Thank you for your prayers for our September trip to Haiti. Things went very well – Glenn Bridges and Dave Morley worked along side our Haitian workers and were able to accomplish more than we expected. Within five days the roof was completed on our new boys’ dorm at the orphanage and the team was able to move on to do some finish work on the medical clinic building.
In our August newsletter we wrote about an upcoming Vacation Bible School in eight of our school villages. For three days, August 12-14, Pastor Esau and his wife trained 55 volunteer Haitian VBS workers. Pastor Esau wrote the Bible curriculum for the week long VBS, focusing on the life of Joseph. And then on Monday, August 18, and for the rest of that week we had over 1600 children each day attending the sessions.
Each day was filled with game time, crafts (a favorite for most of the kids), a hot meal of rice and beans, and the Joseph Bible story which each day presented the gospel message. The children had a great time and were wishing the time would be extended for another week.
During the week 182 children responded to the invitation to follow Jesus. We thank God for the dedication of our Haitian staff and the volunteers who gave of their time to make such a difference in these lives for eternity.
We do recognize that the numbers we share are interesting but its individual lives the numbers represent who are really important. Two of the children who responded to the gospel message are Olwens and Aliette Alcena from the village of Morne Chaise. They go to our Starfish Ministries School in Morne Chaise where nine year old Olwens is in the second grade and his eleven year old sister Aliette is in the third grade.
Olwens and Aliette live in a small hut with four siblings and their mom and dad. Their dad is a voodoo priest. One of our school directors, Duvigno, went to visit the family while I was in Haiti a couple of weeks ago. He said that when he arrived the voodoo priest had a “customer” there and he was practicing his priestly methods. This included burning candles, burning incense and speaking some chants in a monotone voice. And this is what Olwens and Aliette are exposed to on a regular basis.
Duvigno visited with the mother, sharing with her that Olwens and Aliette had become Christians. Their mother seemed very receptive and said, “we are not encouraging our kids to follow our path.” They often realize how wrong their path is but don’t see a good way out for themselves.
Although it may be a difficult path for Olwens and Aliette, we are hopeful that their parents will allow them to continue to go the Morne Chaise Church each Sunday and they will grow in their faith and knowledge of the Lord. And we trust that God may use them to reach the parents as well. As difficult as it is we have seen several voodoo priests put aside their voodoo religion and livelihood and trust the Savior. The difficult part is that when they turn away from being a voodoo priest they no longer have an income. Our Haitian leadership then has the opportunity to help them find a new way to support their family.
Please pray for Olwens, Aliette and their family along with the other 180 who each have a story of their own.
Thank you for your prayers and financial support – your partnership with us makes it possible for us to present the gospel to the lost through VBS and other ministries.
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp