(posted by Mindy)
Last weekend Garrett, Katie and Andrew were home for the weekend. We had a great time together and were able to celebrate Zachary’s birthday. As you can tell from the header (and from Facebook for those of you who have seen my Facebook site), we had family pictures taken last weekend while everyone was home. For those of you who don’t know, we have been able to get family pictures taken every other year for the last 25 years. This year was the first year I was not the only female in the pictures. That was nice! Thank you Mandy Felten for helping us take them!
Yesterday we received some sad, though not unexpected, news. My mom called to tell us that they are going to have to put my grandfather into the VA nursing home in Danville, Illinois. He needs round the clock nursing care (I wish I was not too busy right now to go and be his private duty nurse; oh how I wish I had the time!), and my family is just not able to give him the care he needs. My grandfather, aged 87, was diagnosed with lung cancer two years ago, had his lung partially removed shortly after diagnosis, and was doing well until late last year when he started to show signs of his cancer returning. The cancer has been taking over his body nearly all year this year, and his health has been on a steady decline. On Monday of this week, he flew with Honor Flight to Washington DC to see the WWII Veterans Memorial (he was a WWII vet). The trip wore him out, and he has not recovered. He is getting weaker as the days go by. My mom says it is only a matter of days now. Praise the Lord he is a believer and he is ready to meet his Creator and be reunited with my grandmother who died three years ago.
Today we leave for the Wausau, Wisconsin Youth Conference at Bible Truth Chapel. We will be representing the Adventure Learning Centre as well as Living Waters Bible Camp. We are excited that we are going to be able to talk to young people about these two ministries and connect with friends we haven’t seen in a while. We so enjoy fellowshipping with others of like faith. It always seems like a big family reunion.
Ministry transition news…
This afternoon we will be skyping with the pastor that is in charge of interviewing new missionaries that are requesting acceptance with Shepherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators. We have applied to Shepherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators to manage the financial affairs of our ministry work. What this means is, those who wish to support us in our ministry work at the Adventure Learning Centre in the Bahamas will be able to make a tax deductible contribution to us by sending the funds to Shepherd’s Staff directly or by submitting a credit card payment online at their website. Shepherd’s Staff will distribute funds to us on a regular basis from the monies donated by our supporters. Supporters will receive the tax deductible documentation needed for tax purposes. As members of Shepherd’s staff, we will also be eligible for group health insurance. Pray the interview goes well and we are accepted.
Our immigration documents made it safely into the hands of Mark Wallace, director of the Adventure Learning Centre in Nassau–Praise the Lord. Now we need to pray that everything goes through appropriately. These kind of things can take a lot of time and are susceptible to delays and mishaps.
This week we spent a good deal of time online and on the phone trying to get quotes for shipping household belongings to Nassau. We are finding that it is going to be a long, tedious, expensive ordeal. Please pray for wisdom and discernment with what to do in packing and who to hire to do the job of shipping.
Thank you for following our story. We look forward to connecting with you again.
(posted by Mindy)
I feel like a child on Christmas morning. I am giddy with excitement. All of our children are here for a weekend long visit, and to say I love it is an understatement. There are very few events in life that give me as much pleasure as spending time with Katie and my men. Being with family is such a gift.
Today is our Zachary’s 14th birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ZACHARY! As is customary, we will be going out to eat as a family to celebrate the momentous occasion. Every year we give the boys the opportunity to choose the restaurant they would like to eat at on their birthday; this year Zachary has chosen HuHot Mongolian Grill, a family favorite. Good choice, Zachary! Of course the enjoyment of the food pales in comparison to the fellowship that we will be enjoying. (I just don’t know how much more excitement I can take.)
Living Waters Bible Camp Update
When most people think of camp ministry, summer youth and family camps come to mind. For Living Waters Bible Camp staff, September and May are often busier months than the summer months. The camp staff has been very busy this month and is beginning to appear tired, but by God’s grace they are being sustained. Please pray for them as they finish out the fall camp and guest group schedules.
This week camp served two groups that overlapped by a couple of days. The group of junior high students that came on Monday and stayed until Friday morning drove 9 hours from Fargo, North Dakota. The second group was a group of high school students from Farmington, Minnesota. They came on Wednesday and left Friday afternoon. As always, it was a joy serving these young people
Adventure Learning Centre Update
We have just made the finishing touches to an Adventure Learning Centre display banner to use at conferences and promotional events. Hopefully we will be putting it to good use over the next couple of months. Speaking of which, if anyone is interested in hearing more about the Adventure Learning Centre and the ministry we will be doing there, please let us know. We would love to get together with you and share with you what it is all about.
Purging, downsizing, packing and sorting continue. With each item that goes out the door, a weight seems to be lifted. It feels just as good to get rid of things as it does to get something. Try it sometime! Of course with each cabinet or drawer opened comes a challenge of “what do I do with this?” Please continue to pray for us in the logistical details of moving overseas.
This week we sent out our immigration documents for our eventual move to Nassau, and we purchased our airline tickets for our trip to Nassau for the ALC board meeting in October (only Tim and I will be going this time). We will be using the time there in October to get further acquainted with the ministry and to shop and iron out some details of our eventual move.
Hope you are all doing well. Thanks for following our story. Please feel free to contact us. We would love to hear from you.
(posted by Mindy)
Tim has not been formally offered the position as camp director at the Adventure Learning Camp (this is going to be formally addressed at the ALC board meeting at the ALC on October 20th). Nonetheless, Tim has advised Living Waters Bible Camp of his intentions of leaving his position as the Kitchen Manager. This gives camp the opportunity to find his replacement over the next couple of months. A lot of our energy has been poured into the ministry here, and the thought of leaving is bittersweet.
As we look forward to the potential position at the Adventure Learning Camp, “There is so much to do” is all we can say. I am almost overwhelmed and feel like a toddler that has just been put into a large messy toy room and told to pick up all the toys. I have given my anxiety to the Lord and am going to take Tim’s wise advice: do what you can when you can, and take one day at a time. Now if only my racing brain can slow down to that speed. God has gifted me with an extremely organized brain. I know I will be able to do this with His help.
At least our 19 girls (aka Bella the dog and her 18 feathered, egg-producing friends) are going to be well cared for when we leave. We have found new homes for them. Unless something changes between now and December, Dennis and Maryann Siler will be taking Bella, and Chris and Annie Sutton are going to take the chickens.
As I peruse the piles of belongings on our garage floor that are waiting to be picked up and taken to a garage sale, I am reminded that God’s Word teaches us to hold lightly onto earthly possession. All those things that once filled a need, or at least acted like they filled a need, now have no meaning or value to us. The temporal things of this world are but tools we use to do the “real” work on this earth: “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:31)
We will be discarding (via garbage, selling on Craig’s list, donating to our church garage sale, giving away) more than half of our belongings. A small part of our belongings will need to go in to storage, and the rest will be shipped over to the island. The huge challenge for us is trying to decide what we will need and use. The house we will be living in is much smaller than the house we currently live in, and of course there is the issue of the high duty charges associated with bringing goods into the country.
I am sure we will be thinking about this a lot over the next couple of months.
In the meantime, could we please ask you to pray for:
-discernment as we make small decisions (as well as the big ones)
-Living Waters Bible Camp as they look for a new Kitchen Manager
-us as we begin raising support for our ministry in the Bahamas
-our travel to the Bahamas in October for the board meeting (Tim and I are the only ones going this time.)
Enjoy the pictures of the last days of our trip!
(posted by Mindy)
Mark Wallace, executive director of Adventure Learning Center, sent me the link for the ALC’s promo video on youtube. I have been wanting to direct all of you to the alcbahamas.org website to see this video, but there are some site difficulties, and the site has been down. The link to the ALC promo video is:
This video explains a little about the Adventure Learning Center. The Adventure Learning Camp (also briefly mentioned in the video) is about 500 feet from the Adventure Learning Center, and it is used to house foreign missionary teams that come to the Bahamas for mission trips. (The board has other visions for the camp as well.) The position we are working towards filling is director of the camp.
Enjoy the pictures from day 5 of our trip!
(Posted by Mindy)
On day 4 of our trip, Stacie took us to meet a gentleman who is on the ALC board. He is a local pastor. She also took us to see the “other side” of the Bahamas. We drove to the north of the island for dinner and to see the famous Atlantis Resort.
(Posted by Mindy)
After much prayer and contemplation, we have decided that we are going to take the next step. We have contacted Mark Wallace, director of the Adventure Learning Center in the Bahamas, and Stacie and Lee Burtelson, board members of the Adventure Learning Center, and have told them of our interest in joining the ALC staff and ministering to the Bahamian people and those from other countries of the world coming to the Bahamas to serve on short term mission trips.
We are excited about this next step we are about to take and anxiously await God’s work in us. Please pray for us as we move forward.
Thank you for reading this blog and your interest in what God is doing in our lives. We will keep you updated with the progress of this transition.
Check back often. We will keep you updated.
In the mean time, enjoy pictures from day 3 of our trip!
The following pictures were taken on day 2 of our trip. We toured the Adventure Learning Center and the camp and swam in the ocean at South Beach just a mile or two away from the center.
(Posted by Mindy)
Our flight from the Bahamas was unremarkable, and we made it into the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport at about 11:20pm on Tuesday evening. Tim’s dad was at the airport to pick us up. God bless him for making the trip to the airport so late at night.
We left Tim’s parent’s house Wednesday morning and stopped at Logan’s orthodontist for an appointment before heading home to Westby. We stopped in La Crosse to see Garrett for a few minutes and then arrived home around 3:30pm.
Thank you to Ruth Habel for covering for Tim the last couple of days in the kitchen at camp. A group came in on Tuesday, and we have groups scheduled to be at camp now through the end of September. Please pray for us as this is a very busy time at camp, and some times staffing is an issue.
Over the next several weeks, I will be posting a few pictures of our Bahamas trip every time I make a post. In all honesty, we are missing the island and the new friends we made very much.
We still do not have information on our future plans. We are praying and giving ourselves a little time to sink back in to our routine and allow God to reveal His plan to us. We will say this, it won’t be long. We have set a deadline for a decision, and it will be sooner rather than later. So, stay tuned!
I must get this posted and get off for now. I am needed in the kitchen at camp today.
Enjoy the pictures!
Sunday we attended a church service at Grace Church and worshiped with the brothers and sisters there. Sunday afternoon and evening we relaxed and visited with Tom Schafer (ALC’s maintenance director), his son Kevin, and a young lady from California who is here to work at the Adventure Learning Center until December. On Monday we met with the rest of the ALC staff for morning devotions and sat in on some of the new staff orientation meetings. We enjoyed a pizza lunch with the ALC staff before boarding the van to go to downtown Nassau to visit the Straw Market (a couple of the new staff members had not been there yet).
After a full week of learning and exploring, we are a few short hours away from departing this beautiful island. Although we are excited to get to be going home to some “normalcy”, we are going to miss this place. We are taking home a lot of memories of the wonderful people, Bahamian culture, sites and sounds of the island (both the good and the bad), and most importantly a burden for the Adventure Learning Center ministry and the people it serves. We have a lot to contemplate and pray about that is for sure.
We will be processing all we have seen and learned from this trip, and we will be letting you all know our plans as they become more clear. Please pray for us!
A note about the tabs in the upper right corner of this blog: our contact information is under the “contact us” tab, and although there is nothing under the “about us” tab yet, we are working on putting together a narrative describing our journey into full time vocational ministry. So, check back later if you are interested in hearing our story.
Below is a picture of the ALC staff (plus us). If we end up transferring to the Adventure Learning Center Camp, these are some of the dear people we will be ministering with. We will post more pictures of our trip at a later date.
Until next time….
After a wonderful afternoon of relaxing and getting caught up on emails and school work yesterday afternoon, we ventured out for the evening. We had a wonderful time pretending to be tourists. Stacie took us to a wonderful Bahamian restaurant called “The Poop Deck,” and as the name suggests, its specialty was seafood. It was delicious. We experienced Bahamian food: conch salad, conch fritters, fried grouper/shrimp/conch, peas and rice, fried plantains, and for dessert guava duff. YUMMY! After eating dinner at our harbor side table, we drove out to Paradise Island to walk through the famous Atlantis Hotel. It was quite impressive. We were able to experience “The Dig,” Atlantis’s huge aquarium exhibit. Of course we also experienced all the other displays of opulence and human-defined exciting entertainment. As we walked through the Casino and witnessed people “having a good time,” we could not help but contrast what we saw at this entertainment complex to what we have been seeing these past several days at the aids camp and in the neighborhoods around the ALC and elsewhere on the island. These are 2 totally different worlds. It has been almost too much to process in our minds.
It is a good thing we liked the Bahamian food we ate last night because if we end up moving here and plan to stay within our food budget, we are going to have to start cooking and eating like Bahamians. Trying to buy food shipped in from America in order to maintain an American diet is going to be way too expensive. To give you an idea of food prices here: 1 gallon 1% milk- $5.79, half and half quart-$4.49, 5 oz bag of chips $3.59, 3lb bag of apples $6.99, bananas- $0.99/lb, gallon tub of vanilla ice cream $12.00… Gas prices are about $5.70/gallon. At least you do not have to drive all over the island trying to find the best price of gas; the gas is all the same. The funny thing is, Wendy’s and the pizza place we ate at on Wednesday are very comparable to the same food in the states. Apparently, the tourist type places (restaurants) do not have to pay duty on the food they ship in; therefore, their prices aren’t that high. As for food chains, the Bahamians like their KFC’s, Domino’s and Wendy’s. We have not seen McDonalds yet. We have been told there are 3 of them on the island.
Today we went to the north side of the island to visit the Straw Market and other downtown shops and to swim in the ocean at one of the gorgeous white sand beaches. This evening we went over to “The Castle” ministry to have dinner with Billy and Leah Slater and to learn about their ministry.
Tomorrow we will be attending one of the churches that we will be considering as a home church if we are to move here. Other than taking Stacie Burtelson to the airport tomorrow afternoon, we are not sure what our plans are for the rest of the day.
We want to thank all of you who have read our blog and have been praying for us. We need all the prayer we can get now and are encouraged by your support. Email or send a reply response if you get a chance. We would love to hear from you!
God bless you!
Tim, Mindy, Logan and Zachary