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News from Barend and Diny - Barend en Diny Bloem

News from Barend and Diny

Apeldoorn, August 2014
Dear friends,
After my return from French Guiana and Surinam, Diny and I stayed a week in France. Purpose of our trip was the attendance of a conference in Lyon with leaders from French Evangelical Churches. The theme of the conference was: "Family life under pressure". After fascinating introductions there was lots of opportunity for talks into more depth and personal encounters.
We also visited some friends in the neighborhoods of Lyon. It was great to see how they had now been able to settle in France after leaving Haiti and quite some wandering through French Guiana.
It is high time for a short review of my latest trip that lasted five weeks:
Paramaribo: “ In de Ruimte”(Dutch for: “in the Space” ) 
My trip once again included Paramaribo. Lately I have been staying at the “ In de Ruimte” accommodation, an institute that takes care of people with physical disability. I like the place, with a room of my own and all the facilities needed (including air conditioning and a swimming pool!)  But I particularly like the inhabitants, caretakers and the host family. They take great care of me!
Moengo: Petrus Pinas
My stay at Paramaribo was short. After one or two nights I went further east. In Moengo I stayed as a guest with Petrus and Olivia Pinas. Petrus recently obtained his Bible School Certificate after many years of persevering and intensive studying! The fact that he did not possess this certificate did not withhold Petrus from serving the Lord faithfully during many years! Maybe his new certificate will give him even more opportunities to serve the Lord! We are trying to encourage him by supporting him on a monthly basis.
The Church in the nearby village of Peto Ondro has almost finished building their new church.
Albina: The New Life Church
Most of my trip I stayed in Albina, at the house of Glenn and Claudette. The church building of the New Life Church is being used to the best of its capabilities. Not only is the Sunday church service well attended, but this is also the case with the services for children and youngsters during weekdays. There was a lot of interest for my studies on the subject of “the feasts of the Lord".  We received objects to be used for the children’s club from a church in Amersfoort, Holland. The club leaders of the New Life Church were really delighted with this gift! During the service they told us they had received “dangerously beautiful material”! (that is the way people in Surinam express themselves when they mean that something is really very beautiful!).
St. Laurent: Église Chrétienne Evangélique (ECE)
The church building of the ECE has been temporarily closed for necessary improvements to meet current safety standards. On June 7 the building was officially reopened. The closing down of the building and the decision about giving the mother church at Cayenne the leadership over the ECE has made some dust twirl up. Time will show whether the reopening will bring rest to this spiritual home.
My focal point has so far been the ECE at St. Laurent. I have been requested by the Cayenne ECE to keep teaching there. Due to the circumstances concerning the ECE at St. Laurent I have been able to give more attention to other churches. This was also very much needed and is being appreciated by the people!
Prospérité/Awala Yalimapo
Prospérité, at a distance of slightly over 12 kilometres from St. Laurent lies is small Indian community populated by so called Caribbean Indians. We have seen how this village has started to thrive. It is great to see that those who were once children at the children’s club are now bearing responsibility for the Church!
Awala Yalimapo lies slightly over 60 kilometres from St. Laurent. Here too live Caribbean Indians. I stayed a long weekend at the house of our friends Ferdinand and Tine. The encounter with the small church was an encouragement both for them and for us.
In Cayenne (250 kilomtres from St. Laurent) I had a talk with the board of the ECE. I shared my worries about the ECE in St. Laurent.
I stayed at the Indian village (Arawak Indians) of St. Rose de Lima close to Matoury. In this village there is a small community of believers. My host invited me to visit another Indian tribe close to Macouria, some 20 kilometers away. There I got to know a group of believers among the Palikur Indians for the first time of my life. This happened spontaneously on a week day without informing them of my arrival.  I was received with much enthusiasm and was allowed to speak at the service. On the way back I spent the night at Kourou with a Baptist pastor and his wife. Old contacts from the very beginning! It is always a joy to see how the Lord has guided the way for each one of us!
Maripasoula/Nouveau Wacapou
My journey would not have been complete if I had not been able to visit the interior.   Unfortunately I could not stay longer than just one weekend. Nevertheless it was good to meet the believers from the villages of Maripasoula and Nouveau Wacapou and enjoy having two church services with them. The common meal after Sunday service provided ample opportunities for private conversation. I always report my visits to the interior to the missionary couple Schleppi (who are at present in Belgium). They were there in the sixties/seventies doing pioneering missionary work. Unfortunately they are no longer able to pay a visit to their former mission field, as it is too hot for them now. They do keep in touch by way of telephone, however.
Henk Kreuger/Jeane
After my trip many people want to know about brother Henk Kreuger, who hopes to become 90 on July 28. Until recently he could still drive and visit people over long distances. His eyesight has become too dim for that now, due to cataract. An operation has been postponed several times. Henk has, therefore, become dependent on the preparedness of other people to drive him. This enables him to still visit people around. Because of his age his health is not as strong as it used to be. Henk is regularly visited by people in the neighborhood and is especially blessed by the care of sister Jeane, who lives very close by. Jeane told me when I left that we need not worry about Henk! 
We are very grateful that we have had the opportunity for five years now to visit the Marowine area twice a year for the up building of several congregations and to encourage the believers.
We are also very thankful for our TFC, the committee with whom we are searching for the plans of our Lord. We know how much our local church “De Ontmoeting” is supporting us besides lots of other people - some of them having supported us from the very first start – who feel connected to our work in French Guiana/Surinam. Our many thanks to all of you!
Next trip together with Diny?
It would be good to stay somewhat longer in the area next time, in order to be able to refocus and think about future planning. In that case, Diny’s presence would be very much wanted. She might take an unpaid leave from her work for that purpose. We are praying about it.
Many greetings,
Barend and Diny (Diny has fully recovered after her fall and knee operation!)