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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


2 Comments

  1. Mindy, there are few people who we can relate to about being expats in “Paradise” like you and TIm! God has been so kind to give us friends who are sharing so many similar struggles. I was reminded of this passage in Psalms this week: “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy. He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home wih shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” Ps. 125 I studied this alongisde some of Spurgeon’s thoughts and was so refreshed. Our tears, our pain, our trials, are what water and fertilize the gospel seed we are planting. God doesn’t waste any of it. Love you, friend.

  2. I know exactly how you feel, Mindy. When I was in PNG, a large centipede (not the feathery type) fell near my face at night, when the lights were off. Talk about frightening! So glad you survived. And may th Lord give you grace for what lies ahead. Loved you post!

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