This newsletter celebrates the ten year anniversary of Starfish Ministries. It is exciting to remember what God has done over the last ten years and continues to do in the impoverished country of Haiti. We believe that when He called us He also gave us the vision that HE is at work in Haiti and was asking us to come alongside of Him to do His work there.
Starfish Ministries began with 27 children in a small orphanage, then quickly grew to 48 children, and in two years was moved to a more desirable location, Tricotte, into a new building. In this home were 100 plus children. The vision He gave us was to make a difference in these children’s lives for the present, for their future, but most importantly, for eternity. We have seen this accomplished many times over as these first ten years have quickly come to a close.
At that time we thought that we had enough to keep us busy and decided to focus on the orphanage ministry. But in September of 2000 we believe God was asking us to support four elementary schools which were being abandoned in the Tricotte area with a total of 950 children. That was the beginning of an exciting school ministry. Is it really possible that Starfish Ministries now has 29 elementary schools and one high school with well over a total of 5000 children? We have seen hundreds of children become Christians. But even more exciting is that these children have taken the news of the Savior which they heard at school, home with them, and in turn shared with parents, siblings, grandparents and friends the gospel of Jesus Christ.
These parents have asked our Haitian Director, Pastor Diogene, to come into their villages and share about this Jesus. Pastor Diogene has organized many evangelistic crusades in these school villages and the result has been several church plants with many adults coming to Christ. Only God could have orchestrated such a plan!
As we have fed our school children a hot meal four days each week we have seen the need to provide as much of the food as possible through agricultural means. So we have purchased several garden plots in our school villages, hired an agriculture director and are in the beginning stages of growing some vegetables and fruit. Reforesting the depleted forest areas has become a focus.
Well drilling has become a major emphasis also. Providing clean drinking water not only reduces sickness, makes water more accessible, but also is a bridge to bringing the truth of the ‘living water’ into more villages.
Well, this is way beyond what we ever imagined that we would be involved in when God called ten years ago. And it’s a good thing we didn’t know at that time what God had in His mind. It would have boggled our minds. But God knows us so well and knows how much we can handle at one time and therefore has introduced us to different aspects of His plan in His perfect timely way. We praise Him for that!!
Yes, many different ministry areas have begun over these 10 years. However, our focus has remained the same. Each new area of ministry we approach in prayer, making sure that it fits within our central goal. And that goal is to bring the gospel of salvation to the people of Haiti. As the older children of the orphanage have left their temporary home they have gone out with the news of Jesus Christ to share with others. As small children have gone back to their homes each afternoon with full tummies and the beginning of an education, they go with the gospel to share. As village women get their day’s drinking and cooking water from the pump instead of the several hours walk to the steam with buckets, they wonder what this “true living water” is about. So even though these different areas have met different needs, they all ultimately open the doors for us to minister to the spiritual needs, making a difference for eternity. And as we enter the second decade of Starfish Ministries that remains our focus.
God has been so faithful during these first ten years. Some of you began partnering with us from the very beginning. Others have joined in more recently. We want you to know how much we appreciate each one of you. Your prayers and financial partner-ship have been of tremendous value to the Kingdom of God. We give Him the glory!
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie & Sheryl Bovenkamp