May 2002 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

What a great team we took to Haiti in April!  We had 3 mother/daughter couples, one father/son, a married couple, and a bunch of others coming from Canada, California, and Washington.  Some hadn’t even met others on the team before leaving but after worshipping, praying, sharing, and ministering together with common goals those nine days, the bond became strong.  It was not easy to part ways again.

The team spent a lot of time at the orphanage, developing relationships with the precious children.  They played games, talked, sang, made puzzles, played soccer, and just held and loved them.  On Saturday morning we helped the Haitian workers distribute the clothes, shoes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and other items that many of you donated.  Many of the children came to me and thanked me for these things and I pass that thanks on to you.

The team visited four of our schools.  The feeding program in these schools is going very well.  Norius, our school director, reports that the children, their parents, and the school headmasters have all been extremely grateful for the food.  When children’s hunger is satisfied they are happy and ready to learn.

We have just completed five new classrooms at the school in Champagne.  This school had 250 children enrolled, has now grown to over 300, and they expect over 500 in the fall.  What a blessing!  This opens up the door to reaching out to more families with the gospel.  Praise to the Savior!  Pastor Remy, the headmaster of the Champagne school, wrote Sheryl and I a letter in his limited English.  Here is an excerpt.  “I can’t find good expressions so that to express to you my feelings about your labor here at Champagne, it’s a wonder or excellently.  I give or I am giving glory to GOD to serve.”  As Pastor Remy gave me the letter and he thanked me in his broken English, the tears flowed freely as he gave praise to God.  With a joyful heart I thanked and praised God for calling us to Haiti,  for allowing us to be a small part of what He is doing, and for giving us the opportunity to know and experience Him more intimately.

On Sunday evening in the Tricotte church, the team was invited to the front so the church could pray for us.  Sylvester, the worship leader, shared how much they appreciate the teams coming and ministering with them and thanked us for what we have brought to their village.  The Tricotte Christians then surrounded us and prayed for our needs, specifically for protection as we traveled the next day.  It was a powerful time as the team sensed the presence of God in our midst as each of the Haitians raised his/her hand while praying for us.  The next day as we traveled, encountering some “Haitian Highway”  issues, we sensed the peace of God and His protection.  We praise God for the prayers of His people!

Each month we give Pastor Diogene “discretionary” money to use as he sees needs in Haiti.  He distributes this between his three churches and Norius. They report back to us as to how it is used.

  • The Tricotte church has been helping several needy widows in the area. 
  • The Drigeon church recently helped a young mother in Moinville whose thatch roof was leaking. 
  • Norius is helping a small school in another village that hasn’t been able to pay the teachers due to lack of support.
  • The church in Port-au-Prince has been helping women in the slum areas of the city with food.  Many of these women in the slums have no means of support and they and their children often go hungry.  Pastor Diogene reports that during the last few months 24 of these women have trusted Jesus as Savior and many of them are now regularly attending the church.

What a joy it is to see God working in the lives of these dear Haitian people!  Thank you for your part in this ministry  — praying and supporting financially.  God is using each of us as we partner together in His service.

Serving our Lord together,

Bernie & Sheryl Bovenkamp