This past July, Pastor Diogene took me along to visit his friend, Ronald, in the north coastal town of Port-au-Paix. The narrow streets with cars parked wherever the driver decided to stop made it difficult to maneuver through the masses of people hurrying around. In the midst of what seemed like total confusion, we found our destination-a very modern bank. At the door, Pastor Diogene let the ‘shotgun carrying’ guard know that we were there to see Ronald. The guard made certain that Ronald wanted to see us and then ushered us back to Ronald’s office. It was hot and humid that day but not in Ronald’s office. Air conditioning hit us at the door and we enjoyed cooling off for a few minutes. Ronald is the successful manager of this bank.
It was good to observe Pastor Diogene and Ronald renewing their friendship. While Ronald had to leave to take care of some business, Diogene told us his story. Ronald had completed school and found a job with the government. However, jobs with the government in Haiti are never secure and due to political problems, Ronald soon lost his employment and thus his ability to care for his family. That’s when Pastor Diogene met him, his wife, and children. They moved into a small apartment above Diogene’s office and a relationship began between Ronald and Diogene. Ronald’s economic situation was desperate and Diogene began to help by taking Ronald to the street market and purchasing food for the family. It was during this time that Ronald began asking questions, like “why are you helping us?” This gave Diogene the opportunity to share Jesus with him. After a few weeks, Ronald’s interest in spiritual issues grew as he asked more questions about Christianity.
Ronald was the first in his family to become a Christian. He was a changed man and immediately began sharing with his family. Today, his wife, his children, his parents, his brothers and many friends have all trusted the Savior. Ronald is very active in his church, teaching Sunday School and occasionally preaching. One of his brothers has just started Bible School with the goal of becoming a pastor.
Pastor Diogene reached out to a family in need and God used that to draw this family to Himself.
As I listened to this story of Ronald, I thought of our 111 children in our orphanage and the 2105 in our schools. Each one of these precious children has the opportunity to be cared for, to be fed, to receive an education, and to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This is that gospel — knowing we all have sinned, the wages of that sin being death, but God loved us and sent His Son to die in our place, that if we confess with our mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we shall be saved.
This gospel is the reason we believe God has called us to Haiti. As the children hear the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ it is our desire that they, too, will someday reach out to other ‘Ronalds’ in the country of Haiti.
God is at work in Haiti. Many ‘Ronalds’ continue to respond to the message and turn away from their voodoo religion and begin a new walk with Jesus Christ.
Thank you for helping! Your partnership through prayers and support is making a difference in many needy Haitian lives each day. We appreciate you!
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie & Sheryl Bovenkamp