Last week Daniel and I were able to connect by a good telephone connection, so we took full advantage and talked for over two hours. At the end of our time together I asked Daniel whether he had any topic in mind that we should write about in this newsletter. His immediate response was that I should write about “how we survive as a ministry in Haiti” when our Haitian leadership encounters daily challenges. I agreed and asked Daniel to write up his thoughts on the subject. So much of the following comes from the pen of Daniel Thelusmond, Haitian director of Starfish Ministries.
At a time when most non-profit organizations in Haiti have shut their doors, we are grateful to God that Starfish Ministries continues to serve our people.
- We are dealing with a drought because it has not rained since November. Most crops are lost. Hunger is at its highest.
- Due to the insecurity in the country, the main road has been blocked for months. As a result, trucks carrying supplies to our area of the country must travel more than twice the distance. The price of all goods has gone up.
- Banking has become very difficult. The banks struggle to keep transactions flowing. Some of the venders we deal with require US dollars, but US dollars are not accessible at the banks.
- Some of our workers have family in Port-au-Prince and they want to visit them but it is very risky to travel back and forth.
- The price of building materials has skyrocketed. Most people don’t have the means to do any construction projects.
- Fuel is not available at the gas/diesel stations.
With all these problems and many more one may ask, how does Starfish Ministries survive in Haiti? And Daniel answers this question in four part:
- We survive because of God, He is faithful.
- We survive because the leadership in the United States and Canada does their part.
- We survive because the financial partners and sponsors do their part, and the support keeps coming.
- We survive because the leaders on the front line in Haiti, decide not to give up on our people.
We are grateful to each of you who support this ministry though your prayers and finances. God is using you as Daniel describes.
One of the things that Daniel shared with me is that we are almost out of food for our school feeding program. We have enough for March but what do we do for April, May and June? The food we get from FMSC (Feed My Starving Children) is donated so all we have to do is pay for transportation. That saves us over $10,000 each month if we had to go to market and purchase. I asked Daniel to put a budget together and we would respond accordingly – recognizing that the kids can’t learn on empty stomachs.
The very next day Lucner contacted us that two containers of FMSC Manna Pac rice were being released from customs and we needed to get them moving. Now that is a major challenge due to blocked roads and potential hijacking. At the writing of this newsletter the two containers were over halfway to Tricotte but delayed due to engine problems in one of the trucks. We trust that the delay comes for a reason and in God’s perfect timing will proceed the rest of the way.
When Lucner contacted me, I shouted, “Hallelujah!!” God is so good and He is right on time. Just as the food need hit the critical stage, God supplies with not just one container load but two – AND we are told a third one is not far behind. That will help us provide for the elderly, handicap, and more hungry Haitians.
Please pray for Lucner and the truckers – for their safety and a positive conclusion to this food delivery service.
Oh, how we appreciate each of you! Thanks for your prayers, support and encouragement!
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp