Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Matthew 6:26 (ESV)
Long ago I learned the verses, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13, ESV) and “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:19). For many Christians, these are go to verses in times of trial and struggles or when they have a list of things they want or think they need.
Recently I read a “Solid Joys” devotional (from Desiring God ministries) where author John Piper challenges the reader to understand that true contentment in all circumstances is possible in that God promises us the strength to do all things and will supply all our needs. When it is perceived that a need is not being met, a person can become covetous which is “loss of contentment in Christ so that we start to crave other things to satisfy the longings of our hearts.” We need to battle back against covetousness and rest contentedly in God’s grace.
There are those who, in their attempts to encourage us, would say, “God knows what you can handle and will give you nothing more than you can bear.” Did you know that that is not biblical? It sounds good, and I confess I heard it all my growing up years and believed it, but it is wrong. God will indeed give you or allow to be given to you that which is more than you can bear. The key is, He will give you nothing more than what you can bear while availing yourself to His all sufficient grace and strength. You cannot do it alone. He will give me a too-heavy-load, but with that load, he has given me the grace to bear it through His all sufficient grace (2 Corinthians 12:9).
As this post is going to press, we are in the midst of a very busy season. We have been serving groups since May 24th, and have had someone here at Camp to serve every day since then (and will have someone here everyday until August). Add to all the groups we are serving the maintenance issues (expected and unexpected), staff training/development, new cabin construction, leadership responsibilities, enduring the heat and humidity, and not having enough staff, one can easily see why we say we have a very heavy work load.
We love serving others, and we are so thankful God has allowed us to serve Him full time here. We love being able to pour into the lives of others and minister to the needs of Bahamians and those coming to serve Bahamians. We also are encouraged as we see the work God is doing in those we are serving, but reality is we are still frail humans suffering from exhaustion (not meant as a complaint, only a fact that needs prayer).
We are in need of constant refocusing and reminders that God is in control, He is the one that provides us with strength, He supplies all our needs, and His grace is sufficient for us in bearing the heavy load he has called us to bear. He is the source of our contentment. Please continue to pray for us as we keep going and doing what we are doing. Pray also that God sends the right people to help bear the load here. Pray that we are able to recognize Satan’s attempts to defeat, destroy and discourage so we do not succumb.
Ministry Update: ALC&C
It seems like only yesterday it was January and we were welcoming Chloe Eisermann (center) to the ALC&C family, but time flew by so quickly, and it was time to say good-bye to her earlier this month. Chloe came in January to volunteer a semester as a facilitator at the Centre. We appreciate the time she was here, the opportunities to impact the lives of Bahamian children, and the ministry she was able to accomplish. Thank you, Chloe for your service. May God bless you.
They may look beautiful and colorful on the outside, but inside and under the hood, the condition of the buses tells a different story. Vehicles break down and deteriorate no matter where you are in this world, but in this salty humid climate, things seem to rust and break down quicker. Recently we did some major repair work on two of our buses. The buses are old, but praise the Lord we were able to fix them. However, this last month spent fixing the aging buses reminded us of our need to start looking into securing buses to replace our aging fleet. We hope to soon start a capital campaign to add a bus (or two) and replace the train. Please be in prayer with us as we work to raise the necessary funds. Perhaps you, your church, your Sunday School class, your youth group, etc is looking for a worthy cause to raise money for. Did you know that the buses at ALC&C are used not only to bus children to the Centre to experience programming that brings “the wonders of God’s Creation together with the curiosity of kids”, but they also are used to transport the hundreds of foreign mission team members to the various ministry sights on the island where they are serving Bahamian people and where we are “exposing laborers to the harvest through short term mission.”? Please be in prayer for the current buses, those given the task to keep them running, and for God’s provision for new buses.
God has sent us some helpers this summer to help lighten our load a bit. We appreciate the many volunteers that use their own free time/vacation time, resources and energy to fly here and work alongside us as we serve the Bahamian people and those coming to serve the Bahamian people. Many of them came as a result of pleas from staff and from notices in our newsletters and update blogs. We appreciate them and their partnership with us.
Chris and Sheila Eisermann are not only Chloe’s parents, they are also good friends of our and part of our sending church in Wisconsin. They came in early June to help Chloe return to the States and to bless us, encourage us and help us with work projects around Camp. They painted and helped manage mission team work projects at the Camp.
Connor is Zachary’s cousin and came this summer to help out with odd jobs and to spend time with Zachary before he leaves the island this fall. He mostly helped support us by helping Zachary take care of odd jobs at our house (which freed us up to do Camp business) as well as run the snack shop for Ms. Janice, serve teams at meal times, help Aaron with clean up jobs, among other things. We have enjoyed having him here. He leaves July 5th.
Karissa Salm and Lauren Thomas
Our facilitator Micah (far right) was blessed to have a group of young people from her home church here earlier this month on a mission trip. A couple of Micah’s friends, Karissa and Lauren, stayed an extra week to encourage her and to help out around ALC&C. We enjoyed getting to know these young ladies and appreciated their help in various areas.
Debbie Tuthill and Nancy Barnes
Nancy Barnes (left) and Debbie Tuthill (right) came the first full week in June to cook for the mission team we were serving. These ladies have been here before and are greatly appreciated for all they do for us and the ministry. They are from the Armstrong’s church in Delhi, New York.
Jenni Morgan, Allison Morgan, Macy Oliver and Bekah McKee
These four ladies came from my (Mindy’s) cousin’s church in Rossville, Indiana. They have been wanting to come and serve for a long time, and when they heard we needed help in the kitchen this summer and with the horses at the Centre, they jumped on the chance to come and help out. They were a great help in the Camp kitchen, and Bekah was a great help with working with the horses at the Centre. The girls also got to volunteer at the Centre’s Day Camp a couple of days. Thank you ladies for all your hard work!
Kathryn and Kinsey Nguyen
(sorry, no picture)
One of the Calvary Christian Academy 8th grade mission team members from January of this year and her mother came last week to volunteer for the first week of Summer Day Camp. They were not only a huge help in serving the children, they enjoyed the experience. They said the week went way too fast for them and are looking forward to doing it again.
Nick and Lydia Liebe
Volunteer staff and help come and go all the time. Rarely do they return. But this weekend we had the privilege of welcoming again Nick Liebe and his wife, Lydia. Nick volunteered for six weeks at Summer Day Camp in 2013. We are thrilled to have him back and the two of them together. They will be with us for 3 weeks volunteering at Summer Day Camp.
Ministry Update: Camp
We wish we could say we are kidding, but we cannot. If you will recall in our last blog post (“It is Finished”), we mentioned a series of accidents that had happened on Marshall Road. One of the accidents involved someone hitting our fence and damaging the gate. In that instance, the car did not come into the camp and just drove off without taking ownership of the damage. Exactly four weeks to the day (almost to the hour), we were awakened at 1:00am on a Sunday morning to the sound of a car coming through our fence and hitting a tree/wooded area inside our property. The gentleman was not hurt, but we suffered significant damage to our fence and gate. You may recall, Aaron had already fixed the gate twice, and with this accident, he had yet another opportunity to fix the system. We appreciate Aaron and all he does.
Ok all you construction buffs, interested supporters, and prayer warriors who have been praying for this project, here is a slide show of the June accomplishments on the new cabin. Tim and Aaron have done a lot of work along side the team of workers employed by a local man, but we have also had a lot of help from mission teams. Enjoy viewing the progress!
Bedford Free Methodist, Bedford, Indiana
Bedford Free Methodist is Micah’s home church, and they came to minister to the children of the Children’s Emergency Hostel and to help at Adventure Learning Centre and Camp. They were also here to encourage, Micah. Once particular job they got done was paint the trim in the dining hall yellow. They also did cleaning jobs and cement mixing and rock moving for the new cabin.
Grace CMA Church, Cleveland, OH
The junior high youth group along with parents (52 total) from Grace CMA church of Cleveland, OH were here the second week in June. They were a huge blessing to us and many ministries on the island. They served at Ranfurly Children’s Home, The Seahorse Institute and Bahamas Downs Syndrome. At the Camp and Centre they worked on cleaning and painting jobs, moved rock, helped with ground work around the new cabin and painted the snack shack, the dining hall and the picnic tables. They got a lot accomplished, and the Camp is more beautiful because of their diligence.
Carolyn and Cam Muir
Carolyn Muir and her husband Cam came on a reconnaissance trip to Nassau from Chicago area and stayed with us for a few days. Carolyn grew up in the same church circle as Tim, and the Muirs know a lot of the same people we know. Carolyn will be leading future mission teams here.
We were blessed by a return visit of a young man that came and stayed with us last month. He was back on the island for doctor appointments and brought his uncle with him. They were Camp guest for 4 days. I got to practice some nursing skills on him as he was injured recently while on his home island.
Orlando Football Team
The football team of a Christian school in the Orlando area were on the island again this year to conduct football camps with Bahamian children living near Abundant Life Bible Church. In the mornings they like to squeeze in manual labor work projects at island ministries. They served us again this year. Their being here coincided with the fence accident, so they were able to help us dig holes for the footings of the fence posts. They also helped move rock and dig around the new cabin.
Mission Discovery 2
Mission Discovery was back for week number 2 just last week. (Their first week was in February of this year). The teams from Pennsylvania and Kentucky were led by Rich Rhode and Nate Ryver, and Nate’s wife Cara was the worship leader. The teams served at Elizabeth Estates Children’s Home, All Saints, and a Haitian family’s home. The team members were blessed by their experiences and were glad to pour into the lives of the people they were serving. Week 3 of Mission Discovery with be the first week in July.
Final Youth Outreach Night For the Year
The final night of the 2015-16 Youth Outreach at Camp was on June 18th. We finished up the year discussing Fruit of the Spirit. We saw numbers go from 10-15 at the beginning of the year with numbers in the 30’s by the final night. We feel God blessing us and working in the lives of the young people in the South Beach area and communities surrounding South Beach.
Future Events: Clean Slate Living in September and Young Adult Weekend in October
Work has begun on two big events coming this fall. The first event is connecting a Hip Hop Ministry Team, Clean Slate Living, with youth venues here in the Bahamas and is scheduled to take place at the end of September. Last week we had a meeting with a local pastor, Pastor Q from Epic Church, that knows youth and young adults well and is very interested in the ministry of Clean Slate Living. The second event, Young Adult Weekend, is scheduled for the first full weekend in October. Please pray for both events, and pray as we endeavor to reach the youth of the Bahamas for Christ and direct them into godly living.
Ministry Update: Centre
End of the Programming Year
The 2015-16 programming year at the Centre ended strong earlier this month. Besides groups of children in all age groups coming through out the school year to experience the wonders of God’s Creation, this past school year we worked at getting EVERY 6th grade class in the Bahamas government school system on the island of New Providence to Adventure Learning Centre. We got very close to accomplishing that goal (only 2 schools did not make it). 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!
Summer Day Camp