May 2013 Newsletter

Doug Jarvie is the president of Starfish Ministries Canada, a group Canadian believers who join us in our ministry to Haiti.  Doug and his wife Ruth have heavily involved in Haiti, with Doug taking a lead role in our well-drilling ministry and in other physical projects.  Doug is also active in Canada, coordinating our efforts there.

In a recent newsletter of Starfish Ministries Canada, Doug wrote about the Fraser Valley Gleaners and the contributions they have made to our feeding ministry.  I wanted to share that with the rest of you:

It’s been 12 years since God led Starfish to support our first elementary school in Haiti. At that time, we had no ambition to become involved with schools, so it came as a complete surprise when the opportunity to support a school came along.  Over the years, Starfish has supported as many as 42 schools with a peak of about 8,000 children.

After the first two years, we discovered that school attendance was very irregular, and children were having a very hard time learning their lessons.  After some investigation we discovered that the root cause was hunger.  Children with empty bellies don’t come to school, and those that do are not able to learn well.  After much prayer and consideration we decided to serve a meal every day, in every school.  At that time, we made this commitment in absolute faith, not knowing where the food or funds would come from.

Preparing soup mix

God has been so faithful, not only providing the funding necessary, but also providing two organizations that have donated significant amounts of food on a regular basis.  One such organization is Fraser Valley Gleaners, located in Abbotsford B.C.  Fraser Valley Gleaners is a Christian non-profit volunteer operated organization that collects surplus vegetable from across British Columbia.  At their processing plant in Abbotsford, the vegetables are chopped and dehydrated, then blended to make a nutritious vegetable soup mix.  The FV Gleaners also make apple chips, a favorite snack with the Haitian children.

Soup is not a staple in the Haitian diet, so in the beginning, the Haitians weren’t so sure about this soup mix from Canada.  We were able to blend the soup mix with local rice, making a stew that they really enjoy.  We now serve the FV Gleaners soup mix two days per week in our school feeding program.

Because of their location, we are able to load the Gleaner’s soup mix in our own local shipping containers. And because the dehydrated soup is so light, it allows us to ship vital construction materials in the same container at little extra cost.  This is an incredible benefit as well.

Organizations such as Fraser Valley Gleaners are vital to our feeding programs in Haiti.  It is great to be able to partner together in doing God’s work overseas. If you would like to find out more about the work of Fraser Valley Gleaners, visit their website at www.fvgleaners.org

During the past two years, we have been reducing the size of our school program, focusing on increasing the quality of the education, and increasing the positive impact on the families we serve.  We have also learned that malnutrition begins to affect brain development in years 1 through 5, so we need to feed earlier if we hope to improve the child’s ability to learn.  To this end, we plan to feed the younger siblings of our school children from newborn right through to their completion of elementary school.

Please join us in praying for God’s continued provision of the necessary food to operate the expanded school feeding program over the coming years.

In His service,

Doug & Ruth Jarvie

Starfish Ministries Canada

Children outside the school with their bowls of food

A Haitian school classroom of children enjoying their noon meal

Unloading a container loaded with soup mix from Fraser Valley Gleaners in Canada

We are so grateful to God for providing partners in ministry like Doug and Ruth and the Fraser Valley Gleaners.  We’re grateful for you, too, for you continued prayer and support.  Thank you for all that you do to make possible the continued work in Haiti.

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie, Sheryl, and Philip Bovenkamp