M & M in Suriname

Our life with the Wajana indians

16 juni 2017
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Visitor from the Netherlands

Last week our director from C&MA the Netherlands payed us a visit us at Lawa. Together with him we visited several places along the Lawa river where churches are or will be build. It is such a blessing to see how the Church is growing here, tucked away in the jungle! Building is expensive out there, so they’re asking assistance from brothers and sisters in the Netherlands and the USA.

It was great to show him around in our world, to have him meet some of the elders. We’ve been praying and talking about steps we need to make now in order to reach our goals in the next ten years.

Marco experienced, after returning from Canada, that he isn’t twenty any more. He needed some rest to digest all the information from his 4 weeks long trip.

For this period in Lawa we’re in our last week. This means finishing things, cleaning the house, washing hammocks etc. to leave the house in order untill we return in December.

We had our last meetings with the elders. Marjolein completed her verse by verse study of the first letter of Peter with four women. This is done to learn them how to study their bible and ask questions after reading. They all are teaching women, teenagers and children, so they want to know how to teach them right. It has been a start, so Marjolein is planning to continue in December.

Alumpia enjoyed his coffee time with Marjolein so much that he continued with his visits after Marco’s return. Often we read from Gods Word together, which means that Marjolein reads because Alumpia’s sight is failing him more and more.

4 juni 2017
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Back home again, happy and greatful.

We had a very good trip through Canada. The first few days we stayed in Winnipeg, a city in the centre of Canada. Family Life Centre, a missionpost of Union Gospel Mission, hosted us. We participated in some of the activities of this mission work among First Nation drop outs in Winnipegs North End.

It is very sad to see drunken people laying on the pavement, living without hope and seeking ‘refuge’ in alcohol and drugs.  Society still has no answer and no solution. It is one thing to take care of the drop outs in the big cities. It is something else to find a structural solution. We heard people mention this problem as a ticking bomb.

After almost a week in Winnipeg, we drove to Edmonton. A good choice to experience how big a country Canada is. In stead of flying for a couple of hours, we drove two whole days! One farm with meadows and fields after another, long trains with grain- and oil wagons, once in a while a village with a gas satation (and coffee J).

We stayed in Morinville, a village near Edmonton, where we were warmly welcomed by a very friendly pastorscouple of a baptist church. Our goal for this trip was to attend one day of the Native Youth Conference of NEFC (Native Evangelical Fellowship of Canada). Over 300 teenagers from the western region of Canada attended the Youth Conference. Next to this very inspiring visit, we shared with several people and groups about what God is doing in the jungles of the Amazon.

After our visit to Edmonton we met with the director and the president of the board of NEFC in a meeting in Winnipeg. It was worthwhile to meet each other and lay a foundation for our relationship in the coming years.

One Saturday we decided to drive to the Rocky Mountains. We enjoyed the views and were suprised by an encounter with a black bear on a parking place. Ipomadi enjoyed walking in the snow after a ride up the mountain in Jasper. He was suprised that families with their children just were walking in the snow…, so cold!

Our last day in Canada we spent in Toronto. Different meetings in the World Team Canada office with as highlight of the day a dinner meeting with Chinese candidates who plan to leave for Lima, Peru in the coming year. Marco met them before, during the Missions Conference last November in Paramaribo. We met another Chinese couple who are assisting in maintaining relationships with the different Chinese churches in Canada. A beautiful network of churches is formed to support the work in Lima, Peru.

After four very busy weeks we were very happy to fly back home. On our way it seemed that we would miss our connection to Paramaribo in Port of Spain. Luckily the other plane was delayed also. It turned out to be stormy day in the Caraibean…. Finally we arrived late Friday night in Suriname. During the weekend there were again a lot of appointments to meet. Two services on Sunday, one of them an Indian service with more than 80 people attending. It is a blessing to see the growth of this small Indian city community.

Last Monday we flew back to Lawa. After 15 minutes we returned to the city due to low oil pressure in the engine. Again waiting for things to come. The company decided to accomodate us in another plane. So happy to be back home again. So much to share about our trip to the States and Canada, so we held to meetings in the church on Tuesday and Wednesday night, presenting photo’s and Ipomadi telling the stories.

As a result of this one couple came to us to inquire about possibilities for a bible school education in French. We’ll see what will come as a result of this trip.

11 mei 2017
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From Everywhere to Everywhere

Marco left Lawa, together with Ipomadi, two weeks ago. He writes this message at the airport of Minneapolis in a break between two flights.. This morning we left Philadelphia and in 10 minutes we will catch our last flight to Winnipeg. Canada here we come.Together with Ipomadi, the chief of the Wayana at the Lawa, we left Lawa April 27. In the city our days were filled with shopping, meetings and other preparations for our trip to come. April 30 we flew with some layovers in Port of Spain and Houston to Denver (CO). Late at night we arrived and picking up our rental car we drove of to Estes Park where we would find the conference centre, YMCA of the Rockies. Indeed in the middle of the Rocky mountains. That we would only see the next morning. After only a few hours, since we arrived at 05:30 am. For Ipomadi the surprise was even better since that night snow had covered the grass. We were happy that ALTECO had taken care of thick warm jackets and wolen covers for our heads.

The ALTECO Consultation was a great succes. Meeting with the board the day before the conference would start; the themes that were presented; meeting with a number of representatives from various organisations involved with mission to indigenous people in the Amazone region, learning about existing and new to be formed networks in different countries and how they are instrumental in developing churches and other aspects and levels of development; how the Surinamese native churches now will take part of this network and how we will put this in place in the next few years; apart from all the meetings at breakfast, lunch and dinner when we met a number of people sharing our situation, dreams and challenges. Before we came we had no idea how benificial taking part of the conference would be. We have a lot to think and pray about for the next few months.

After the consultation we drove back to Denver May 5. This time in a bright sunlight enjoying the view along the way. Especially the white covered Rockies were great to look at and take pictures. The next day we flew to Philadelphia where we spend some days with the staff of the World Team Office. Every day we presented our story to a number of people who showed interest in our testimony. We enjoyed the hospitality of two families and were surprised how many wanted to hear our stories. We could share about the work that World Team has been doing over the last few years and people could listen to Ipomadi representing the Wayanas in his presentations. Our powerpoint and videos were received very well. Tuesday we spend most of our time in the office. It has been great to meet with the staff in real time now, in addition to various e-mails or talking via Skype.

Very special was meeting with Walt Jackson, the first missionary reaching out to the Wayanas in the 50 s. Now Ipomadi could tell him first hand about the developments in the Lawa church. Also the pictures that Beth Weaver showed from the years before she was 12 living at Lawa brought forth a lot of memories to share and rejoice.

Nice to see how Ipomadi pickes up some English words to speak. He understands a lot and getting all this English helps him to grow in the language. He also wants to learn Spanish since that is the mayor language in the Amazon (next to Portuguese in Brazil) and this would give him a better access to his ALTECO collegues. We also talk a lot about the future for the Wayana and who of the youth could get involved to grow in future leadership.

Right now we’re at the gate to Canada. This week we will be in Winnipeg getting informed and involved with first nation people in a number of projects in and around the city.

We hope to find out if and how the recent developments at the Lawa could benefit the work in Winnipeg. We carry the message of Gods blessings into this other ‘jungle’ of concrete and asphalt where people suffer loneliness and isolation in their so called local culture not aware of being captured in a net of darkness keeping them imprisonned as such. We want to hear Gods voice in order to know what we may share from our experiences concering His presence and blessings in setting the people free from bondage. This week we are in discovery mode to see what the Lord wants us to learn and share about His kindom that will come.

We enjoy connecting to our wives on a dayly base through the internet. Ipomadi bought a new mobile phone before we left Suriname. We both use every WiFi opportunity to conect through WhatsApp and know both Marjolein and Melisa and their kids are doing well. We live in a big small world.

Marjolein is doing well. The last weekend one of the MAF pilots and his family stayed over with her at Lawa. Also her days go fast. At the end of each day Alumpia visits her in order to have a cup of coffee and to pray with her for protection. Great to see how he reaches out to Marjolein since Marco is so far away.

28 april 2017
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Every day is a miracle.

What a hospitality we received from the Endigeris in Los Romas #1 in Trinidad! They even offered us their own bedroom! Their daughter Supriya drove us around Trinidad.

What a beautiful island and what a beautiful people we met. We enjoyed this short week very much. Marco took a lot of pictures, had several interviews to be able to make a short movie about the Trinidad field of World Team.


It is to be used for people who are interested in missions overseas with World Team. He has been editing these past few days for quite some hours to make a three and a half minute movie. Now he can fully focus on the trip to The United States and Canada together with Miep.

It is great to be in Lawa again after 6 weeks of home make over and traveling. To have some time together before Marco leaves again for his next trip. That we have some preparation time together with Miep and Melisa. A lot has been prepared already: airplane tickets are bought, hotelroom reservations and car rentals are made. We’re convinced that this will be a very special journey. We’re longing to see Gods plan in this all. Miep, the Wajana chief of the Lawa river, and Marco are going to be very busy the next 4 ½ weeks.

Marjolein stays at Lawa. She wants to study some more Wajana language and culture. She would love to teach the leaders of women-, teenage- and childrenswork how to prepare their biblestudies! So they don’t depend for this on ‘outsiders’.

This weekend Marjolein is having visitors from Paramaribo: one of the MAF pilots and his family will come over. So Marjolein won’t be all by herself right away. It also is a good opportunity to receive some of our stuff from the city to Lawa. So nice.

We heard that the Easter conference in Apetina was very good. People really enjoyed the sermons and the singing. 30 Apalai came down from Brazil. They walked and canoed through the jungle for 6 weeks to attend the conference. The people from Apetina went by canoe upriver to meet them where they came out of the bush. This cost a lot of gasoline for the outboard motor. There was no gasoline to bring the Apalai upriver again after the conference. God provided that there were two barrels of gasoline left at Lawa. We could buy these and MAF was willing to fly them to Apetina with no costs. So now the Apalai can return to their villages. We heard they first want to wait for Roy Lytle’s Bibleteachings, before traveling back to Brazil.

Itinary of Marco en Ipomadi:

27 april Lawa – Paramaribo

30 april Paramaribo – Port of Spain – Houston – Denver

1 mei   in the night by car from Denver to Estes Park for the Alteco conference

1-5 mei Alteco conference

5 mei by car from Estes Park to Denver.

6 mei Denver – Detroit- Philadelphia

6 – 10 mei Philadelphia – head office of World Team America.

10 mei Philadelphia – Detroit – Minneapolis- Winnipeg

10 – 16 mei Winnipeg meet the first nation people of Canada. Share about the life of the Wajana’s in different places and churches.

16 – 17 mei by car from Winnipeg to Edmonton, stay overnight in Sasketoon

17 – 21 mei Edmonton – visit first nation people youth conference. Share about the life of the Wajana’s in different places and churches.

21 mei Edmonton – Winnipeg

22 – 24 mei Winnipeg meet the NEFC director

24 mei Winnipeg – Toronto

25 mei Toronto visit World Team office Canada. Meeting possible candidates for Lima Peru.

26 mei Winnipeg – Barbados – Port of Spain – Paramaribo

29 mei Paramaribo – Lawa

10 april 2017
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Sometime it seems like time flies, it did with us the last 5 weeks.

We had a building team from our homechurch in Holland coming over to do a home make over for Ilse van Dijk’s house in Paramaribo. We went earlier to the city to prepare a lot of things beforehand. Anneke Kempers also came to Suriname, so we had a great team!

The men worked long days to accomplish as much as they could. They’ve done a great job! We were all   astonished what has been done in 10 days by 8 men!

We felt priviledged to take them to Lawa for the weekend.  We flew to Tabiki, because the airstrip of Kawemhakan was closed due to heavy rain. From Tabiki to Lawa by canoe which was also a first time experience for most of them.

Anneke and Marjolein were the catering crew for these two weeks. They baked and cooked, made lots of coffee and brought them once in a while an icecoffee or a milkshake.

Ilse’s house was finished and re-decorated in two weeks time, but her terrace at the back still needed to be closed in. So a local team has been working on that the last two weeks. People in Holland donated that much that this could be paid for as well. We’re so happy for Ilse, she deserves this so very much! We’re also expecting that God will continue to use Ilse for expanding His kingdom.

After those 3 busy weeks we needed to pack our suitcases to fly to Manaus, Brasil.

We had two great weeks there! We met beautiful people, had inspirational meetings and learned a lot about the migrating indigenous peoples of the Amazon.

Manaus is a jungle city with 2.000.000 inhabitants. This means that this one city is 4 times the total population of Suriname. When you leave the city, you see the same jungle as in Suriname. That felt very much like home to us.

We visited two settlements. One started about twenty years ago. The indigenous people are now living in stone buildings with electricity etc. Their children go to school in this metropole and speak fluent Portugese. Life in the jungle is foreign to them.

The other settlement exists since 2012. The people there live almost as if they still live in their village far away from the big city. That city is only 45 minutes out of town by car. They still live next to the river, just as in our villages.

We’re very grateful to be part of the World Team Manaus team old. It’s our role to coach a young couple with their three kids from 6 months to 6 years. This reminded us on our start on the missionfield back in 1989. The Manausteam has the vision to reach the migrating indigenous in the settlements around the city, disciple them, train them to bring the gospel back to their tribes far in the Amazon jungles.

Today we fly to Trinidad for a week to work on a promotionfilm for World Team to recruit new missionaries for a new missionwork in Trinidad.  We feel very priviledged to hear and see what God is doing in different parts of the world. We very much enjoy our life!

15 maart 2017
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Home Make Over

A team from our home church in the Netherlands arrived last Friday evening to work for 2 weeks on the house of Ilse van Dijk. Her house needs a home makeover. The week before we started with a local team to first build a new floor in the house. After this they put in new tiles. The Dutch team started on Monday. Scealing, walls, electricity, windows and doors will be renewed. We give you an impression with some pictures. On surinametripblog.wordpress.com daily updates will be posted.

Last week we started with the floor

Demolish the old floor, put new concrete floor down and new floor tiles


Friday the Dutch team arrived

Sunday service in Centrum Church

Monday we got started

1 maart 2017
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Beautiful weeks at Lawa

Anneke Kempeneers visited us, together with two Board members of the Dutch foundation Kimon (translated: ‘Children all over the world’). We enjoyed their visit very much. We met with the elders at Lawa and the Baptist Church of Maripasoula in order to affirm their support for Anneke when she will come to work with the Wayana teenagers at Maripasoula. Anneke now has to build her prayer – and financial support to be send out as missionary by St. Kimon. We hope that she will come at the end of this year, Lord willing. In the mean time she will try to live and study for a number of months in France to improve her language skills in French.

After they left we worked hard to prepare the house for the annual sale of second hand clothes that we received from the Netherlands. Time and again we enjoy seeing the happy faces when people come over to find what they like. This time we also ended the sale with a surplus of money that we can invest in some of the financial needs of the Churches.

Together with the Board of the Lawa Church we sat down to work on the financial report of 2016 and the budget for 2017. This is still very new for the leaders but they want to learn and see why they would be better of when doing so. We plan another 4-5 years to get this ball rolling. We are happy to see how far they came last year in keeping the books. It was great to see how, also in this aspect, we recongnize Gods blessings on the Church.

Reaching out to unbelievers in the different villages along the river has proven out to be effective. Apart from the extension of the Lawa church we see that on 6 other locations the believers are at work to prepare or even build a church. This in order to reach out to al the people in their own village. What a beautiful development! Building materials are very expensive, so we expect this to be a project over a number of years. We enjoy seeing the people getting involved and motivated to do their part of the task. Cutting the bush to prepare a plot, working hard to get the sand they need out of the riverbanks, building concrete blocks and cutting downs trees they need to cut the beams and the planks. On the next picture we overlook the plot that the Maripagpan believers are cleaning up to build the church.

We brought a box full of reading glasses. A lot found their way to the people. The want to read their Bibles.

We were able to provide the Maripagpan Church with a starting budget to buy gasoline for the outboard and the chainsaw. The leaders asked us to inquire in the States and in the Netherlands for financial support to buy roof plates and cement.

Last week the Lawa youth has spring holidays. Every morning the girls will be taught in Church and every afternoon the boys. We praise the Lord when we see the dedication umong the leaders to teach the youth.

We learned that the leadership at Apetina is working hard to prepare the Eastern Conference. They work diligently as a team, praying together in the Church regulairaly. The children workers train a number of young leaders at Tutukampu since they also want to start a childrens club and youth work.

We rejoice when we see how the leadership is growing in dedication and commitment serving the Lord of the harvest along the Lawa and the Tapanahony River.

6 februari 2017
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Here we are again…

It’s been way to long since we have been writing our blog. The last few weeks have been so packed with activities that we only could mention writing our blog, but doing it was another story.

It was our plan to fly to Lawa today, but the airstrip was closed due to heavy rains. So we had an extra day in the city and time to write our blog.

The heavy rains were in the end of December also the reason that we flew out of Apetina a few days early to be sure that Marco would be in time to catch his plane to Costa Rica January 7th. This gave us the opportunity to celebrate the new year with our joungest daughter Elsbeth and her husband and children in Paramaribo.

Saturday January 7th Marco flew to Costa Rica for what turned out to be a hectic week with a lot of changing of plans. There were storms and mud slides blocked the highway to the conference site. It was uncertain if Marco and his World Team collegue would make it in time for the opening of the Mission conference, attended by 500 plus Central American youth. They made it by bus after a seven hour drive through the mountains. These kind of conferences are being held for a number of years in the Spanish speaking countries of Latin America. World Team is looking for opportunities to partner with Latin American Mission Agencies to send out workers to their fields.

January 12th Marjolein flew from Paramaribo to Orlando, where Marco joined her on the 15th of January to attend the LEAD meeting of World Team. It was three years ago that Marjolein met her collegues from South America. The first three days were filled with marriage subjects. So good to have time together to reflect on our relationship.

Thursday and Friday we talked about the Latin America Initiative. For two years now World Team has been investigating with which Mission agencies in Latin America they can partner to send out Latin Americans as partners to our fields. This means that the receiving fields need to prepare for their arrival. We had some very good conversations about some implications for our fields. Some collegues are stepping in to continue to challenge Latin American youth to go and share the Gospel.

After the LEAD meeting we stayed with Roy and Margaret Lytle. We enjouyed our time with them very much. We feel blessed that we had the opportunity to visit them and other (former) missionaries in Suriname during that week. God is continuing what He started in the interior of Suriname when they came to the mission field some fifty years ago. We flew back home January 27th.

Last week we skyped, mailed, made pictures and called with the team that is coming in March to give Ilse van Dijks’ house a home make over. There is a lot that needs preparation. Last Friday we shopped with Ilse for new floor tiles.

This week Anneke Kempeneers and two members of the board of stg. Kimon will visit us in Lawa. Anneke hopes to come and work with the Wajana youth in Maripasoula. This is an answer to our prayers.

We’re doing fine. We’re healthy, full of energy and expectation what the coming months will bring.

21 december 2016
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Teaching teachers, up to Christmas

Ilse van Dijk finished her childrensworkers training for the new team of Tepu. Last week she organised a VBS of three days, together with Lepeka and Kajani. vbfWe had around one hundred children attending and listening to the stories of Creation, the Fall and Cain and Abel. Marjolein helped Lepeka and Kajani with some small drama pieces. A sheep was formed from a white towel and a pillow. The children enjoyed the plays very much. Tomorrow Ilse will fly back into town and the team from Tepu will be on their way back home.kain-en-abel
All of a sudden the rainy season has come. Last monday the airstrip was closed due to heavy rain the afternoon and night before. We see less rocks in the river every day. No more buckets have to be filled with water from the river. Our watersupply is daily refreshed.
The campaign last weekend was a succes! A lot of people attended the services. We saw a lot of teenage girls coming up front to sing and dance. Different speakers gave a beautiful message from Gods Word. We enjoyed the meals eating together in the tukusipan. We didn’t see a lot of kasiri brought in. They even had fresh juice. Marco taught about the Light and encouraged us to be a light for the people around us. 1-kid

Sunday evening the people who came to church didn’t want to leave, so they went on singing… untill they heard that a girl had hanged herself… she had been drunk. We’re so glad she was found in time and that she started breathing again. Together with some of the elders we decided to come to church every evening to pray for protection against satans schemes. Please pray with us during these last days of December.

tutukampuSunday service at Tutukampu
This week the men will go hunting for Christmas in order to have enough meat for the whole village. The team leaving for Tepu will take 50 liters of gasoline extra with them to bring the outreach team to Brazil back from Palumeu in time for Christmas. We long to hear their stories. We’re thankful that we can supply the church with the needed gasoline for their outreach trips. The money is given to us, so we may share Gods provision with them.

Last Thursday Maud and Anna flew back to Paramaribo, after a four week period of teaching the kids in the school of Apetina. They will be missed. Hopefully this will be the beginning of a yearly flow of young teachers who will want to serve and learn for one semester at the school of Apetina.

Maurits, our almost 5 year old grandson, has heard that January fifth 2017 is the last day he will need to take his medicine against acute leukemia. Two years ago on January sixth 2015 his treatment started. We are so thankful for Gods presence in Maurits life these past years. How brave this little guy has been! Thank you so much for your prayers on his behalf. Our trust is in the Lord, also in 2017.

Thank you so much for your prayers, gifts and e-mails this past year. God provided abundantly in all our needs.
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

7 december 2016
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Suriname Independence Day and more.

While you were celebrating Thanksgiving, we were celebrating the church birthday. We had a service and a meal together. The schoolchildren performed several songs with their teachers. We and the four Dutch students enjoyed it very much untill the meal. They were asked if they would like to eat some monkey….. They didn’t expect something like that. The people were only teasing, they had no monkeymeat at all. So they enjoyed some caimanmeat instead with some casavebread.

The next day was the day of Suriname’s Independence. The second day of celebrating and drinking lots of their strong drink. One of the student teachers saw most of her pupils lying drunk in their hammock while she was walking in the village. She was shocked to her core. Most of the times we don’t visit in the village during those days. It makes us very sad to see the people drunk like this. The next day was another day of drinking because the strong drink was not finished yet…

We went to church the next day with a heavy heart. What a joyful surprise to hear one of the elders announce a conference weekend the week before Christmas. Some of the elders also were sad about the drunk youth and adults, so they want to share from Gods word how our conduct as christians should be. This desire comes from the Wajana leaders themselves, not from us as missionaries. They also want to ask the women not to make big pots of strong drink. We’re praying that the Holy Spirit will convince a lot of hearts to change their lives and obey Gods loving guidance.



This week Ilse van Dijk started to teach the childrens workers from Apetina and Tepoe. Some of the more experienced workers from Apetina will also teach some elements of the training. Last week we learned that heard the teenage girls and boys were called to come to church to be taught from Gods word. It is very encouraging to see young Wajana leaders train their own youth.

The waterlevel of the river keeps going down. It is the end of the dry season, so we’re all waiting for the rain to come. Since we have 4 Dutch girls with us for four weeks, we are very careful with our barrels with rainwater. We’re bringing buckets with rivierwater up to the house. Our laundry is done in the river, so we’re back to basics.