Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel
I have not been listening to a lot of Christmas music this year, but the times I have indulged, I usually find myself listening to three of my favorites: “Mary Did You Know?”, “How Many Kings?”, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”. All three songs tell the story of not just our Savior’s birth but also of his divinity, his life and ministry, and his death and resurrection. Praise God for the birth of that tiny baby who was 100% God and 100% man, lived a perfect sinless life, died on the cross for my (and all those who put their trust in Him) sins, and then rose again defeating sin and death so I might have an eternal relationship with Him!
Seeley Family Update
As I sit on our front porch enjoying the “cool” breezes against my skin, the soft white Christmas lights strung around the perimeter of the porch, and the Christmas Carols wafting from my laptop’s speakers, I am reminded it is only one week away from Christmas. My wonderment may sound odd to many of you since it has been December now for 16+ days and I do not live in a bubble, but for this girl who grew up with cold, snowy Decembers, it is sometimes hard to remember what time of year it is here. It is green outside instead of brown or white; I am still wearing shorts, flip flops and light weight cotton blouses instead of sweaters, jeans, boots, parkas and hats; and I am not greeted by numerous houses in our neighborhood adorned with Christmas lights and yard ornaments (electricity is so expensive here).
Regardless of the tricks being played on my un-retrained, unacclimated senses, my common sense tells me it is indeed one week away from Christmas. That means we leave in couple days to travel back to the USA. We will be spending Christmas week in the Charleston, SC area and the week of New Years in the Charlotte, NC area. Although we will not see our other boys for Christmas, we will get to see Logan, Garrett and Abby for a couple days while we are in Charlotte. We will all be attending a niece’s wedding on New Years Eve.
This Sunday we will be meeting with a mission team from Charleston that came last June to the Bahamas and is interested in coming again on another mission trip in the future. We will be sharing the ALC&C ministry with the group as well as Bahamas culture and the area ministries we work with. Next Wednesday we will be traveling up to Florence, SC to meet with the leader of another mission team that is bringing a group in March. This group has been here the last 3 years under the direction of Randy and Kim Grebe, but we will be doing most of the facilitating of the team this year since Randy and Kim won’t be coming. While in Charlotte, NC we hope to connect with a young lady that is interested in missions and has expressed an interest of maybe serving at ALC some day. She is the daughter of someone I went to Bob Jones University with years ago.
The ALC&C December newsletter went out this morning. (Are you on our mailing list? If you would like to add your name to the email list for the ALC&C newsletter, you may do so here at this link.). In it we mentioned how ALC&C could benefit from generous donors looking for places to send donations to for their end of year giving. ALC&C has been around now for 22 years, and that means equipment is aging, breaking down and needing to be replaced. If you would like to put your money to good use helping the ALC&C to continue its mission to reach the Bahamian people for Christ and serve those coming to the island to serve the Bahamian people, then consider donating to ALC&C. You may do so electronically at this link: Donate here, or by check at the address at this link: Donate here.
If you or someone you know is looking for a ministry opportunity, we have several positions open. We are looking for a program director, cook, maintenance staff, animal caretaker, and facilitators.
Ministry Update: Camp
Good News Seventh Day Adventist Church
These are some of the young ladies of the group that was at Camp for a church youth retreat the first weekend in December. There are two sets of twins in this group, and when they found out I was also a twin, they wanted to see a picture of her. I invited them to the house to see her. We love visits at our house from young people like this!
Grace CMA of Cleveland, Ohio
Ryan Davis and Scott Lessings, pastors of Grace CMA in Cleveland, OH were on the island for a scouting trip. They will be bringing a team of 50-60 next June. They took us to Fish Fry for Bahamian cuisine. They also helped us pick the winner of the free ALC t-shirt. We had a drawing from all the names of those who filled out a survey for us. Our very own Allison Sands won the t-shirt. Thank you Allison and everyone else who filled out the survey.
Fellow missionaries from Andros
Dave and Sue Bryant are missionaries in Red Bays, Andros, The Bahamas. We met Dave earlier this year at the immigration office. He had noticed Zachary’s Bible verse on his t-shirt and began a conversation with us. Dave and Sue were here last weekend to rest at Camp and get some paperwork taken care of at the registrar’s office for some Bahamians they minister to. We were glad to host them and serve them in this way.
The last Youth Outreach for the year was the 27th of November. We had a campfire with marshmallows and hotdogs, and time for singing, games and a challenge that finished up our discussion on the Fruits of the Spirit we studied this term. We look forward to the restart of the Youth Outreach in January.
College of Bahamas Architecture Students
You may recall in our last post that we introduced the architecture students from COB that are working on a project that we were assisting them with. We had a great time working with these young people. We hope to have them to Camp in the new year for a time of fellowship.
It feels so good serving mission teams again. It has been a while since we had our last mission team here. AMSA from Florida Atlantic University is here this week. This is their 4th trip and 3rd year being here. They are serving at Princess Margaret Hospital, Willamae Pratt Centre for Girls, Red Cross and Hypertension Screening Clinic at Town Centre Mall.
Connecting with Orphanages
This week we met with the directors of the Nazareth Centre and Ranfurly Homes. We were able to understand their ministries better and how we can assist them as teams come to the island wanting to serve them. We had tours of both facilities.
Ministry Update: Centre
For the past 2 months (while regular programming was going on), facilitators and maintenance staff have been transforming the Centre into a winter wonderland (minus the snow) with pageant props and thousands of lights for the annual Christmas Lights Drive-thru. The event was held the first two weekends of December. The Drive-thru (and its Easter time counter part, Easter Monday Funday) is one of our ministry’s big gospel outreaches/fund raising event. We had over 1200 cars come through the gates those 6 nights, and over 4600 people saw the spectacular event and heard the Gospel story clearly proclaimed in pageantry as well as spoken word. Although pictures cannot do it justice, enjoy the pictures of the event.
Life of Ministry in the Bahamas
Thanksgiving with our ALC&C family
We had a great Thanksgiving. We celebrated twice- the first was late on Thanksgiving Day with all the staff of ALC&C in the dining hall, and another more quiet, laid back intimate dinner on Saturday afternoon after Thanksgiving. We enjoyed the time with our island family, and the food was delicious!
It is part of our way of life in the type of ministry work we do: saying frequent good-byes to those we work with. This time it is hard because we are losing not one or two people but four people at one time. Dilan and Laura have been here for the last 11 months and Bob and Judi have been here for 22 months. They have added so much to this ministry and have worked very hard while they were here. They are going to be missed. We were able to get together one day last week and have a time of fellowship and opportunity to formally say good-bye.
You may remember Elton. Elton was a facilitator at ALC until he left last year for a job elsewhere. He is in school now and waiting to get into his own place. He is staying with us for a few weeks. We are glad to get to help him out in this way. He is serving us while we are off the island by holding down the fort (and keeping unwanted pests and burglars away).
Praise the Lord for a great turn out at the Christmas Lights Drive-thru. Pray for the souls of those that heard the Gospel proclaimed
Praise the Lord for the positive response to our recent “85 cents a day” fundraising campaign; continue to pray that we reach the fully funded level and remain there
Praise the Lord for time to get away. Pray for travel safety and that we are able to experience some rest and relaxation while away. We will be hitting the ground running when we return.
Pray for Staff needs: program director, cook, facilitators, maintenance, animal caretaker
Pray for funds needed to replace the train at the Centre ($120,000).
Whew! Another lengthy blog. There is just so much going on. Life is never dull here. Thank you for your time and interest in our lives and ministry work.
Tim, Mindy and Zachary