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 →

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 →

Well Drilling and Cholera

Vincent (center), Doug (right), and Nodi (kneeling) drill a well in Remoussin, Haiti

Doug and Vincent started drilling a well in Remoussin on Thursday and by the end of the day had reached a depth of 35 feet.  This is very good progress – if we hit rock or clay, the progress can be much slower.  We are grateful to God for favorable drilling conditions as well as for His blessing the work and keeping the workers safe.  It’s hard to say how deep they will need to go in order to find a adequate water.  Typically, our wells in this area of Haiti are between 80 and 150 feet deep, although there have been times where we found water at a more shallow level, and on one occasion we reached the extent of our drilling capability without finding water at all.  So we continue to commit the process to God in prayer and trust that He will accomplish what He desires.

The current cholera outbreak reinforces the need for wells in villages like Remoussin.  Without a well, people must collect their water from rivers and streams, a practice that can contribute to the spread of this disease.  In fact, in situations like the one in Haiti right now, cholera is most often spread when the water supply is contaminated by feces from an infected person.  And that is exactly what is happening.  There is no sewage treatment, so the bacteria that causes cholera eventually finds its way into the rivers and streams, putting everyone downstream at risk.

Thank you for your prayers, and please continue to pray for safety, health, and that God will provide this village with water through this well.

Serving together,

Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp

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

December 2009 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

I’m on my way home again after spending the last two weeks in Haiti.  It was another great trip as we saw God at work in many ways.  Vince Buys and Brent Ahrens were our well drilling team on this trip.  I really appreciate these guys, going out early each morning and donating their time to serve the Lord in this way.  We look forward to providing good, pure water in each of the villages that we minister in.  We are seeing such positive results of the wells that are currently producing – there is less sickness and also the people are realizing that this is a gift from God and it softens hearts for the gospel.

We have a good producing well in Ravine.  It was one of the first wells we dug and the people of Ravine are so thankful.  I went along with Pastor Diogene on Sunday night for the last night of a week-long spiritual life crusade in Ravine.  Diogene was asked to preach that night.  Now Ravine is not an easy place to access.  When we visited there in August, the road was so bad that I got high centered at one point and the passengers had to get out in order for me to proceed.  Continue Reading →

Drilling in Drigeon

With the well complete in Marose, Glenn, Vince, and the others have moved the well-drilling equipment to Drigeon, where they’ve made steady progress.  The first 100 feet came quickly.  Then they ran into heavy clay, which is difficult to drill through.  But they are pressing forward, hoping to complete this well, too.

Drigeon is a village where the Port-au-Prince and Tricotte Churches cooperated in an evangelistic crusade in 1997.  Then, in 1998, the first year of Starfish Ministries, we built a building for the newly planted Church.  In 2001, Starfish Ministries began administration of a school there, and the following year added the feeding program (when the feeding program was added to all of the schools).  The Church and the school in Drigeon have continued to thrive, and it’s exciting to anticipate bringing clean drinking water to the village now, too.

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp