Dear Friends,

Yes, it is very early to be sending out this letter. Sheryl and I always try to plan our travel so that we are home to send out newsletters at the first of the month — but this month it didn’t work out. For those of you who sponsor children and usually get a statement with the newsletter, look no further — we didn’t send a statement this month. Since it is over a week from the end of the month, we have still to receive many checks this month and therefore didn’t want to send a statement that didn’t reflect an accurate account of what is still coming. We are enclosing your return envelope, encouraging you to send your check in April without the statement stub. Thank you very much for your understanding!!

Now for the reason we won’t be home at month’s end.

In 1994 I traveled to Kenya with a mission team for Childcare International. While in Kenya, I met a young Kenyan boy, named Mainka, who needed a sponsor. He was from the Massai tribe. I developed a relationship with Mainka while there and my heart was encouraged to continue that relationship through sponsorship. We wrote back and forth while Mainka completed his elementary school and high school. Through that communication, Mainka indicated a desire to go to Bible School upon completing high school and then becoming a pastor.

Over the years I had continued to communicate with an employee of Childcare International, Pastor Jonah. As Mainka completed his high school training, I asked Jonah what he thought about the possibility of Mainka continuing his education at a Bible School. Jonah checked out the possibilities in Kenya and found a Bible school that would accept Mainka. That was not easy since most people in Kenya think that the Massai tribal people are not capable of being successful at a school of higher learning. But Mainka was accepted as the first Massai to attend this school and Sheryl and I continued to support him.

Well, Mainka has proved the doubters wrong. He has been number one in his class every quarter and has become a leader among his fellow students. And now on March 27, 2005, Mainka graduates from Bible school. So that’s why we will be gone. Sheryl and I are traveling to Kenya to celebrate with Mainka and his family as we attend his graduation ceremony. We are really excited!! This is a dream we’ve had over the last few years and now it’s coming true.

We don’t quite know what we may be in for — when we first let Jonah know that we were coming to visit, he immediately wanted to know our sizes and favorite colors. So I suppose it’s possible that we will return dressed like the very colorful Massai.

I trust that our experiences with Mainka would be an encouragement to you. We have prayed for Mainka and his family for the past 11 years and now see the answers. As you sponsor and pray for your Haitian children, you are making a difference in their lives. Without your help, most of them would not have the possibility to go to school — but with your help, they do and many are trusting Jesus Christ and He alone knows how they will go on and make a difference in Haiti.

As Mainka now completes his education, he will go back to his Massai villages, work at evangelizing his tribal people, and begin to pastor a church in the area that God calls him to. That’s our goal for all of the Starfish Ministries’ sponsored children as well, to someday go out in their own country of Haiti with the good new of the Gospel. Keep praying and watch God work! He alone will bring the results and we give Him the glory!

Thank you so much for your support and your prayers for us as we travel to Kenya.

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie & Sheryl Bovenkamp



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