If you know me (Mindy), you know that I am textbook extrovert. I love people, am energized by people and thrive on being around people. I cannot remember a day where I have not been an extrovert. That is until a couple weeks ago. That day, I switched from being an extrovert to being an introvert, much like flipping the light switch from light to dark. It was foreign to me, and I could not understand my feelings and emotions. Yes, even we extroverts get days where we need some privacy, but on that day it was much more than that. It was beyond “I need to go in my house and shut the door to the world.” It was all that and, “I don’t want to see, talk to, or think about people.” I even found myself disliking people (not certain persons, only people in general). What made those feelings worse for me was the guilt I was experiencing for feeling so unloving. As much as I prayed that day for that feeling to go away and for my love and desire to be with people to return, it would not. As the day would pan out, God had lessons for me to learn that day.
As the day began, I found it very hard to get up and think about facing the mission team, staff and others at breakfast let alone serve them with a cheerful smile. Being greeted with “the freezer door was left open last night and everything is thawing” did not help my already troubled spirit as I entered the Camp kitchen just before breakfast, and as I worked through cooking all the meat that had partially thawed, I found myself growing more and more impatient and uncharitable to people. After the work was done, I walked home, relieved to enter my house and close the door behind me. But wait, we live on sight of the ministry which means our door is open to all. It wasn’t too long after I arrived home that someone on our staff came walking in our back door. This usually does not bother me, but all I wanted to do was scream, “Doesn’t anyone know how to knock around here?” I just smiled and pretended I was ok.
At lunch time, I had reached my limit, and began almost in tears to explain my foreign feelings to my husband, who immediately (unbeknown to me) took that as his opportunity to get me out of the house and off property that evening by saying, “I am taking you out to dinner tonight.” Almost immediately, the thought of getting away from people we know began to soften my heart, so I was able to plod through the afternoon. As we left for dinner and my excitement at finally having my husband to myself began to set in, I found myself relaxing a bit, but I still felt ornery and not wanting to see anyone I know. We had a wonderful quiet dinner and then drove out East to watch the sea reflect the rays of the setting sun behind us. Sitting on that bench with my sweethearts arm around me-just the two of us-I felt safe and at peace all the while realizing that only several miles away, a group of people I know and love were waiting for us to return. I did not want to return. In the end, I knew we must so I agreed to going back.
As we entered the Camp, we saw Aaron fixing the gate (again, poor guy), and my uncharitable thoughts towards people came back. Even as we pulled into our parking spot and started walking toward the house, my thoughts were of getting inside before someone saw us and decided to pay us a visit. As I hurriedly walked up to the porch (our car alarm was going off and Tim’s clicker was not working, so I was going in the house to get mine), I noticed through the dark screen around our porch that RJ was sitting in the corner by the door. I could also see Kevin. My immediate thought was, oh no, Zachary decided to have the young people over for the evening. I was about ready to whisper to him, “I was hoping to come home to some peace and quiet”, when all of a sudden, “Surprise, Happy 5oth Birthday!” erupted from a porch full of people. Just as the switch that morning went from extrovert to introvert, I immediately switched from introvert to extrovert again. The transformation was sudden and amazing to me. After a few tears (more out of feeling guilty for my uncharitable thoughts) and a speech of gratitude to everyone, my heart was gladdened and I once again enjoyed the presence of these dear people.
Why is this story so important? It is because of what I learned that day…I not only learned what a wicked sinner I am (I had some pretty uncharitable thoughts about people and circumstances), but I also learned what my introvert husband (and others who are like him) experiences when he is around people all the time. It gave me a sensitivity that I could never understand before. Above all, the experiences of that day showed me how God is in control and works things out for His glory and our good. Had I not wanted to be away from people, I would not have cried out to my husband at lunch; he would not have said and I willingly accepted, “I am taking you out to dinner tonight, away from this place and all the people.”; we would not have gotten away and allowed the other staff to bless me in the way they did with the surprise party; and in the end I would not have seen how God switched me miraculously from not wanting to see people to loving and embracing those dear people around me (which is exactly how I felt immediately after the “surprise” welcomed me onto our porch that night).
Please continue to pray for our bus situation. We were blessed by the addition of another very, very well used bus to our fleet of already well used buses. We were able to purchase it on the island, and although cosmetically a little rough, it does run. We could still use another nicer, more reliable bus. Buses not only transport the school children to the Centre during the school year to experience the adventures at Adventure Learning Centre and hear the Gospel presented, the buses are also heavily used to transport mission teams to and from the airport and to ministry sites around the island and to transport summer day camp children to off site outings and field trips.
As we mentioned in the June update, we had several volunteers come this summer to help out. They came at their own expense and worked under very hot/humid conditions to serve the Bahamian people and those here to serve the Bahamian people on mission trips. Thank you to all of you who came to help us serve the mission teams at Camp and the day camp children at the Centre this summer! We appreciate all you did and the time we had to spend with each of you.
Back to back to back groups and cabin construction has been the name of the game for us at the Camp this summer. We have had someone at the Camp every day (except 2 days) this summer since mid-May. A lot of ministry and a lot of progress on major construction has taken place. It has been a grueling schedule, but we have made it through by God’s grace and with the help from some very dedicated volunteers that came to help us out.
We will let the picture slide show tell the story. The local guys worked on the construction up until this past Monday. Now the rest can be completed by Tim and Aaron. It is coming right along.
We are already preparing and looking ahead to our next big construction projects at Camp: 2 new staff cottages. Cottage 2 (Pat and Janice Armstrong’s residence) and Cottage 3 (single female staff cottage) are currently located to the southeast of the dining hall. We have the permits in hand for the construction of Cottage 1 (single male staff cottage) and Cottage 4 (couple housing). Our maintenance guy, Denny, has already been working at clearing the sites for construction. We are hoping to use mission teams to help construct these cabins. Please pray for teams and materials to complete these two projects.
July Guest Groups and Visitors
Shekinah Family Ministries Summer Camp (June 29-July 1)
The last week of June into July was supposed to be a week long camp for a group of precious children from a local church, but the week long camp had to be changed to a 2 day camp because of financial hardship of the church. The joy of the children at this camp was touching to say the least, and because we got to be a part of the camp because we cooked for them, we were blessed to see the exuberance of the children. On departure day, the children were sad to have to go. Their loving leader, Samantha Evans, is such a patient kind lady and takes her job as leader of the children’s ministry at her church very seriously. It is a blessing to see this group and to serve them.
Mission Discovery 3 (July 1-July 10)
The second summer week for Mission Discovery (the third for the year) took place the first week of this month. The group that MD hosted was from Fort Worth Texas. It was a large group, and they served at 2 Haitian churches and both the girl’s school and the boy’s school. This was a mission team experienced church that did a great job teaching and discipling their young people. Of course we enjoyed the fellowship with the returning MD leaders as well.
Peace Church (July 10-16)
The Blitz Student Ministries of Peace Church from Wilson, NC has been coming to Nassau for mission trips for many years. Their leader, Brad Perry, is the youth and missions pastor of their church. He brings his wife and parents with him on the trip to chaperone, and of course we are always blessed and encouraged by these dear people. We enjoy partnerships with them in ministry and friendship. This year they worked with VBS at Pastor Bazile’s church (a Haitian church) and did work projects at Pastor Bazile’s house and around Camp. One of the tougher jobs they helped with was the trench digging to help Aaron bury a line leading to the bath house. What great servants they are!
E-team (July 16-23)
The E-team, comprised of members from 3 Sovereign Grace Ministries church in Pennsylvania and Maryland, came to help run the Music Camp at Kingdom Life Church (a Sovereign Grace Ministries Church here on New Providence which happens to also be our church). Because the team is from our sister churches, we feel a special connection with them. Zachary was able to spend the entire week as the 16th member of the team. We were excited that Zachary was able to serve alongside this awesome team. We got to spend one evening out with this team.
First Covenant Church Hamilton (FCCH) (July 16-23)
Another awesome team (our summer was full of these awesome teams) which happened to coincide with the E-team, was the team from First Covenant Church of Hamilton, Massachusetts and led by our very own Chelsea Kingston Erickson. Chelsea not only did a fantastic job of serving the community associated with Pastor Wilney Joseph’s church, Carmichael Evangelical Church, she sacrificed time home with her new husband (she was newly married in June) to lead the team to Nassau. She has a heart for the church here, and their group came alongside the church members and helped the church members operate a day camp/VBS in their community. It was such an awesome ministry that they did in that they partnered/came alongside an existing ministry to help equip the local ministry instead of taking over and running the show. Way to go FCCH! We got to spend an evening with these folks and enjoyed the fellowship and hearing from each of the team members through out the evening.
Methodist Churches of Caribbean and America Summer Camp (July 24-28)
This week we hosted another local group that ran a kids camp of their own on our property. The group consisted of 24 children ages 9-12 and 6 leaders. On one evening, a bus of 30+ teenagers aged 13-18 from the group’s church came to join the younger children for a camp fire. Camp was full of children’s laughter, bouncing basketballs on the basketball court, and the occasional stern reprimand of leaders trying to get the children to obey orders. We always love having children use this facility. After all, it is a camp, and Camp ministry is our passion.
Boy’s Brigade (July 29-August 1)
This weekend, we will be hosting a group of young boys from Abundant Life Bible Church. Our Ms. Ada (cook at the Centre) is one of the leaders of the Boy’s Brigade and brings the group here for an annual camp the first weekend in August (Monday is a holiday-Emancipation Day-so it is a 3 day weekend). We do not have pictures yet of course, but we will try to squeeze some in to next month’s blog.
Summer Day Camp has been the dominating scene at the Centre. The children have been treasure hunting here, there and everywhere. Most of all, they found the treasure of God’s Word in classes and daily interactions!
Happy Birthday to my wombmate, Melissa McDaniel, who lives in Summerville, SC! Wish we could be together for this milestone birthday. I love you, Twinnie!
Besides my 50th birthday which happens this Sunday, Tim and I will be celebrating our 29th wedding anniversary on Monday, August 1st. It is so hard to believe that it has been nearly 3 decades since we began doing life together. As we reflect back on the years and see how God has worked and moved in our lives, we are in wonder and amazement at what a great, awesome, providential God we have. Our union has not only brought about a great deal of sanctification in each of us, it has produced 4 great young men, 2 wonderful daughters-in-law, a soon-to-arrive granddaughter, an exciting life of ministry, and many joyful, treasured memories. We thank God for His blessings on our lives!
Celebrating our Passport Country’s Birthday
July 4th was a work day for us. We had a mission team here and decided to treat the team to a quick birthday celebration with decorations and traditional 4th of July picnic food. Paula Brown made a beautiful watermelon carving.
Enjoying Family and Friends
Zachary and I will be leaving for Minnesota on August 4th, and Tim will be joining us on August 23rd. We will all return to the island together on September 3rd in preparation for new staff orientation on September 5th (Zachary’s return to the States for good will come in October).
Please pray for Tim as he stays behind to hold the fort down and serve the one last mission team that is coming August 15-22. He has Aaron and Ms. Ada here with him, and Jullian Williams (a Toronto man who used to be program director at the Centre and that comes every year for several weeks) will be coming on the 17th to help serve the group for part of the week. Tim will be managing the team and staff alone.
Whew! You made it through another lengthy post. Saving these updates for once a month, though necessary because we don’t have time to do them any more often then that, makes for long posts. We really appreciate your support of us by keeping up to date on what is going on. Please contact us and let us know your thoughts. We love hearing from you!
God bless, and have a great weekend!
Tim, Mindy and Zachary Seeley