I spent the first three weeks of July in Haiti along with a small team of college students teaching English to our children in the orphanage. It is so good to be able to sit with our kids and carry on a conversation in English. Now we have the opportunity to really get to know them as they begin to share some of their life stories. This is the fourth summer we have taught English and we are seeing a positive difference.
Aaron and Dawn Meyers joined the team for ten days. They are our niece and nephew who have done all the great work on our website (check it out at www.starfishministries.org ). They also have an interest in seeing Haiti reforested. Due to poverty and lack of ability to replant trees, Haiti now has less than 5% of its trees left, resulting in eroding most of Haiti’s good farming soil out to sea, creating a loss of fishing. In May heavy rains caused mud slides resulting in considerable loss of life and property. Aaron and Dawn are helping to oversee the start of a small tree nursery in Tricotte, and hope to find a market for tree seeds. Our orphanage house father, Dumont, has a degree in agronomy and is our Haitian expert on this project. He is using many of the boys in the orphanage to prepare seeding beds, plant, water, and keep the weeds down. (The fact that Dumont was gifted in this area was unknown to us when he was hired. God provides in incredible ways.)
So while in Haiti in July, Aaron, along with some of these orphanage boys, “out-planted” the first of the trees. We look forward to seeing bare hillsides blossom again with new life and the downhill spiral of erosion turned around. A huge thanks goes to Aaron and Dawn for their efforts on this project.
I opened up the “Tricotte Eye Clinic” for four days while there. I had put out the word that I would check eyes on Monday morning with our Retinomax machine. At 7:00 AM as I left the house for breakfast, there were over 40 people waiting outside to have their eyes checked. Some of them had walked as much as six hours to get there. At 8:00 AM there were over 70 waiting. I could only check about 40 – 50 a day so some were invited to come back on Tuesday. They ask me if I am a doctor and I tell them “No, I just pretend to be.” Actually with the use of the Retinomax it is quite simple to determine the needs. In four days, I checked over 175 “patients” and gave out over 150 pair of donated prescription glasses and reading glasses.
Thanks to so many of you who have donated glasses and given toward the Retinomax and other eye vision needs. I wish you could be there to see the response of the people. One older lady started walking away with her new glasses — then started dancing and singing with joy as she could see clearly for the first time in years. Some who came were from the unreached, voodoo saturated village of Moineville. This vision ministry is another opportunity to meet needs in Jesus’ name. As we meet the physical needs, we trust that God will use this to open doors to spiritual needs.
Their physical vision problem can be taken care of with glasses. There is also an answer to their spiritual blindness. We have been sent with the good news of Jesus Christ Who cures that blindness for eternity. I met a young gal from Bethel. Rosemita had become a follower of Jesus just a couple of days before at the weekly Bible study in her village. Her spiritual blinders were removed. The joy on her face was so evident. She was excited and ready to share her new found faith. Rosemita and so many others are finding hope through a personal love relationship with Jesus Christ. And that’s what Starfish Ministries is all about.
Thank you for partnering with us in this awesome ministry. It’s is so good to see God at work. It is our desire to “serve Him by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever.” I Peter 4:11
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie & Sheryl Bovenkamp