Bonaire was a magnet during the past weekend, drawing TWR leaders, alumni staff members and ministry supporters to the little Caribbean island for a special celebration.

From Aug. 9 to Aug. 11, 2014, the invading off-islanders joined with local residents to mark the 50th anniversary of TWR broadcasting from a powerful AM transmitter on the southern end of Bonaire to a sizable portion of Latin America. That transmission footprint is slated to grow substantially as the result of a power-upgrade campaign launched in tandem with the yearlong anniversary commemoration.

"We are thankful for God’s provision over the years, and it was wonderful to celebrate the 50th anniversary with TWR staff, alumni and the Bonairean people,” said Joe Barker, station director of TWR Bonaire. “Everyone enjoyed a great weekend of fellowship, reminiscing, and meeting old and new friends as well as looking to the exciting future that God has in store for TWR Bonaire."

The weekend celebration kicked off Saturday evening with a dinner, followed by an insider update by TWR President Lauren Libby on the international media ministry’s outreach to Cuba and the rest of Latin America. A celebratory worship service took place Sunday afternoon, and an open house on Monday provided the opportunity for tours of the TWR Studio Building in the island capital and for tours of the transmitter building several miles away.

The celebration closed Monday evening with a dinner at the International Bible Church. Wednesday, August 13, 2014, marks exactly 50 years since the Bonaire transmitter officially went into action for the first time.

Among the special guests in attendance were Bill Mial, a semiretired TWR missionary who was the transmitter facility’s first director, and Tom Lowell, who succeeded Mial in the director’s position and now serves as chairman of the ministry’s international board of directors. Joining Mial, Lowell and Libby in addressing the attendees were Tim Klingbeil, TWR international director for the Americas; Ray Alary, director of TWR Canada; and Lucy Totorici-Ellis, program producer of Women of Hope in Papiamentu, the officially recognized regional language of Bonaire.

Although the main purpose of the weekend gathering was to look back and praise the Lord for a half century of providential faithfulness, a sharp focus on the future also pervaded the events as the project to boost the transmitter’s power from 100,000 watts to 450,000 watts was repeatedly cited. The $3.8 million upgrade of the transmitter would enable a strong, clear signal to carry Bible-based programming northward across all of Cuba and southward deep into Brazil.

National partners of TWR in Latin America have already pledged $390,000 as a challenge gift. TWR has issued a call for people who have a heart for reaching this region to join the drive to reach millions more for Christ. 

PHOTO 1: TWR-Bonaire Transmitter

PHOTO 2: TWR-Bonaire Studio Building (Old)

PHOTO 3: TWR-Bonaire Studio Building (Current)

PHOTO 4: Celebratory 50th Anniversary Cake

PHOTO 5: Current TWR-Bonaire Staff and Lauren Libby gather around for a photo with the cake

PHOTOS 6-11: Various TWR Staff, former TWR-Bonaire Staff, and Guests at the 50th Anniversary Celebration Dinner

PHOTOS 12-13: Various Guests and Staff perusing the Photo Exhibit of TWR-Bonaire's History in the Master Studio of the TWR-Studio Building.