We feel so blessed to be a part of the ministry work God has called us to do here, but sometimes the longing for time with our children, parents and siblings back in the States is very strong. Now that we have a grand daughter growing up in Minnesota, the longing can be even stronger. Despite these longings, we are reminded often how blessed we are to be living in a day and age of internet where we have access to our children through FaceTime, Skype, Messenger, Facebook, texting, WhatsApp, etc. The internet has made this world a rather small place. As you can tell from the slide show above, frequent FaceTime and Skype calls allow us to see our beautiful granddaughter on a regular basis (Thank you so much, Garrett and Abby for allowing us frequent contact with her!). Though nothing can mimic the feeling of kissing and snuggling a sweet baby (or our other kiddos), we thank God for the small blessing and encouragement technology brings.
How blessed we are!
For a couple days earlier this month, we were able to take a short 10 min flight to Andros (the big island between New Providence and the USA) to visit and encourage fellow missionaries, David and Sue Bryant in Red Bays, Andros. We had a wonderful time, visiting, getting to see the island, meet the people they minister to, learn more about their ministry, and Tim even got to preach for David at the Sunday evening service. We look forward to going back.
One of the things we get to do to help the community is provide donations to needy ministries who serve the community. Every year we receive donations of clothing, bedding, towels, pillows, etc from those here on mission trips. This year we had a van load and took the donations to Great Commission Ministries. GCM feeds and clothes the homeless and poor. We are glad to be able to help the needy people of New Providence.
Have we told you lately how much our church means to us? A highlight of our week for sure is joining our brothers and sisters at Kingdom Life Church on Sunday mornings. We are blessed, encouraged and “filled-up” by our weekly gathering with our church. We missed nearly every Sunday in January because of mission team schedules, and it was very hard to not get our weekly dose of KLC those weeks. Thankfully schedules have been such this month that we have been able to attend.
Due to the hurricane, we missed staff birthdays for the last several months. We got together and celebrated all the staff who were born between August and March. Happy Birthday, August to March babies! Thank you, Tika, for the beautiful cards you blessed everyone with!
Besides being Camp Director and part of the ALC&C leadership team, Tim is also director of maintenance for both the Centre and Camp. He has been managing the day to day maintenance issues, working through the reverse osmosis and well issues, working with NEMA (Bahamas’ equivalent to FEMA) to get duty/VAT free materials in to make repairs and do reconstruction projects, working on getting the Camp gate/fence repaired (and paid for by insurance), trying to get the electric company out to sheer up leaning power polls and install lights on our dark corner to prevent accidents, trying to get the Ministry of Works to address the dangerous curve out front, working with the maintenance team to work through hurricane reconstruction/repair projects and plan for mission teams coming to work, and the list could go on. Please pray for Tim as he has a lot of responsibility and projects on his plate.
One of the enjoyable things we get to do in ministry is spend time with mission teams. Sometimes that will be during the evening debrief times but other times it will be off site at restaurants or while hosting them in our home. Heritage Park of Windsor, Ontario invited us to share our story on how we were called into ministry. 4 of the 6 members of the E-team from Crossway Church in Lancaster, PA took us out to Blue Sail for dinner one evening. Since Crossway is the sister church of our church, we were able to host our church elders at our house the last evening the team was on the island. Please pray for past, present and future teams that come to minister to the Bahamian people.
Adventure Learning Camp Update
Praise God for answer to prayer: someone to cook for our guest groups! Kevin Poitier is no stranger to those who have read our past blogs or who have frequented ALC&C. Kevin is our new Camp cook. We have hired him to cook when we have groups here. He loves being in the kitchen, and his food is awesome. If you come on a mission trip here or are here when a team is here, you will get to enjoy his cooking. This is a very talented young man, and we are glad to have him as part of our team.
Aaron has worked his magic on the front gate again, and it is now operational. It took nearly 2 months to get one of the 2 settlements with which to fix the gate and fence that was hit by cars in 2 separate accidents in November, and we have been working on the repairs of the fence and gate these last 2 months. It is so nice to have a gate that will open with the click of a button instead of having to go out to the gate to open it manually. Please pray the gate and fence remain intact, functioning and accident free and that we learn to not brace ourselves every time we hear a car going around the bend.
The new cabin now has porch railings and benches like the other cabins. Adam and the team from Heritage Park Alliance Church in Windsor, Ontario, Canada worked on the construction and painting project in mid February.
Matt and Katie Albright (Katie is daughter to ALC friends Dave and Debbie Tuthill from Delhi, NY) came through Nassau on a cruise. Pat and Janice were able to pick them up at the port and enjoy a day showing them around.
Sue Bryant (middle in picture on the right) is a missionary on Andros with her husband David. Her daughter, son-in-law, and 2 grandsons were in the Bahamas visiting them for a week. They stopped in to visit ALC&C and Celine (far left in picture on the left) on their way from Andros back to the USA.
Heritage Park Alliance Church in Windsor Ontario were on island for a mission trip. They ministered at Bahamas Association of Physically Disabled, Adventure Learning Centre (contruction projects, namely the front fence damaged by the hurricane), Children’s Emergency Hostel, and All Saints. They blessed the ALC staff with a dinner and with gifts (maple syrup, honey, coffee, candy, bags, etc) of encouragement. This was their first year at ALC, and we look forward to a future relationship with this team.
John Fairley is a friend from way back. He attended the same church circle that Tim attended growing up. He was in the Bahamas on a cruise, and Billy Slater brought him by the ALC&C to see the ministry. He used to come on mission teams and serve here. He now resides in Windsor, Ontario.
The E-team from Crossway Church in Lancaster, PA were on island to serve at Kingdom Life Church. They helped redo the roof of the church building and remove corroded metal from the front, some of which had been torn off during the hurricane. They also helped one day at the Centre building the boardwalk into the wetlands. We were able to serve the team as they stayed at Camp. Tim and I served them breakfast and dinner each day at our house, so we had plenty of time to get to know this group.
Peter and Helen Wall are a missionary couple who are part of Spiritual Fruit Ministries and are “sharing the good news of the Gospel of Jesus with the youth, children and educators in schools in Central America and the Caribbean.” We hosted them last Tuesday for an evening to get to know them and hear a little about the ministry they are doing.
Hood Canal Community Church from Hoodsport, Washington is with us now. They are a group of 24 who are here to serve at ALC (building the boardwalk), Blairwood Academy/Bahamas Down Syndrome, Bahamas Association of Physically Disabled, Children’s Emergency Hostel, and ALC (help with Easter Monday Funday prep).
Keegan O’Leary is back and helping us feed our mission team. He is such a blessing to us. We enjoy his servant heart and appreciate his coming here to help us out.
Friday night Youth Night continues to be the highlight of the week for many young people. Lately the younger staff of the ALC&C have stepped up and taken over some leadership of the Youth Night which is very encouraging to us older leaders. We continue to talk about the Armor of God. Tim and I both lead a small discussion group of junior high aged young people, Tim with the boys and me with the girls. On a couple nights, the young people watched the movie “Do You Believe?” Jesse made wooden crosses for the young people to take home and remember what they learned from the movie.
Another casualty of the hurricane that just made its presence known has been the damage to our reverse osmosis system (we had some issues with it last year, but the hurricane complicated the issues) and the wells at the Centre and Camp. A water treatment specialist has been on site to help us sort out the issues and recommend a course of action. He has told us the wells are salt water wells now due to the storm surge/flooding and the lack of significant rain. The repairs include reconfiguring the RO system at the Centre (adding descalant and replacing the media before the system and adding chlorine and carbon filters after the system) and adding a chlorine and a carbon filter to the wells at Camp. Please pray the parts come soon, that they clear customs duty/VAT free (NEMA has already approved), that the repairs are made easily, and that the repairs take care of the problem.
Adventure Learning Centre Update
Program and Adventure Club Update
Program continues at the Centre with many children coming in on Ministry of Education grant money. It has been our goal once again this year to get all the government school 6th grade classes on New Providence in to the Centre for programing but more importantly to hear the Gospel. Tuesday and Wednesday after school Adventure Clubs have also resumed and there has been record attendance at these clubs.
Mark has been very busy with wetland programs and with planetarium programs. The schools have appreciated the field trips, and a couple have sent him thank you’s. An 11th grader from RM Bailey High School said, “This was the best day ever? When are you bringing us back?” A class from CW Sawyer Primary School offered Mark a thank you plaque and fruit basket.
Easter Monday Funday
It is hard to believe it, but it is time to start talking about our next big event at the Centre. Easter Monday Funday (EMF) is less than 2 months away. You may recall, EMF is one of our 2 annual ministry fundraisers. It is a funday for families to come out and enjoy the ALC and partake in carnival type games, food, and activities while supporting a good cause. Last year’s event was under the direction of our very own Tika Penn, and we look forward to another great event under her direction. We will keep you posted! Please be in prayer as preparations continue.
The front wall that was damaged during the hurricane has been repaired thanks to the team from Heritage Park Alliance Church in Windsor, Ontario. The boardwalk into the wetlands was worked on by our staff and the Crossway team one day last week, and this week, Hood Canal’s work team is working on it. We are so grateful for the many volunteers/mission teams that have come and assisted us in the reconstruction of these structures. It is a blessing to us.
We covet your prayers. We admit we are tired. We have been working a lot (like many of you), and are starting to feel the drain of nearly non-stop ministry. We are also beginning to see why mission organizations require their missionaries to take furlough every 4 years. We have been in ministry now since July 2009. Trips away from the island (especially for Tim) usually involve other “work” or still being connected with the ministry through email and other projects. As we look to the next few months, we are praying about possibly taking 20 days at the end of April/first of May to get away. These dates happen to coincide with our son Logan’s college graduation, so we are hoping and planning it works out to attend his graduation while we are away. Please pray that God guides us in how to best use our time and that staff are on hand here at ALC&C to continue serving the mission teams that are scheduled to be here while we are gone (this will be especially important now that some of our staff are making exit plans and will be gone during that time). God knows and is in control!