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 →

May 2012 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Starfish Ministries became involved in an education ministry in September 2000.  At that time we took over the operation of four schools in the Tricotte area.  The next year we added one more school and began a feeding program in our schools as well.  Over the past 12 years we have continued to add schools each year and as a result this year we have schools in 39 villages.  We started some of these schools after seeing the need in uneducated villages.  Others we stepped in to help struggling schools that were without support.  Still others we simply helped by paying for a couple of their teachers. Continue Reading →

April 2011 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

We first wrote about the village of Bethel in our June 2004 newsletter.  Here is an excerpt from that letter.

This past Tuesday, some of us went along with Pastor Diogene and his Port-au-Prince team to share in a Bible Study in the village of Bethel. This is the village we were introduced to through the unfortunate circumstances of Joe, our truck driver, who hit and killed a drunk pedestrian. Because of that incident Pastor Diogene met with a judge who invited him to his home village of Bethel. After meeting with the judge Pastor Diogene was invited to begin a Bible study in this village every Tuesday afternoon.

Four weeks ago, 14 unsaved people came together under a large tree to study the Gospel of John . The next week 22 were there. The third week it was 26 of which two indicated a desire to become Christians. When we were there, 36 people came to hear the Word of God shared and three more became Christians. Pastor Steve had the opportunity to pray with them. It is so exciting to see the interest and hunger for the truth. One of the older women in the group was a witch doctor’s wife. Many more people passed by, slowed down, and listened for a while, wondering what was going on.

We are in the process of purchasing land in Bethel and expect to start a small Christian school there this fall. An evangelistic crusade will be held there sometime this summer. Please pray for the people in this village — God is working in their midst. We are trusting Him for a great harvest of souls. Continue Reading →

February 2011 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

A team from SouthRidge Fellowship in Langley, British Columbia, has just returned from Haiti.  They worked hard, and we thank God for all they were able to accomplish during their 10-day trip.  Their work ranged from physical projects (setting trusses and installing roofing on a new school) to spiritual ministries (they taught VBS at two schools) to nurturing (teaching classes and doing crafts at the orphanage).  But let me share with you about one particular day. 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

Everyone Passed!

Edner (center) and four of the older orphanage children.

In Haiti, every student must pass a standardized national test each year in order to move on the next grade level. The results of last year’s test were released recently, and every child in our orphanage passed the test.  This is unheard of in Haiti where it’s not unusual for some students to remain at one grade level for several years before passing the test.  In our orphanage, we’ve never been close to 100%.

So what was the difference this year? In 2009, Edner Destima became the new Administrator/House Father of the Starfish Ministries orphanage.  He has been wonderful for the children, and their newfound academic success is just example of the impact he has made.

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp

Our Visit to Morne Chaise

Bernie and Diogene in front of the Starfish Ministries School in Morne Chaise

After spending the first few days of our trip at the Pastors’ Conference in Gonave Bay, Bernie, Dave, and I arrived at Tricotte Wednesday afternoon.  As always it was a joy to be reunited with the orphanage children and many other dear friends in the village.

This morning (Thursday) we traveled to the village of Morne Chaise.  Morne Chaise became the home of the 33rd Starfish Ministries School in the fall of 2009.  There are 53 children enrolled at the school, which is still held in a small post-and-palm-frond building.  Our goal is to build a more suitable and permanent structure eventually.

Dave Morley along with seven of the Morne Chaise students, in front of the home one of these boys along with nine other members of his family.

Even though school is not in session, we were able to interact with several of the students and visit a couple of their homes.  They live in stick-and-mud huts that often shared by extended families, but they are grateful for all that God provides, including the education and feeding program that is made possible through your support.

You can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp

November 2009 Newsletter

Dear Friends, 

It is so good to watch God at work in Haiti!  We have seen Him raise up a team of dedicated Haitian servants to accomplish His purposes.  We have the privilege of partnering with them.  And we are so THANKFUL for you also, who partner with us through your prayers and financial support.

Norius Petit-Frere is the director of our school ministry in Haiti.  He and his wife Linda have four sons, ages one, three, five & seven.  Norius has a sensitive heart for his people who are constantly going through trying circumstances.  He travels to each of our 31 schools every week and does a great job of overseeing the administration of those schools.  He also keeps his eyes and ears open for areas where God is at work and where another school is needed.  Continue Reading →