February 2013 Newsletter

Greetings from Tricotte, Haiti!  We arrived here this afternoon (Saturday, January 26, 2013).  Daniel and I picked up a team from North County Christ the King Church at the Port au Prince airport at 9:15 and we drove directly to Tricotte.  Those of you who have been on a team with us in the past will be pleased to hear that the first two-thirds of the trip is all paved road now.  Only the last 25 miles or so is dirt, ruts, and pot holes and slows us down considerably.

The team of five men is building and installing the trusses for the roof on our new guesthouse in Tricotte.  Soon they will also install the purlins and then the metal roofing.  And they should have time to do some electrical work inside the guesthouse before we need to return to Port-au-Prince later this week.

Across the river from Tricotte is a village called Moineville that is virtually unreached with the gospel.  We have always heard that this village is heavily into voodoo and a dangerous life style.  Director Daniel began encouraging us several months ago that we should begin reaching out to the people of Moineville.  So we began to pray while looking for opportunities to share with them.  When we have needed laborers and masons for the clinic construction we hired some from Moineville.  They were amazed as no one had considered this before and we are starting to see a softening of some of the people. Continue Reading →

July 2012 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

I’m sitting in the Miami Airport on my return home.  A team from Central Washington University Chi Alpha Ministries spent the past two weeks in Tricotte, Haiti.  David Morley from Blaine, Washington, joined us and helped me with the team leadership responsibilities.  The team spent every afternoon at the Starfish Ministries Orphanage teaching English to the orphans.  It is so exciting to see these kids eager to learn and then practice with me as I interact with them.

The team also did some painting at the orphanage, presented the gospel through song, testimony and drama in some of our schools and churches and played soccer and other games with the Tricotte village kids.  And that’s where they met Wilson.  Wilson seemed to be around wherever the team was.  When they hiked to our school in Biscaille to share with the students, Wilson was right by their side, hiking along and helping at the more difficult places on the trail.  Then when they arrived in Biscaille, Wilson climbed up a coconut tree and threw down enough coconuts for the entire team to enjoy fresh coconut milk. 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 →

March 2012 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Short-term mission teams have always been an important part of Starfish Ministries, as we have introduced groups from churches and universities to God’s work in Haiti.  It is exciting to watch these Americans and Canadians minister to our Haitian brothers and sisters and to see how God uses the missions experience to impact team members’ lives for his purposes.

Over the next few months we will take three different groups to Haiti.  Later this month, a team from First Reformed Church in Lynden, Washington, will join us.  In May a group of students from Washington State University is going.  And in June we will take another group of students, this time from Central Washington University. 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 →

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

Thursday Update

On Thursday morning the team from Grace Community Church headed for Peliter, a village that is home to one of the Starfish Ministries schools.  Across the road from the school is a church where the team set up a projector and a screen and blocked out the windows with dark fabric, creating a temporary movie theater.  Then we invited the children from the school to join us for a screening of the Jesus Film.

After watching the film, Pastor Diogene asked the children if they thought it was fair that Jesus was punished like he was.  They responded that no, it was not fair.  So he explained to them that Jesus had taken their punishment, so that they would not need to be punished for their sin, and could spend eternity in Heaven with Him instead.

Then he asked how many had made a decision to follow Jesus.  The majority raised their hands, but one young girl, perhaps 14 years old, did not.  Diogene asked her if she would like to trust Jesus, and she said she would.  She came forward, and the team gathered around her and prayed with her.

Lianne Arakaki (center) hands a gift to a student at the Peliter school while John Choukalas (right) waits with another gift

Later we found out that her father is a witch doctor, and her family is heavily steeped in voodoo.  It’s difficult to say how her family will respond to her decision — they may throw her out.  But Pastor Diogene has already taken steps to support her through whatever happens, using the pastor of that local church and committing to stop to check on her regularly himself.

After packing up the projection equipment, the team went across the road to the school where they handed out gifts that had been prepared for the school children by North County Christ the King Church in Lynden, Washington.  Each student received a package that included school supplies, small toys such a stuffed animal or a doll, candy, hair accessories, and other items.  Then we drove to the Starfish Ministries school in the village of Ravine and distributed gifts to the children there as well.

All tolled, nearly 250 children received gifts today, although none received a gift so great as the young girl who received eternal life when she met her savior today for the first time.

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp