Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

The new year comes in with a bang here on Bonaire. Many businesses fire off huge firecracker strings at the end of their business day. It's a major social event and one can follow the fire truck, police, and Selibon street sweeper from location to location. You quickly learn to stay upwind because the gunpowder smoke gets really thick.

The hot setup is to carry the crate on a forklift and lay out the firecracker chain. This is in front of the Napa store. Kooyman used a forklift too.

You can click on the pictures to see them bigger.

These guys lit the end with a cigarette, and when the fireworks ignited, they went off with a vengance!

The Napa fireworks lasted about five minutes and the Kooyman ones about seven and a half to eight minutes.

The smoke had barely cleared and the Selebon street sweeper was in action.
Tene Boneiru Limpi! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Mosquitos, the Beehive, and Saturn

The rainy season has produced a bumper crop of mosquitos, so you have to be brave and covered up when you venture outside to look at the stars.

It is still a little cloudy, but the stars are really nice in between the clouds, because the air is clean and dust free.

I put my vintage 1986 Minolta zoom lens on the camera and mounted it piggy back on my little telescope. The scopes motors tracked the stars while I made some 30 second exposures. I think my camera weighs as much or more than the telescope, so it didn't track perfectly. But a couple pictures came out nice enough to have me excited about the possibilities when I get more practice in.

This picture shows the beehive cluster and Saturn. You can pretty easily see them with your naked eye, if you are in a rural area and know where to look, but you'll need binoculars to see it this well. I shot this around 11 pm, Bonaire time, which is about 10 pm Eastern time. I was looking East and it was maybe 45 degrees up from the horizon. It will probably be different if you live to the north of Bonaire, but Saturn is pretty bright, so you should be able to find it if you look East. Post a comment if you see Saturn and the Beehive.

You'll need to click on the picture to make it big enough to see anything

The faint lines outline the main four stars of the constellation Cancer. The beehive cluster, also known as M44, and the "Praesepe" is inside the box. Saturn is the bright object to the lower right of the box. Posted by Picasa

I did a Google search and found that the Beehive Cluster lies about 580 light-years away, and spans about 10 light-years across. Saturn is probably like about 73 light minutes away, but you can't really tell from looking at them. Of course, if you watch them from week to week, you'll see that Saturn's location is changing with respect to the stars.

This was shot for 30 seconds at ASA 800, with the zoom at about 135mm and f4. I didn't do much post processing to this picture except to resize it for the web.

I need to make a gizmo so I can let the camera ride piggyback on the big telescope. It won't mind the extra weight, and I'll be able to make corrections to the tracking too, to get nice pinpoint star images.

I'll be making an electric remote shutter release for the camera soon too. I need to find a couple switches to wire up to an old computer sound card to CD player cord and connector. Right now, I'm using the camera's self timer to make the exposure. It actually works pretty well, 'cause the mirror goes up when I push the shutter release button on the camera, and then two seconds later the camera opens the shutter to take the picture.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Starry Night

We're still having rain showers most mornings. That means that the sky is really clear and dust free... in between the clouds. The evenings are usually pretty cloudy, so it's not so good for stargazing, even though the stars look really great through the breaks in the clouds.

There weren't as many clouds this evening, so I ran out with my new camera, put it on a tripod and shot a 30 second exposure of Orion. You can see Orion right in the middle of the picture, and Lepus in the lower right corner. Some pesky clouds did come sneaking in. You can see one at the lower left corner of Orion. Posted by Picasa

You can click on the picture to see it bigger. January is usually a good month for clear blue skies, green flashes at sunset and starry nights. We'll see.....

Puzzle Fun

Sandra always makes a puzzle during the Christmas / New Year holidays. We shipped down three nice ones that my aunt gave us. They arrived on Friday, and Sandra got right to work on one of them.

Jon and Debbi Savage were able to stop by this afternoon and give Sandra a hand and they had the puzzle almost finished when they had to leave.

Sandra finished it off after supper. I bet she starts a new one during the New Years day weekend. Posted by Picasa

Click on the picture to see it bigger.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Warmest Christmas Wishes

Merry Christmas from Bonaire. We had a Christmas Eve service last night, with probably more visitors attending than church regulars. We closed with the usual candle light sing.

We had a staff get together on Friday. Here is a TWR Bonaire staff family photo.

You can click on the picture to see it bigger.

Friday, December 23, 2005

How Green is Bonaire

Well, Bonaire is really green these days, for Bonaire anyway. We don't get rain every day, but there is still enough to keep the weeds and bushes happy. This is what our back yard has looked like for most of the years we have lived here. It's a great doggie playground, but somewhat dusty when it gets windy.

Here is what the yard looks like now. We've started mowing the weeds as if they were grass. All this green will shrivel up and get brown or grey once the rains stop, but we're thinking that it will be less dusty because the roots will still be stablizing the soil. Posted by Picasa

You can click on the pictures to see them bigger.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Christmas is coming

One of the first things we did, when we got back to Boniare was to get lots of Christmas music playing on our FM station. We've accumulated quite a collection of Christmas carols and hymns over the years, in all sorts of styles

We set up our Christmas tree on Saturday... pulled it down out of the attic and put our furlough suitcases up.

Here is a shot from outside the house. The tree shines nicely through the front window. Posted by Picasa

You can click on the pictures to see them bigger.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Back on Bonaire

We returned to Bonaire on Dec. 6, whoo whoo! It has been rainy and windy, but Saturday and Sunday turned sunny and windy. It is cool for Bonaire, but still feels plenty warm to us right now.

While waiting for the American Eagle flight from San Juan to Bonaire, we were joined by three guys from Trans World Radio's headquarters in Cary, NC. They have been here this week doing computer upgrades and long term planning in a number of areas.

Mark, on the left, is TWR's head computer guru. Jeff, who used to work on Bonaire with us, is now at the headquarters in Cary and is responsible for the computers in the Americas region.

As always, you can click on the pictures to see them bigger.

Below we see, from left to right, Joe, Jeff, and Mark from the TWR Cary office, and Rich, our station director on Bonaire.

Here is one more shot of the guys slaving away in our computer server room. They were worried that the only pictures they had from their time on Bonaire were of fun in the sun type things. Posted by Picasa

Tower Painting Completed

Another year, another tower. We have four antenna towers connected to our 100kw AM transmitter. The plan is to paint one every year, and repeat...

Here is the happy crew of TWR staff and contracted local guys upon the safe completion of this year's tower painting project.

New Bonaire Pastor

The English language, International Bible Church of Bonaire, welcomed its first full time pastor while we were in the States this fall. Amazingly enough, we met people in the States who knew Pastor Toto Baran from his early days in his native Guyana, and others who knew him and his wife Felicia from his recent inner city ministry in Newark, New Jersey.

Here we see Pastor Baran, the church elders, and some Bonaire pastors at the Installation service.

Logos II Returns to Bonaire

The Operation Mobilization book exposition ship, Logos 2 paid a visit to Bonaire a couple weeks ago. We're sorry we missed it because we hear that it was a great time for one and all.

Anyone remember the whale that got impaled on the bow of a cruise ship a couple years ago? Well one of the high school teachers and a bunch of students restored and assembled the skeleton. Here are some of the Logos 2 advance team checking it out at the entrance to Washington Park. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Family Fun in NJ

Some have noticed that we have many more pictures of our dogs than of our son. This may be because our son has been away at college for the last five years, while the dogs are around, dare I say, underfoot, every day. Also the dogs don't say "daaaaaaa-aad" when I snap their picture.

We said goodby to Richard and Nancy on Saturday afternoon and drove to my parents' place in PA. We arrived in Lancaster before the snow started, hooray.
We plan to head back to Bonaire on Tuesday.

We had a fun "early Christmas" with Rich and Nan before hitting the road. Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 21, 2005

N and S Carolina

We've been in North Carolina since November 8 or so. The first few days, we visited Sandra's dad, who was in the hospital with what turned out to be a staff infection that he probably picked up a couple weeks earlier, when he had prostate cancer surgery. He is doing much better now.

Then we were at Westover Church, in Greensboro, for their fall Global Celebration. We had a great time giving presentations about our work with Trans World Radio, seeing old friends and making some new ones.

Then we headed to South Carolina for some fun family time. Sandra's parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary yesterday, hooray!

We spent some time walking and looking for shells on the beach. I got in some good bike rides and Sandra's brother Rick got in some golf. The first two days were quite warm, and the last days got a little nippy.

We saw some horseshoe crabs the first day just after low tide, but none two days later, at low tide. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 10, 2005

200 languages

As of this month, Trans World Radio is broadcasting in 200 different languages and dialects. (We do eight from Bonaire.) TWR reached the 100 language mark just 10 years ago, after 41 years of broadcasting.

The complete story, as well as some other more than a little bit interesting stories are in the November e-snapshots email.

You can read them at the TWR web site, and you can automatically receive each month's e-snapshots if you want to.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Lasting Fruit - Drought in Brazil

Trans World Radio's vision is to reach the world for Christ by mass media, so that lasting fruit is produced. Lasting fruit is Christian-ese for a significant and permanent change in the lives of our listeners as they become true disciples of Jesus Christ.

For example, this guy listened to TWR programs from Bonaire as a kid. He later went to Bible school and is now an itinerant pastor/evangelist traveling up and down the rivers on his boat, the Lion of Judah. The area is so vast that he can only visit any given village a couple times a year, but he encourages the people to listen to the TWR Bible teaching programs in the mean time.

He uses the river as his highway and the boat is sort of like a floating motor home.

There is an extreme drought in northern Brazil this year, probably the worst one in recorded history. It is epic enough that I even saw it mentioned in the Denver Post when I was out visiting my brother. Here are a couple pictures from an email I received from Dan Canfield.

Besides being a serious health problem, the drought has crippled the transportation and the economy in the vast Amazon Basin. Posted by Picasa

And of course, the drought makes it extremely difficult for Christian workers to meet the spiritual needs of people in the region.
Here is what long time radio speaker, Dan Canfield, had to say about the drought, and the power of radio.

And we can say that the Living Water, transmitted by radio is not hampered by low water levels. Radio waves fly over sand dunes, dry river bottoms and burned out jungles. “

I usually cannot pick up your program on my regular radio/cassette player, but now that my good radio is getting fixed, I am able to tune into your station on this one in spite of it being old. Everyone is amazed. We live far from town and cannot attend church, so your programs are our only spiritual food. Brother Daniel, may you continue to send out the message of the Word of God. We need your ministry. Even though we have not met, your voice is known wherever we go. Could you send us your Bible correspondence course?”

Can you believe that people in those lost areas are listening to the programs? Then when you actually see them you understand the truth.

Several pastors have written to say that after spending weeks of travel to get to those outlying areas, the radio was there every day so they could return to their towns and churches rejoicing in the follow-up. In these days of Amazon drought, people are depending even more on the radio message.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Moab Musings

My brother and his wife and Sandra and I all piled into the car early Tuesday morning and drove from Denver to Moab, Utah, for a day and a half of biking and hiking. We saw lots of terrain that reminded us of Bonaire, but on a mind bogglingly larger scale.

The world famous Slick Rock trail was really tricky to ride without doing serious bodily injury, but we managed to pull it off. It was also a lot of fun in an extremely challenging sort of way, and the views were awesome as well.

You can click on the pictures to see them bigger.

My brother and I cycled into Arches National Park the back way through the desert and ended up at this Balanced Rock area. We then met up with our wives and checked out other parts of the park by car.

This is called "Delicate Arch". We had to hike a mile and a half each way to see this up close and personal, but it was totally well worth it. The whole area was really beautiful in a rugged sort of way. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Surprise, More Biking

Wow, Saturday turned out super clear and sunny, and about 62 degrees.

After a morning trip to Kohls where I bought some underwear and socks on super sale, (we always stock up while we're in the States) we all piled in the car and went to a cool park a little ways up Deer Creek Canyon.

That picture on the left is me going DOWN Deer Creek Canyon. Down is definately better than up, here in the rarified air around Denver. You can click on the pictures to see them bigger.

We road some cinder paths that had me huffing and puffing due to their steepness. We also enjoyed some super narrow singletrack on the backside of the park.

I must confess doing a double take when I saw a sign telling one what to do if attacked by a mtn. lion. Fortunately, the only wildlife we saw was people walking some nice dogs.

In the picture on the right, we see my brother and me enjoying the view.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Colorado Cycling

I'm visiting my brother and his family in Littleton, Colorado. We're getting in some great bike riding on the multitudinous bike paths and trails south of Denver.

Yesterday we rode up Waterton Canyon to the Colorado trail, and the single track Roxboro Loop.

The photo on the right shows one of the friendly bighorn sheep that we encountered.

The one on the left is my brother negotiating one of the many switchback turns on the Colorado trail.

You can click on the pics to see them bigger.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Bonaire in the news

Cousin Bud just alerted me to a nice newspaper article about Bonaire in the San Francisco Chronicle. It captures the spirit of the place and they type of people who would like it there.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Medical update and opportunity to comment

Here is another chance to use the "comments" feature to guess exactly how I managed to wound myself, in the foot this time.

The photo of my calf that I posted in August showed the result of my bike's front chain ring biting my calf when I frantically unclipped and put my foot down on a gnarly Washington park hill.

This most recent wound occurred at a missions conference in Maryland, so the much loved answer "a hungry goat" won't work this time.

Also on the medical front, it seems to be time to begin paying the price for 29 years of fun in the sun on Bonaire. I have an inch and a half incision with like six stitches in it on my shoulder where a nice young dermatologist removed a basil cell cancer on Monday. I won't post any pix of that one. I'll have another basil cell removed on Nov. 1.

I had my first colonoskopy last Friday. It went well and the doctor waxed eloquent about how great my colon looked. (You can vote on whether or not I should post pix of that one!) It must be all the raw broccoli we eat on Bonaire and all the shredded wheat I've been consuming here in the States.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

TWR E-Snapshots

I've been telling people at our furlough meetings about the various ways they can stay up to date on the doings of TWR around the world.

I subscribe to the TWR e-snapshots email service. It is only one email per month, but sometimes I learn about cool stuff that I put in this blog.

For example, this month has brief stories about: new programs for Niger, a Swiss lady who married a guy she knew was HIV - positive, new developments in India, and an update on the new Spanish program for South American pastors and church leaders.

I first wrote about it on May 24, 2004 and it looks like it is progressing well.

Pastors and church leaders in Latin America are hearing and benefiting from a popular radio program called Escuela Biblica (Bible School), a broadcast aimed at providing solid biblical training to those who teach God's Word to others. In countries like Venezuela, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Chile and Uruguay, the 15-minute weekly broadcast is a theological shot in the arm for many lay shepherds who lack seminary education or sound doctrine.
We've aired this program for about two years, and it's getting a tremendous response, says Annabel Torrealba, director of RTM-Venezuela, a TWR partner ministry. Torrealba says her staff has received numerous requests for correspondence materials and other Christian literature. These resources are used to help prepare sermons that are preached every Sunday, she explains.
Besides providing theological instruction to existing pastors and leaders, the Escuela Biblica broadcast helps emerging evangelists and believers experience growth in Christ. The program covers topics like discipleship, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, parables of Jesus and spiritual maturity, says Torrealba.

You can sign up for e-snapshots and a bunch of other good TWR stuff here on the TWR web site.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Merry Munchkins

We were at a missions conference in Maryland all last week. Christian workers from Europe, Africa, the USA, South America and Bonaire :) were there to report on their ministries.

We had a great time with our host family of 6 persons, who's names all begin with the letter K.

You can click on the picture to see it larger.

Missions Conference Posters

We were part of a week long Missions conference in Maryland last week. Here are posters that 6th through 8th graders made about the missionaries that were there.

You can click on the pictures to see them bigger.

They had to do a collage type poster including certain elements like a map, picture of the missionary, flower or bird from the country, and a Bible verse.

The young people had some great ideas.

I'll not be more specific about the location of the event for the safety of the young people.

Posted by Picasa