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.
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.
*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
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!
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
* 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.
Tim, Mindy, Logan and Zachary