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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

January 30, 2009

Trip to Suriname, Day 4

Filed under UCG-Holland

Today we visited the meeting hall in Paramaribo. It was also a special day for Claid and Marcia Dalfour.

Suriname trip
 The meeting hall in Paramaribo.
Suriname trip
 The house across the street shows how the
 meeting hall used to look.
Suriname trip
 This sign above the entrance greets visitors.
Suriname trip
 Mr. Siegfried Heynes and Claid Dalfour in the
 meeting room, where 30 people can sit.

Several months ago the Dalfours rented a small meeting hall in Paramaribo. It is actually a small house that was unfinished when they first rented it. The roof was not completely in place, the interior was totally unfinished and the floor of the building was just dirt. With a lot of "sweat equity" they have turned the building into a place where they can have their "Sabbath school" program for low income children in the neighborhood and have family Bible studies on the Sabbath. As you approach the building, there is no question what group the Dalfours feel they are a part of – there is a large sign announcing the United Church of God above the entrance. The front part of the building has been transformed into a small meeting room where about 30 people can be seated comfortably. The walls have been painted, the floor in this part of the building is now tiled and they have also put in a ceiling. With a lot of hard work, this room has been transformed into a pleasant environment.

Claid and Marcia conduct a "Sabbath school" every week for about 30 children from low income families. Claid and Marcia also have a music foundation to help children learn music, so they sing gospel songs with the children. (Part of Claid’s business is renting out musical instruments, so the hall is equipped with a small sound system as well.) They have about 1000 people who support their foundation. They also perform Christian music, and Marcia has a half hour radio show where she sings. Music is an important part of the local culture in Suriname. Since coming into contact with the United Church of God, she adapted her texts to make sure that they correspond with the true teachings of the Bible. For example, she no longer sings any text that praises God as a trinity or that mentions Christians going to heaven as their reward.

The rear of the hall is partially unfinished. The floor has not been completed yet, although Claid already has the tiles he needs to finish the floor. He also wants to provide a covered play area behind the building that they could utilize to expand their "Sabbath school" program. They estimated the cost of finishing the back part of the building to be about 300 €, and we plan to help them with that.

Claid and Marcia also want to provide a larger building for expanding their their music foundation. Claid has already purchased property for that venture and has laid the foundation of the building. He is building it as funds are available. They want to have a meeting hall in the building as well for church services.

Stan Braumuller, Marcos Rosales and I were impressed with the vision of this couple. They "think big" as the saying goes. In the afternoon our small group drove about a half hour outside of Paramaribo to a "swimming hole" as we might call it in rural America: a small clean lake used as a picnic and swimming area. There Marcos Rosales and I baptized Marcia and Claid Dalfour. It was a very special day for them, and when Marcia later talked about her birthday, I told her it was quite a coincidence that she had her baptism on her birthday. She said: "This is not my day of birth, this is the first day in my new life with God!"

In the evening we had a Bible study at the meeting hall with 14 people in attendance. I spoke on the subject of showing our love for Jesus by loving the Truth He brought to the earth. Stan Braumuller did a simultaneous translation for me into Dutch. Among those in attendance were two ladies from the neighborhood, a Seventh-Day Adventist friend of Claid’s and Claid’s brother Lloyd. Lloyd is also interested in baptism, and we will have a counseling with him on Saturday evening. Afterwards we had snacks and chatted with the people before going back to our lodging place for a good night’s rest.

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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