In June of 2006 we shared about a young 17 year old girl, Smailine, who had serious medical problems. She lived in Port-au-Prince with her parents. She had been suffering for many years from kidney stones and other intestinal problems. The team that was in Haiti the previous month had prayed for her and Dr Dave had also examined her. The Haitian doctors had determined that Smailine needed surgery too complicated to be done in Haiti and that she would need to go to Florida to have it done. Many had given generously at that time, helped with medical and possible travel expenses, and prayed with us for Smailine to get the VISA she needed to travel to theUnited States.
Now it’s time for “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey would say. Much has happened over the past two years. One thing that didn’t happen is the VISA. Many attempts were made to apply for the VISA but with no success. Smailine continued to have a lot of pain for several months and was hospitalized in Haiti several times and the money that you supplied was used for paying those bills.
In early 2007 as I sat in Pastor Diogene’s church in PAP one Sunday morning Pastor Diogene asked a young couple to stand, congratulating them on their upcoming wedding. Much to my surprise, it was Smailine and her recent fiancé. After the service Pastor Diogene shared with me that Smailine had been doing quite well and her parents had wanted her to get married and start a family before she had more medical issues. A young man from the church fell in love with Smailine and had asked her to marry him, knowing full well that she may not be able to have children and that her health was somewhat fragile. They married a few weeks later.
In March of this year I was sitting up front in that same church as Pastor Diogene called up a young couple and their baby for child dedication When I heard Diogene use the young mother’s name, Smailine, I leaned over to Mendelson sitting next to me and asked, “Is this the same Smailine who was so sick?” His response was that indeed it was. After the service I had the opportunity to take this little Haitian miracle in my arms, thank God for her, and pray for her future. God’s goodness has moved so marvelously in this family’s life. Smailine was the first Christian in her family – the first of many. God used this time of sickness, the care of the church body, and your prayer and support to touch the lives of many people near Smailine. We thank Him for all He has done and what He will continue to do.
When I first saw Smailine laying on that bed of pain in May of 2006 I wondered what God might have for her in this sickness. There may be some of you who are going through difficult times right now, not knowing what His purpose may be. I don’t know what He has for you but I hope that whatever your circumstances are, you would be able to look to Jesus and find peace and comfort through Him.
It’s been ten years ago now since we went through the trying time of dealing with my cancer. Looking at it at that time, we certainly didn’t know or understand the reason. But now looking back we can confidently say that even though it was the most difficult time of our lives, it was also the best time of our lives. God used that time to teach us to lean entirely on Him and not on our own efforts. We certainly needed to learn that for ministry in Haiti. Thank you so much as He continues to use you in this ministry.
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie & Sheryl Bovenkamp