International Bible Church – Aug. 5, 2012

Today I was able to attend the International Bible Church, which has replaced the Activity Building that I had been used to when I was living on the island.  Actually, it is only about a block away from the old building, and is located just to the right of the road that heads towards the water plant.  It is a smaller building, although it is of similar construction to the old Activity Building.  Trans World Radio sold the Activity Building to a Bonairian school some time ago, as there wasn’t enough staff to warrant keeping it.

 Photos here

When I arrived at the church just before 9:00 a.m., I was welcomed by Dave Pedersen.  The first thing he said was, “You better get rid of that tie, or they will ask you to preach.”  I looked around, and, sure enough, the only other people wearing a tie were the song leader and the pastor.  Oh well, I don’t mind wearing a tie.  At least it made a good impression for the first time.

I sat over on the side that they indicated with the wide-open doors in order to get a bit of a cross-breeze.  I sat beside Donna, who works in the finance office at TWR-Bonaire, and on my other side were the Pedersens.

The worship leader was a retired American named Bob, who has lived on the island for several years.  He had a deep Carolina accent, and led a very worshipful song service of traditional hymns.  Sue Felix played the piano.  Apparently Sue is in charge of the music program.  There was another American lady and a Bonairian lady who were on the worship team during the vocals.

It wasn’t long before the Pedersen’s youngest daughter changed her seat to be able to sit beside me.  She is the sweetest little girl, and is incredibly friendly.  I was able to get her to stand up on her seat when we sang the hymns, and sing along with me.  Previously she was absorbed in a colouring book.  I pointed to how the words flowed in the hymnal, and before long, she was pointing to the words herself.  Apparently she can already read quite well.  Next, she kind of played with my watch, and I had to try to concentrate a bit harder on the sermon.  But it’s been a long time since my own daughter, Rebekah, was that age, and I rather miss the attention.

At the beginning of the service, the worship people asked if people could stand up and share some of the blessings they had.  I put up my hand, and asked if they had an hour to listen to all the blessings I had been given.  I related how it had been 28 years since I returned to Bonaire.  I actually started to get a bit emotional and had to sit back down.  The worship leader mentioned that I was looking for a dive buddy, so hopefully that will yield some fruit.

The speaker, Siegfried, was from Bonaire.  The regular pastor is on vacation in the United States.  Siegfried gave a good word about “by your fruits, you shall know them.”  He actually used the example of planting a mango tree, and then discovering cacti fruit on it instead of mangoes.  He had quite a dynamic manner, and it was a good sermon.

After the service, a lady walked up to me and said that her friend was associated with the Sea Monitor Foundation.  This is a non-profit group that has 14 different monitors in the ocean around Bonaire that require weekly cleanings and recording of the readings.  Basically it involves a diver going down once a week to retrieve the temperature and current readings.  I have emailed and asked him if he would like some help.  I’ve always wanted to be involved in environment efforts in the ocean.

I then got a photo of Amado and Sue Felix as well as their nephew visiting them from the U.S.  Another TWR family from Holland was there; the Veldmans, who have six kids. They are actually on vacation at the moment.  He is a new diver, and so may become a future dive buddy for me.

And then a Bonairian lady walked up and asked me if I was the John McDonald that used to go to HAVO.  I said I was actually in the first HAVO ever.  HAVO was the upgraded school system called Higher Education which inaugurated the year I entered high school.  Apparently, Alvin, one of my classmates, was her brother.  He is studying in Holland, but she will email him.

There was another lady, I think her name was Ella, that was visiting the Pedersens the previous evening who was also in the service.

Brad Swanson runs the sound system.

Overall, it was a very friendly congregation, and they seem to be very active.  Next week, they are taking up a food collection for the Food Bank.  Apparently some people are actually going hungry on the island and the church is stepping in to help out.

After church, the Pedersens invited me out to lunch, so I went to their place for a second time.  As the service was over at 10:30, it was a while before it was time for lunch.

On the way to their hosue, we drove around the sub-division in the Belnam area, and I noted how many new homes there were, but, as usual, there were a lot of homes that were incomplete and appeared abandoned.  While lunch was being prepared, we sat around playing video games for a while, and then had a breakfast-type of lunch.  It was again a joy to be surrounded by such a loving family.

I excused myself around three o’clock and drove home, expecting to do a scuba dive.  However, the boats left at 2:30, so I was too late for that.  As it was, I was feeling rather tired from my hectic week, so decided to have a short nap.  Once I had been revived, I got up and worked on my blog for a little while before going downtown to get some supper at one of the seaside restaurants.  I’m getting rather spoiled, and will have to budget a little better next week.

Some of the restaurants were closed, so I ended up at Karel’s Restaurant, which is actually on top of a dock.  They cater to the yachts that anchor nearby, and actually have their own little water-taxi service to bring them to the restaurant.  I just got to the restaurant when Roy said Hi.  Apparently he was having a few drinks before flying home in the morning.  I ordered a seafood plate, and chatted with Roy for almost a couple hours.  It was an absolutely enchanting evening on the ocean front.

On the way home, I noticed a few motorcycles rumbling by. Bonaire has the highest per capita Harley-Davidson ownership in the world!  There is even an annual motorcycle rally in when people actually ship their Harley-Davidsons to the island for the event.  The strangest thing is that there is no helmet law on Bonaire.  Just like in a lot of the States, people ride around with no helmet at all.  It is rather scary to watch.

And so, after a rather relaxing day, it is time to head to bed and get ready for the busy work week ahead.

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