June 2013 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

One of the challenges we face in the ministry in Haiti is in the area of dependency.  It has always been our desire to help the Haitians in such a way that they can become independent.  And that is not easy!  Much of their cultural history is one of dependency and they often can’t see their way out of that.  But we are determined to continue to do whatever we can to break this bondage of dependency.

We try to do this in every aspect of our ministry. With our orphanage ministry we have the children growing small gardens in order to help provide for some of the food needs. They also have daily chores to do and are learning the value of working.  They are taught that we are there to help them move from needing help to providing for themselves and others. Continue Reading →

April 2013 Newsletter

Greetings from Port-au-Prince, Haiti!  I arrived here yesterday afternoon, March 28, and will handle administrative opportunities for the next week.  This morning I visited with Daniel Fontil for a couple of hours.  This Daniel (as distinguished from our Director Daniel) is one of our former orphanage children who is now living in Port-au-Prince, teaching third grade while waiting to begin STEP Seminary in September.

Daniel came to the Starfish Ministries Orphanage in 1998 when he was 12 years old.  He came from a family of 15 children who lived in a mud hut in the village of Jean Rabel in the far northwest corner of Haiti.  Daniel’s life was difficult as a child – sometime they had food, sometimes not.  But he did go to school and always did well in his academics. Continue Reading →

November 2012 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

When Starfish Ministries took over the orphanage in Haiti in January, 1998, Nodi was already there.  He was 11 years old when I first met him and I was immediately drawn to him.  Nodi was a boy who was near death when his uncle found him at his blind grandmother’s home.  She was not able to care for him so he begged for food in order to feed them both.  When his uncle found Nodi so sick he brought him to the orphanage in hopes of finding a home that would care for him.

Over the years Nodi was often sick.  When he was 13 years old he was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia.  Haitian doctors told us that this disease would take his life by the time Nodi was 20 years old.  When he passed 20 they changed his life expectancy to 25 and then to 30.  Nodi is now 28 years old and still doing well although he does have bouts of this sickness from time to time.

Nodi became a Christian soon after coming to the orphanage and has continued to grow in his spiritual life.  Nodi has worked hard at learning English and now is quite good at it.  After completing high school Nodi chose to go to a plumbing school in Port-au-Prince and completed that in a couple of years.  Since then he has been doing plumbing jobs in Port-au-Prince and at our orphanage and most recently is helping at the new medical clinic.  We have been very pleased with his skills in this trade. 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 →

November 2011 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

On one of my recent trips to Haiti one of our orphanage kids handed me a letter as I was leaving Tricotte to give to his sponsor.  Well, I wasn’t paying very good attention and put it in my pocket.  When I opened it later I realized that it didn’t have the sponsor’s name on it, and the orphan hadn’t signed it.  So I don’t know who gave it to me or who to send it to.  As I was thinking about this dilemma I realized that we haven’t sent sponsor letters out for some time, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to do so.  And just maybe it was a letter meant for you all – that’s how I am treating it.  So here is what he writes:

Dear Sponsor,

Good morning my sponsor.  How are you?  And your family?  So I think your family is good.  Because I know God is responsible to take care of your family and you.

It is the joy, it is the best joy when I find the opportunity to write you this letter.  The aim of this letter that’s for to thanking you.  So I’m very happy to write you to tell you, so I know is not easy.  But Jesus give you courage for work every day very hard for you help me.  So I don’t stay indifferent.  Without I don’t say nothing so I write you this letter to say you thank you.  I want to say (thank you) very courageous because the Bible say in Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary of doing good for in due season we will reap if we do not give up.”

Thank you very well,

Thank you Dearly,

This letter come from the orphanage Haiti.

Continue Reading →

July 2011 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

We are often asked about the future of the children in our orphanage – what is likely to happen to them as they grow up and leave the orphanage? And what, if anything, are we doing to prepare them?

It is our goal at Starfish Ministries to provide each child with the education and training to do what whatever he or she desires and has the aptitude to do, and to continue to support that child as long as it takes to receive that education. Of course, this looks different for every child. Here are a few examples of those who are receiving their training right now. Continue Reading →

Rain, Wells, and Cholera

Bernie, along with Doug Jarvie and Vince Buys, arrived in Tricotte yesterday.  They encountered a lot of water along the way due to the heavy rains that occurred as hurricane Tomas passed by a few days ago.  But with a few detours they were able to navigate past the flooding and arrived safely.

The river near Tricotte is still high, and it rained again last night, so Doug and Vince weren’t able to begin their well-drilling yet this morning.  But they are optimistic that the river will drop today and they may be able to get started later this afternoon.

Cholera continues to be a major concern in Haiti, and it has hit our ministry.  Two more children from the orphanage – Anne and Elmath – are being treated at the clinic in Gros Morne.  They are out of danger now.  Edner, the Orphanage Director, is very proactive.  At the first sign of the disease, he makes sure to get the children to the clinic quickly so they can get the antibiotics and fluids they need.

A few of the villages where we have schools have been hit pretty hard.  Four children enrolled in the school in Corail have died from the disease and three more in David.  Remoussin, Drigeon, and Biscaille are also being affected, although there haven’t been any deaths reported from those schools.

Norius, our School Director, is working hard to communicate with all 37 Starfish Ministries schools, both to keep us informed of the latest conditions and, more importantly, to make certain our schools are doing everything possible to prevent the spread of cholera and help educate the communities how to deal with this disease.

Please pray for all of these needs: for the health of the students, their families, and the teachers in our schools and orphanage; for protection for Bernie, Doug, and Vince; and that God would use Doug and Vince’s efforts to provide clean water to one more village – which will help to prevent cholera there.

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp