Glenn Bridges, Vince Buys and I are leaving for Haiti on September 15. Glenn will be working on the water systems and electrical needs for the medical clinic. Vince will be drilling a well in Ti-David and if time allows will move the drilling rig to Port au Prince and drill another well there. I will be working with our Haitian director Daniel and our school directors, Norius and Duvigno as we plan and prepare for the upcoming school year.
We are so thankful for Norius and Duvigno. God has raised them up to handle the administration of our schools in Haiti. And they do an excellent job!
Sheryl and I met Norius and his wife Linda on our early trips to Haiti. Several times, before we had a guesthouse in Tricotte, they would move out of their bedroom and graciously have us stay in their home, giving us their best room. It was the room that had an outside door that led directly up the path to the outhouse – that was quite convenient!
When God led us to start our school ministry Norius was working for another organization that required him to spend most of his time in Port au Prince. He was looking for the opportunity to stay with his family in Tricotte and we needed a school director so we hired Norius. That was in the summer of 2000 and 14 years later Norius continues to very effectively oversee our schools.
It is very obvious that Norius has a passion for the educational needs of the Haitian children. When I travel with him to the schools I enjoy watching him interact with the school headmaster, the teachers and the children. Norius is genuinely interested in seeing the children of Haiti receive a quality education and be able to use that education to make a difference in Haiti. Norius has actually started some of our schools himself, paying a teacher or two out of his own salary until Starfish Ministries would take the school on at the beginning of the next school year.
Norius brings a spiritual maturity to Starfish Ministries as well. Often on Sunday he is either leading worship in the Tricotte church, teaching adult Sunday school there or he is off to another village to preach in a new church plant. Our newest church plant in Ti-David is one of the churches that Norius was instrumental in starting and he preached there for the first several months.
Norius and Linda have four sons, aged six to twelve. Linda is our head cook for the short term mission teams and team members really appreciate her cooking. Starfish Ministries appreciates this family and how God is using them in Haiti.
As our school ministry grew we realized we needed a professional educator to handle the academic needs of our schools. So seven years ago we hired Duvigno. He was educated in a teachers’ college in Port au Prince and was the academic director of a Catholic school prior to coming to work as Starfish Ministries’ Academic Administrator.
Duvigno is responsible for our school curriculum, hiring teachers, evaluating and training teachers, working with each school’s academic headmaster and evaluating the overall school ministry. Duvigno has also been involved in planting a new church. Shortly after we started the school in Morne Chaise four years ago, Duvigno started a small church there. For the first several months he did most of the preaching and has worked to help develop leaders in the Morne Chaise Church.
Duvigno lives in the nearby village of Drigeon with his wife and family. He is actively involved in the church in Drigeon when not preaching somewhere else.
Norius and Duvigno try to visit each of our schools every month, some of them several times in a month. This is not an easy task. Four of our schools are not accessible by vehicles. Although both Norius and Duvigno have motorcycles, these four schools can be reached on foot only. Daniel went with them a few months ago when they hiked to Danty, Beaumont and Treille. He shared with me what a difficult mountainous terrain they had to navigate. And I have never once heard either of these men complain. They simple do it!
Please pray for Norius and Duvigno – that God would continue to give them good health, the wisdom to effectively accomplish their work and that they would continue to grow in Christ.
Please pray for Glenn as he works with some of our Haitian helpers and designs and installs the water and electrical systems for the medical clinic.
Please pray for Vince as he drills a well or two. Pray for safety around the equipment and for the success of finding pure, clean water.
Thank you all for those prayers and for your faithful support as you help to make a tremendous difference in the lives of needy Haitians.
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp