Mar15ThuMarch 15, 2018
In January, the island of Bonaire installed a new transmitter, and the power went from 100 kW to 450 kW! The new signal covers the whole island of Cuba as well as a large part of South America, reaching a potential audience of 100 million people. TWR held a ceremony to celebrate this upgrade (watch it here). I couldn’t go because I was in India and Bangladesh (read more about that next week!), so I asked my wife, Sandy, to go in my place to represent TWR Canada. We had served on Bonaire for nine years when we first became missionaries, but that was 22 years ago so she was glad to go back. Here is an interview where she shares her experience on that trip.
Sandy helping out at the celebration.
What was it like to go back to Bonaire after so many years away?
It’s been 22 years since we lived there, so I was glad to go back! I have so many really good memories from our time there. I think I really needed to go back and visit the island again. It helped with closure after all these years of being away. And, it brought me joy to see the ministry continuing and expanding.
How have things changed on the island since you were there?
One thing I noticed was that the population of the island has increased a lot. There’s just more of everything. More stores, restaurants, buildings, cars. It was almost claustrophobic to me. The thing is, the basic infrastructure hasn’t changed a lot. They just stuffed more into it. Everything looked squished together.
Bonaire is a very small island, and you can drive around it in one day. We took a day and drove around all the old spots we used to go to. The downtown had changed a lot, but the more remote areas have not changed much.
When I lived there, I was part of the Queen Angels, a local snorkel and scuba diving club. I was able to see the old dive sites we used to go to. Every week we would dive or snorkel together, and I became good friends with these Antillean and Dutch women. These were fun memories to go back to! Some of the ladies in the club have since passed away, but they were alive in my memories that day.
Did you run into many old friends at the power upgrade celebration?
There were a few old friends there but less than I had thought. Most of the visitors came from the countries that are receiving the signal. There were a few older TWR staff, and I also saw several familiar faces from local churches on the island. It was exciting to catch up, and it was also wonderful to see these people continuing a friendship with TWR after all these years.
I also ran into a teacher who tutored our kids when they were new on the island. We shared a big hug. It was very exciting to see her.
Can you tell us about the power upgrade celebration?
This was basically a whole day celebration. They made it really fun. Early in the afternoon there were tours of the new transmitter with refreshments afterwards. After that, we all went to the transmitter hall for the dedication service. There were probably 150 people there, people from everywhere, including all over Bonaire and from TWR offices in nearby countries. We had prayer for all of the countries that will be hearing the broadcasts, and then a number of people spoke.
What was the most meaningful part of the ceremony for you?
TWR Cuba Director Alberto’s talk was very touching. He shared how he came to know the Lord through listening to TWR’s broadcasts many years ago. He really showed his passion and excitement that now the whole island of Cuba receives the radio signal and can hear the same message of hope that spoke to his heart so many years ago.The Lieutenant Governor of Bonaire also came up and spoke. This was really touching to me as well. He shared memories of his dad working at the transmitter site during TWR's early years. He said he was touched to be part of the new ceremony as the Governor. He was almost in tears thanking TWR for years of ministry on the island. This was really special. It was so good for my heart to hear that the island of Bonaire still considers TWR to be a valued part of the island and community. This is a confirmation to me that this continues to be a good relationship after all these years.
Thank you for sharing this with us, Sandy. TWR Canada is happy that you were able to join the celebration and see this ministry expand!
Join us next week to hear what I was up to while Sandy was in Bonaire.