On the afternoon of March 7, 2021, Occius Petit-Frere was brought to the Starfish Ministries healthcare center in Tricotte. Occius is 82 years old and has lived his entire life in Tricotte. He and his wife have four sons who all have worked for or been connected to our ministry in Haiti. We hired Norius in 2000 to help supervise our school ministry. Carius was first a teacher in one of our schools, then a headmaster, then we supported him through a Bible School training, and now he is a pastor in our church in Ti-David and the Bible teacher in our high school. Starfish Ministries supported Renaud through Dental School and helped him set up a practice in Port-au-Prince. Jonal studied architecture and construction, became an engineer, and worked with us on several projects including the construction of the medical clinic building.
And now their father, Occius was very sick – he had been running a fever for several days and was too weak to walk, so Norius “piggy-backed” his father to the clinic. Dr. Augustin and Dr. Bruno cared for Occius for several days, running several lab tests and discovered he had a prostatic anemia. I certainly don’t know what that is, but our doctors did and began treating him for that condition. Six days later, Occius’ fever was gone, his strength was returning, and he walked out of the clinic and up the hill to his house.
Occius’ sons are so grateful to have a medical facility in their village. Pastor Carius shares how much he appreciates the care that his father received, how patient the doctors were, and how much they showed compassion and kept digging until they discovered his condition and could treat it.
A few days ago, three of our clinic nurses walked two hours up a goat trail to the village of Cadette. Pastor Wismick, the pastor of our new church plant in Cadette, had reported that the women in Cadette needed training in personal hygiene with the focus on vaginal infection. Our nurses spent several hours teaching, training, and answering questions. 36 women attended this seminar and for the first time received information that we would consider basic healthcare.
As they begin to put into practice the very practical teaching, they find that life doesn’t have to be lived in pain and irritation. Benita shared at the end of the training that she had suffered for years with low belly pain and didn’t realize there were things she could do to help alleviate this condition. She simply thought this was a condition that all women just live with. Now she shared how grateful she is that she has learned about the causes and solutions to her problems.
As our nurses completed the training, the 36 students thanked them with smiles and hugs and wanted to know when they would return to teach them more.
Dr. Bruno recently had this to say: “Starfish Ministries efforts are paying off because each time I take care of a patient who comes to the hospital, I think of how Starfish has participated in this work; you invested in my education and training and are now partnering with me to fulfill my dream of helping my people.”
And all of this comes back to the opportunity to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the spiritually sick. It is exciting to hear testimony of physical medical needs met but O how much more exciting it is to hear of lives responding to the gospel and the spiritual growth in those lives.
We are so grateful for you – our partners in this ministry. God is certainly doing great things and He is using you to help make it happen. The medical clinic would not be a reality without the tremendous support you have given.
Please continue to pray – the conditions that our Haitian staff endures are very difficult. Daniel really appreciates your prayer support for wisdom and security as he leads Starfish Ministries in Haiti.
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie, Sheryl and Philip Bovenkamp