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Monthly Archives: September 2012

…sad news, Wausau Conference, ministry update!

(posted by Mindy)

Family news…

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.

My grandpa, Ralph Byers, returning from the Honor Flight on September 24, 2012

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.


…celebrating life!

(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.

Happy 14th Birthday, Zachary!

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

Adventure Learning Centre Banner

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.

…in transition mode (and pictures from the rest of the days of our trip)!

(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.)

Thank you!!!


Enjoy the pictures of the last days of our trip!

Worship at Grace Community Church on Sunday morning


Saying good-bye to Stacie Burtelson at the airport Sunday afternoon


Coconut tarts Mark brought to the staff training (YUMMY!)


Day one of ALC staff training


ALC staff 2012

Adventure Learning Center Staff


ALC staff going downtown on day one of staff training


ALC staff at the Straw Market, downtown Nassau

ALC staff at the Straw Market, downtown Nassau


Zachary and his new friend RJ at the port (where the cruise ships come in) shop area


Saying good-bye to Kevin before leaving for the airport


Saying good-bye to one of my new friends, Eldora. She works in the ALC office.


At the airport, getting ready to leave.  Statues of people in Junkanoo costumes. Junkanoo is a parade that takes place on December 26 and New Years Day in the Bahamas.

…link to ALC promotional video on youtube and pictures of day 5 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 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!

Adventure Learning Camp

Visiting the Straw Market


Nassau city street (in the touristy area)


A cruise ship coming in to port.


Downtown Nassau Starbucks! What else do you need? It was right next door to a Subway.


Now here is the tourist beach–like the ones you see on the post cards. It was gorgeous!


Having fun in the crystal clear, pool-like ocean water and on the white sand beaches


“The Castle”- the Slater’s home and ministry (hint: one of the many mission opportunities for groups that come to the Bahamas)


The Slater family- they minister to young people at “The Castle”; we had dinner with them that night (Leah is Peter Rau’s sister.  Peter is the out-going Living Waters Bible Camp office manager.  Small world!)

…nothing new to add, just some more trip pictures!

(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.


They made me drive this ‘wrong-sided” vehicle on the “wrong-sided” road from the camp to the Adventure Learning Center. (It was only 500 feet from gate to gate; we made it in one piece.  It is going to take some getting used to that is for sure.  Did I mention it was a standard shift vehicle?) 


Arriving at the ALC for morning devotions


A daily occurrence at the ALC (on weekdays anyway)- staff devotions. A highlight for us for sure!


Meeting with Pastor Cranston, an ALC board member


Eating harbor side at the restaurant called “The Poop Deck”


The Bahamian dishes were great: fried plantains, peas and rice, fried shrimp/ grouper/conch, conch fritters, and conch salad, followed by guava duff for dessert.


The Marina at Atlantis (where some pretty nice yachts were anchored).


a glass sculpture in the Atlantis Resort (before we walked through the casino)

Experiencing “The Dig”, Atlantis Resort’s aquarium

Jelly fish at the aquarium in Atlantis

More of the Atlantis Resort

Walking around the Atlantis Resort

walking around the Atlantis Resort

Poseidon’s chair at the Atlantis Resort

…the next step (and pictures from day 3 of our trip).

(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!

This is Tim and Felicia Ryan. They moved to the Bahamas from Fon du lac, WI 3 years ago to minister to the Bahamian people.

Tim and Felicia took us to see All Saints Camp and to help them

Tour of All Saints Camp

We were able to help Tim and Felicia feed the residents of All Saints Camp lunch

We picked Stacie Burtelson up at the airport that afternoon; then she took us to see the beautiful area known as the canals

Picture taken at the canals

Dinner at Tim and Felicia Ryan’s house

…remembering the Bahamas with pictures!

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.

ALC camp house where we stayed

Arriving at ALC media office for morning staff devotions

Executive director of ALC giving us a tour of the center

The barn at ALC

One of the residents of the Nature Center at ALC (the creature around Zachary’s neck-yuck!)

Cabins at Adventure Learning Camp

New bathhouse at the camp

Inside the back door of the camp house

After a very hot, humid day–a swim in the ocean

Beautiful picture of the moon reflecting off the water




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