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):
- French/Creole (Hatian)
- 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)