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Monthly Archives: November 2013

Over the ocean and through the airports…

Over the river, and through the wood,

to Grandfather’s house we go!

The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh

through the white and drifted snow…

(The New-England Boy’s Song About Thanksgiving)

Like most places outside the USA, Thanksgiving on the last Thursday in November is not celebrated in The Bahamas; therefore, we are glad to be off the rock (the expression we use to say we are leaving the island) and heading north to Minneapolis, Minnesota to celebrate the holiday with family!  What a blessing it is to live and serve as missionaries in a day and age where air travel is relatively easy and accessible.  We may not be getting to Grandma and Grandpa’s house in a sleigh, but we are on our way there nonetheless, and hopefully the pilot knows the way.

Although spending Thanksgiving with our adult children and parents is our major motivation, the ultimate goal for this trip is to rest and recuperate from a very busy year.   We will be staying with Tim’s parents for two weeks.  Mindy’s parents who live in Indiana will be driving up to join us for the weekend. We plan on celebrating “Christmas” together as a family this weekend while we are all together.  Wow!  Two holidays in one weekend:  one of the draw backs or benefits (however you want to look at it) to living so far away yet still wanting to celebrate Christmas together as a family.  We are just glad we are going to get to be together.

Besides resting with the family…

We have made a couple of other plans.  The first plan is to spend a couple days shopping for things we can’t get or can’t afford in Nassau.  The other plan is to visit a few churches.  On December 3rd at 630pm, we will be at our sending church, Grace Church in Viroqua, WI to update people on the ministry and to meet and greet everyone in that area.  On Wednesday, December 4th, we will be at Bible Truth Chapel in Wausau, WI to update the assembly during their Midweek service. On Sunday, December 8th, we will be updating Grace and Truth Chapel in Minneapolis during their morning worship service/Sunday School hour.  If you are in any of the areas where we will be presenting, please consider coming to see us.  We would love to see you.  You may email us if you have any questions.

Ministry News

Some updates will be seen in the pictures below.  For the rest of what we are doing at camp, we have been busily working on things that are not easily photographed:  phone calls, making contacts, working on budgets, planning for future groups, and trying to get organized among other things.  Immediately after we get back on December 11th, we will be preparing camp for the arrival of a mission team from a university in Florida.  This team has never been to the island before.  This is also our first time fully facilitating a mission team.  Usually groups that come have been here before and know what they want to do and how to accomplish it.  This is going to take a lot of prayer.  So please PRAY for us as we work through the details before and during the group’s stay at camp.

Prayer Requests

*Travel to Minnesota on November 27th and return to Nassau on December 11th.

*Connections with family, friends and supporting churches while in the US

*Rest and relaxation while on vacation

*God provides funds for a new stove and refrigerator.  The oven thermostat on our stove does not work and we are missing a burner on the top.  The refrigerator we currently have is not big enough for our family and all the hosting we do.  We would like to buy our own refrigerator and give our current refrigerator to the girls staff cottage.

*Wisdom and discernment as we facilitate the December 16-20 mission team from Florida. This is a non-Christian school, so the focus is different, but there is a lot of opportunity.

*Completion of the girls staff cottage

*Wisdom as we deal with the Bahamian people

*That God will send us staff to help us in the work at the ALC.  We are especially desperate for facilitator staff at the Centre and maintenance help for both the Camp and Centre.

Last Several Weeks in Pictures

With the last fitting in place, the girl staff cottage now has running water.  Plumber Tim enjoys getting to use his plumbing skills on occasion.

With the last fitting in place, the girl staff cottage now has running water. Plumber Tim enjoys getting to use his plumbing skills on occasion.

Google video talking with Andrew and Katie (and Gatsby the cat) is always a highlight for us.  We love getting to see our kids.

Google video talking with Andrew and Katie (and Gatsby the cat) is always a highlight for us. We love getting to see our kids.

Tika Penn, facilitating  a program in the petting farm area of Adventure Learning Centre.  Kudos to Facilitator staff who have been extremely busy ministering to 100’s of Bahamian children.

Tika Penn, facilitating a program in the petting farm area of Adventure Learning Centre. Kudos to Facilitator staff who have been extremely busy ministering to 100’s of Bahamian children.

Elton Deetjen, another of our program facilitators at the Centre, demonstrating the small animals in the nature centre.

Elton Deetjen, another of our program facilitators at the Centre, demonstrating the small animals in the nature centre.

Every month, the Bahama school principals meet at various venues to hold their principals meeting.  This month we hosted the principals at the Centre.  During their  break, we served them lunch. 140 30

Every month, the Bahama school principals meet at various venues to hold their principals meeting. This month we hosted the principals at the Centre. During their break, we served them lunch. 

(L-R)  ALC Board President Chet Lowe, Ian Brockway (Chet’s assistant), Zach (works with Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale’s Patmos placement).  Chet came to the island to meet with the Ministry of Education leadership.  We are trying to convince the Ministry to allow school children to attend the ALC for more than the 3 hours they currently allow.  Please pray that the Ministry looks favorable on our request.

(L-R) ALC Board President Chet Lowe, Ian Brockway (Chet’s assistant), Zach (works with Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale’s Patmos placement). Chet came to the island to meet with the Ministry of Education leadership. We are trying to convince the Ministry to allow school children to attend the ALC for more than the 3 hours they currently allow. Please pray that the Ministry looks favorable on our request.

This is the Keyser family.  Naomi is sister to a friend of ours, Katie Welch, from Westby, WI.  They are on the island for a month to speak at a local church.

This is the Keyser family. Naomi is sister to a friend of ours, Katie Welch, from Westby, WI. They are on the island for a month to speak at a local church.

This is Bob and Judy Balson and Judy’s sister Jill Wolf (on the left).  Bob and Judy are in the works of coming to the island to work full time with us here at the Camp.  They are from Wisconsin and are currently waiting for their house to sell.  We are praying they are here by early January.

This is Bob and Judy Balson and Judy’s sister Jill Wolf (on the left). Bob and Judy are in the works of coming to the island to work full time with us here at the Camp. They are from Wisconsin and are currently waiting for their house to sell. We are praying they are here by early January.

Our maintenance guy, Tom Schafer was on vacation for 2 weeks.  While he was gone, our solar bus radiator went bad.  Bob Balson jumped right in and was able to repair it.  What a blessing!

Our maintenance guy, Tom Schafer was on vacation for 2 weeks. While he was gone, our solar bus radiator went bad. Bob Balson jumped right in and was able to repair it. What a blessing!

Dinner with the Balsons and Jill.

Dinner with the Balsons and Jill.

Calvary Bible Church in Nassau held their Men’s retreat at ALCamp.  We enjoyed hosting these men.  As is customary, we provided a short orientation when they arrived.

Calvary Bible Church in Nassau held their Men’s retreat at ALCamp. We enjoyed hosting these men. As is customary, we provided a short orientation when they arrived.

Calvary Bible Church’s cook, Prescilla Murphy.  She cooked for the Men’s Retreat.  We enjoyed getting to know her.

Calvary Bible Church’s cook, Prescilla Murphy. She cooked for the Men’s Retreat. We enjoyed getting to know her.

The girl staff cottage is in the last stages of being painted on the inside.   After the painting is finished on the inside, we hope to furnish the living spaces so the girls can move in.

The girl staff cottage is in the last stages of being painted on the inside. After the painting is finished on the inside, we hope to furnish the living spaces so the girls can move in.

This is the Keith and Renae Saunders family.  We enjoyed food and fellowship with them one evening last week.

This is the Keith and Renae Saunders family. We enjoyed food and fellowship with them one evening last week.

We completed the delicious meal with these wonderful cheesecakes made by the Saunder’s oldest daughter who is a culinary arts major.  Yummy!

We completed the delicious meal with these wonderful cheesecakes made by the Saunder’s oldest daughter who is a culinary arts major. Yummy!

Last weekend the ALC ladies got together at Felicia Ryan’s house for a lady’s overnight.  The only ladies missing were Kim Wallace (Mark’s wife), Christine Wilson, (Sean’s wife) and Brittney (Eric’s girlfriend).

Last weekend the ALC ladies got together at Felicia Ryan’s house for a lady’s overnight. The only ladies missing were Kim Wallace (Mark’s wife), Christine Wilson, (Sean’s wife) and Brittney (Eric’s girlfriend).

Massage train!

Massage train!

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I was able to talk our very own Ms. Ada to join us for the overnight. Ms. Ada is like a mom to me.

On the agenda for the evening was food, encouragement as Titus 2 ladies, Manicures and pedicures, and a chick flick—Ultimate Gift!

On the agenda for the evening was food, encouragement as Titus 2 ladies, Manicures and pedicures, and a chick flick—Ultimate Gift!

Ms. Ada and Jen Rogers getting a pedicure.

Ms. Ada and Jen Rogers getting a pedicure.

Meanwhile, back at home, the guys were hosting Shadow, RJ and Elton for an overnight.

Meanwhile, back at home, the guys were hosting Shadow, RJ and Elton for an overnight.

On Sunday, we had the College of Bahamas students that attend our church over to our house for lunch.

On Sunday, we had the College of Bahamas students that attend our church over to our house for lunch.

Sunday evening we had our 4th and final Kingdom Life membership class at our house.  We LOVE these people and are so glad God has brought us to this fellowship.

Sunday evening we had our 4th and final Kingdom Life membership class at our house. We LOVE these people and are so glad God has brought us to this fellowship.

After the membership meeting, we had a dessert social.  Obviously Zachary had a great time.

After the membership meeting, we had a dessert social. Obviously Zachary had a great time.

This is Julian Williams.  He was on the island for a week to visit and help out around the Centre.  Julian was program director at the Centre 7 years ago.

This is Julian Williams. He was on the island for a week to visit and help out around the Centre. Julian was program director at the Centre 7 years ago.

Kevin Poitier (Left) and Elton Deetjen (Right).  We sure enjoy having these young men around.

Kevin Poitier (Left) and Elton Deetjen (Right). We sure enjoy having these young men around.

Logan volunteers at the Centre for 4 hours Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Helps  Mark Wallace with technical and computer related issues.

Logan volunteers at the Centre for 4 hours Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He helps Mark Wallace with technical and computer related issues.

I do most of my grocery shopping at Cost Right.  It is similar to a Sams Club or Costco.  This is the bagger I have built a relationship with.  Her name is Pascal.   Baggers are a norm in the Bahamas.  Along with that is the expectation to tip baggers.  Although I hate having to spend so much in tipping, I don’t mind paying my friend to bag my groceries.

I do most of my grocery shopping at Cost Right. It is similar to a Sams Club or Costco. This is the bagger I have built a relationship with. Her name is Pascal. Baggers are a norm in the Bahamas. Along with that is the expectation to tip baggers. Although I hate having to spend so much in tipping, I don’t mind paying my friend to bag my groceries.

On Monday night we had Jen Rogers and Julian Williams for dinner.

On Monday night we had Jen Rogers and Julian Williams for dinner.

We enjoyed getting to know Julian and can’t wait until he comes back.

We enjoyed getting to know Julian and can’t wait until he comes back.

On Tuesday evening, we had Julia Williams and Michelle for dinner—made to order omelets.

On Tuesday evening, we had Julia Williams and Michelle for dinner—made to order omelets.

Saying see you later to Julia Williams.  She will be leaving the island on December 5th.  Hopefully she will be back next summer.

Saying “see you later” to Julia Williams. She will be leaving the island on December 5th. Hopefully she will be back next summer.

Julian Williams and Julia Williams.  These two had fun with their similar names.

Julian Williams and Julia Williams. These two had fun with their similar names.

With  warm clothes on and  nearly empty suitcases in tow, we boarded a plane  heading for Minnesota for a 2 week vacation.

With warm clothes on and nearly empty suitcases in tow, Wednesday we boarded a plane heading for Minnesota for a 2 week vacation. (Our winter clothes are at our parent’s house and we need room in our suitcases to bring back supplies.)

Airline electronics policy has changed.  We can now use electronics during take-off.  I snapped this picture of New Providence.

Airline electronics policy has changed. We can now use electronics during take-off. I snapped this picture of New Providence.

Thanksgiving!

At this time of Thanksgiving, we would like to express to each of you how much we appreciate you and your support of us.  We are grateful and honored by your interest in our lives and ministry work. May God bless you!

Please stay in touch.  We love hearing from you!

Lesson from an unwanted visitor: Do we always have to be thankful?

When life is easy and things are going well, it is easy to say “Thank you, Lord!”  But what about the times when the Lord allows a relationship to become strained, a financial hardship to arise, things in the house to fall apart, the body to show signs it is not young anymore, or a boa constrictor to show up in the house?  Do we have to say thank you to Jesus for these too?

The initial Sunday School answer would be, “Yes!  I Thesselonians 5:18 says be thankful in everything.”  But doesn’t the Bible also say we are to be honest?  What if we are not thankful that a snake came and made his presence known to the person in the house with a huge snake phobia?  We believe being thankful for the actual event is not the key here. We may not be thankful for the snake in our bathroom, but we can be thankful that God taught us through the experience that He keeps His Word when He says He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8),  He provides opportunities for us to grow and become stronger, and His grace is sufficient for us (II Corinthians 12:9)

Mindy will never be thankful for the snake that visited her in our bathroom, but she is thankful that God brought her through the dreaded nightmare come true and that He did not leave her defenseless.

Those wanting to know:  No, we do not have a picture of the critter.  The boa constrictor was about 18 inches long and was found crawling up the toilet paper tower.  The one positive in all this (besides learning that Mindy can survive such encounters) is that the critter was in the bathroom and not the bedroom.  Please pray no more find their way into the house!

Thanksgiving and Christmas Plans

In lieu of a family vacation this year, we have decided to vacation in Minnesota for two weeks around Thanksgiving instead.  This will give us extra time to relax, visit with Andrew, Katie, Garrett and both sets of parents.  We also plan on being at Grace and Truth Chapel in Minneapolis on December 8th, at Grace Church in Viroqua, Wisconsin on December 3rd (this is a Tuesday evening), and Bible Truth Chapel in Wausau, Wisconsin on December 4th.  If you are in any of these areas those days, please consider stopping in to see us.  Since our plan is to actually vacation and rest, we do not want to be wearing ourselves out trying to go out and visit everyone.  If you would like to see us, we will be staying at Tim’s parent’s house in St Anthony, MN.  Email us if you would like to stop in for a visit.

A lots of firsts this Christmas…our first without Garrett (and Andrew and Katie), our first outside the states of Minnesota or Illinois/Indiana, our first in a country where there is no threat of Christmas being white, our first Christmas in our cozy Bahamas home, and our first Christmas with our new Bahamian friends.  We are guardedly looking forward to it but know it is going to be different than what we are used to.   If anyone is daring enough to brave the expensive airline prices, please consider this an invitation to come and spend Christmas with us in the Bahamas!

I Phone 4

Have you (or anyone you know) upgraded to I Phone 5 and still have your I-Phone 4 you are wanting to get rid of?  We would like to get a couple but the cost of new ones are out of our budget right now (our Android phones we brought with us are not working properly).  The phones have to be unlocked GSM phones (that means they use a SIM card from the telephone provider).  Let us know if you know of any.  Thanks!

(Updates are in the pictures and prayer requests are below)

The last 3 weeks in pictures

Two weeks ago, Tim and Mindy flew to Indiana for Mindy's cousin's wedding.  We left 93 degree weather and were greeted with  upper 30 degree temps and freezing rain/snow.  The trees were beautiful and the air was crisp.  Just the way Mindy likes it!

Two weeks ago, Tim and Mindy flew to Indiana for Mindy’s cousin’s wedding. We left 93 degree weather in Nassau and were greeted with upper 30 degree temps and freezing rain/snow in Indiana. The trees were beautiful and the air was crisp. Just the way Mindy likes it!

Got to experience fall weather after all!  Smelled like fall, sounded like fall, felt like fall!

Got to experience fall weather after all! Smelled like fall, sounded like fall, looked like fall, felt like fall (and probably would have tasted like fall if it were possible)!

Bonfire with Mindy's sisters (Tammy and Missy) and parents (Dick and Mom). Dick wanted us to experience as much fall as we could while we were up north.

Bonfire with Mindy’s sisters and brother-in-law (Tammy/John and Missy) and parents (Dick and Mom). Dick wanted us to experience as much fall as we could while we were up north–complete with jeans, sweaters, scarves, leather coat and gloves!

Meanwhile, back at camp in Nassau, the facilitators and the boys were having a crazy party to celebrate Marion's birthday.  Marion is the French facilitator.

Meanwhile, back at camp in Nassau, the facilitators and the boys were having a crazy party to celebrate Marion’s birthday. Marion is the French facilitator.

Those of us that met in Indiana for the wedding: Tammy and John with their sons Dylan and Connor, Missy, Dick and Mom.

Mindy’s sisters (Tammy and Missy) and Tammy’s husband John and sons Connor and Dylan came up from Charleston, SC for the wedding.

The last cousin to  get married.  Kristy and her husband Brad.  It was a beautiful, traditional wedding held at the Indiana State Capital Buidling---gorgeous!

The last cousin to get married. Kristy and her husband Brad. It was a beautiful, traditional wedding held at the Indiana State Capital Buidling—gorgeous!

The cousins.  Finally a get together that was not a funeral.  Notice, all girls.  Interesting fact, the generation under us is nearly all boys (14 boys, 4 girls).  Mindy and her sister are twins, and the cousin third from the left is the mother of triplet boys.  What is in store the next generation?  Quad girls???

The cousins. Finally a get together that was not a funeral. Notice they are all girls. Interesting fact, the generation under them is nearly all boys (14 boys and 4 girls). Mindy and her sister are twins, and the cousin third from the left is the mother of triplet boys. What is in store the next generation? Quad girls???

On Sunday morning, we were able to connect with the church Mindy grew up attending, Edgewood Baptist Church in Danville, IL.  To the right is Pastor and Mrs. Matt Harmless, and to the left is the assistant Pator

On Sunday morning, we were able to connect with the church Mindy grew up attending, Edgewood Baptist Church in Danville, IL. We shared a brief ministry update. To the right is Pastor and Mrs. Matt Harmless, and to the left is the assistant Pastor and his wife.

Sunday evening, we presented an update at another supporting church, Hillery Bible Chapel in Danville, IL.

Sunday evening, we presented an update at another supporting church, Hillery Bible Chapel in Danville, IL.

This is literally where it all began for us!  This is the exact spot we met on December 21, 1986.  It was at Hillery Bible Chapel in Danville, IL.

This is literally where it all began for us! This is the exact spot we met on December 21, 1986. It was at Hillery Bible Chapel in Danville, IL.

Two years before we met, this man, Tim Van Ryn, and Tim Hadley (currently lives with his family in Michigan) came in to the restaurant that Mindy and Missy worked at.  The two Tims (Tim Van Ryn and Tim Hadley) prayed for their food while Mindy was sweeping the dining room.  She asked them what church they attended, and this began a friendship that would later result in us meeting and eventually marrying.

Two years before we met, Tim Van Ryn (pictured here with Mindy and Missy), and Tim Hadley (currently living with his family in Michigan) came in to the restaurant that Mindy and Missy worked at. Tim Van Ryn and Tim Hadley prayed for their food while Mindy was sweeping the dining room. She asked them what church they attended, and this began a friendship that would later result in us meeting and eventually marrying.

We returned back to our parent's house where Tammy and Mom had planned a little surprise birthday party for Tim.  It was his 53rd birthday that day!

We returned back to our parent’s house where Tammy and Mom had planned a little surprise birthday party for Tim. It was his 53rd birthday that day!

On Monday, we flew back to Nassau.  On our way from the plane to customs, we saw our assistant pastor at Kingdom Life, Keith Bunting, in the gate area waiting to board his plane to the states to attend a pastor's conference.  He and Tim conversed on telephones because the glass was too thick and high to hear each other.

On Monday, we flew back to Nassau. On our way from the plane to customs, we saw our assistant pastor at Kingdom Life, Keith Bunting, in the gate area waiting to board his plane to the states to attend a pastor’s conference. He and Tim conversed on telephones because the glass was too thick and high to hear each other.

Early last week, schools were on fall break and testing time so the Centre had very small groups coming for programs.  Facilitators helped us at camp prime the girl staff cottage.  There is a debate going on what to name this cottage.  The other cabins on site are named after the family islands.  The girls are thinking of calling this Cat Island.  (Hmmm?)

Early last week, schools were on fall break and testing time so the Centre had very small groups coming for programs. Facilitators helped us at camp prime the girl staff cottage. There is a debate going on what to name this cottage. The other cabins on site are named after the family islands. The girls are thinking of calling this Cat Island. (Hmmm?)

While facilitators painted, Tom and Tim were trying to figure out where to did the trenches for water lines.  Tim thought he would try to pick axe it by hand.

While facilitators painted, Tom and Tim were trying to figure out where to did the trenches for water lines. Tim thought he would try to pick axe it by hand.

Tim and our electrician Fabian also worked on hooking the cottage up to the current.

Tim and our electrician Fabian also worked on hooking the cottage up to the current.

Tim opted to rent a trencher instead of digging it by hand.  Here he and Fabian are trenching for an electric line from the bath house to the cabins.

Tim opted to rent a trencher instead of digging it by hand. Here he and Fabian are trenching for an electric line from the bath house to the cabins.

Priming moved inside the cottage on Friday.

Priming moved inside the cottage on Friday.

Break for lunch with our honorable guest, Pastor Cranston Knowles.  Pastor at Abundant Life Bible Church.

Break for lunch with our honorable guest, Pastor Cranston Knowles. Pastor at Abundant Life Bible Church.

Then it was back to work that afternoon to dig the trench for the water line from the well house to the cottages.

Then it was back to work that afternoon to dig the trench for the water line from the well house to the cottages.

Early in the week last week, Jingles, the black and white cat that belonged to Tom died.  The Centre had two cats, so we brought the younger of the two cats to be the Camp cat.  This is Samson and he has adopted us as his family.

Early in the week last week, Jingles, the black and white cat that belonged to Tom died. The Centre had two cats, so we brought the younger of the two cats to be the Camp cat. This is Samson and he has adopted us as his family.

Trying to feel like fall here.  Monday evening this past week did feel a little cool with the winds howling and the air temperature in the upper 70's to low 80's.

Trying to feel like fall here. Monday evening this past week did feel a little cool with the winds howling and the air temperature in the upper 70’s to low 80’s.

On Saturday, Tim worked on laying the water pipe and filling the trenches so cars can use the driveway.

On Saturday, Tim worked on laying the water pipe and filling the trenches so cars can use the driveway.

Saturday evening after the girls spent the afternoon at the beach with Marion (it was Marion's last day on the island before she left on Sunday), we had everyone to our house for homemade whole wheat waffles.  We learned something else about the Bahamas that night, baking powder does not last very long here.  The powder did not function properly in the waffles because of the humidity of the summer.  We just opened that can earlier this summer.  The new one is now in the frig.

Saturday evening after the girls spent the afternoon at the beach with Marion (it was Marion’s last day on the island before she left on Sunday), we had everyone to our house for homemade whole wheat waffles. We learned something else about the Bahamas that night, baking powder does not last very long here. The powder did not function properly in the waffles because of the humidity of the summer that got into the can. We just opened that can earlier this summer. The new one is now in the frig.

Sunday morning we said good-bye to Marion.  She was here for two months and we are sad to see her go.  She is off to Haiti for a six month mission.

Sunday morning we said good-bye to Marion. She was here for two months and we are sad to see her go. She is off to Haiti for a six month mission.

Sunday evening we began membership classes at Kingdom Life Church.

Sunday evening we began membership classes at Kingdom Life Church.

Prayer Requests

* Provision of a stove and refrigerator for our house (our current stove has to be babysat because the temperature does not regulate itself, and we are giving the frig to the girls cottage and buying our own.  We hope to get a  bigger one that is more suited for our entire family and all the guests that join us at our table on a regular basis.)

*Travel plans for Thanksgiving; time to rest and regroup for the busy winter and spring schedules coming up

*Finish up the cottage so the girls can move in soon (pray specifically for furnishings as well)

*Wisdom and discernment with the ministry and working with the Bahamian people

*We are working on hosting and facilitating a mission team that will be here in December; please pray we find someone to cook for them since we will be out with the group during the days

 *ALCentre and ALCamp ministry: staff well being, facility repairs/construction, those we serve

*That God would send other missionary staff to help us here: especially maintenance staff to help Tom, a cook for camp, and someone to provide help with grounds and housekeeping here at camp

Thank you for your interest in our lives and ministry work.  It is a blessing and encouragement to know you care and are praying for us.

God bless!
Tim, Mindy, Logan and Zachary

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