(posted by Mindy)
First of all, if you did not get our update email we just sent out today and would like to hear a really neat testimony of God’s provision, please let us know. We sent a really cool story to everyone on our email list but have chosen not to post it on the blog for certain reasons.
Second of all, yes the weather is absolutely gorgeous here, and we are thoroughly enjoying it. We know you northerners are experiencing some pretty cold, snowy weather right now. We wish we could send some of this warmth to you, but since we can’t, perhaps it might inspire you to come and see us.
Blessings from beautiful Nassau, Bahamas! God has been so good to us. As we reflect back on the last 4 weeks of this journey and even further back upon the last 6 months, we are in awe of how loving and caring God has been in paving the way for us to come here to serve. The problems/hiccups/bumps in the road never happened. In our times of faithlessness, we waited for them, but they just never came. Our faith and trust in God has been strengthened, and we pray that we can live on that trust knowing that God will take care of things in His will and timing as we remain faithful and trust in Him. PRAISE THE LORD!!!
We apologize for not updating you all sooner, but we have been incredibly busy. We have been learning the ministry work, adapting to the culture, serving others, renovating and cleaning our house, unpacking, shopping (On this island, this a full time job in and of itself. I am sooo thankful I did not listen to those who advised me to sell everything and buy new when I reached Nassau. We would have spent way more in time and money repurchasing everything than we did in shipping and duty charges.), and trying to get the boys caught up on their school work. As for what has happened in the last 3 weeks, we will let the pictures tell the story. Thankfully, we were able to squeeze in time to take pictures of our journey. Just so you know, while we were cleaning, painting, renovating, unloading, unpacking, decorating, etc, we were also trying to learn the ministry work at the camp as well as live a normal life and homeschool our boys. God has been gracious to us and has supplied us with enough energy to do all we need to do, and of course we can’t forget that we have some awesome helpers as well.
We miss all of you very much and look forward to future visits from you as the Lord allows and grants opportunity. We appreciate your continued support and humbly ask that you remember us in your prayers.
*ALC ministry: the work we and our fellow laborers are doing, the souls touched by the gospel as it is presented, God’s glory remain the focus of our endeavors
*Mindy’s stepfather, Dick Mikels, was just diagnosed with a tumor in his colon. He is getting a portion of his colon removed in March.
*Garrett still needs a job
*Wisdom for Logan and Zachary’s schooling (especially for what to do with for their geography class since we just found out we cannot access some of the geography videos from the internet because we are not in the US)
*Adjustment to the new culture and ministry work and that we remain wise and sensitive in our interactions with those we meet and serve
*Increase in monthly support funds (We know God is faithful and will supply all our needs as we prayerfully seek Him.)
*That God direct us to the church He would have us fellowship with
The last 3 weeks in pictures
It took 2 vehicles to get us and our 8 suitcases, 4 carry-ons and 5 back packs to the airport on Wednesday morning, January 16th. Our flight from Charlesto to Atlanta to Nassau went very smoothly.
Welcoming committee (“hailing” as Ms. Ada would say). Ms. Ada on the left and Eldora on the right.
This was our temporary “home” while we waited for the guest group to vacate the camp house and for the demolition work to be completed on the camp house. We lived in the upstairs apartment above the barn from Wednesday, January 16 until Sunday, January 27. We “enjoyed” roosters crowing at 130am and a donkey hee-hawing every morning. We got used to the loudness after a while, but we were sure glad to get out of the barn and into our new home.
When we first arrived at the ALC, a group from Taylor University was at the camp. We immediately began the “ministry learning” process. Tim helped out in the kitchen. Tim’s camp kitchen experience is a huge asset to this ministry and his current camp director position.
On Thursday, January 17, we were able to sneak away from camp to take Garrett out for some sight seeing. We took him to Atlantis and Marina Village to see the complex and the aquarium.
Taking Garrett on a walking tour of Atlantis
This is a Junkanoo Festival costume. Junkanoo is a festival here in the Bahamas.
Logan in his first day of facilitator training at the Centre. We could use more facilitators at the Centre. If you are college age (or older), like working with children and on various projects, and would like a semester of service, consider coming to The Bahamas a a missionary. You can spend a semester or year serving with us!
A group of Taylor University students on clean-up duty in the camp kitchen.
Saturday’s downtown Nassau trip to take Garrett sight seeing…first stop: the Straw Market.
This is another Junkanoo Festival costume in the building where all the cruise ship passengers enter the port.
Next stop… The Queen’s Staircase. Mr. Gibson, a Bahamian who told us about the staircase.
A family picture on the staircase.
At the top of the staircase is one of the island’s forts.
This is what the fort was built to protect (minus us and the cruise ships and fancy hotel of course).
What better way to cool off after a hot day downtown…a swim in the beautiful waters at the canals not too far from ALC.
The guys playing games with the Taylor University students at the dining hall at camp.
After attending church on Sunday, we went to Potter’s Cay (pronounced “key”) to introduce Garrett to conch Fritters, conch salad, and cracked conch. We ate at the “Twin Brothers”.
After lunch, it was off to the beach. It was a red flag day because the tide/current was strong. The boys still enjoyed it. The water was a tad bit too cold for me.
On Sunday night, we got a group shot of the Taylor University students.
More games with the Taylor group.
Tuesday morning, clean up day for Taylor. They left mid morning for the airport to go back to the frigid midwest.
With Taylor gone, we were then able to get in to the camp house to start the renovations. First thing that had to go was the wall that divided the living room into a a bedroom and small living area.
Also on the vacating the premises list was the old cast iron bath tub.
We worked all day removing the wall and tub, trying to remove large bolts from bunk beds that had been painted (it tool several hours to take apart 1 bed–there were 5 beds to disassemble), cleaning a house up to my standards, kicking out the free loaders (aka: cockroaches, termites and other critters), and attempting to get rooms ready to be painted. I also went shopping for paint.
End of day one: tub was out, some of tile was down, wall was out, the two bedrooms were partly cleaned and prepped for painting, and 1 of the 5 beds was disassembled.
After a long day of work, we took 2 ALC facilitators and Kevin (our maintenance guy’s foster son) and attempted to watch the sunset on a west side of the island beach. We caught a glimpse of the sun just before it slipped behind the clouds on the horizon.
The boys skipping stones into the ocean.
A live star fish at the beach.
On Wednesday, we went to the place of the man selling us this 2001 Honda Stream. Nice car, isn’t it? This car is a gift from God that is for sure. We got it for a far better price than we expected to pay, and it was a far better car than we had anticipated getting. The story behind this car is fascinating, and if you would like to hear the story, let me know. I will send you the email of the story I sent to those on our email list. God truly blessed. Tim and the seller were putting the license plates on the car in this photo.
On Wednesday, we did not get much work done on the house. We spent a good part of the day getting the car licensed and registered with the seller. When we got back to camp, while Tim worked on the tub area and the boys worked on taking apart the bunk beds (remember it took hours to take those beds apart), I cleaned windows, cabinets, walls, floors, and appliances and got the house ready to paint.
Saying good-bye to Garrett. We took Garrett to the airport on Thursday so he could go back to the US. We hated to see him go.
On Thursday, after dropping Garrett off at the airport, we went to pick up the car from the seller. The seller had it all ready for us–clean, alarm system installed, etc. We owned our first right-side drive car.
After a little time of cleaning at the house, we got together for a meal at our temporary home. Mike, one of the facilitators at the Centre (sitting by Zachary in this picture) and Kevin cooked supper for us.
Friday (1/25), it was back to work in the house–taking apart beds….
…preparing the bathroom for the tiled shower…
…and painting (this is mine and Tim’s room)…
…and more painting (this is Zachary and Logan’s room).
After a long day constructing, painting and cleaning (and did I say that we also were hosting a group at camp?), we got together back at the loft for pizza. With us were, Bob and Faye (a Canadian couple who come here to help out every winter), Tom (maintenance), and Mike (ALC facilitator).
We finished painting our room on Friday and cleaned it on Saturday (love what bleach can do to tile floors!).
Zachary and Logan’s room painted and clean.
Saturday (1/26) Tim and Tom were mixing up the cement to build the edge to the shower.
Tim building the shower pan.
Logan helping to tape off the doors so I could paint the living room and dining room area.
On Sunday (1/27), after church and a quick bite of lunch at the loft, we worked to get the living area of the house painted so we could move in that afternoon. We did it. We got it painted and cleaned up enough to move in that evening.
Logan helped clean cabinets while I painted and Tim worked on the bathroom.
Tim began tiling the base of the shower…
…and setting the toilet in place so we could live in the house while we finish up the renovation. We moved into the house that night and slept on mattresses on the floor. We still had a lot of work to get done before the container with our stuff arrived.
Monday (1/28) was a huge day for Bahamians. The people were voting on whether they should legalize gambling or not. We thought for sure the Yeas would have it, but actually it was voted down. Praise the Lord! This culture does not need gambling.
While I was running an errand, the Tim got busy working on the shower. Tim had some help from Tom and Bob.
I bleached cabinets inside and out and cleaned the appliances.
The guys enjoying an afternoon snack of conch fritters made by Eddie (our kitchen guy here at the camp).
Painting the accent color on the kitchen walls. Yes, that is red! It looks really nice. I can’t wait to show the final product of our labors. That will not be on this blog post. Sorry! You will have to check back later for that!
Tim finished up the floor tiles in the shower and the plumbing in the shower wall. Bob was giving pointers and supervising. Note, Tim has never tiled before. (The finished job is every bit as good as some professional jobs I have seen. This plumber does tile work too!)
On Tuesday, I did not get a lot done around the house. I spent the morning on one of my loooong shopping trips trying to find what I need while Tim spent much of the day working on camp stuff at the Centre. Tom and Bob fixed the stove. These guys remind me a lot of Erv Jung and Dan Melcher back at Living Waters Bible Camp. They can fix almost anything.
Tuesday evening we had our neighbors over for a good ole American meal: pot roast, potatoes, carrots, onions and celery cooked in a crockpot. The boys with Kevin.
Eating at the old table in our living room. Bob, Faye and Tom joined us for dinner.
Wednesday morning, January 30th, container arrival day! Woot, woot! This is the cleared out house, waiting to be filled with all the belongings we shipped over a couple weeks prior.
The shipping container arrived from the port at about 1020am on Wednesday, January 30th. It was the same container we left at the Charleston Port 2 weeks and 2 days earlier.
Pastor Cranston (pastor of Abundant Life Church here on the island and a ALC board member) was present while the container was arriving. He also arranged for several youth from his church to be present to help us unload the truck. Pastor Cranston has been a huge help in our adjusting to this new culture.
Dan and Erv (aka Bob and Tom) wisely built this ramp for us. We had to wait quite a while for the arrival of the customs agent. The customs agent had to be present before we could break the seal of the truck.
Everything was just as we left it!
Customs broker representative present, Bahamas Customs agent present, seal broken…let the unloading begin!
The truck was completely unloaded in less than an hour. The customs agent gave us no problems. The only thing she scrutinized was the energy efficient washing machine. She wanted to make sure it was energy star rated and not regular because the duty is a lot less on the energy star appliances. Praise the Lord that was done and every thing arrived safely with no damage!
The young people from Pastor Cranston’s church who helped us unload the truck. We had pizza for them after they helped with the moving in.
“I am so ready to be done!” Our first thing unpacked…our comfy bed!
Kevin helping us survive our first power outage with a kerosene lamp. Power outages are random and common in the Bahamas. This outage and the one the next night happened right at dusk while I was trying to get unpacking done and supper made.
Oh, well! I guess I am just going to have to get used to it!
While I worked on unpacking over the next couple of days, Tim worked on tiling the shower in the bathroom.
On Friday, we drove down town to pick-up Tim’s Aunt Darlene, her husband and some friends of theirs. We brought them back to the ALC to show them where we lived and worked.
On Friday, we drove down town to pick-up Tim’s Aunt Darlene, her husband and some friends of theirs. They were on a cruise ship and had a 5 hour visit at Nassau. Unfortunately it was a cool day.
We brought them back to the ALC to show them where we lived and worked.
That evening: first meal with guests at our new table and first sleep over for the boys!
This week, Tim continued his tiling and grouting job while working with camp related business. I continued to unpack, decorate and work on my shopping excursions. I have almost found everything we need right away. The only thing we haven’t got yet is a couch and some dining room chairs or a bench that can double as occasional seating and dining room table seating. We are praying for those things now. (God already gave us a car, I am sure he has just the right furniture for us!)
- tiling done!
Tim worked really hard at the begin of this week to get the grouting done before Wednesday because he was leaving for Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a meeting with the ALC board president!
We know we don’t have any pictures of the finished house yet, but that will have to wait until another day! We still have some things we need to finish up. Once it is done, we will post some pictures. Those of you who have seen the house before it was renovated would not recognize it now. It looks so different.
We hope you enjoyed our last 3 weeks in pictures. We have gotten so much accomplished and have experienced so many things. We can’t even begin to write about all of them You have seen just the highlights. Please keep praying for us. We NEED the prayer. Now that the construction phase is nearing an end, we are looking forward to working harder on learning the ministry and working to further the kingdom of God on this earth.
Until next time, may God bless you all!