Shortly after starting the ministry in 1998 we met a boy from Jean Rabel, a poverty stricken area in the northwestern part of Haiti. He had just come to the orphanage with two of his sisters. Although both of their parents were living, they were so poor that they didn’t have enough to feed all of their children or money to send them to school. So Daniel Fontil began his orphanage life.
Daniel was suffering from malnutrition when he arrived and was sick quite often in his early years at the orphanage. However he worked hard in school and became a very successful student. Daniel became a Christian soon after arriving and had a sincere desire to grow in his faith. It didn’t take long before he was leading during the orphanage devotional time and encouraging others along in their faith.
When Daniel reached 18 years of age he went back to his home in Jean Rabel for the summer vacation. While there he again didn’t have much to eat and soon he was sick again. Our Haitian director, Daniel Thelusmond, heard about his condition and drove the almost three hours to bring Daniel Fontil back to Tricotte. Daniel F spent the next several months at the orphanage recuperating and as he became more healthy he began tutoring some of our younger orphans who were struggling in school. Daniel F’s schooling was interrupted by an entire year as a result of his sickness.
The following school year Daniel F joined several of the other older boys from the orphanage in Port-au-Prince and continued his education. He finished high school in 2014 and began his higher education. Early on Daniel F had indicated a desire to become a pastor. However in 2014 he decided that he would put that goal on hold for a time and instead pursue a degree in business administration. His thinking was that pastors in Haiti don’t earn much money and so he would need another career to support himself as a pastor. Once he earned his degree and had employment he could go back to school and study for becoming a pastor. Starfish Ministries continued to support Daniel F throughout his education years with the help of his sponsors.
While in high school and university, Daniel F became a street evangelist. The area where he lived in Port-au-Prince didn’t have a neighborhood church ministry so on Saturdays he and a friend would go out into the area and share the gospel with mostly children but also some adults. As a result of that ministry many responded to the gospel and prayed to receive Jesus Christ as Savior. So Daniel F and his friend started a children’s church and on Sunday mornings had as many as 100 children join in worship and learning about their new faith. Some of the parents would also come to those services and would hear the gospel.
Daniel F completed his university education in May of 2018 with degrees in business administration and accounting. Shortly after that he found a job with a non-profit ministry in Port-au-Prince. Then he got married and settled down in Port-au-Prince.
However the riots and political unrest hit Port-au-Prince over the past several months and Daniel F and his new wife were concerned about security. They began to pray about what God may have for them outside of Port-au-Prince.
At the same time our director, Daniel T, has come to the point in his leadership responsibilities where it was obvious he needed more help. So Doug Jarvie, our Canadian associate, began to work with Daniel T to help with this work load. Doug transferred all the account information over to Quick Books and along with Daniel T began to search for the right person to join the Haitian staff in Tricotte as our office administrator and accountant.
In March they interviewed and hired Daniel F to fill that position. And he began his Starfish Ministries employment on April 1, 2019.
We are so thankful for how God has prepared Daniel F for our need today. God always supplies as He has promised. Our orphanage ministry goal is to give each one of the children, whom God has entrusted to us, the opportunity to reach his or her full potential and become “giving back” citizens of Haiti. Daniel F is fulfilling that goal today. And we have 60 more little Daniels and Danielles currently in the orphanage. We trust that God will raise them up to make a difference in Haiti as He has Daniel F.
Thank you so much for your prayers and support to help make this possible. God gets all the glory as He uses you to make a difference in needy Haitian lives!
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie, Sheryl and Philip Bovenkamp