We returned to the Caribbean, December 15-22, 2019.
Ports included Ft. Lauderdale (Florida), Half Moon Cay (Bahamas), Grand Turk (Turks & Caicos), Amber Cove (Dominican Republic), Key West (Florida), and back to Ft. Lauderdale (Florida).
During the week of December 15-22, 2019, a group of over 75 cruisers boarded the Nieuw Statendam shop of Holland America Cruise lines for the annual Cruise With a Mission effort. The theme was Big Pictures, Small Frames, led by director, Rabel Ortiz. Participants hailing from all over the United States & Canada, converged in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to embark on a weeklong adventure of outreach ministry in the local communities of Grand Turks, Turks and Caicos and Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. While at sea, the CWM cruisers participated in on-board activities, including nightly worship services, with guest speaker Pastor Chad Bernard, Youth Director of the Michigan Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
On Wednesday, December 18, participants gathered in Grand Turks, Turks & Caicos to help at the local church. Much needed help included painting, clean-up and fixing of the fence surrounding the church and building a small concrete box to protect the trash from the wild donkeys in the area. Cruisers were happy to be of service to our sister church in the island.
On Thursday, December 19, participants split in two groups upon arrival at Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. The first group of participants collaborated with a local SDA church/school. A crew helped with deep cleaning the sanctuary and surrounding areas, while another crew painted several classrooms at the school. The second group assisted at the Dove Youth Development, a non-profit organization that serves the youth of the Puerto Plata community. CWM participants got to spend time with kids while helping them practice conversational English. A second group of participants assisted with painting their main classroom area, while a third group helped in building garden boxes for the rooftop garden, where students at the Center are given an opportunity to learn about science, biology, math and healthy nutrition while they take part in working with plants.
Each organization and initiative that Cruise With a Mission participants were blessed to serve welcomed cruisers warmly and expressed their gratefulness and thankfulness for the help received.