We’ve just returned from two weeks in Haiti with much to report. Unfortunately, we did not have internet access while in Tricotte, so we were unable to send email updates while there. So I’ll combine a few of the updates we would have sent into this newsletter.
The Return of Glenn
It was an incredible blessing to be reunited with Glenn Bridges. Glenn had been unable to travel to Haiti for an entire year as he battled an illness that was eventually diagnosed as peritoneal tuberculosis, an uncommon disease that infected his intestinal lining. He recently completed treatment and is regaining strength. So Glenn was released by his doctor – and more importantly by his wife, Anita – to return to Haiti (although Anita did send their son, Boone, along to take care of his father).
Any of you who have been to Haiti with us know how God has used Glenn in developing the physical aspects of our ministry. Every project we have undertaken – from building schools and churches to drilling wells, from rebuilding homes for disaster victims to maintaining and improving the orphanage – has been heavily influenced by Glenn.
But the relationships Glenn has built with the people of Tricotte may be his greater ministry. And we all rejoiced together as Glenn shared in the Tricotte Church on Sunday morning. Glenn’s return was God’s answer to many prayers.
Washington State University’s Chi Alpha Team
A team of seven university students from Washington State University, along with their Pastor Steve Barke and his daughter Cayla, joined us for this trip. They were busy. Some of what they did included:
- showing the Jesus Film at the school in the village of Corail.
- building most of the benches used at the evangelistic crusade in Remoussin.
- cleaning and coating the roof of a building in Tricotte.
- assisting Bernie with an eye clinic for people from Remoussin.
- sorting and organizing various supplies for the orphanage and schools.
They also conducted a sewing workshop/seminar, which they had developed completely on their own. And they provided all of the supplies (leaving additional supplies with the children).
After spending a day wrapping up some loose ends on another well-drilling project, the drilling team (Glenn, Boone, and Dave Morley) began to drill a new well in Morne Chaise. The entire team joined them to pray over the site and ask God to provide the village with water. And then we watched them set up the well-drilling rig.
They made good progress for several days, drilling a total of more than 70 feet to a point where they could possibly hit water at any time. Then, toward the end of our time in Haiti, a cable broke and drilling came to a quick stop. They will need a particular piece of equipment to continue drilling, and expect to have that for the next trip. Even if they had hit water at the end of the trip, they would not have had time to set the pump, so the actual delay in having a functioning well should be minor.
Evangelistic Crusade in Remoussin
The ultimate goal of everything we do in Haiti is always to see people trust in Jesus Christ for salvation, to see His Kingdom grow, and to see Him glorified. That happened at the crusade in Remoussin. The harvest began the first night when Pastor Diogene preached, and it continued on throughout the week. Praise the Lord! I know I speak for Pastor Steve when I say what a joy it was to be asked to preach at an event like this and to see God move in people’s lives as they respond to the invitation to accept Christ.
Pastor Diogene Stepping Down as Director
Pastor Diogene has been Starfish Ministries’ Haitian Director for more than 13 years. During this time, he has overseen all of our ministries in Haiti, from operation of our orphanage and schools to building projects and disaster relief. He recently let us know that he will be stepping down from these responsibilities, although he assured us of his willingness to continue on as long as necessary to make a smooth transition.
As difficult as it is to see Diogene leave this position, we recognize that it will free him to focus on other ministries. Diogene currently pastors several churches (both in Port-au-Prince and in villages in the greater Tricotte area), and he is the President of the Union of Evangelical Baptist Churches of Haiti. He and his wife also operate a small orphanage in Port-au-Prince for disabled children. Starfish Ministries has supported Diogene in various ways in each of these ministries, and we look forward to continuing to partner with him in the future.
Please pray for God’s wisdom as we begin this transition and for guidance as we seek His will for our continuing ministry in Haiti.
Thank you for all of your prayers and support.
Serving our Lord together,
Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp