January 2013 Newsletter

Starfish Ministries has now completed its 15th year of ministry in Haiti!  That means this is monthly newsletter #180.  I sometimes wonder if we’ll run out of material to share when it comes to the end of the month BUT it has not happened.  The fact is that God is at work in Haiti and there is always much to report on what He is doing.  In recent weeks several new Christians have been baptized.  Some new Christian couples have decided to get married.  We have 28 new children at the orphanage from non-Christian backgrounds.  So what a great opportunity we have to share Jesus with these children and see them respond to the gospel!

God is faithful, and we are overwhelmed how He touched the hearts of so many to provide for the needs in Haiti in 2012.  We thank God for you and for your desire to serve Him as you partner with us to accomplish His purposes in Haiti.  Thank you for your faithful financial and prayer support!  And you have been very generous in giving toward the Christmas Giving List – thank you so much!!!  What a difference this making in the lives of needy Haitians! Continue Reading →

June 2012 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Here are a few short updates on some of the things going on in Starfish Ministries:

University Team Mission Trips

A team of 12 from Washington State University joined us for two weeks in Haiti in May.  The team spent their mornings visiting schools where they would minister to the students through skits, testimonies, and songs.  In the afternoons, the team taught English to the children at the orphanage, building relationships and nurturing the children at the same time.

In June, Bernie and Dave Morley will be taking a team from Central Washington University.  They will be serving in much the same way and also painting our newest school in Morne Chaise.  Pray for the students on this team, that God would use this time to affect their lives for His purposes. Continue Reading →

April 2012 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

A few months ago we began to build a house for a single mom in Tricotte.  She had been living in very poor conditions and had no means of bettering her living situation.  When Glenn and I, along with a team of four from First Reformed Church in Lynden, arrived in Haiti last Friday, the walls were up and the house was ready for a roof.  The team proceeded to measure the project, then built the trusses on Saturday, installed the trusses and purlins on Monday and screwed down the metal roofing on Tuesday.  Today this needy lady has a good roof over her head – she is so appreciative. Every time I come by she hugs me, and I pass those hugs on to you. Continue Reading →

February 2012 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Haiti!  Glenn, Doug, Doug’s dad Bob Jarvie and I have spent the past week in Haiti.  Doug stayed in Port-au-Prince to continue well drilling in that area with the help of his dad.  His goal is to complete three more wells before we return home on February 2, and as of today, January 27, he is well on his way to completing the second one.  So we are praising God for good success in providing good pure water for many. Continue Reading →

December 2011 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

While I was in Haiti in October, Jonette, one our orphanage workers, came to see Daniel and me.  She asked if we could loan her some money to pay a nurse who was caring for her.  Two weeks before Jonette had been bitten by a dog while carrying some things on her head from the market.  She fell and hurt her back and hip which was still painful – however the dog bite seemed to be healing.  Jonette told us that she has six children, and when I asked her about a husband she hung her head in shame and said she was never married.

Now Jonette had paid out all her money for the medical care and had no food for her children.  We gave her enough to care for her family and pay the nurse until she could get back to work and continue to support her family.  She came back to work about a week later and seemed to be healed and doing well.  Then about three weeks ago Jonette got sick again.  When Daniel heard about it he immediately had Garry take her to a clinic in Gros Morne.  The doctor examined her, considered her symptoms and told them that she would die soon.  The dog had given her rabies, and she had not been treated for it soon enough.  There was nothing more to do.  Garry had to take her back home.  When Garry reported this to Daniel, he immediately called a doctor friend in Port-au-Prince for a second opinion.  The doctor concurred and said it was too late to treat. Continue Reading →

Friday Update

Aimee Thomas greets a baby at the hospital in La Pointe

The team from Grace Community Church in Auburn, Washington, met early this morning for a breakfast of pancakes made by Bernie (something you can only experience in Haiti).  After breakfast we set out for La Pointe, a two and a half hour trip north.  There is a hospital in La Pointe that is run by the Union of Evangelical Baptist Churches of Haiti, an organization that Starfish Ministries partners with on occasion.  The team spent time at the hospital touring the facility and interacting with patients and staff.

After returning to Tricotte, the team split into two groups.  One assembled bags of food that will be distributed by local churches in some of the poorer villages in the area.  The other group built benches that will be used by another church.

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp

Underway in Tricotte

Paul Martian and John Choukalas cut out pieces for benches (above); Mechelle Ambugey takes an orphanage boy's blood pressure (below).

We arrived in Haiti on Sunday with a team of eight from Grace Community Church in Auburn, Washington.  After attending the evening service at Pastor Diogene’s Port-au-Prince church, we spend the night at Mephibosheth Children’s Home, an orphanage for handicapped children.  On Monday, we made the six-hour drive to Tricotte and joined the orphanage children for their evening devotions.

Tuesday, our first full day in Tricotte, we got busy.  The men — John Choukalas, John Howard, and Paul Martian — started on the roof of the girls’ dormatory.  We will be installing a coating over the metal roofing this week, and the first step was to clean the roof.  So the men spent the morning hauling water up a ladder and scrubbing the roof with brooms.

In the afternoon, the men retreated to the relative cool (and it’s very relative) of the shop where they worked building benches that will be used for the Tricotte Church.

The women, meanwhile, conducted a clinic at the orphanage where they gave each of the children a simple physical.  Nurses, Mechelle Ambugey and Aimee Thomas checked vital signs and tended to any obvious issues while Ceil Choukalas, Lianne Arakaki, and Julie Williams checked height and weight and gathered other information.

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp

Eye Clinic on Wednesday Morning

Eye clinic in Tricotte Wednesday morning

Last Saturday Pastor Alfred Paul, from the village of Fiervil in the mountains east of Tricotte, came to visit me.  He walked for three hours, having heard that we may be able to do an eye clinic.  He shared that he has many people in his church that struggle with their reading due to poor eye sight.  I hadn’t planned to do an eye clinic on this trip but I couldn’t say no so I told him I would free up Wednesday morning  at 9:00 and be able to see up to 25 patients.  I also told him not to spread the word or we would have multitudes to deal with and I just didn’t have the time for more. 

Well by 6:00 Wednesday morning Pastor Alfred’s people were beginning to gather out on the street in front of our house.  By 9:00 there were 26 gathered — he wondered if that was okay that he had one extra and I accepted.  So at 9:00 my interpreter, Garry Charles and I started seeing patients.  I always explain to them that I am not a doctor and that I can only diagnois minor needs.  However several years ago we were able to purchase a RETINOMAX machine due to the generosity of some of you.  This machine enables me to do a fair job of determining the patients need.

By 12:30 we had seen 39 people.  It is such a joy to see their faces light up when they see clearly for the first time  in a very long time.  One man couldn’t remember when his left eye was injured but it was since he was a little boy.  I could not get  a reading on that eye at all.  So as I was going to the glasses inventory I prayed that God would lead me to the right  pair of glasses for  this man.  God did  and  oh the excitement on this man’s face as  he could  see well.  And the bonus was — they were bifocals and the reading part was perfect for him as well.   God is so good!!!

The generosity of many of you who have donated glasses has made clinics like these possible.  We are grateful to God for your contributions.  If anyone has unused glasses you would like to donate, we will see to it that they are used to meet the needs of Haitians like the man from Fiervil.  (If you are able to attach the presciption, that is very helpful as well).

Glasses can be dropped off at the Starfish Ministies office (at our home) at 1811 Main Street in Lynden or mailed to us at:

Starfish Ministries
1706 Front Street #440
Lynden, WA 98264