So, it has finally arrived: 2016. My heart is screaming, “Let it not be so! I am not ready for the huge changes this year is going to bring. I am not ready to give up my role of full-time mom!” This sentiment will come as no surprise to those of you who know me well. I have always loved being a mom and have long since dreaded an empty nest (and empty classroom). But 2016 has arrived, and I must face it.
Now the question is, am I going to face it with dread or with delight?
As I come to terms with the potential pain that this year represents, God, in His divine, well thought out ways, has softened the blow this year is threatening to deliver by sending us great news (more on that later) and messages/reminders of who we are and why we are here on this earth as a way to helping me adjust my perspective.
This past Sunday, our pastor preached on I Corinthians 10:31, which interestingly enough happens to be the “Seeley Family Academy” theme verse. The verse in the ESV version says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” God called us to parent Andrew, Garrett, Logan and Zachary into adulthood for a season. All we did as parents was to be done to the glory of God. I wish we could say we did it perfectly, but we cannot. Nonetheless, as that season of day to day parenting comes to an end and we enter the next season of our lives, our call remains to “do all to the glory of God.” Who am I to dishonor God by maintaining a wrong perspective of this next season of our lives?
This past Wednesday, friend/ALC&C board member/pastor of Abundant Life Bible Church, Pastor Cranston Knowles was with us for ALC&C staff devotions. What he shared was a huge encouragement to all of us. I won’t take the time to share all he said here (I hope to focus on it next month), but as I listened to what he said, I could not help but think of my current situation as I adjust my perspective of this year. One of the points he said was, “Don’t doubt in the darkness what God has revealed in the light. Knowing God has called you here will be the anchor to ground you in tough days.” Three years ago this very weekend, God called us to the Bahamas and made our path here smooth (you may refer back to past blogs for testimony to this). God has used his call and smooth orchestration of us getting here as a source of encouragement. I can rest in the fact that we are where we need to be. No matter how much I long for the past or want to be with absent loved ones, I can rest in knowing I can be content where I am because I am where God has called me to be.
Does this mean I am not going to be sad when we take Zachary back to the States this fall or that I will never long to reach out and cuddle the little boys I see in photos or experience the messy, loud, crude, rambunctiousness of my 4 little boys in my house? I don’t think so. I am quite sure I will have my times of tears and sadness, but I know who walks beside me and sustains me. As much as my flesh wants me to face 2016 with dread, my perspective of eternity and theology of a loving, sovereign, providential God allows me to face 2016 with delight. So bring it on!
We thank God for the memories and for the years He gave us to raise these boys!
Welcome Aboard and Welcome Back
We would like to introduce three of our newest ALC&C staff: Garnet Hepburn (left) is our new animal and grounds caretaker at the Centre. Chloe Eisermann (center) is from Wisconsin and will be a facilitator at the Centre until June. Aaron Mills (right) is serving in Camp maintenance and housekeeping and helping IT needs across both campuses.
Bob and Faye Browning are back on the island for 3 more months. This is their eleventh year of coming and snow birding with us from Ontario, Canada.
Jen Rogers has been our curriculum writer and a facilitator at the Centre for the last 2 1/2 years. With Dilan Van Ryn’s departure in December, Jen has taken over the education and facilitator oversight portions of the program director position. Tika Penn, who has been a facilitator at the Centre for 4 years is now doing the events coordinator portion of the program director position. Please pray for these ladies as they minister in their new roles.
Future Mission Teams and Prospective Staff
In December, God gave us the opportunity to meet in Charleston, South Carolina with a mission team that is possibly looking to come back to Nassau for another mission trip this summer. The group led by Mamie Rand came for the first time this past June. We attended church with Mamie and her family on Sunday morning, and while at Seacoast Church, we were able to meet with the missions pastor. After church and lunch, we met with families interested in coming on the trip and shared a slide presentation of the ALC&C ministry and the Bahamas culture.
Also while in South Carolina, we were able to meet with the leader of The King’s Academy mission team that is coming in March. After our meeting with Betty Levinier to iron out scheduling details, we got to visit with friends, Peter, Patti and Parker Rau and tour Operation Mobilization’s offices.
While in North Carolina between Christmas and New Years, we met with the daughter of a fellow Bob Jones University student who is interested in working at the ALC’s summer day camp program this summer. Please pray for Grace Gillespie as she makes plans to come to Nassau to serve Bahamian children.
Calvary Chapel Academy 8th Grade Mission Trip
Since our return to Nassau on January 2nd, we have been busily preparing for and serving a group of students and their leaders from Calvary Chapel Academy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The school sends their 8th grade class on the Bahamas mission trip every year at this time. The first week we had about 95 students/leaders and the second week we had about 90 students/leaders. The team has a very evangelistic focus: Knowing God and Making Him Known. They served at orphanages, government schools, All Saints Camp, and Adventure Learning Centre. They also spent some time down town sharing the Gospel with tourists and Bahamians.
We are looking for a great year of out reach to the youth in the South Beach area. Meetings started again this week with about 12 young people coming. Last weekend the leaders met to do a walk about around the neighborhood to advertise the weekly meetings and discuss the schedule. Please pray for the meeting’s impact on the young people and for the staff as they work with the young people.
Well, nothing as changed since last month’s blog. We have been in contact with the architect that is working on fixing the problems that the Ministry of Works has flagged on the prints, but nothing has moved forward. So, we keep praying and asking the Lord to work in this. In a month, it will be a year since we started this process. Please pray it gets completed soon!
They say a picture is worth a thousand words; what is the value of a video? In this case, it is priceless. Why are we sharing it? Because we want everyone to see what a valuable tool the train is to the ministry work we do at the Centre. It is not just a “fun” event for the children, it is also an integral part of some of the programs. The problem though is the train is limping along. It needs to be replaced. We are looking at a $120,000 price tag for a train replacement (that is the cost of the train, duty, VAT, and shipping to the island). Please be in prayer that funding for the train comes in.
The “great news” we spoke of in the opening section is the timely announcement of a new addition to the Seeley family. Garrett and Abby told us with a clever Christmas present that they are expecting their first child in August. We are looking forward to our new roles of “Grammy and Grampy” and pray God blesses our son and daughter as they prepare for the baby’s arrival and raising our grandchild for the Lord.
While in South Carolina in December we were able to get a lot of supply shopping/packing done and spend Christmas with my sisters and their families. After Christmas we travelled to North Carolina to spend time with Tim’s family. We met some great-nieces and nephews and attended a nieces wedding on New Years Eve. Garrett and Abby and Logan and his girlfriend Alex were also in North Carolina, so we got to spend some time with them. Andrew and Katie did not come south this year. We will get to see them in February when they come to Nassau for a visit.
Praise the Lord for new staff, opportunities to serve, and blessings that come from ministering to the mission teams and those who come to the ALCentre
Winter/Spring guest group schedule at Camp and programming at the Centre: pray God prepares hearts and that the Gospel is proclaimed
That the new staff and staff filling new positions adjust to their new roles well
Installation of new board members and executive director
Missionary staff needs: cook, facilitators
Replacement of the train
Wisdom and discernment in our relationships with one another and as we serve the Bahamian people and those coming to serve the Bahamian people.
Thank you for taking the time to get caught up with what is happening here in The Bahamas at Adventure Learning Centre and Camp.
Tim, Mindy and Zachary Seeley