This August newsletter is quite early because we want to share the good news of Pastor Carius’s release from the kidnapping that we wrote about last month. At the end of that newsletter, we asked you to pray with the following thoughts in mind:
- Pastor Carius’ safety – that no harm will come to him
- Wisdom for Daniel, Willy, and Carius’s brothers as they negotiate
- A speedy release
- Pastor Carius’s wife and children – comfort and peace
- That Pastor Carius will have the opportunity to share the gospel with his captors and God would work in those lives
- That God will use this trial in all of those involved, us included, to draw us closer to Him and teach us what His purposes are as we navigate difficult times
- That God will be glorified
Thank you so much for your prayers – we are seeing God at work through this trial and the very specific prayer requests have been answered. Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow!!!
Here is the story of the kidnapping of Pastor Carius in His own words.
On the 25th of July 2023, I, Pastor Carius, was teaching Sunday school when an armed group appeared in front of the hall and asked me to come out and join them. I had no choice but to go to them. When I reached them, they put me on a motorcycle to go with them and they said to me: “Don’t be afraid, we just have a simple thing to solve.” When I got to where they decided to take me, they put me in an abandoned house. They took all my belongings and put them somewhere else. In less than three minutes, the commander-in-chief appeared. The first words he said to me were: “You come here to die.” I replied that if it is God’s will for me to die, may his will be done. Some time later, he told me again: I will not kill you, but you must have money to get out of here.” At the same moment, they gave me the opportunity to call people who can send money to free me, and that’s what I did.
For 10 days, I had death threats on my head. Every day I endured all kinds of humiliation. Although they didn’t hit me, the words they were saying to me and the threats made me feel humiliated. It rejoiced my heart to know that it was not because of something I did or said that they wanted to kill me. Rather, the account they had to settle was with one of my cousins. As they could not find him, they would kill me instead.
God was in control and provided for me in this difficult situation. Although I did not have freedom, but God used many people to serve me. He even used one of them to comfort me with the Word of God. That person said something to me, and I will quote it: “Sometimes we pray to God for something, he may not give us what we ask for, but he may give us something better.” In this sense, I believe it was God’s will for this to happen. All the churches in the Union and people in the surrounding areas mobilized to support me in this difficult time. I know many people in the United States and Canada have prayed for my release. Even some non-Christians have given me their support. When I was freed, some of these people promised to give their lives to Jesus because they knew I was supposed to die. The experience was difficult, but God was always with me the entire time. We paid money, but God brought me out alive. I am grateful to all of you who contributed in one way or another to help me get out of the hands of the kidnappers. Thank you for the great love you have shown me. Please pray that I may always be in God’s service for the rest of my life. May God bless all of you in all that you do. Pastor Carius
When Apostle Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, was imprisoned in Rome he wrote to the Philippians 1:12, “Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.” We praise God that the gospel of Jesus Christ is being advanced in Haiti and God is using His servant, Pastor Carius to accomplish that.
This is the mission of Starfish Ministries – that through every aspect of our ministry, the good news of Jesus Christ would go forward, and many would respond.
Thank you for your partnership with us. God is using us together to proclaim His Word to the lost in Haiti. We cherish your prayers as we now consider how we can best serve and at the same time provide security for our Haitian staff and their families.
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp