March 17 – SGB School Ministry Update
THANK YOU to everyone who prayed for our youth revival night! It was a HUGE success and about 40 kids come out to listen to Anthony share his testimony and the Gospel! We were able to play some games, eat pizza and enjoy wonderful fellowship! It was supposed to end at 9:00 PM but if I remember correctly, we didn’t leave until almost 11:00 PM! Along with this revival night, if you haven’t checked out all God was doing in the local high school and the opportunities Anthony and John had to share Anthony’s testimony and the Gospel to about 15 different classes and see kids ask to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior, here is the video that we made talking about what God was doing! It’s too much to type so we put it in a video. Please click the link to watch if you haven’t seen it yet! 🙌🏼
Message from Anthony . . . It was a great time to go to the schools and impact these kids. This experience really gave me a strong passion and desire for the youth and sharing with them that the world will fail to give them the love, acceptance, value, and identity that we were created needing. But it is only in God where we can get those needs fully met. Only by a relationship with Him can we truly find perfect love, acceptance, value, identity and life. I had the opportunity to lead the youth group the last few weeks here and that was a lot of fun coming up with games and lessons for them!
March 25 – Special Kid’s Event for Amboina Neighborhood
Ministerio de Grasia held an event at a community center for the children in the church’s neighborhood (Amboina). We canvassed the neighborhood the week of the event to pass out invitations and talk to the parents about the church. It was fun learning about the neighborhood, culture and meeting some new families. The day before the event, Mallory and Melinda helped assemble the gifts for each child that attended. The church had received a large amount of donation boxes from the Samaritan’s Purse organization right before Covid and they had MANY boxes left over, so we were able to gift each child according to their age with these boxes. (Their church is in a very poor neighborhood.) Sorting through and reorganizing the boxes was a very humbling experience, as I’ve only ever been on the giving-side of this organization shopping for items to put in these boxes. It was at times overwhelming, seeing the generosity of items inside a box and reading some of the letters that were inside. God provided in a BIG way with these donations and the children were so excited and grateful for their gifts!
About 30 children from the ages of 6-12 years old attended, played some games, sang some fun songs, made Creation Storey bracelets, and heard the Gospel from Denise Brunk. It was so much fun to be part of this event and watch the excitement and enthusiasm the children had throughout the morning!
John had the awesome opportunity to speak with some local Bonaire pastors on a Saturday morning about the joys and struggles of what it’s like to be a pastor. Being a pastor in the States and here on the Island is very similar in a lot of ways. his main challenge was to encourage the men in their lives because they do matter.
We held a reigning in life conference/Bible study that took place over the span of four weeks. Pastor John was able to teach about the freedom that we have in Christ and what it means that we can enjoy eternal life now. To learn about the rest of the Gospel, that is, Christ living His life in and through us every day and what that means. He was able to minister to the church members in this way and it went great!
Anthony’s last game night was definitely bittersweet for all of us! We held an “extra game night” on a Monday so that we could get almost all of our new game night friends to attend to say their goodbyes. We all had so much fun, as usual, and Anthony even shared his testimony and the Gospel with everyone at the end of the night. One of the men who attends every week was so touched by his testimony, that he has continued having conversations with us about “what we do” and our faith. He even attended our Good Friday service and when we took him to lunch afterwards, opened his heart to us, told us his story, struggles, pain and how much the service touched him in ways that he couldn’t even explain. He is definitely struggling to “figure life out” but told us that he has seen something “different” in our family throughout the months we’ve been here. He couldn’t attend our Easter service but went out to lunch with us again, along with Pastor Carlos and Denise (whom he REALLY likes to hear speak too) and we continued to talk with him about life. God is moving people here like we never could have imagined, and our prayer is that he continues to do so and that our equipping/teaching helps maintain this excitement for Jesus after we’ve gone back to Michigan. 🙌🏼
⭐Curaçao Preacher’s Training
Pastor John and I had the wonderful opportunity to travel back to Curaçao to see some of our church leader friends for a weekend. The goal was to finish the preaching course with all of the speakers at Grace Connection Church which we’ve been doing by Zoom since the beginning of March. John loved being in person to do this and was blessed to preach on Sunday, as well. We also enjoyed surprising the Unique Youth kids on Friday night during their kite-making youth group event! We have missed our church family in Curaçao so much, so being invited by the leaders to come back was such a blessing!!! 🇨🇼
🤦🏼♀️🤦🏼♀️🤦🏼♀️ Bonaire & Klein Bonaire skyview We’re back!!! Bingo & Angel missed John a lot! 🐾 John & I had a couple hours to enjoy downtown Curacao AND Starbucks! ❤️ Unique Youth (youth group) Kite-Making Champion instructing the kids on how to properly make a kite Ciara & “MamaMin” Brother Anthony came in after Bible study to help John decorate his kite . . . Anthony & John’s creepy creation 🤣 Sunday morning worship at Grace Connection Church Post-Service activity . . . Kite Flying! 🪁 Taking the tail off one kite & putting it on John’s (since we forgot to) WILL IT FLY??? SUCCESS!!! He’s like a kid in a candy shop flying his very own kite! 😊 CAN YOU FIND IT??? 🪁🪁🪁 John gifted his kite to these two sisters . . . they were sooooo excited!!! Pre-flight lunch at Wendy’s with Pastor Roy & Martina On our way to back Bonaire . . .
🇵🇦 Anthony’s Off to Panama! ✈
April 4 – Saying “see ya later” to Anthony was certainly very bittersweet! We were soooooooooo blessed to have him here in Bonaire with us during our three months and we could not have done ALL the things we have without him!!! He is part of our family now and we will forever treasure our many, many memories we made together here in Bonaire! He has had such an impact on my life, as well as so many others at Ministerio de Grasia, kids from the SGB school, neighborhood families, game night friends, so many different people he met just on the street, in bars, restaurants and more! We are so proud of how far Anthony has come in ministering to others by sharing his story and the Gospel and leading others to Christ! While he is going to be missed the next six months while he ministers in Panama and Costa Rica, we are 1000% confident that he’s going to move mountains and change lives in both of those countries as well! God is so good ALL the time! Praise the Lord that Anthony has this opportunity to share Jesus with people all over the world and have memories that will last a lifetime! 🙏🏼🙌🏼✝️
If you haven’t read Anthony’s latest post yet, here’s just a snippet of his message regarding his time here in Bonaire. He will be missed by us, our church family here (and back home), as well as all of the new friends he made while ministering here on the Island!
Message from Anthony . . . Wow. Just wow! I can’t believe my time in Bonaire has come to an end and that I have been here for 3 months already! It’s been just an awesome and crazy ride and I wouldn’t change anything about the trip. I have grown so much spiritually, and emotionally during this trip. I’ve matured so much and have grown in my passion and desire for missions/ministry. I absolutely love everything that God has done and the work of the Holy Spirit here in Bonaire and in my life. I’m so excited for the next part of my journey of going to Panama and then Costa Rica after. I’ve had the privilege of working with Carlos and Denise Brunk as well as learning so much from them here in Bonaire. It’s crazy to think that in 2014 I came here but ended up leaving after about a week because of health issues. But God in His sovereignty knew when I would be ready and more mature in life and in my walk with Him to return to make a true lasting impact. Along with serving the Brunks here, it’s been great working with my Pastor, John Lowder and his family. I’ve learned so much from these great people and I’m excited to use what I’ve learned and share how I’ve grown. John has been my mentor and best friend since 2015. Since 2018 we have always talked about how awesome it would be to do full time ministry together. God in His love and grace made that possible for us here. I wouldn’t have changed a thing about this trip and doing ministry with Him. We really are Paul and Barnabas out here!
Proverbs 18:24 – “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
God used me in ways that I never thought I would be used. Preaching; leading Bible studies; teaching youth group; going to the local high school and sharing my testimony and The Gospel in about 15 different classrooms; prayer meetings and growing in my own prayer life; youth revival event and being able to speak there; being part of Sunday services; meeting with people in their homes; doing some counseling; marriage conference; board game nights and sharing my testimony and the gospel with them; evangelism and discipleship, and so much more! This would not have been possible without your support through the giving of your finances and your prayers. I truly thank you all and I pray often for you that God will bless you greatly. I couldn’t do this without you. If I could do it without you, I would not have been as effective without your prayers, encouragement, and love. I thank each and every one of you that made this possible.
During our last couple of weeks here in Bonaire, we wanted to add as many ministry opportunities AND fun island adventures into our schedules as possible. We were blessed to be involved in the wedding of Romy and Daniel – this AMAZING couple from church who we’ve grown to love like family! John and I had one last afternoon date at a local beach resort and were able to snorkel and relax for a few hours during the busy Easter weekend. Ministerio de Grasia church leadership blessed us with a night out at this beautiful beach resort restaurant called Rum Runners. The food was absolutely delicious, and we enjoyed lots of laughter, memories and talking about how much we’re going to miss the Island and our church family!
Romy & Daniel’s Wedding Ceremony The New Mr. & Mrs. Frances 🤍 Romy’s sister did an amazing job singing at the reception 🎶 French Angel Fish Trumpet Fish Stoplight Parrot Fish Blue Parrot Fish The first Eagle Ray I saw off the boardwalk by our apartment! Eagle Ray digging through the sand for food Palometa Fish Foureye Butterflyfish Blue Tang Fish First time seeing Squid while snorkeling – we think this was a family Little Baby Squid This crazy Gecko was inside my tennis shoe in our bedroom 🦎
April 11 – John was given an opportunity to speak at a different church on the island where he shared his testimony and how he is “addicted to Grace”. It’s always an honor to be asked to speak at another pastor’s church, and Pastor Alex and Jasmin Senchi are wonderful servants of God!
Well . . . as I write this it is 11:31 PM on Tuesday, April 11. I cannot believe that we only have SIX more sleeps until we board American Airlines at Flamingo Airport in Bonaire, and begin our 19-hour trek home to Byron Center, Michigan. 😢 VERY bittersweet, of course, but we are extremely excited to get back to our family, friends, church, Olive (our dog), our own beds, green grass, warm showers, and the list goes on! We are going to miss ALL of our new family, friends and ministries on both islands so very much but have promised that this will not be the last time we see everyone and WILL return some day! In the meantime, we hope to have MANY visitors from Bonaire and Curaçao to Michigan in the very near future! 😁 This will probably be my last post here in Bonaire but I will TRY my best to get a quick one out during our layovers on the LONG adventure home next week Monday and Tuesday! Your prayers and support are so much appreciated during the entire six months of our mission trip and we cannot thank you enough! We cannot wait to share our UNBELIEVABLE experiences with you all once we get back and will forever be changed from this trip!!! 🙌🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼