Ministries support for several years. I first met him about 12 years ago when he desired to go to a trade school in Gonieves for electrical training and needed tuition money. He successfully completed that course, and we began to hire him to do the electrical work in our construction projects. Romain was eager to learn and gleaned much from Glenn Bridges and Doug Jarvie. Next, we put Romain in charge of all our electrical maintenance needs and paid him for it as he completed each job. He worked hard and proved himself to be faithful and trustworthy.
Romain has now been a valuable member of our Starfish Ministries staff for several years. Daniel uses him to make banking transactions and to purchase building materials. Our orphanage director, Lizette, has Romain buy and deliver supplies for the orphanage. Romain monitors and maintains our generators, electrical storage batteries and solar power system.
A few months ago, Romain came to Daniel with a desire to start a small business for him and his family. Romain is married now and has a couple of children: Steve, age eight, and Dora, age six. His wife, Mica, is an excellent cook, so they wanted to start a restaurant in Tricotte. Daniel worked with Romain to develop a business plan and was pleased to offer him a micro loan from funds that many of you have donated toward. Now when you visit Tricotte you might stop by the Excalier Cafe and enjoy chicken with fried plantains or an egg sandwich or several other menu offerings.
The Excalier Cafe serves an average of 150 satisfied customers each week. They also had a boost in business a few weeks ago when Starfish Ministries held a two-day teacher training conference and had Romain and Mica’s cafe cater the lunches for the event. It really is exciting to see God “bringing it to pass” in so many ways. Romain has benefited from Daniel’s mentoring in business, the micro-loan to help make the business possible, and the encouragement in his spiritual life.
God is faithful and continues to supply all that is needed to help and feed needy Haitians. In the Tricotte area there has not been any rain for several months. So their gardens and small farms are not producing enough for the people to feed themselves or have some excess to sell at the market. Starfish Ministries has several construction projects going in our ministry area, so we are able to hire many construction workers and they then are able to feed their families. We are building a couple of schools and several houses to replace inadequate shelters. Then there are the school teachers, administrators, and support staff that fuel the economy in the area. And all this is possible because of you and your faithful giving.
I have the opportunity each day to open the Starfish Ministries’ mail. Every day the checks keep coming in, and I thank and praise God for His provision. Many of you give through sponsorship. Many sponsors give more than the pledged amount. Other general gifts come in regularly. This past month I opened one envelope that had a check and a short note. The note read, “I received this money from Uncle Sam. I really don’t need it. Please use it only for food for hungry kids.” This $600 stimulus gift was paid forward to feed a hot meal to over 60 school kids for a month. That’s huge!!
Thank you so much for your prayers and support! Romain and his family are thriving in a small business because of your gifts. School children are being fed due to your generosity. Construction workers are feeding their families and friends because your funds are making it possible for them to earn a good wage. And all of this presents us the opportunity to share the gospel of Jesus Christ to the spiritual needy. We appreciate each of you for your partnership in making this possible. Please continue to pray for the work in Haiti – for Daniel as he leads, for safety as he travels throughout our ministry area, and for wisdom as he encounters trials along the way.
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp