The year 2000 was a year of changes for Starfish Ministries. The year started with 48 children living in the guest house in Tricotte while waiting for the completion of the new orphanage building. By June, when the 96 bed orphanage was ready for kids, 48 more needy children had been identified and moved in with the others. Now the 96 has grown to 101 children. It’s difficult to turn away needy children! So we have doubled up some of the smaller children to make room for the new ones. What a delight it is to see these children now growing in every aspect of their lives.
I experienced a kidney stone attack while in Haiti in November. As soon as the children were told about it, they were on their knees, praying for me. Several of the older children came to my room, sang songs to me, quoted Bible verses and prayed over me. During that difficult time, I was truly blessed.
Mealtime at the orphanage is fun to watch. The children wait until all are there, sing a song, and then one of them leads in a prayer of thanksgiving for the food. They then start in on a large bowl of rice and beans with some meat gravy. As they complete their meal, if Sheryl and I are anywhere close by, one by one these kids come, the girls giving us a kiss on the cheek and the boys a firm handshake as they say, “Thank you for food, “Dad” or “Mom”. We’d like to pass along that kiss and thank you to each of you for your part. We are very humbled to be people God works through to supply needs of these precious children.
June found us relaxing just a bit with this orphanage project completed and the 96 children settling into their new home. But God had something more for us. It was late June when we heard of 4 villages in that region in need of support for their struggling schools. Most of the month of July we fervently prayed, along with our board of directors, looking to God for His direction. Late in July we decided to step forward in faith, and support these schools. Since then, we have sensed a wonderful confirmation, as we see God at work. Almost 70 children are now being sponsored to help support this aspect of the ministry. We also see very positive results in these schools as more children are enrolled than before and many already have trusted Jesus as Savior.
The year started with 48 children in the orphanage and ended with 101; in the 4 schools another 990 are being educated; and 44 more are enrolled in the new secondary school (high school) we opened in September. So this ministry went from supporting 48 children to 1135. We thank God for the opportunity to minister to these children’s needs and trust Him to do a mighty work in each of their lives.
As we have begun this school support ministry, we realize the need for classrooms in each of these schools. For example, in the David school, 244 children meet in a 30’ x 50’, one room, church building. That’s 6 classes in one room. Our goal is to build 4 or 5 classrooms there as soon as possible.
We didn’t expect to see these changes in the year 2000. Now we eagerly look forward to what God will do in 2001. It is our desire to be open to what God desires of us. That means that we must stay close to Him, continuing to develop a deeper, personal love relationship with Him. Only then can we be sensitive to His leading.
As we complete 3 years of this ministry, we are so thankful. First, to our Lord and Savior for the privilege of being a small part of what He is doing in Haiti. And then, we really appreciate each of you for your prayer and financial support and partnering with us in these important ways.
Serving our Lord together,
Bernie & Sheryl Bovenkamp