M & M in Suriname

Our life with the Wajana indians

25 november 2017
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Back to Suriname

We enjoyed a great time in the Netherlands the last 8 weeks. First we joined 2 conferences. After that we travelled all over the Netherlands and two days in Belgium meeting family and friends, having good conversations and ministering in different churches.

We enjoyed autumn in the Netherlands


Today we travel back to Suriname. The next few months we look forward having visitors from the Netherlands in Suriname.

We continue our adventure in the jungle of Suriname

13 oktober 2017
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Time Flies

More than two weeks ago we landed at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. Marco flew the next day right on to Florence for a Global Leaders Conference of World Team. Interesting topics were treated there. World Team stated an objective to grow in 5 years time to 500 workers worldwide. A great challenge involving everyone in the organization.

Marjolein got the opportunity to visit a number of people in the Netherlands. Also nice to get used to the traffic in Netherlands from day one.

The past week we were attended a symposium of Chinese CAMA churches in Europe. The meetings were in Amsterdam. We traveled every day up and down from Delft. We could share the World Team plans to start a new missionary work among the Chinese population of Lima. Networking was the common thread this past week.

Now we begin our leave with ‘home assignment’. The next few weeks our calendar is filled with various appointments. We look forward to meet many people in order to share about our life and work in Suriname.

16 september 2017
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This week two grandsons, the sons of our son André, came on facetime to announce that they’re coming to Suriname for Christmas. October and November we plan to visit the Netherlands to meet with family, friends and churchmembers. We’re looking forward to the coming months.

First we have another two weeks in Paramaribo. We’ve been buying outboard motor parts, cans with oil for chainsaws (to build two Church Canoes in Apetina) and diapers for the Wajana. A gasoline tank for a generator needed some welding. Now we’re looking for an opportunity to get these things on a flight to Apetina.

We had a good time with the Dutch film crew. The two weeks were packed, so they could shoot lots about the life of the Wajana and about our life and ministry with these precious people. Special to see that television is about story telling. In the course of the weeks we became more and more aware how we could present our life to the Dutch viewer. In the past five years we became so accustomed to our jungle life. We’ll have to be patient until March 2018 to see the results in 3 tv programs of 25 minutes each.

In order to give you some idea we show some of the pictures Daniel de Wit, photografer, produced during their visit.

We’re using our time in Paramaribo to dry vegetables for the months after our furlough. We also want to dubb some films with a Wajana voice over. For this purpose Michel, a young Wajana who lives in Paramaribo, comes to our house and translates with voice-over into Wajana. Marco puts the voice under the pictures. We’re glad that they both can use their talent to serve the Wajana.

We also take time to visit our daughter and friends. We’re having meetings with the board of the unie of Baptist churches and other World Teamers. It is holiday time in Suriname and this also means that there is less traffic on the roads. We appreciate this with our shopping rounds.

29 augustus 2017
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Apetina back on track

After a little more than six months away our missionhome really needed a good cleaning! Some years ago we already bought two rolls of linoleum of sort to replace the cracked old ones. It didn’t happen untill last week. We put it on the floor in two days. Not bad at all. It really makes our nice home even nicer don’t you think? It makes sweeping the floor much easier. It feels so good to walk barefeet in our house now.

In Suriname it is holiday time untill the beginning of October. Most teenagers, who were in Paramaribo for their education, flew back home to enjoy village life in the jungle, time with family and friends and sports. Next to our house there are two poles to attach a volleyball net to. Almost every afternoon it is playtime.

We had some boxes with clothes with us, so we had a sale on our kitchentable. People were eager to buy clothes for themselves and their children. There are no shops nearby so they need to pay a lot of money to get to a shop in the first place. Prices have gone up dramatically. The surinamese dollar is worth only half of its value a year ago.

We made an appointment with the elders to give a training again on how to use the concordance. It is such a valuable tool, but for them it is very hard to comprehend how to use it. The first Friday afternoon only one elder showed up, the second Friday we had the amount of two. It was such a blessed time to explain the alphabets order and how it is used in the concordance. For them it seems like magic how we know how to find the word we’re looking for. We plan on continuing this training next year from February – June.

Our neighbor Letu shot 5 wild pigs while he was hunting. He brought two of them home himself and sent one of his sons and his nephew to pick up the other three. That was a lot of dehairing and cutting for his wife Tepi and their granddaughter Rosalien. The bigger pieces were smoked to preserve it. We also got a piece, so Marco was our butcher and made nice pieces of meat to put in our freezer. It was enough meat for at least six days. The bones and fat and skin returned to Tepi who boiled it all in water with kasili and peppers.

It is dry season, so we’re bringing in riverwater in buckets for doing the dishes and flushing the toilet. Our rainwater is only used to filter it and then use it for drinking and cooking. We see the rocks surfacing, so for us it is much more fun to bathe in the river.

Tuesday August 29th the crew from the Dutch Christian broadcasting company arrived early in the evening. The next morning we fly with MAF to Lawa to start recording there. Monday September 4th we plan to fly back to Paramaribo, where they want to take more footage. September 6th we plan to fly to Apetina to make our last program there in five days. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to share what God is doing in the lives of the Wajana’s and to present some projects that will benefit the Wajana’s in return. The three programs of twenty five minutes each will be broadcasted in the first three months of 2018.

13 augustus 2017
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Short Stop in Apetina

After six weeks of city life we returned to Apetina last Tuesday.

Our time in Paramaribo was filled with meetings with the team of World Team Hindustani ministry. The Kelley’s helped to envision the next years and think about action steps to reach our goals. As the director of Pioneer Ministries Marco is responsible for the Hindustani ministry in Suriname. We enjoyed our time with the Kelley’s, Shiwdat’s and Pamela Walford very much. We’re happy with the outcome of these weeks of hard work and are looking forward to see who God will bring to the Hindustani team to reach the last of the unreached.

Three Wayana couples flew from Kawemhakan to Paramaribo and later to Kwamasamutu. They thought from Gods word for three weeks there, and continued their mission trip to Mapuera in Northern Brazil. We could assist them during their stay in the city. We hope to meet them again after they return from Kwamala end of December / beginning of January. We look forward to hear their stories.Marjolein and Ilse van Dijk were busy correcting the Wayana translation of a bible for young children. We sent the corrected version to the printer and are now waiting for the first print. With this print we want to do the last correction in the villages of Kawemhakan and Apetina. People of Pelele Tëpu translated the same bible in the Trio language. We hope to present a bible for children to these two tribes in 2018. We still need funds for the transportation of the bibles to the different villages in the interior.We also had time to meet our daughter and son in law, Elisabeth and Rafaël, and their children. Quinn even stayed a night with grandpa and grandma. It was good to meet several friends in Paramaribo.We were looking forward to our stay in Apetina. It has been 7 months since we’ve been here, due to several trips abroad in the first part of this year. The people came to greet us and asked us why it took us so long. Our neighbor Pasakili came the same day to share about his visit to the Apalai in Northern Brasil. Their trip back home took them one week more than their trip to the Apalai. They had to drag the canoe for long stretches because of low water in the river. Sometimes they had to cut through sunken trees. They had lots of opportunities to share the gospel and they saw fruit on their work.We planned to be in Apetina from July till end September this year, but plans changed. First for the meetings in the city and now for a television crew from the Netherlands who want to make three programs about our life with the Wayana’s for a Christian broadcasting company. So we will fly to Paramaribo at the end of this month to pick up the crew, fly with them to Kawemhakan, then back to the city, then to Apetina.

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!