September 2004 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

“A celebration of what God is doing in Haiti” will be the theme of the weekend of September 24 when Pastor Diogene and his wife, Leonette, visit Lynden. We are hoping that many of you will be able to meet them, enjoy their testimonies of God’s faithfulness, and learn more of the ministry in Haiti.

The kick-off will be a 7:00 o’clock Friday evening celebration at Christ the King Church in Lynden, WA. This will include worship and praise, prayer, and an overview of Starfish Ministries’ involvement in Haiti. Pastor Diogene will also be sharing of God’s continuing work in their country. Everyone is invited. Saturday there will be small group opportunities to meet with them. Pastor Diogene will be sharing at Faith Community Church Sunday A.M. and at Sunrise Baptist Church Sunday evening.

Schools in Haiti begin again the middle of September. We believe God has asked us to minister in 10 additional villages this fall. In some villages we will begin schools, others we will support struggling existing schools. This brings our involvement to 22 elementary schools and 1 secondary school with a total of 4500 children. What a great opportunity to share the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with these children and hope that they will in turn share with their parents.

We believe today is the day to step out in faith and sow and reap. Today is the day to trust God to supply all that is needed to reach more and more children and their families He is calling to Himself.

As we begin new schools we are also taking inventory of our existing schools. It is our philosophy that the schools we begin will one day become self-sufficient. So we now expect parents to begin paying a small tuition fee to the school. This is difficult. Many parents cannot afford this, they don’t necessarily see the value of education, and they begin to expect others will always provide for them. This is one reason we are also involved in economical development. We have seen God provide in many ways and believe He will bring this to happen as well.

Many orphanage children have come from the extremely needy area of Jean Rabel. Recently Pastor Diogene went to speak at a men’s conference there. He took several of the children along to see their families. The parents were so happy to see their children and see how well they were doing. Pastor Diogene had also taken some food to share with the families and the men at the conference. He saw much hunger.

One man said he didn’t know when he would eat again because there was no food available for him. Another man shared with Pastor Diogene that this was the first time in his life he had his stomach full. It is so hard to imagine so much poverty just a few miles off the coast of Florida. Life is difficult in Haiti.

In the midst of all the hardship God is at work. In the village of Bethel alone, in the past three months, 19 adults and 25 children have been saved! We are trusting God for many more as we reach into the new villages.

A few prayer requests:

  • Health issues for Leonette – that she will be able to travel with Diogene to Washington
  • Their time in Washington – opportunity for many to hear about the ministry
  • School ministry – strength and wisdom for our school director, Norius, as he directs the old and new schools
  • Headmasters and teachers – God will use them mightily

Thank you for your prayers and partnership in this ministry.

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie and Sheryl Bovenkamp