Director's Travel Report: Dutch Caribbean Union (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacaos) - March 2018

At the invitation of the Dutch Caribbean Union Mission, I traveled to the three islands comprising the Union: Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire. We went to share, with the leaders and members, insights and strategies for implementing what we refer to as “Possibility Ministries”, also referred to as Special Needs Ministries. The response was very encouraging! Fortunately, my wife, Carrie, was able to travel with me and that was indeed very special. It was the first time either of us had been to these islands. Each has its own unique characteristics, although Aruba seems to attract more tourists. The timing was great. We missed the bad storms that struck Maryland while we were gone. We exchanged the cold for tropical heat. Not a bad deal for us. Though the number of speaking appointments was many (about 12), we did have an hour to do some snorkel diving while in Bonaire. It was a fantastic experience! We were given a superb tour of the islands by the Union Mission Secretary and Special Needs Ministries leader, Hans Ponte.

Some statistics about the islands:

Curaçao | ˈk(y)o͝orəˌsou, ˈk(y)o͝orəˌsō | a self-governing territory of the Netherlands in the Caribbean Sea, 37 miles (60 km) north of the Venezuelan coast, formerly the largest island in the Netherlands Antilles; population 157,000 (estimated 2015); chief town, Willemstad. The union mission office is located on this island.
Aruba | əˈro͞obə | an island in the Caribbean Sea, close to the Venezuelan coast; population 104,000 (estimated 2015); capital, Oranjestad. Formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles, it separated in 1986 to become a self-governing territory of the Netherlands.
Bonaire | bəˈner | a self-governing territory of the Netherlands, formerly one of the two principal islands of the Netherlands Antilles (the other was Curaçao); chief town, Kralendijk; population 12,877 (2009).

Dutch Caribbean Union Mission - statistics:
  • 2 Missions: Aruba, Bonaire
  • 1 Conference: Curacao

Languages (Churches for each of following language groups):
    • Papiamento
    • Dutch
    • Spanish
    • English
    • French/Creole (Hatian)

Membership:
  • Union – 9k
    • Curacao - 7,700. (34 CHS 2 Groups)
    • Bonaire - 300. (3 churches, 1 group)
    • Aruba - 1,000 (8 churches 3 groups)
President-Union: Shurman Kook

Secretary: Hans Ponte

Treasurer: Daniel Zuniga


President of Curacao: Shelwin Willems

Secretary of Curacao: Charlton Bruno

Treasure: Claire Isidora

SNM Director – Ramires Janzen


President of Bonaire: Surrandy Selassa

Secretary of Bonaire: Hans Ponte


President of Aruba: Martin Forbes

Secretary/Treasurer: Mirugia Leocadia

SNM Director: Jerome Bevins

About 500 baptisms in the Union in 2017

(Below are images taken during the trip. Each image below can be clicked on to view an enlargement in a new tab)


Gathering for Special Needs Training

Leadership in Curacao: Mission President, Union Mission Secretary, Local Church Pastor

Hotel Units in Curacao - The pastel colors of the buildings was unique – beautiful!

Jewish Synagogue in Curacao - This synagogue has been in continuous use since 1732. However, it was established in 1651. The oldest active Jewish congregation in the Western Hemisphere.

Jewish Synagogue with Sand Floor - Why a sand floor? (1) Modeled after the encampment in the Sinai during the 40 years of wandering on the way to the Promised Land. (2) A reminder of how forefathers put sand on floor of secret rooms to muffle sounds of services during the Inquisition. (3) To symbolize that God promised Abraham to multiply his seed as the sands of the seashore and the stars in the heavens! - Gen. 13:16

Union Mission Headquarters in Curacao

Harbor view of Curacao at night

Aruba Mission Headquarters

Sending Greetings to You!