Starfish Ministries is involved in many different ministries in the Tricotte area of Haiti. Education for elementary through high school students; Feeding hungry children; Providing medical services for the sick; Providing clean/pure water for those who would otherwise drink from impure sources; Care for orphans; Supporting elderly widows; Supporting needy pastors; Providing aid during disasters; Providing jobs; Helping with micro loans so that people can support themselves in business; and the list could go on.
All of these ministries are important and we desire to do them in a way that shows dignity and value to the recipients for the goal of the people moving from dependency to independence. And we are seeing progress in small steps at a time. But Jesus challenges us in Mark 8:36, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” In other words, we can do a great job in meeting needs in all these areas above and if the people remain in their spiritual poverty, they will still end up in hell.
So a great deal of emphasis in Starfish Ministries is in spiritual outreach and growth. Several months ago we hired a young Haitian man specifically to evangelize within the different areas of our ministry and surrounding villages. Pastor Herode is married and has a young child and has completed seminary. God has given Herode a compassion for the lost people of Haiti.
Over the past several months, Pastor Herode has been identifying people in our churches whom God has given a heart for lost people. Herode has been training them to partner with him in going out to share the gospel. This evangelism team met together in Tricotte on March 3 and for the next several days went throughout the region to do person to person evangelism.
On March 5 they hiked to the village of Charbe. This village is beyond Belaire another couple of hours and has very minimal Christian influence. However Starfish Ministries has reached out with disaster relief a couple of times, helping those whose crops were affected by storms. As the team went around the village that day, 42 of the Charbites responded to the gospel.
One of those was Wilguens Dasselis. Wilguens is a 22 year old cabinet maker. By Haitian standards, he looked like a gangster. He had dread locks and wore earrings. That may not be significant here in the states, but it is in Haiti. Guys who wear earrings in Haiti are often labeled as gangsters. After Wilguens prayed to receive Jesus Christ as his Savior that day, he immediately took off his earrings and gave them to the leaders of our team as a sign that he sincerely was turning his life over to Jesus.
This team continued to go from village to village and to the market place by the river and boldly shared the gospel with all who would listen. Many more responded to the gospel during that week. Now the team is going back and starting Bible Studies in those areas in order to give these responders the opportunity to grow in their faith.
This is why we minister in Haiti – so that those whom we minister to in so many different ways will not “forfeit their souls”, but that along with the physical needs being met, they will also hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and have the opportunity to have Jesus heal their sin sick souls.
God is using you to partner with us to accomplish His purpose. Your prayers for our leadership team and the entire ministry, we cherish. And God continues to supply all of our financial needs through you. Thank you so much!
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp