November 2004 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Conditions continue to be unsettled in Haiti. While many are trying to work through the results of the tropical storm, the political climate is causing even more distress. Glenn Bridges and I spent four days in Port-au-Prince in October but could not continue on to Tricotte due to the flooding and insecure conditions around Gonaives. So we had to come home. The team trip scheduled to go to Haiti in November has been postponed due to security issues.

When we wrote last month we had not heard from the Tricotte area for several weeks. However, Pastor Diogene has now been there and reports to us that conditions at the orphanage and the surrounding ministry area are good. Through God’s continued miraculous provision and His perfect timing, they have had food throughout the entire time when the roads were impassable and no supplies were moving into that area. It’s so exciting to see God’s hand at work in providing for our children’s needs.

In 1999, Bill Irwin, a man from California, was preparing for Y2K. He put thousands of pounds of rice, beans, and wheat in 6 gallon pails using a method of long term preservation. Y2K came and went with no problems and, therefore, the prepared provisions were not needed for his intended purpose. When the man heard about our school feeding program a couple years ago, God prompted his heart and he donated over 30,000 pounds of this food to Starfish Ministries.

The food was delivered to Glenn Bridges’ barn warehouse in Kelseyville, California, and stored there until we could containerize it and ship it to Haiti. This was a new venture for our ministry so it took some time for us to put the shipping details together. After encountering several obstacles we finally loaded and shipped a 40 foot container the end of June of this year. The shipper estimated that it would arrive in Haiti in three to four weeks. However it took about seven weeks.

It took a few weeks to process the container through customs and then some time to find a trucker who was willing to haul the container up to Tricotte. The day before the hurricane hit Haiti, the container left the port in Port-au-Prince and headed for Tricotte. It made it through the Gonaives area and arrived in Beaudois (about 5 miles from Tricotte) as the tropical rains began. The trucker was anxious to get back on the road so he dropped the container off at our high school site in Beaudois and left.

Jim Irwin had his idea of what that food was for – Y2K needs. But God knew in 1999 that it wasn’t for that — He knew that He had 117 children in an orphanage in Tricotte, Haiti, in September of 2004, who needed that food and He delivered it the day it was needed. Had it arrived in Haiti under our time schedule, it would already have been used for our school feeding program. But no – God knew we would need it at this time for the orphan kids and He made sure that it got there for that use only.

We are so thankful for God’s perfect provision. We are thankful for the obedience of Jim Irwin in California to donate the food to Starfish Ministries. And God’s timing is always right!

Due to your generosity, we have been able to reach out to the flood strickened area of Gonaives. We are currently helping several families with materials to rebuild their houses. We are also providing seeds and garden tools so that they can begin again to grow food for themselves. And we are providing some food relief for those who have nothing to eat. Thank you for your partnership in giving the funds to make this possible.

Thank you for your prayers. When asking Diogene about conditions a couple of days ago, his response, “More than ever we need your prayers for security.” Please continue to pray for Diogene and the other Starfish Ministries’ workers in Haiti who are on the front lines of ministry every day.

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie and Sheryl Bovenkamp