Pastor Earl Bowie
Earl Bowie (pictured on right) serves as Pastor of Verbo Church Puerto Cabezas and national director of Verbo Church. He also serves as Director of 19 church plants on the Río Coco, in addition to overseeing Casa Bernabé, Verbo Christian Schools and all community outreach programs.
Born in Puerto Cabezas, Earl was raised by his grandmother from 6 months of age, and attributes his work ethic and character to her influences. At age 19, Earl gave his life to Christ. At 24, after two years of mandatory military service, Earl was called to Managua where he served in teen ministry. There he met Damaris Rivera. Soon after marrying, Earl and Damaris returned to his hometown to minister there. They are the parents of three grown and accomplished children.
Two times a year, up to 50 pastors along the Coco River attend conferences hosted by Pastor Earl, traveling days by canoe to Puerto Cabezas that they may grow in their understanding of the Gospel. These are intensive trainings that teach the pastors how to develop different skills to learn and understand the Word of God, and how to teach and preach it that souls may hear the life-altering message of Scripture. Since October 2016, the upper floor of the new Vocational Center at the orphanage has accommodated these pastors during their stay.
The success of Casa Bernabé Ministries, from its earliest days, was made possible by the generosity of individuals, churches and organizations.
Instrumental among these has been the commitment of a special group of individuals and organizations, whose personal, professional and financial support has been extraordinary and exemplary:
- The Jaeger family of Denver, Colorado (pictured at right)
- Cherry Hills Community Church in Denver, CO
- Valor Christian High School in Denver, CO
- Valley Christian Fellowship in Redding, CA
- Granger Community Church in Granger, IN
- Rolling Hills Community Church in Tualatin, OR
- Life Church in Winchester, VA
- Christian Fellowship Church in Ashburn, VA
- Point Harbor Community Church, Chesapeake, VA
- Believers Church in Chesapeake, VA
- Casa Bernabé
MorningStar Senior Living
The role of the Jaeger family in the growth of Casa Bernabé cannot be overstated. Founder/CEO of MorningStar Senior Living Ken Jaeger was introduced to Casa Bernabé and Pastor Earl in 2008 at the urging of a close friend and fellow philanthropist. On the plane home, Ken’s heart was clenched by what he’d witnessed and the desperation of need. “I knew I couldn’t turn the page on this. So I went to the guys in my church (Cherry Hills Community Church) and put together our first construction team. Since then, Ken, his wife Shanna, and three grown children (John, Naomi and Christine) have spent countless hours pouring their hearts and applying their loving hands to the ministries led by Pastor Earl and Damaris Bowie. They make 3–4 trips a year to the orphanage, usually leading volunteer teams, and spend their family Christmases there as well. Says John, now 27, after over 20 trips, “This is where I find my fulfillment. This is where I get my high.” Change to “having the opportunity to build relationships with all of the children of Casa Bernabé over the years is so rewarding. They are all my little brothers and sisters now and I will do whatever I can to serve them well”
Ken does not mince words when it comes to urging others to live a life of selfless giving. Whether speaking to MorningStar leadership or one of 20 community teams, his sentiments are often these: “Don’t wait to serve. Serve now. Today. Get involved somewhere, anywhere. It will make you a better person. Don’t wait until your children are grown. Don’t wait until you retire. Give now, give generously. And just see what happens. For you cannot out-give God.”
MorningStar Home Office Builds Vocational Center
Shaken and stirred. That’s how we as “Team Trabajo” (Home Office of MorningStar) felt during our week stay in Nicaragua in support Casa Bernabé.
We were shaken by walking past the tin shacks of Puerto Cabezas, by riding their pot-holed roads, by visiting their forlorn hospitals and jails—and by daring to look squarely at abject poverty. We were stirred by the joy we saw among the remarkably resilient Nicaraguan people, by their gleaming smiles and cheerful greetings. Imagine us stepping (rather timidly) into the local Feeding Center, and each being swarmed by dozens of children—beautiful, longing faces, eager to make a connection. Our minds, like pinball machines, bounced from one emotion to the next. In scene after striking scene, our hearts swelled, winced—broke.
We were stirred to go deep with ourselves and with each other in an attempt to process all we were experiencing. With anxious eyes, we asked at our evening debrief what we could possibly do to make a difference here—or anywhere in a world so strangulated by poverty. Our leaders, Ken and Matt (whose personal commitment to Nicaragua is profound), encouraged us to rejoice in the fact that each of us at MorningStar, whatever our role, is contributing to the health and progress so evident at Casa Bernabe.
We were thrilled to bring Pastor Earl (director of the orphanage) $52,696 in donations, which paid to re-engineer the building that will now serve as a Vocational Center. We toted $500 in therapeutic supplies for what will be the Sensory Room at the Center, a place where counselors can help children work through their traumatic histories. In a spontaneous burst of affection for the 20 locals who labored alongside us in the humidity, Drew Ostransky and Blake Smith (through Facebook) raised an additional $1200 in two days to cover their week’s wages.
Now, with the efforts of that impactful week complete, we are left with the persisting call to keep caring, keep investing our time, talent and treasure wherever it can serve and uplift others. Ken exhorts us to be “People of the Possible,” moving forward together to change this mountain called Poverty into a mountain of Hope—one child at a time. After all, we are MorningStar. Bringing light and healing is what we do.
Argentum’s “Senior Living Executive” magazine featured an article on us in its January/February 2017 issue:(argentum.org/magazine-articles/cultural-exchange/)