M & M in Suriname

Our life with the Wayana indians

17 november 2023
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Just before we leave

The suitcases are packed. The last shopping has been done, including seasonal goodies and a Christmas loaf that will go into the freezer for another month in Suriname 😁.

We are very grateful that Marco is doing so well. The blood thinners have dissolved the clots and the support stocking should prevent clots from occurring again. We bought compression stockings for flying. Despite the fact that we have been flying regularly for years, that idea had not occurred to us. You’re never too old to learn!

We have used the last few extra weeks to visit Marjolein’s parents a few more times, see other family members, enjoy autumn (although the many rain showers did get in the way of walks), and assist our son a few times in his building project.

As much rain as has fallen in the Netherlands this past month, so little has fallen in the entire Amazon region for months. The people have been praying for rain for months because the Wayana and Trio now have to use river water for drinking. We hear of (children with) diarrhea and vomiting symptoms. One of the elders of Apetina called us to ask for intercession for his youngest son who is very ill due to these symptoms. Last Wednesday they flew with the MAF to Paramaribo, where mother and son are now in a hospital.

Our daughter Elisabeth told us that it is raining today in Paramaribo and we hope that this is also the case in the interior of Suriname.

Tomorrow, Saturday, November 18, we will be in the car to Schiphol at 5.30 am. If all goes well, our plane will take off at 8:45 am. We look forward to meeting everyone again on the other side of the ocean!

6 november 2023
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Things change

There are days when it seems like your heart isn’t big enough to contain all the joy. Last October 8 was such a day for us. Our grandson Jayden was baptized and Marco, as grandfather, was given the honor to serve in the baptism. For us another sign of God’s faithfulness through the generations.

Every time we enjoy to connect with the Wayanas deep in the interior when on leave. We keep well informed of important developments. For example, on October 17 we heard from Johan from Apetina that the Grand Chief of the Wayanas at the Tapanahony river had passed away at the age of 85. Nuwahe Aptuk leaves a great legacy to his tribe: the Bible (all 66 books) in their own language! From the beginning of the translation process he has been involved as the helper of the translator, Ivan Schoen. It is their life’s work. What a privilege that we were able to attend the official ceremony in Apetina at the time!

“Things change” a famous poet in the Netherlands, Joost van den Vondel, said centuries ago. We experienced that last week Monday when our lives suddenly became all about visiting the medical doctor, having blood samples taken and a lung photo taken in a local hospital. After the results reached the doctor, an emergency visit was strongly adviced to the ER in Ede a few hours later. The outcome is that Marco has a thrombosis in his left knee and, given the severe shortness of breath during exertion, also a pulmonary embolism. The treatment has started immediately on Monday evening with blood thinners. We were also told that Marco is not allowed to fly for at least 2 weeks.

We have now rescheduled our flight to Paramaribo to November 18. We are extremely grateful for this quick diagnosis and the adequate and pleasant treatment from doctors and nurses.


18 september 2023
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In our previous blog we wrote that we would travel to Suriname again on August 26. That was over 3 weeks ago.

This time saying goodbye to our (grand)children was not so difficult. It looked like we were going on holiday to Suriname for a month. That holiday didn’t happen, because there was and still is plenty to do: check-ups with the dermatologist and dentist, visits to family and friends on this side of the ocean and the necessary online meetings. We also spent hours in the garden battling the weeds. We hired an expert to cut down a number of dead trees before one of them would fall on our roof or the neighbors’ roof in a flying storm. We felt some tension about the outcome, but the trees were pulled in the right direction and fell just right. In our home Marco has  installed three kitchen drawers and a new toilet.

Carefull nothing falls the wrong direction here

In Suriname the main holiday period is from mid-August to early October. We went to Commewijne for a day out with our daughter and her family. Canoeing together on the Peperpot plantation, walking to the lookout tower, which has unfortunately already been overtaken in height by a number of giant trees, drinking coffee together with a delicious syrup waffle baked in Suriname and then eating the famous saoto soup in Tamanredjo. We enjoyed it all, but most of all each others company.

Cannoe ride in Peperpot Plantation

We have been making several phone calls to the Netherlands to arrange our appointments for the month of October.

figuring out the right size here

This week we give another training for Foundations for Farming near Paramaribo on the premises of Lob Makandra in Santopolder. Very rewarding to do.

Using wood we cut down to make a rack for garbage on the side of the road

This coming weekend we will look after our daughter’s 7 dogs, so she is able to go away for a few days with her family. We use those days to visit some friends in the city.

Monday morning 25/9 we were able to make an appointment with our dermatologist on her first day after her holiday. After our appointment we will travel on to the airport to fly to the Netherlands.

Marco will fly to Singapore on 29/9 for the annual meetings with the directors of World Team.

18 augustus 2023
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Training succesfull

Last Thursday, Amepun and Susina safely reached their village in Suriname after their three-month Canada trip. They want to thank you all for your support in so many ways!

Of course, there were some bumps in the road when they wanted to fly from Toronto to Trinidad and then on to Paramaribo. The system said no suitcases were booked for the way back. Susina and Amepun were so happy with the help of their host family in Hamilton, who made sure that their suitcases could be taken back to Suriname.

They had a good flight and a great stopover in Trinidad, where a local missionary couple showed them around. This couple could hear the difference in the English conversation Amepun and Susina could have.

They have learned a lot in so many ways. We have found it very special that we were able to stay in touch with them via WhatsApp in recent months, while we traveled around the other side of the world.

The last part of our journey was in Northern Thailand, Mae Hong Son. Together with Dick and Johanna de Koning we drove in their car from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son on a beautiful, but winding road. Fortunately, Johanna brought tablets against motion sickness, otherwise Marjolein would certainly have become motion sick. Before we went to our Airbnb, we stopped at Bee and Kè’s farm. This way we could get acquainted and make arrangements for the next day.

What a special time we had during the training. The interpreter is Buddhist but listened very interested to the Biblical foundation of the Foundations for Farming technique. For Bee and Kè, the pieces of the puzzle now fell into place.

It was moving to hear how happy and blessed they were with this training and to see how enthusiastically they got to work with the new principles. For us, Dick and Johanna and M&M, it was special to think that when the plans were made for this training last September, Kè did not yet have a personal relationship with God. At the beginning of this year, his life has changed radically, and he and his wife have really become a team.

Bee and Kè’s farm is located in Thailand’s poorest and most backward province. It is special that the training of Foundations for Farming could be given here.

With a grateful heart we said goodbye to Dick and Johanna last Wednesday, after we had completed the training the day before. After a bus trip with 1864 bends we spent the night in Chiang Mai. Thursday, we flew to Bangkok and Friday, August 18, from Bangkok to the Netherlands.

We will be in the Netherlands for the next week. Saturday the 26th we hope to leave for Suriname.

6 augustus 2023
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Who travels far …

We were impressed while visiting missionaries from our home Church in the Netherlands who live and work in a closed country in South-East Asia. Great to see how they live, what they do and to meet some of their team members. Without them, our visit would have been quite a challenge because not many people speak English. We don’t speak a word of the local language. The tropical warmth, the well-known fruits, scents, and vegetables, also gave some sort of a ‘home feeling’.

After this, we moved on to World Team’s first global conference held in Thailand. We were together with about 400 people in a beautiful environment. We enjoyed the conversations during meals, praying together at different times during the day, the inspiring workshops, and the various presentations from all places where ‘WorldTeam-ers’ are called to work.

3 C

Great place to spend the conference

We celebrated 150 years World Team out of RMBU and WIM

We also made a trip to ECHO, an agricultural NGO where we received a very interesting tour.

Seeds ready to be distributed

Monday morning, July 25, we boarded a plane again to land in Brisbane the following Tuesday morning. There we could relax in our cozy Airbnb and enjoy the beautiful surroundings for the next few days. On Friday, July 28, we were able to share with students and staff of the Brisbane School of Theology about God’s work in various places around the world, showing them that there are quite a few opportunities in our World Team fields.

Great hikes

Japanese flowering cherry

Cheese …. really?

In the meantime, we also had regular contact with Amepun and Susina in Canada. What a blessing modern technology is at such a time! We are so proud of them as we watch them learning and serving in Canada for a period of 3 months. During the conference in Thailand, we also brainstormed with our colleagues from Canada about the next steps for the coming years as the Wayana outreach in Canada continues to grow. Amepun and Susina arrived safely in Suriname last Saturday morning.


After this, we enjoyed our time in Sydney last week being ‘missionaries of the week’ at Sydney Missionary and Bible College representing World Team. Our desire was to encourage and challenge the students to serve elsewhere in the world. We have received feedback from various people that our enthusiasm and stories from our own lives have been very encouraging. We already live and work in so many beautiful places in the world, but this place and its people have certainly also got a place in our hearts!


Outing to the East Coast at Redcliff

Now we get to work on the last part of this journey. We have exchanged the winter in Australia for the tropical warmth of Thailand. We arrived safely in Chiang Mai yesterday morning. Tomorrow, together with Dick and Johanna de Koning, fellow missionaries from C&MA, we will travel to Northern Thailand to give Foundations for Farming training for the next 10 days. We are looking forward to this!

10 juli 2023
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From West to East

After the last training at high altitude in Peru, Marco arrived safely in the Netherlands on June 29.

The following days were devoted to reporting and preparations for the next trip to Asia.

We are writing this blog in the departure hall of Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and hope to board our flight to Bangkok in less than an hour. The coming weeks will be full of activities again.

We are visiting a missionary family from our home church, we will join a large World Team conference, we are going to visit two bible schools in Australia to promote the work of World Team and last but not least, we are going to present a training for Foundations for Farming in the north of Thailand with fellow missionaries of C&MA.

Our travel schedule brings us back to Dutch soil on August 18 to travel to Suriname a week later.

We plan to post a number of photos on our blog every week so that we can share our adventures in pictures.


24 juni 2023
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Two worlds

We wrote our last message on the eve of the annual Conference at Pentecost. That weekend was a blessing having great conversations while meeting with people at the missions fair in the C&MA stand and many ‘old’ acquaintances who we met all over the place. For Foundations for Farming, Marco was involved in a seminar with the theme ‘helping worldwide – without hurting others’. For more information see https://foundationsforfarming.nl/nieuws

Two days after the Conference, Marco boarded a plane to Peru. Marjolein would stay in the Netherlands these weeks making use of the opportunity to see a lot of people.

A day out with her aunt from Soest, visits to her parents in Veenendaal, cycling with her father and even a weekend sailing in Friesland. Enjoying the beautiful days that the Netherlands has to offer in this time of the year.

From Lima in Peru, Marco flew straight to Santiago de Chile, together with our Chinese recruiter from Canada and a Korean churchleader who is looking for mission opportunities for Korean missionaries who recently had their work permits in the great oriental country with many millions of inhabitants cancelled.

In Santiago we visited three Chinese churches. Thousands of Chinese live and work in this city who never had the opportunity to hear the gospel. The group then traveled on to Santa Cruz in Bolivia. There is one Chinese church that yearns for support. Gradually the vision became clear to bring Chinese church leaders from South and Central America together in an annual meeting in Lima to establish and strengthen mutual ties and to learn from each other’s problems and vision. This will probably start next May.

In Lima, as leader of World Team’s work in Latin America, Marco met a number of new candidates who want to join the Chinese team in Lima. A Korean couple who have worked among Chinese people for 30 years, of which 10 years in Jerusalem; a man from a family from the North of the United States who came to live in Lima for three months and in the following years for six months a year to work in the team. Last but not least a young lady from Hong Kong who visited Lima just now to discover if Lima was the place God has in store for her within her vision to work among the Chinese in South America.

The following weeks were filled with training activities for Foundations for Farming. Marco first traveled to Piura in the North and then straight on to Pueblo Nuevo de Calan, a small town near the coast. From there, every day, an hour back and forth with an overcrowded taxivan to provide training in the next even smaller community of Villa Miramar.

Then it was first back to Piura to travel the next night by nightbus to Tumbes and then immediately with a taxi to the north along the border with Ecuador in Nuevo Progreso. The kick-off was on Sunday afternoon with a first group of farmers. After having explained the purpose and content  of the training he invited them to bring friends and fellow farmers to the first training Monday afternoon.

These three days of training took place the following week. After that Marco flew back to Lima and the following day to Huancayo in order to do a follow-up training of  2 days with 10 participants of ‘Pan de Vida’, another partner of Foundation for Farming with units all over Peru. This is follow-up on what has been done about a year ago so he can give instructions for improvement on what will be the outcome of the evaluation. It looks like we will be busy in Peru for the next few years. The first week a leader from Pucallpa came along who would like to have us in his city next year to come and train there as well. Marco will travel back to the Netherlands on June 28, according to plan. Then the adventure to Asia follows. To be continued.

1 juni 2023
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Time does not stand still

We are already a few weeks further since our last publication on our blog at the end of March. A lot has happened in the past few weeks. In the first place there was the Easter conference in Apetina. Like every year, this was a great celebration with many guests from villages along the river. For many in the village it was a long-awaited reunion with family and friends. Four canoes full of visitors came upstream from Tepu and Palumeu.

Five large aluminum boats came from the Lawa with people from Awarahpan. They arrived within only a few minutes apart so that the choir from the church and the reception committee had to quickly walk over the rocks to the other side of the village immediately after the arrival of one group in order to receive the second wave of visitors. It turned out to be a great weekend with a number of meetings in church every day, eating together and in the evening exchanging what had happened in everyone’s lives.

In order to be back in town in time for our next trip, we wanted to leave Apetina right after the conference. We learned that during the conference a group from the Medical Mission came to the village to investigate the state of affairs regarding malaria. They like to take advantage of these conferences to meet many people in a village having their blood samples examined by microscope every day. More than 400 people took the test and it turned out that no one was infected. We also had our blood tested and our result was also positive. We were able to get a ride with the pick-up flight and therefore arrived in our house near Paramaribo fairly quickly after the conference.

At the end of April we left for the Netherlands. Marco immediately drove on to be in Florence in time for the World Team global leaders meetings. Marjolein arrived two days later after which we visited Marco’s brother in the north of Italy together. We hadn’t met in 6 years. Then we drove back to the Netherlands to be in time for the next trip, this time to Trinidad & Tobago. We had a short week in between to preach on Sunday in the Chinese Church in Rotterdam and then help Marjolein’s brother with some jobs in their new home in Vroomshoop. How nice it is to be able to catch up with each other for a few days about what is happening in our lives.

After arriving in Trinidad, Marco first traveled to Tobago. On Mother’s Day he was invited to preach in the church of Scarborough, the pastor of which is also chairman of the mission committee within the ECWI (Evangelical Church of the West Indies). He then spoke at church on two evenings to help put missions back on the map. After Covid, the churches were ready for a new impulse. Marco was asked to be the keynote speaker for the Mission Conference on Sunday, May 21, in the south of Trinidad. Marjolein joined him on Wednesday, after which we had a full program together with a number of meetings with people who were interested in missions. The days before the weekend of the 21st we were at ECWI’s Bible Camp to help with the final preparations.

It was nice to be able to work with the organizing committee and to get to know each other better. Peeling potatoes together well into Saturday night turned out to be an excellent bridge to each other’s hearts. Marco spoke about missions that Sunday morning to over 200 people who had gathered from the various churches on both islands. A nice detail was that he was allowed to talk about Foundations for Farming with a small group of interested people on Saturday morning. It now looks like we have been invited back in November for a first week of training on both islands. So to be continued.

In recent weeks we have been in regular contact with a few Wayana teams. Ame and Susina have arrived safely in Canada where they will spend three months learning English while deepening the various relationships they have met over the past year.

A team of 5 trainers from Foundations for Farming in Apetina has visited two Trio villages in the west of Suriname in the past two weeks. In Coeroenie and Amotopo, the principles of FfF were explained, a test garden was constructed and the first compost heap was set up. Also in these villages, there is a big problem to provide the people with enough food. The harvests are disappointing because the climate is also changing strongly here. We pray that this instruction will help people to see better results in their gardens with the newly learned method.

Marco turned 66 on May 24. Grateful for our health and energy, we were able to celebrate this in a small circle at the family of Andre and Wimke in Delft.

As we write this we are camping out at the Revival Conference at Pentecost. After many years we are involved again. Marco will speak on Sunday evening during a Foundations for Farming seminar and together we will be in the mission tent at the C&MA Mission stand a number of times. We remember how things were at this conference in the past. Yet an influx of around 75,000 people nowadays is something we cannot imagine yet. Our daughter Jiska is active within Mission the Netherlands in planning the mission seminars. We look forward to meeting with many of our acquaintances during the days in the field and pray that God may use us to assist those interested in missions in their preparations.

The month of June Marco travels to Peru for a number of training weeks for FfF and three weekends of meetings with the WT Team in Lima. For the first ten days he will travel with a Chinese team to Chile and Bolivia to research opportunities for new mission work among the Chinese population there. Marjolein stays in the Netherlands and looks forward to a good time with her parents in Veenendaal.

31 maart 2023
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Back HOME again in Apetina

With all the negative media coverage concerning riots in Suriname the last few weeks we want to let you know that we are safe and that we only noticed what is going on through the media. Of course, people in the interior also see prices of groceries and fuel are rising for the last few years. Fortunately, they are much less dependent on all the amenities the city offers. It’s nice to have a cylinder of cooking gas, it makes the cooking process a lot easier, but if it’s not there, they go to the forest and cut wood for cooking.

After almost a week of cleaning in our house in Apetina, we were ready to receive guests. We expected two men from the Netherlands on a Tuesday, but the flight schedule was messed up that morning, so the flight got re-scheduled for the next day. We were looking forward to meet them since they would bring a new Power Converter for our solar system.

When we arrived in Apetina, the radiator of the village generator was loaded into the plane to be repaired in the city. We are still waiting for the repair to be finished and for a flight that can take the radiator back to the village. Waiting is an issue we are used to in the jungle. When we tried to connect our freezer to the solar system it turned out that the Power Converter was broken. That meant no electricity at all! How can we charge our phones and computer? How do we keep the meat frozen and other items we brought with us to be refrigerated? Fortunately, there has been built a solar-powered freezer house in the village. The meat is kept frozen in one of the four freezers. There was room for our modest bag. Water is cooled/frozen in another freezer. With some improvising we managed to keep our fridge cool last week. In another house we could charge 2 battery packs each day in order to power our telephones so we could stay connected to the outside world. We are very grateful that this was possible and we were able to get things back to normal after a week when MAF brought in a new Power Converter to be installed.

In the past few days, Marco went for a dip in the river before siesta. It took quite a long time for him to return. As it turned out, his glasses fell into the river. Marco had to dive several times to look for his glasses, but in vain. While praying, he tried one more time close by. Happy to find his glasses back in his hands. Marco has a spare pair of glasses…in the city. These would have been difficult weeks. He came home very happy. Together we thanked God that He also wants to help us in these daily things. Nothing is too big or too small for Him.

In the village we hear the bushcutters every day. There is a lot of mowing in the village to have everything ready in time for the Easter conference. Last Saturday the people started to cut cooking wood getting into the bush with a number of canoes. Last week we brought 80 kilos of groceries for the church. We hear that three canoes full of people from the Lawa river are coming for the conference. A number of canoes also come down the river from Tepoe and Palemeu crossing the heavy rapids upstream from Apetina.

Last week we bought online the airline tickets to Canada for Amepun and Susina. They hope to be in Canada from May 10 to August 3. Their main goal is to learn the English language, but they also will stay in Sunchild and O’Chiese reserve for a number of weeks to minister to the people there. They look forward to meeting the people again. The missionary couple we met last year will take care of ESL, English lessons. Until then, the weekly online classes with Marilynne from Calgary will continue ‘as usual’. We are impressed by the faithfulness of Amepun and Susina, but also of Marilynne, who has been spending time every Saturday morning at 8 am to teach the Wayana for almost 2 years now.

Last but NOT Least we would like your attention for the

For the very first time EVER, World Team will be hosting a Global Conference in summer 2023 where ALL World Team missionaries from all over the world, and the staff of all three sending centers, are invited to participate. It is called the “3C Conference” – Community – Collaboration – Celebration, and will be hosted in Asia. We are excited to be a part of such a worldwide team, and eager to meet coworkers from Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe. This will be an opportunity to find community among workers that can relate to our day-to-day, collaborate on future projects, celebrate the grace of the Lord that we have each seen in our lives and ministries, and learn from the hundreds of years of combined experiences of our colleagues. Here are some specific prayer requests for the upcoming World Team Global Conference:

1) Pray for safety for the many workers who will be traveling from all over the world.

2) Pray that God would use this conference to sustain and stir up his workers to face the upcoming challenges and joys of ministry.

3) Pray for encouragement, renewal, and new ideas as we speak to missionaries whose experience varies from ours. 

4) Pray that we would all walk away from this conference with a renewed joy and passion in our work. 

Would you consider helping to make this conference possible for our workers? Would you pray about sponsoring an individual or a family? Your partnership will have a huge impact on the future of our mission and our projects.

31 januari 2023
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A great start

All of a sudden it is the end of January and the first month of this new year has already passed.

Our solar panels needed cleaning. A long pole with a broom connected at the end helped to get the job done.

We have been sorting things out in our house in Lawa because on January 23d Anneke Kempeneers moved in from Maripasoula. That means making two households into one. For her ministry with the youth it is important to be closer to the Wayana youth leaders and the youth. Since we don’t live in Lawa all year round, but also in Apetina and near Paramaribo, we offered to let her live in ‘our’ house in Lawa. We reverse the roles, normally she came to stay with us and from now on we will stay with her.

From Tabiki/Maripasoula with the canoe. We had our lawnmower fixed in the city. For one of our neighbors we could bring a new washing machine along.

After a quick visit from Marco to the city (as it turned out after a checkup by the dentist) to extract a tooth whose root no longer wanted to cooperate, we have been busy planning, for ourselves, but also for the annual planning of the churches along the Lawa river. This still is sometimes difficult for the older leaders, especially if there is also a price tag attached to the activities. We see that the group of bible school students are more into thinking this way. Very nice to be able to advise from the sideline. We also see growth in this respect.

Last Sunday we had a meeting with the church leaders in our house after church to discuss the year plan for 2023.

Amepun and Susina are looking forward to visit Canada again this year.

Together with World Team Canada we made a 3-year plan (2023 – 2025) with a budget. The plan envisages three Wayana couples visiting three different places in Canada for three months at a time over the next three years. We believe the Lord shows three regions: Alberta (Calgary), Manitoba (Winnipeg), and Quebec (Montreal).

We plan a research trip to Montreal at the beginning of June. Through the NEFC (Native Evangelical Fellowship of Canada) we came into contact with a number of mission workers from UIM (United Indigenous Missions). They have worked there for 20 years and are connecting with several people in a nearby reserve. They would like assistance from a Wayana couple. Together with Ipomadi, the Grand Chief of the Wayana in Lawa, we will visit for more than a week to investigate the possibilities together with NEFC and UIM. We believe that God will bring us in touch with a Wayana couple that is fluent in French and called by Him to join this team.

An old friend came to pay us a visit. Rifi helped us paint our roof in Apetina. He is married now and they have two children.

Next Thursday, Paul Muzzin will come to Lawa for a 4-day visit. He filmed our Wayana team in Canada for a few weeks last summer. He visits to record how the Wayana’s live. We expect it to be some full days together. We plan to fly to the city with Paul on Monday, February 6.

Marjolein turned the apples Marco brought from the city into a nice Applepie in order to celebrate her birthday on January 22

We have quite a few boxes already packed to bring along to our home in Republic. We also booked our flight to the Netherlands for the end of April. Marco has to be in Florence for World Team meetings at the beginning of May. This gives us the opportunity to visit Marjolein’s parents again. Marjolein’s father hopes to turn 89 in April.

Early morning view of the sunset on the river