Friday, September 29, 2017

Preview of Orion

The seasons don't change that much here on Bonaire.  But we enjoy watching the star patterns in the sky change week by week and month by month.  Winter stars are beginning to peak up over  the horizon now.  I was getting  home from the Studio a little after 11pm recently and enjoyed the sneak preview of stars that will be mainstream fare in a month or two.  By 1am, the constellation Orion is about 20 degrees above the horizon here on Bonaire, not that I'm typically awake to see it. Here is a shot of Orion and the surrounding nebulosity, made from a stack of seven images shot back in January. I processed them two different ways. Both frames are cropped some, shot with a 35mm lens on a Rebel XTi (400d).


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Cuba Hurricane Report

Here is an update on the post hurricane(s) situation in Cuba, from Alberto Gonzalez, the director of our local ministry there.

‘May God help us to be faithful and steadfast in the midst of so much disaster’

The hurricane did a lot of damage in Cuba on the North Coast, from Camaguey to Havana and only now, little by little, we are actually seeing everything that happened. Many people have lost everything! The house of a pastor we visited once, was washed away by the sea and his village almost completely disappeared, although all the people were evacuated and safe.
Noise of the wind was scary
The strength of the wind and the storm surge was very impressive in Havana. There have been some landslides, many fallen trees, and all vegetation is damaged, but in reality, it was not as bad as expected.  All my family, thank the Lord, is fine and we were not affected at all by the hurricane although the noise of the wind was scary. The RTM office was not damaged in any way, except for the absence of electricity and telephone for many days.

Beautiful opportunities for churches
There are many damaged churches in Cuba in the places where the cyclone happened. But there have also been beautiful opportunities to share faith and strengthen people’s trust in the Lord. Churches have also mobilized by sending clothing, food, and help to the most affected places. It seems that although we have little, in moments like this everyone has to give and share. God is great! 

Apocalyptic times
No doubt, we are living in apocalyptic times. The coming of the Lord is soon. It was amazing to know there were so many hurricanes occurring all at once in the Caribbean and the Pacific. Yet the whole of humanity seems to live in a time of folly, corruption, selfishness and boundless disagreements. I am horrified by the news that we now see on TV, but at the same time, it keeps me firm in the Word of God: "Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming? (2 Peter 3:11-12). May God help us to be faithful and steadfast in the midst of so much disaster.

Peace in the midst of difficult days
I trust that from now on we will hear many tremendous stories, as well as testimonies of how the Lord cared for and protected his people. Despite the lack of communication for so many days, I was always sure that the family of RTM would be praying fervently for all of us and that gave us peace in the middle of the most difficult days when the threat was imminent.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

More Storm Related Broadcasts

TWR, Bonaire is doing more live hurricane related broadcasts this week on our 800AM frequency.  We're in English from 7 to 8 pm and in Spanish from 10-11 pm Bonaire time.
We are streaming it live on the "TWR-Bonaire" Facebook page too.

I'm in the studio on Bonaire and the hosts (who were all in this region back in the day) are in Illinois, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and the Dominican Republic.

Bill Early and Scott Hollinger will be hosting the English, with a visit from recording artist Babbie Mason on Friday.

Annabel Torrealba (pictured) and Jehiel Ortiz will be on in Spanish.  (Jehiel's participation will be contingent on his having power and Internet in the DR.)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Cool New Bonaire Calendars for 2018

We got Ellen's calender from 2017 for our son.  He put it in his office, except for the month that showed two frog fish doing the deed. :)
Here is a link to two Bonaire calendars for 2018 that look great to me..
I might do a Bonaire night sky calendar some year, but it won't be 2018!

Friday, September 15, 2017

TWR 360 Update

I haven't written about TWR's online media portal, TWR360, for a while.

There is audio and video content in 52 languages, from 190 ministries and churches.  (including the International Bible Church of Bonaire - search on "Doug Searle")

There were visitors from 228 countries/territories in August.  The servers were recently upgrades so the response is snappy again.

The new improved apps for Android and iOS are proving more and more popular each month.  The top 10 countries with the most app users in August were:  Pakistan, Bangladesh, Algeria, India, Iraq, the USA, Nepal, Morocco, Tunisia and Iran.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

News on TWR site about our special Hurricane related efforts

Good overview, complete with audio clips, on the TWR website of what we've been up to for the last week or so.  I've been working split shifts so I could help with the live Spanish programming that airs from 10 to 11pm.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Hurricane Relief

Bonaire is some 600 miles (1000km) south of the current hurricanes.  It looks like the Dutch marines have been staging some relief efforts to St. Maarten from the Flamingo Airport.  We've been using our 800AM station to broadcast news and encouragement during the night time hours.  Modern technology allows our people in the Dominican Republic, Chicago, and Cary, NC to all be on the air together live from Bonaire at the same time.

During the daytime, from 8:30am to 5:30pm, we are re-transmitting the Web feed from a radio station in St. Maartin.  Hopefully people who can't pick up the FM signal from St Maarten can hear our AM signal from Bonaire.

Here is how Bonaire station director, Bernard Oosterhoff, describes it: 
We are currently rebroadcasting the live FM broadcast of "Laser 101 FM", a station on St.Maarten.  We do this outside our regular programming during the daytyime. They have very valuable practical information e.g. about water supply, about the latest on Jose and help that is underway.  It’s a miracle they are on-air and we can get their stream, even though it’s on and off, so Brad is babysitting the stream and filling the gaps. We’re really not sure how far we reach during the day. We hope to get an indication.
We were requested by the National Crisis Center in the Netherlands to warn the people for Hurricane Jose and we recorded a weather forecast, which we air every hour.