The phrase “living in a fishbowl” means living your life on display for everyone to see, just as everyone from the outside can see what the fish is doing in its fishbowl home.
We that live in community on sight at Adventure Learning Camp live in a “fishbowl”. Everyone sees and knows what is going on. Whereas living on site can be very convenient and is often necessary, it can also be tiring in that someone is always around and there is never a time when we are not working or being ready to work. Someone can be knocking at the door at any given time. In times we want to disconnect, we have to be very purposeful and intentional.
We were blessed this past week and half with the opportunity to live “off site”. That meant we had to commute to work each day, something we have not done in over 8 years. We are house sitting for a couple who are away. We are watching their home for them and keeping the homestead clean and ready for Kim and Randy Grebe and their family when they come to the island in the next couple of weeks. When the Grebes leave, we will hurricane proof the house and close it up.
The view of the canal and ocean on one side of the house and the view of the in-ground pool on the other side is breath taking. Although we are not able to make it to the house everyday (mission teams are on site now), the views as well as the experience of being alone has done wonders to revitalize us! We are thankful to the homeowners, Donny and Barabar Maura, for their generous gift to us and to the Lord for providing us this connection and opportunity to serve the Mauras and the Grebes.
Vehicles and Maintenance Staff
This picture brings to mind two very important prayer requests: Please pray for our vehicles. The buses, the train, the van, the Explorer, the pick-up truck, and even our own personal vehicles are all tools for the ministry and are very important for what we do, but many of them are limping along and require many man hours to remain safe and road worthy. Please pray God sends us godly, mission minded maintenance staff with gifting in leadership, general maintenance and vehicle maintenance skills! Adam, Aaron, Tim and Mark do what they can to maintain the ministry and to keep the vehicles maintained and running, but we could use someone with this expertise.
PRAISE THE LORD! Tim has spent spent countless hours, days, weeks and even months trying to get the water problem solved at both the Centre and the Camp. The RO system was having issues for the last year and half, but it was complicated further by flooding from Hurricane Matthew and needed repairs. Dewey Dawkins (pictured in first picture) has been graciously helping Tim with the plan for the system. Today we are happy to report we think the project is nearing completion. Thank you also goes to Adam Greenhow and Aaron Mills for their help. This has been a project that has taken a lot of Tim’s time, and now that it is finished, we can focus on other important things.
A sad good-bye… Our sweet Eva Sartor from Germany left this past week. She came to work as a missionary facilitator at the Centre side of the ALC&C ministry in September. We miss her already and wish her well as she starts school next year.
Kevin continues to thrive and grow in his position as Camp cook. He has had a firm grasp on the cooking aspect of the job (great time management skills, very organized, food is great, etc) and is now being trained to do menus, inventory, place orders, manage staff, and even implement and enforce serve safe practices in the kitchen. We are well on our way to having a well organized, industrial, “Serve Safe” kitchen!
The Operation Mobilization’s Logos Hope is coming to Nassau July 7-25! ALC founders Randy and Kim Grebe were among the OM staff that came for a planning meeting in late May. They hope to send ministry people here to help us, and we look forward to meeting all of them.
Brazil, Germany, Japan, Peru, Canada, USA, Bahamas, Jamaica! Those are some of the countries represented at this table. OM ship preparation team (and others) came and had dinner at Camp. One of our facilitators, Debbie, used to minister on the OM ship and had invited all these young people for dinner.
Aaron has been helping fix things and build props for Day Camp, but his big project this past month has been the storage closet in the Camp Office. Our office still looks like a war zone, but after he finishes this closet and builds additional storage, we will get it fixed up nice. Thanks, Aaron, for your hard work!
Beautification of the grounds at the Centre was highlighted in last month’s blog. The Camp is also getting a much needed face lift. The grounds crew has planted some new plants in the beds around the Cabins and added beautiful mulch. Denny received a new “toy”, a leaf blower and has been using it to help him with his work at Camp. Today he started tearing out the ugly, painful, mosquito incubators (these plants hold water in its base) from around the office, the dining hall and Camp house. As soon as funds are available, we hope to plant and mulch around these buildings.
Happy Birthday to our staff with April-June birthdays! From left to right: Garnet Hepburn (animal caretaker), Mark Wallace (Science and Outreach at the Centre), Romain Denise (Camp grounds keeper), Ms. Ada (Centre cook)!
Congratulations, RJ! RJ is the son of the Centre Office Manager, Eldora and a very good friend of our son, Zachary. When Zachary still lived at home, RJ would hang out with us. This is the first time we had seen him in a while. He just completed high school and is now taking technical courses at Bahamas Vocational Technical Institute.
Adam Greenhow has been working in maintenance at the Centre now since January. He has “adopted” us as parents. He took us out for dinner to celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Afterwards we toured the new resort, BahaMar!
Celine’s two sisters, Anika and Amanda, stopped in for a visit between their travels from the USA back to their home in Red Bays, Andros, The Bahamas. We love seeing these young ladies and watching these 3 sisters interact.
Calvary Deliverance church had a group of 32 young ladies at Camp for their annual retreat in early June.
Logos Hope / Operation Mobilization pre-trip staff were on site to visit former Logos Hope team member, Debbie Degen. Debbie is one of our facilitators at the Centre. We were able to visit with them for the evening.
Epic Kids were at Camp for a one night sleepover in early June. Their pastor, Pastor Q, is a dear friend of ours, and we enjoyed getting to see him and host this awesome group.
This is Cordea. She is from Red Bays, Andros, and she has an identical twin sister with a very similar name. The Bahamas passport office issued her sister a passport, but because they thought one person was trying to order 2 passports, they cancelled Cordea’s passport. She was on island trying to get it sorted out, and we were able to assist her. Just another way we are able to partner with the ministry Dave and Sue Bryant have on Andros.
With one eye always on upcoming events, we were able to give a tour of the Camp and Centre to a group from Precept Ministries that will be holding a camp here in October. The local representatives brought the USA ministry team to see where the event will be hosted.
On a recent Sunday, Sue Bryant and Celine’s brother Torn flew to Nassau from their homes in Andros, and since they had a few hours to kill while they waited to go to the international airport to fly to the USA, Adam picked them up and brought them to church.
Loge family (Nathaniel, Jessie, Bailey, Josiah and Kaitlin) came to the Bahamas on June 15 to serve as missionaries for a month as part of a family mission team. They are laboring in the heat (they are from the cold north: Minnesota) to serve with the Day Camp at the Centre. They are such a blessing to all of us here at the ministry, not only with the hard work they are doing but also for bringing a lot of supplies and for being great companions and encouragers during this very busy time. Thank you, Loge family, for all you are doing!
ALC Board Meeting took place last weekend. Lee Burtelson from Chicago flew in (Stacie Burtelson had to join the meeting via internet as she just recently had foot surgery) to meet with the 3 Bahamian board members, Cranston Knowles, Kenneth Romer, and Sharon Stuart. The board took the ALC&C staff out for dinner one evening while they were all here.
Micah, Alex and Candace Godsey are no strangers to ALC&C. Micah was here as a facilitator last year, worked at Day Camp last summer, and returned this summer again to work at Day Camp. Her sister Candace is here for a week to help at the Day Camp, and Alex is here until mid-July. We are so thankful for these young ladies!
Leeia Hutcheson worked at the Day Camp 2 years ago as a counselor. This summer she is helping out at Camp for a week or two. We are enjoying her presence and appreciate her help.
Mission Discovery summer 2017 group 1. The group consists of teams from Emmanuel Baptist Church in Pennsylvania, several churches from Pepin , Wisconsin, and a group of 3 ladies from Rapid City, South Dakota. They are here learning about foreign missions by working at Elizabeth Estates children’s home and at a Haitian church. MD has been coming here for many, many years.
Regular school programs at the Centre ended in early June. We had over 6000 children come to Adventure Learning Centre this year. That is fewer than normal, but considering we had a slow start to the year because of the hurricane, we are pleased with the amount of children we were able to reach with the Gospel through our education programs. Please pray for the preparations being made for this fall. Also pray God sends us facilitator staff to help run and maintain programs this fall.
Summer Day Camp at Adventure Learning Centre began on June 19th, but before the children began enjoying programs and activities with a Circus theme, staff from both the Centre and Camp got together for team building times and staff training. I (Mindy) was able to help out with first aid training.
Children that attend Day Camp go to the beach every week and on a field trip most weeks. They also have fun games and activities as well as Bible lessons and craft times. Please pray the Summer Day Camp program and the staff. It is hot here and the activity level and work can be grueling.
We start another Mission Discovery group on Sunday with mission teams and camps back to back clear through mid-August. We hope to get some down time, but it does not look like that is going to happen. Please pray that God grants us much grace as we work through the hot summer days, maintaining/stewarding the ministry and serving the many people staying with us here at Adventure Learning Camp.
We are looking forward to a visit from Zachary at the end of July. He will be staying with us until August 12th at which point we will fly back with him to Indiana and help him pack and move to Minnesota. While in the States, we hope to take some time to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary which is on August 1st. Please pray for safety in travel, that we would be able to be away to celebrate, and for us as we make the necessary arrangements.
So much to be thankful for! Praise God we received 5-year visas this year and 3-year driver’s licenses. That means several years before we have to think about paper work, expense, or hours spent obtaining these documents. We are so thankful for God’s favor in helping us get these necessary tasks completed. Now, whether that means God will have us here for another 3-5 years remains to be seen. At least as far as documents go, we are legally able to be here!
Thank you for your continued support of us and the ministry through your prayers and financial giving. We pray God’s richest blessings on you as you partner with us in this great work of kingdom building here in The Bahamas.
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in knowledge of God.
Colossians 1:9-10 (ESV)