Dear Friends,

The Covid-19 was slow coming to Haiti because of the government protests and political violence shut down travel and drove foreigners away.  As of April 27 there were 74 confirmed cases with seven recovered and six deaths.  However the concern is that it could come in strong since its neighbor, Dominican Republic, has shut down and thousands of Haitians who otherwise work in the DR are now coming back home.  DR has over 5000 Covid-19 cases and over 250 deaths. There are doctors screening incoming Haitians at the four official border checkpoints but there are dozens of illegal crossing points which are used by most.  That means the virus is likely coming in by the returning citizens.

And once it comes into Haiti it is very difficult to control.  Thousands of Haitians are tightly packed into slums where self isolation is physically impossible.  Even though the Haitian government has issued separation notices, the converted pickup truck taxis are packed with people in Port-au-Prince. And there is the lack of trust of government officials and the people are skeptical of the truth of the seriousness of the Covid-19.  They see a corrupt government as seizing the opportunity of another crisis so that they can get more aid in order to line their own pockets.  So they resist the instructions coming from the health officials.

Haiti also has a broken down medical health care system which, if necessary, will not be able to handle a serious outbreak.  So we pray that God will spare Haiti from a widespread threat of the Covid-19.  God is sovereign – He is good, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”  He will use this in our lives as we continue to trust in Him!

We have not seen the Covid-19 in our Tricotte ministry area so far.  However, we do have many people in Tricotte and the surrounding villages who are hurting for food.  Most of the food we have distributed in our schools and among the needy population has come from Feed My Starving Children, FMSC.  Prior to the current shutdown, Starfish Ministries was receiving a container load of food every month from FMSC.  They have had to shut down much of their packing during this time so their food production has become seriously limited.  We are very thankful for a load we received about a week ago that will provide for our needs for the next few weeks.

Without knowing when the next load will arrive, we have had to begin purchasing some rice and beans at the market.  We have a warehouse just outside of Tricotte where we store the food and construction supplies.  Recently Daniel wrote the following:

“Now, it’s getting very difficult to even open the depot (warehouse) to get construction materials because people spend the whole day in front of the place hoping to get some food.  The problem is, though we do our best to help, we would never have enough food to give to so many people. This is somewhat of a dilemma. We’re seeing more and more bad guys come to Tricotte to try and force Norius into giving them some amount of food. It’s an uncomfortable situation. We can’t even think about controlling whether the food will be sold or not because it’s become an expensive product.”

We are so grateful for Daniel’s leadership in Haiti.  He has a very sensitive heart for his needy brothers and sisters and especially the orphans and widows.  Through your support we have been able to support many widows and poor families who otherwise wouldn’t know where their next meal is coming from.

Daniel also wrote, “It’s always refreshing to hear how God is providing for our ministry. Given the circumstances, we’d have all the reasons in the world to worry. However, when we remember the promises of God, we trust that He’ll take care of us as he always does.”

And Daniel closed his letter with this, “I am very grateful for the many blessings that God bestows on us every day. As we enjoy that, let’s continue to put Him at the center of our ministry so that He may continue to give us grace to get through the storms of life. It’s an honor to work with you as a kingdom builder for His glory alone.”

Please pray for Daniel and his staff in Haiti.  It’s a very difficult undertaking at the best of times in Haiti and when the trials come it takes a great deal of spiritual fortitude to carry on. 

We are so thankful for you – a few donors have had to drop out due to lack of work and lesser income.  We understand and are grateful for their years of support.  At the same time many of you have stepped up and filled the gap and we praise God for His supply which is inexhaustible!  He promised in Philippians 4:19, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” 

What a great God is ours!

Serving the Lord together,

Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp


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