First of all, our apologies for taking so long to send y’all an update. The holidays we’re crazy busy down here with special services at both churches, youth Christmas program, rehearsals, Bible studies and more! So be prepared for a long post packed full of MANY pictures and videos! 🙂
The video below was supposed to be shown to our Frontline family on Christmas morning at church but y’all had a Christmas Snowpocalypse and church was cancelled. We shot this video the last night of our Christmas play rehearsal with Unique Youth, Grace Connection’s youth group. So, enjoy our belated Christmas greetings! 🎄
Now back to a week prior to Christmas and during all of our “hustle and bustle” . . . we saw our first wild donkey which Mallory thought was absolutely hilarious! Maybe it was a sign for us start reflecting more on the Christmas Story and Mary riding on a donkey, pregnant with Jesus, all the way to Bethlehem. 🌟
As we got closer to Christmas, a lot of preparations took place for the youth group’s Christmas play on Christmas Day morning. Melinda ran many errands shopping for props and items to make some (which she really didn’t mind). 😉 We also enjoyed a scrumptious breakfast at one of the youth leaders’ homes (Jennyfer) and then worked on crafty stuff for the Christmas play. We all did a little bit of Christmas shopping too, Radio Semiya again to talk about the meaning of Jesus being born in a stable, John taught Mallory how to change a flat tire, we took an afternoon break at a new beach, Melinda practiced songs to sing at two different services, and John worked on several different messages since we were going to be at the Bible Church on Christmas Eve for their Candlelight Dinner Gala, Grace Connection on Christmas morning, as well as the upcoming New Year’s Eve service. Whew!!! 🤪
Unique Youth – Grace Connection Youth Group final rehearsal for our “Just a Little Christmas” Christmas play. What’s the saying again . . . “bad rehearsal, good performance?” LOL! 😂
It was such an honor to be invited to attend, speak and sing at Iglesia de Biblica’s 69th Annual Christmas Candle Light Gala Dinner! 🕯️We had soooo much fun singing and dancing to the music all night … way past their “ending time” and of course, the food was delicious too! Enjoy these snapshots of our amazing Christmas Eve and video clips of Pastor Michael Look and Pastor John Lowder dancing the night away! 😉
Late night Christmas Eve and early Christmas morning to set up and prepare for the youth group (Unique Youth) service! We were so excited to finally be able to perform our Christmas play for everyone and celebrate Christmas morning with our Grace Connection church family! There was singing, testimonies, dancing, a short sermon and our Christmas play entitled “Just a Little Christmas.” The youth did an AMAZING job performing their lines and parts and we couldn’t be prouder of them!!! It was a Christmas miracle! 🙏🏼
Christmas Day looked a bit different for us this year since we weren’t at “home” experiencing your wonderful white (blizzard) Christmas. ❄️ However, we made the best of it and definitely enjoyed the Christmas morning service at Grace Connection and then went home to have a huge Christmas lunch consisting of PB&J sandwiches, veggies and chips! 😂 We had been eating so much food in the days before Christmas and that’s just what sounded best to the three of us before reading the Christmas Story from Luke 2 and opening our small gifts to each other under our “tree.” 🎄 With being on a very tight budget this year, it was fun and creative thinking of gifts for each other and we all shared in laughter and love while opening our gifts. The youth leaders, Kevin and Samara, invited us over for pizza and a movie on Christmas night which was so much fun, as we introduced them to the good ‘ole Christmas movie “The Grinch!” 💚
It was so nice to “breathe” and have a little time off in between the holidays, as we were extremely busy and pretty much on-the-go since we arrived in Curaçao. So, Pastor Said (from the Pentecostal church that we’ve been doing Bible studies at) surprised us and took us on a plane ride tour of the Island in a 4-seater Cessna 172P. 🛩️ I (Melinda) was the only one nervous because the plane was so small, and I have a slight fear of airplanes crashing. 🤪 Not to mention, the turbulence of a small plane! 🤢 However, we all had a wonderful time and enjoyed learning about all the controls of the plane, freaking out when he let JOHN take the controls, and just viewing this beautiful Island of Curaçao and Klein Curaçao (“little Curaçao”) from the sky! It was so cool seeing views of the various beaches and places we have visited from above! ⛅
December 28 – BON BINI JARED & ABBY!!!
I can’t even tell you how excited I was to see some family from back home again, and especially my son and new daughter-in-love!!! 💛💙 Since we had a little more “time off” (no Bible studies but still Sunday preaching) due to the holidays, we absolutely had to start giving Jared and Abby a tour of the Island, show them downtown Willemstad, our favorite beaches, and the boys HAD to golf while the ladies relaxed at Blue Bay Beach all day! ☀️
Next busy weekend . . . New Year’s Eve! It is tradition here in Curaçao for NYE to be celebrated much bigger and LOUDER and with thousands of fireworks!!! The article written below by a tourist explains it so much better than I could, so I provided its link below. It was no joke either . . . we’re still hearing fireworks and it’s January 12! We had a night service on New Year’s Eve at Grace Connection from 8-10pm where we celebrated in worship the blessings of 2022 and John brought the message bringing in the new year 2023! Enjoy our New Year’s Eve service videos which includes Mallory’s testimony, Melinda and Abby’s special music, pictures and video of the AMAZING celebration that takes place here on the Island! 🎉🎆🧨
2023 – New Year’s Day was filled with another new beach (Tugboat Beach – where you can snorkel and dive to see the beautiful fish and coral by a sunken tugboat), football watching and unfortunately, Abby getting stung by Fire Coral. She’s fine now but it was not so much after she got out of the water! So, we didn’t mind hanging out the rest of the day watching football and movies at home after a busy weekend! ☹️
January 2, 2023 – BEACH HOPPING DAY!
💦Blue Room – Turtle Beach 🐢
Next adventure . . . The Blue Room > Scared, daring, trust, faith, air, blue, nervous, blessing. These are just some of the words that come to mind when we arrived at the cliff that we had to jump off to get into the Blue Room after a mile hike through wet, muddy, hot and thorny terrain. Here is a link for more information about the Blue Room so you can see what I’m talking about! The Blue Room Curacao – I’m happy for the experience to do this daring adventure but will not be doing it again. (Plus, I’m not made any more to dive – snorkeling is much better for me.) 😂
Next on the agenda for 2023 was the Unique Youth (youth group) from Grace Connection church camping trip! This camp is owned by one of the members at Pastor Said’s church and is like an original “Boy Scouts” camp in Curaçao. It hadn’t been used in quite a while and needed a lot of TLC and CLEANING! So, who better to ask to help clean the outside of the buildings, concrete, ceilings and more? The owner of A Better Way Exterior Cleaning – Pastor John and Jared! 🙂😉 Kevin, John, Jared and a bunch of boys from the youth group spent many hours the day before the campout cleaning the bathrooms, outside rinsing areas, and main building inside and out . . . you don’t even want to know what they were cleaning off everything! 😆🦎🪳🕷️🕸️🪲🐌🐝🦇🚽🤢
Despite sleeping on very uncomfortable bunk beds in an open-air building and getting very little sleep, it was such a huge blessing to be a part of this youth event! We played games, sang songs around a campfire, heard testimonies (Mallory gave her testimony in front of 26 youth), did Bible lessons and presented the Gospel (Jared & Abby both spoke), worked on some service projects around the camp, and ended the 2-day event at a beach, of course! 🌴 It was wonderful getting to know some of the youth here on a more personal level and we are really going to miss them when we leave in a few days! 😭
Our 2nd to last Sunday at Grace Connection was quite emotional, as some of the church members will not be at our last Sunday there this coming weekend to say goodbye to. It’s very bittersweet that we are leaving already for Bonaire next week because we’ve made so many new friends and church family in Curaçao. 🥺 We have many activities planned for this week as we say “see ya later” to so many of them during Bible studies, church services, lunches, dinners, the radio station and more. Here’s a glimpse at our last Sunday get together after church at Curaçao’s “new” Denny’s restaurant . . . where we waited 2 hours for our food and got so slap happy hungry that we started doing “the wave” around the table! 😂😂
THE DENNY’S WAVE —>>> https://clipchamp.com/watch/1I13BSLk1AD
Well . . . that’s about it for now. Sorry it took so long for me to publish another update but as you can see, we’ve been a tiny bit busy. Please pray for us this weekend as we sadly say farewell to so many “brothers and sisters” that we’ve grown to love and care for here in Curaçao. It’s going to be a very difficult Sunday service for us and our wonderful friends at Iglesia Grace Connection. Please pray for us as we pack up our “home” here and Lord willing, it will all fit into less luggage than we came with since we’re now traveling on a smaller plane over to Bonaire on Monday afternoon (4:30 pm). We also ask for travelling mercies and a smooth transition for our family as our ministry responsibilities change in Bonaire and get accustomed to our new “home” and lifestyle on a totally different Island for the next three months.
Thank you all for your continued prayers and financial support! (Our finances are doing OK but we were unaware of some of the added expenses that have snuck up on us and didn’t realize the much higher cost of living here on the Island and then even more expensive in Bonaire.) Your support definitely does not go unnoticed, and we have been so blessed to have this opportunity to watch the Lord change lives here in Curaçao and see people grow in their love for Jesus! We look forward to the mighty things the Lord has planned for us and the people of Bonaire, as well! 🙏🏼