It’s hard to believe that we are now completing ten years since God called us to start Starfish Ministries. What a journey this has been! I’m sitting in my hotel room in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, getting ready to fly home tomorrow, just in time to spend Thanksgiving with the family. And it truly is a time of thanksgiving. As I reflect on these last ten years I am so thankful for what we have experienced God doing not only in our own lives, but through us as we minister to needy children and adults here in this desperate country.
We have had the privilege of starting two new schools this year, bringing the total to 29. These schools are in villages that are totally unreached with the gospel. The children had no opportunity to attend school so they are really excited!
In one of these villages, Camass, we were not able to put up a building before the school year began in September. So the 81 children in that new school started with a simple stick and palm leaf structure which was able to keep them out of the sun. Last week our construction team took a portable building made of a steel frame and vinyl fabric to Camass. This 24’ X 50’ building was donated for this purpose and truly is a blessing to this village. School was in session when the team arrived so the children picked up their desk benches from under the stick structure and set up school under a mango tree. Within minutes the construction team was laying out the foundation base for the building, but had to stop due to some incorrect parts having been delivered to this site.
Two days later, on Saturday morning, the correct parts had come and I went with the team to raise the building. The village adults and children were there, anxious to help in any way they could. Within a couple hours the vinyl fabric was stretched over the steel frame and the children had new classrooms. There was a great deal of excitement as the people watched in awe as this school became a reality in their village.
As we were leaving Pastor Diogene pointed out to me a man to whom he had been talking while the building was going up. When an extra hand was needed he was right there to help. It turns out that the man was a voodoo witchdoctor. He asked Diogene if we were also going to start a church there. Diogene asked him what he thought of that and his surprising response was that the village needed a church. Diogene then shared with him his own need for the Savior. He recognized that need and said he would come when the church was started. It is obvious that God is at work in the village of Camass. Normally the voodoo worshippers would be in opposition to a church coming to their village but these people showed a genuine interest. As Pastor Diogene’s ministry team goes to Camass early next year for an evangelistic crusade, we trust that God will continue to work and draw many of the lost to Himself.
While in Haiti our construction team also put in a lot of time and hard work pouring the concrete floor in the Tricotte church. And once again we had a couple guys digging a well. We really appreciate the efforts of mission team members who give of their time and resources to make a difference in Haiti.
Thanks to each of you who gave to the Christmas list of needs in Haiti. You may continue giving to that through this month. Thank you too for your prayers. Please continue to pray for Pastor Diogene and his outreach team as they go to Corail early this month and then spend the week between Christmas and New Years in Bethel conducting evangelistic crusades. We praise God this Christmas season for the gift of His Son, in Whom there is salvation to those who believe.
We hope you have a blessed Christmas!
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie & Sheryl Bovenkamp