The third week of August, Pastor Herod and our church leaders in Belair held a week long spiritual life conference. During the afternoons the team went out in the villages, sharing the gospel with all who would listen and invited them to the meetings. One of the lay leaders of the Belair church, Filius Charles, was one of the faithful evangelists that week. Filius was on his way home on Wednesday of that week, celebrating with joy at the 18 people who had responded to the gospel message that day.
As Filius neared his home someone came running to him, telling him that his wife had been hit by an upset neighbor. Filius’ donkey had gotten loose and was grazing in the neighbor’s garden. The neighbor called out for someone to come get the donkey. Filius’ wife sent an eleven year old boy to go retrieve the donkey. The angry neighbor proceeded to catch the boy and tie him up to a tree with the rope hanging around the donkey’s neck. The boy began shouting for help so Filius’ wife went to see what she could do. The neighbor slapped her as she tried to apologize for the harm the donkey had done. Filius’ wife then said to the neighbor, “It seems that you have the devil in you; you need Jesus in your life.”
When Filius reached home he wanted to retaliate but wisely first called Daniel. Daniel was able to guide him in a way that wouldn’t cause additional relational damage and might open the door to a softening of the neighbor’s heart toward the gospel. Filius had a roller coaster day – from planting gospel seeds, to seeing the harvest of many, to being justifiably upset with the neighbor for hitting his wife, to seeking wise council and growing through that council. And hopefully making sure his donkey is more secure in the future!
The next day Filius and his family were rejoicing with their daughter, Sheelove Charles, who had just received the results of her official 9th grade exam. In Haiti this national examination is a test for the high schools and the students. Less than 50% of the students pass this very difficult exam. However, our high school in Tricotte sent eight students, including Sheelove, to Gonieves to take the exam and all eight of them passed. That is such a tribute to our high school administration and staff and the result of motivated students who have worked hard to succeed.
Lubenson Saintilma is a student in our Belair elementary school. He walks to school from a village above Belair. Lubenson is 13 years old and just completed the fourth grade. Even though neither of his parents can read or write, they encourage Lubenson to work hard at being successful in his studies. And he has – on the last day of the school term, Lubenson was the recipient of the award for being Number One Student in the school for his academics and behavior!
God has favored Starfish Ministries with the donation of a 40 foot container of Manna Pack Rice Meal from Feed My Starving Children in Minnesota every month. Due to a prolonged drought in much of Haiti, many of the peoples’ gardens have not produced. In most cases it’s not feasible to irrigate since the nearest water source is so far away and many of the rivers and streams have dried up. Our Haitian staff reports that almost every day people come to the Starfish Ministries office in Tricotte looking for food to feed their families. One old lady came one day with her grandson. She could not walk very well so he helped her and then carried a box of Manna Pack on his head back to their home. She was so grateful and told our staff that she prays for them and for those who contribute in order that she can find this food. That’s many of you – thank you so much!!
In our July newsletter we shared about the masked gangsters that come to Pommier and closed down our elementary school, demanding money. At that time we asked for prayer for safety and wisdom for how or if we should continue in that village. Thank you for those prayers. We have concluded that we will continue in September to hold classes in Pommier. The administration, teachers and parents of Pommier students have encouraged us to do so. For the safety of our Starfish Ministries school supervisors they will not be doing on site evaluations and will be depending more on the reports from the Pommier administration.
Please continue to pray for the ministry in Pommier and throughout our ministry area. Your prayers and financial support are truly appreciated, and God uses them to make a huge difference in the lives of the needy in Haiti!
Serving the Lord together,
Bernie, Sheryl & Philip Bovenkamp