…for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.
Hebrews 4:10 (ESV)
Satan tries to convince us that rest is for lazy people who are not serious about serving God. How wrong He is! Rest, properly applied, is not only biblical in and of itself, it is also testament to one’s faith in God (Hebrews 4:10). Perhaps that is why Satan works so hard to discourage us and tempt us to keep plugging away at life and ministry work and not taking time to rest.
For 5 days earlier this month, we were able to get away from the Camp and get off densely populated, noisy New Providence Island and go to a sparsely populated, quiet island southeast of here called Exuma. While away, despite the less than ideal lodging arrangements (when we arrived on the island we found out the cottage we rented was double booked resulting in us having to stay in a rundown smelly fisherman’s cottage), we were able to get a couple personal projects done, explore a “new” Bahamian island, spend quality time together away from the pressures of ministry life here at ALC&C, and most importantly take some time to rest and relax.
Coming back so relaxed and refreshed and being confronted with the heavy work load that did not miraculously go away while we were gone, we found ourselves almost feeling guilty for leaving. At least, we were conflicted as to whether we should feel guilty of not. Providentially, we never reached the point of total guilt, and by Sunday God had prepared another reminder and reinforcement that our going away to rest was indeed good.
Our pastor spoke on Ecclesiastes 2:18-26. In that sermon, Pastor Moss reminded us that to rest along with joy and contentment in our work is a gift from God. He said, “Taking seasons to worship and rest, is an expression of faith in God.” There needs to come a day in our labors where we stop and trust God by taking time, in faith, to step back and rest from our labors and not spend ourselves.
As I (Mindy) sat there listening to Pastor, God spoke to my heart saying, “Do you trust me? Do you have faith in me? Then, rest! Let go of all that you think is important and needs to get done, and rest in me. That is showing me you have faith in me.” Wow! How freeing. How humbling. How convicting. We can work at what He has called us to do and still take time to rest knowing that in His strength, power and timing, we can accomplish what needs to get done. Furthermore, if something doesn’t get done, was it supposed to get done in the first place? We can be content in what we get done or what we don’t get done, knowing that God is in control.
So, for those of you (and there are many of you out there) who are consistently inquiring how we are doing and if we are taking time to rest, be assured that we have been enlightened to our failure and have confessed our sin of pride and self-reliance in this area. Although we realize our days of being “on the clock 24/7” are far from being over, we intend to be more purposeful at expressing our faith in God by resting!
Now for some “restful” pictures of our trip to beautiful Exuma!
Ministry Update: ALC&C
This week we welcomed a short term missionary staffer, a young man from Wisconsin. Jesse Keizer is here to help with Summer Day Camp at the Centre. He has been helping with chores around the Centre these last couple of days but will soon be helping with Day Camp preparations. He was a huge help this week when we were out fighting the fires (see below). He has experience with camp ministry and mission trips. We are glad to have Jesse here to serve with us and look forward to getting to know him.
We are still in need of kitchen help for July 10-24 at Camp, and the Centre is in need of Summer Day Camp staff. As we look to the fall, we could use facilitator staff for the Centre. If you or anyone you know is interested in a short term mission experience or a longer term commitment to serve along side us here at Adventure Learning Centre and Camp, please contact us. Please pray that God sends the right people.
Current board members, Lee Burtelson, Stacie Burtelson and Cranston Knowles thanked the staff for their work at the ALC&C. The meal was also a time to greet the 2 new prospective board members.
Earlier this month board members met to conduct ALC&C business. Following the meetings, they blessed the ALC&C staff with dinner at Lucciano’s. We enjoyed the food and fellowship together and even celebrated the first half of the year birthdays with a special cake.
Ministry Update: ALCAMP
We are Almost there! Praise the Lord! There has been some major progress on getting the permit to build the new cabin and two staff cottages at Camp. We got some great news last week. The print has been completed by the architect/engineer and approved by the Ministry of Works. We are praying we will be able to go to the Ministry in the next few days to pay for and pick-up the permit to build. This means we will then be able to start construction of the new cabin. Tim has been working on acquiring bids for building materials and hopes to have things lined up to start construction as soon as possible. If you are a contractor/construction worker and are interested in coming and helping us get these cottages/cabin built, let us know.
Aaron continues to amaze us with all he is getting done. He is a great worker with a lot of skill. We appreciate all he is able to get done each day. This month he dug a trench and burried a power line between the electric house and office after the over head wire fried. He finished off the Camp house’s screen porch. He also constructed shelves for the girl’s staff cottage and worked on other small projects.
This month we had a family here on a family mission trip. The Eich family from the Chicago area served at Children’s Emergency Hostel by helping construct a large, complicated playground structure. They also helped with a light work project at Camp and followed program at the Centre one day. We enjoyed getting reacquainted with them. They attended Homeschool Family Camp at Living Waters Bible Camp when we served there years ago.
Early in April we hosted Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation as they had a group of school children on site learning about Conch. It was a blessing to partner with this educational group as they served the Bahamian young people.
Last weekend, Pace Christian Academy was at Camp for their annual retreat. The group was comprised of about 50 junior/senior high school students and their leaders. The leaders told us that some of the students had no desire to come to Camp for a sleepover, but once they got here, they did not want to leave. We hear stories like this often. Coming away to a quiet place like this when you are used to nothing but “city”, can be such a great experience. We love hearing the stories of how God uses these retreats to work on the hearts and lives of young people (and adults alike).
Rich Rhode and Pastor Bazile
David and Debby
We had a few visitors to Camp (and our house) over the last couple of weeks. The first was our very own Rich Rhode from Mission Discovery. He was here last week to prepare for mission teams that are coming this summer. One team is going to be challenging in that there are 84 participants coming for the week of July 3-10. Wepow wowed and discussed strategies to accommodate the large group. Blair and Alissa Finlay and their daughter came for lunch on Tuesday. Blair and Alissa lived here until late 2013 when they moved back to Calgary, Alberta, Canada. This week, we also got to meet a missionary couple who have a boat ministry. We picked David and Debbie up at their dock and brought them to the ALC&C to see the ministry.
Ministry Update: ALCENTRE
This year we have been working at getting EVERY 6th grade class in the Bahamas government school system on the island of New Providence to Adventure Learning Centre. We are getting really close to accomplishing that goal. Praise the Lord! That means almost every Bahamian child leaving government primary schools on this island will enter junior high school next year having heard the Gospel!
On Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, program facilitators take programming into the schools for after school Adventure Clubs. The theme for Adventure Clubs this year was “I Represent Christ.” These clubs were special times for both staff and the 5th and 6th grade students of the schools. This week was party week for all the faithful attenders of the clubs.
On Wednesday this week we saw the way too familiar sight of billows of smoke and floating ash in the air in the South Beach area. We also heard fire truck sirens coming and going in the area to the east of the Centre. It wasn’t until mid-afternoon that we noticed the fire was not just to the southeast of the ALCentre property/leased crown land, it was actually in the bush of the trail area directly behind the Centre. The call went out, and it was all hands on deck. Many of us had fought the fires behind the Camp last year, so we kind of knew what we were doing. Praise the Lord we were able to get the flames knocked down. We did round the clock flare-up patrol, and at this point, there have been no new flares. Praise God no one was injured, most of the trail areas were saved, and there was no damage to structures.
We have learned from these fires that we need more fire fighting equipment. The Indian Water Backpacks we have leak badly and some of their hoses do not work. We also need protective equipment like face masks with eye protection. Please pray as we seek to learn how we can be more prepared for events such as these.
Ministry Update: Seeley Family
Work is underway in planning for Zachary’s upcoming graduation. May 21st we will be gathering for a graduation ceremony followed by a reception. My parents and Logan will be joining us from the States. It is so hard to believe how fast that date is approaching.
Since our last blog update, plans for traveling back to the USA to meet the newest member of the Seeley family (granddaughter/niece: Anastasia Seeley, due August 8th) and to take Zachary back to the States to begin the next chapter of his life have been solidified. Zachary and I (Mindy) will be flying back to Minneapolis on August 3rd after the bulk (but not all) of the mission teams have finished. Tim will be staying behind to serve a couple of mission teams and will join us in Minneapolis on August 23rd. The three of us will return to Nassau on September 3rd. In mid-October we will fly to Indianapolis to move Zachary back to the States to get a job, learn to drive and complete his online course work through Liberty University. He will be living with my parents in Covington, IN. After about a week with my folks, we will begin our transition into life with an empty nest in Nassau, The Bahamas by attending the Sovereign Grace Ministries conference in Indianapolis, IN before flying back to Nassau at the end of October.
Zach does such a fantastic job entertaining the boys and being a “big brother” to them. They love him.
We host a Care Group in our home on Wednesday evenings. The ladies and children that come are such a blessing to us.
Zachary often times spend his time operating the sound room at KLC
Periodically we have the College of Bahama Students to our home on Sundays after church.
We feel so blessed to be a part of a wonderful church. Going to KLC on Sunday mornings (and whenever else) is like finding an oasis in the middle of the dessert. We walk away feeling revived and refreshed. We are a needy people in need of refreshment that comes only from being in the revitalizing presence of God’s people worshiping our Creator and Savior together with them. It is especially a blessing in that we pour out so much of ourselves into ministry work the other days of the week.
Never a dull moment here in the Seeley house and at Adventure Learning Centre and Camp. We praise God for the opportunity we have to do life with the amazing people of The Bahamas, particularly those at and through Adventure Learning Centre and Camp and Kingdom Life Church. We feel so blessed.
God be with you all!
Tim, Mindy and Zachary Seeley