October 2003 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

What a generous outpouring of donations for the container we have received!!  Thank you so much for your help.  We would like to individually thank each of you but we’re not sure where everything came from.  So take this as our heartfelt declaration of appreciation!!  The container has not been shipped.  We are still working out some details in Haiti.  I am going to Haiti for a few days next week and will hopefully work out these issues.  Then we will get a container here and ship it as soon as possible.  So if you have some items that you have not gotten to us, you’re not too late.  We’ll continue to take them until we ship it out.

School is well under way in Haiti with an enrollment of 3500 children in our twelve elementary schools in our Starfish Ministries’ school system.  This is up about 1000 students from last year, 1000 more needy children to have the opportunity to be fed, educated, and most of all — meet the Savior!!

Last June, our school director, Norius, surveyed some of our school villages to find children who were not in school.  He found in each village many children of various ages who are not attending school.  In the village of Eau-Janvier, Norius found 94 children, the poorest of the poor, from 6 to 15 years old, who had never been to school.   Many of them were naked and malnourished.  Norius found one family of four children whose parents had both died.  They were living alone, the oldest of the four, 14 or 15 years old, assuming the difficult role of responsibility for the younger siblings.  Since many of these children are older, it would be difficult for them to successfully complete elementary school.  So we have asked Norius to begin a new alternative school program, a two to three year program for these children to learn the basics.  This would give them the opportunity to learn reading, writing, and simple math, but also identify those who should continue with a standard education or learn a trade.  We will also feed these children four days a week as well as teach them about Jesus.  We are excited about this opportunity and expect to use it  in other villages in the future.

We thank our faithful God for each of you.  This is truly an effective partnership of all of us working together to accomplish His purposes in the country of Haiti.  How we appreciate hearing from so many of you that you pray for us and this ministry on a regular basis.  We cherish those prayers!  So many of you have cheerfully responded to helping fill a container.  You’ve told us how much you have enjoyed doing so — how you have included your children in this — this has been great!!

Recently when a used Retinomax machine became available, someone took on the challenge of raising the money to purchase this $6000.00 machine through donations by local businesses.  We thank the Lord for that!  We also recently received an offering from a children’s Sunday School department, bringing their dimes and quarters to help feed the hungry kids.  Thank you for your obedience! 

The Retinomax is a portable optical machine that determines a persons’ needed eye prescription.  In the remote area of our ministry, this is a great need.  There has not been any eye care available.  We will be taking this Retinomax with us in November and using it to test eyes of our children and adults.  We can use as many used prescription glasses as possible.  If they can be labeled with the prescription that would be great.  If not, we can still use them.  Thank you for your help in this area.

Another item needed for each school is a world globe.  Perhaps you have one you don’t use anymore, it doesn’t have to be in perfect shape.  Our school children can use it.

Psalms 106: 1-2 says, “Praise the Lord!  Oh give thanks to the Lord, for His is good;  For His lovingkindness is everlasting.  Who can speak of the mighty deeds of the Lord?”  We can answer that we are certainly seeing the mighty deeds of the Lord.  Thank you for your faithful partnership with us!

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie and Sheryl Bovenkamp