I’m sitting in my room at the LeXaragua Hotel on the beautiful coast of Haiti after spending 8 days in Tricotte with a construction team. The road from Tricotte to the hotel is the national road ( the I-5 of Haiti) but it is probably close to the worst road in the world and we’ve just experienced it again. As I reflect on the time in Tricotte and spending the time with our orphan kids, I realize that it’s worth the hot, dusty drive — it’s a delight to see the positive impact this Christian village environment is having on these kids. I thank God for the growth we can see in each of their lives.
The construction of the new orphanage building is going very well. Glenn Bridges and his son, Daniel, and friend Neal Hershey had gone to Haiti 2 weeks before the rest of the team and had the steel trusses and purlins welded perfectly in place when we arrived. Steve McKinley then headed up the metal roofing crew consisting of Kip Miller, Charlie Peterson, and Cliff Fast, and in 3 days the roof was completed — and it’s the best looking roof in all of Haiti! The roof surface is 36’ x 160’ so that was no small task.
Doug Jarvie and his dad, Bob, worked on the electrical aspects of the construction. The mechanical building was not constructed when we arrived so Doug directed the Haitian contractor and his crew to get that 12’ x 16’ building constructed . They poured the concrete floor (all hand mixed) and put up the concrete block walls in a couple days. Then our roofing crew finished it off. Doug and his dad had all the interior electrical work done by then and started installing the generator, electrical inverter, batteries, panels and all the rest of the equipment to power this new orphanage building as well as part of the village.
After completing the roofing, Kip and Cliff became plumbers and installed counters, sinks, faucets, toilets and all the finish water lines and drains. Bob Jarvie worked on running the main water lines and installing the shower heads while the Haitian masonry workers put a finish coat of mortar/plaster on the interior walls.
Glenn spent his time working on the exterior plumbing sewer lines and got help from Steve, Charlie, Daniel and Neal to do some digging — picks and shovels. Glenn also designed the kitchen and outhouse with imput from the orphanage board of directors.
On Monday afternoon, Doug fired up the generator and the lights came on — the system was working according to plan. People started coming from the entire area to see what was happening and were so impressed.
Glenn’s wife, Anita, was the only gal on the team and always had children around her and on her lap as she observed and gave the team regular encouragement.
What a team this was!! With God’s help, we accomplished the things we had come to do. That’s very unusual! On most trips we don’t get much done but with your prayer support and the very hardworking, skilled team members, the children have a new home that will suit their needs very well. We hope to have them moved in by the end of April.
We have purchased a portable well drilling machine and had it shipped to Haiti from the states but it has been held up in a Miami dock strike. We’re anxious to get it here and get the well dug so please pray with us concerning that. As soon as the driller is in Haiti, Glenn is coming back to operate it, as well as putting the roof on the kitchen and outhouse.
I spent the last couple days taking pictures of and getting information about the new kids that will be joining the others in the new orphanage. As I talked with each one through an interpreter, I heard many stories of hard early lives. It tugs away at my heart. But then I’m so thankful that God has given us the opportunity to make a difference in a few more lives. We believe that each of these children is identified and then placed in this home for God’s purposes and it’s so exciting to see the difference the Starfish Ministries orphanage is and will continue making in these precious lives.
Another highlight of our trip was the team meeting time. Several of us shared personal testimonies in the evening and led devotions in the morning. Kip led us each time in singing worship choruses. We got to know each other and developed lasting relationships. It’s so good to see how God brings together a small group for His purposes and see each one grow closer to Him and to each other.
We really appreciate your continued prayers and support in so many ways — God is blessing this ministry and you are part of that — so never stop praying! God is using you!
Serving our Lord together,
Bernie & Sheryl