It is with a heavy heart that I share the passing of my sister, Judy Vander Ley. After a relatively short battle with pancreatic cancer Judy went to be with Jesus on November 30. Judy and her husband, Paster Rod Vander Ley, have been a great encouragement and support for Starfish Ministries. In July of this year, shortly after we wrote about the needs of the elderly in Haiti, I received a phone call from Judy with great interest in supporting the elderly in Haiti. And with that call Starfish Ministries’ Elderly Ministry began.
Since then, many of you have joined in prayers and support for this new outreach effort in Haiti. Thank you so much – we are already seeing God working through this arm of Starfish Ministries.
Semansion Cius lives in the very remote village of Pendu. Semansion is 40 years old and is unable to walk. He has been abandoned by his family and is considered of no value to society. He lives alone in a mud hut with a thatched roof. When hungry, Semansion crawls to a neighbor’s house to beg for some food. One neighbor with a good heart helps him to bathe every once in a while.
Philius, the champion of this ministry, has been meeting with Semansion now for a few months with food and other help as needed. Semansion recently told Philius that Starfish Ministries is the only reason he is still living. Philius has shared the gospel of Jesus Christ with Semansion, but he has rejected it. He reasons that his father was a voodoo priest, and his siblings often come to the property where he lives to offer sacrifices to the devil. Due to his handicap, Semansion thinks he may suffer the consequences of following Jesus when his siblings hear about it. Philius continues to minister to him. Please pray for Semansion’s salvation.
Please pray for Philius, his helper Lucienne, and the elderly and handicapped whom they minister to. Philius is also looking for someone in each of the villages to be able to follow up with those they identify as needing help.
On December 21 through the 25th, the Union of Cornerstone Assemblies is having their first annual convention. This Union is the organization that Daniel and our pastors have developed as the structure that ties our current eight village church body gatherings together. Daniel is going to be sharing at this conference about how to minister during difficult times. Each morning the conference will begin with a time of prayer where all are invited. Approximately 120 leaders from the eight villages will take part during the teaching during the day. Then each evening all are invited for a time of worship and Bible Study.
The culmination of the conference will be an ordination service under the direction of our Pastor Patrick. Our Director Daniel has successfully completed an online Bible Program, has been preaching regularly for several months and now will officially be recognized as Pastor Daniel Thelusmond. Please be praying with us concerning this conference and the continued outreach ministries in all our villages.
Thank you so much for your response to the Christmas Giving List! God has faithfully blessed this ministry with so many partners. What a difference He is making in the lives of some of the poorest in the world as a result of your prayers and financial support!
Please pray for Judy’s family as they mourn her loss while at the same time praising God that her suffering is over, and she is with Jesus. Also pray for Philius and the people he is reaching out to – including for Semansion’s salvation. And pray for Daniel as he leads the conference December 21 – 25.
We wish you all a very Blessed Christmas!
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp