He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
I Thessalonians 5:24 (ESV)
In 2009 we moved into camp housing at Living Waters Bible Camp and lived on site at the Camp as we served there. In January 2013, we moved to Adventure Learning Camp in the Bahamas and lived on site until our departure at the end of last month.
While living and working at ALC&C, we were essentially “on the clock” 24/7. Down time was rare. This “fishbowl” living, as we liked to call it, was very convenient, but it was also physically and emotionally challenging. Whereas it was great to be available when guests needed something (we never felt bothered by guests that needed us–an act of God’s grace in and of itself) or when there was an emergency situation, being on the clock constantly was very taxing to our bodies.
As we have relocated back to the States and have taken up residence in a much quieter, less demanding surrounding, we have begun to understand how tiring fishbowl living is. We have begun to unwind and re-learn what it is to relax. The first couple weeks were “weird”, and we have had to fight back the feelings of “I know I need to be doing something right now?”
God has granted us peace, calmness and feelings of less stress. Knots, aches and pains that were present for months have started to subside. Although we pray for and are open to any “work” or ministry opportunities God brings into our path, we look forward to more rest and opportunity to recharge as we wait for direction from God.
The Last Week and Good-bye Tour
In the weeks leading up to our departure from our residence at ALCamp on August 28th, we had a lot of meetings with people to say good-bye (those are pictured in last month’s blog). The good-bye tour continued until the day we departed. Here are some of those moments…
Kingdom Life Church: Sunday, September 2nd was our last day with our church family at Kingdom Life Church. We had a time of food and fellowship followed by a touching time of kind words of encouragement, prayer and parting gifts. We are going to miss KLC and were greatly touched by our time together.
Mark and Kim Wallace family. We were able to take a few minutes on Sunday the 2nd to stop in and say good bye to fellow ALC staff and his family. It has been great getting to see these kids grow up.
Teddy and Yvonne Bootle. Teddy and Yvonne are dear friends and former Joy Bible Camp friends that we have worked with over the years on our Friday night Youth Outreach. We met them at this exact restaurant (Checkers) in late 2013.
Yreille Belizaire. No good-bye tour would be complete without a meal with this dear servant of God. This woman is a missionary that not only spreads the Gospel to her own people in the Bahamas but also to people all around the world. This woman is fascinating and we are blessed to call her our sister and friend. She was our first “Joy Bible Camp” contact that first year we moved to Nassau. Because of her, we met other JBC people and began the partnership that lead to our Friday night Youth Outreach.
Moya Strachan and her daughter Robyn. Moya and her daughter Robyn are faithful attendees of our Friday night Youth Night. Moya was part of Joy Bible Camp back in the day and was one of our co-leaders. We had not had the opportunity to tell them good-bye when we had the other JBC staff over, so we made a point to stop in and see them at the school where she teaches and Robyn is a student.
Calvin and Keisha Dean family. This family attended our church. They were off island for 4 years living in Freeport and had just recently returned. We took the opportunity to catch up with them and tell them good-bye.
We requested there be no dinner or going away party for us from ALC (We don’t like hoopla. Also the ministry had had a going away dinner for Sam in August, and we did not want the financial burden on the ministry for an added dinner/party). What we did request is one last devotion time with the ALC staff. The day before we departed, we showed up for devotions, but it was the first real day of staff training and Pastor Cranston spoke instead. Cranston prayed for us after he spoke, and then we said a quick good-bye to the staff.
Mary and Joseph Canter. This dear couple are parents-in-law to our ALC office manager, Eldora Canter. We got to know these dear people when Zachary was still on island and spending a lot of time with Eldora’s son RJ. We also got to spend time with them following the tragic death of their son.
One last good-bye to Ms. Ada. After leaving ALC that morning of the 4th where she was not present for staff training, we knew we needed to stop in and tell her one last good-bye. As we arrived to say good-bye, there were tears in all our eyes. This “Bahamas mother” of ours means the world to us, and we are going to miss her.
KLC friend and sister in Christ, Oralee Johnson, was unable to attend church on Sunday, so we made it a point to stop in and tell her good-bye. She is our pastor’s sister, and she and her husband were leaders of the small group we were a part of the first couple years we were in the Bahamas.
Colyn and Jan Roberts invited us to their home for lunch. We first met this couple the first year we moved to Nassau when Tim’s parents came for a visit. Their Brethren church is in the same circle of churches that Tim’s parents attend in Minneapolis, and Jan is cousin to very good friends of ours.
We had coffee with fellow missionaries, John and Karen Stodghill. Some people become close friends right away, and this couple is one of those people. We are going to miss them!
The first meal we ever had on the island when we arrived that first time in August 2012 was at this Wendy’s. We felt it was the fitting place to eat our last meal on New Providence. So we invited the kids to join us for the “last supper.”
Celine Barr, Elton Deetjen, Kentario McKensie, and Kevin Poitier are the 4 young people we have invested a lot of time in over the years while in the Bahamas. Leaving these kiddos behind was very difficult. Spending our last evening on the island with them meant a lot to us. We pray that God continues to work in their lives.
September 5, 2018: Good-bye, Bahamas. Hello, USA
Saying good-bye is never easy. As we took off from New Providence for the last time, I (Mindy) was not prepared for how sad I was going to be. Up until that time, I was looking forward to entering the next chapter, and because I knew what it took to get to that next chapter (we had to actually leave), I was looking forward to departure day. As I filmed our departure from the island and realized that I was seeing the island possibly for the last time, I was taken over with emotion. It was a tearful good-bye.
Where Are We?
We have relocated to Charleston, SC area. The reason we chose South Carolina and not Minnesota is mostly because Tim does not want to endure long, cold winters. We are currently living with my sister, Melissa and her husband, Chuck. We have so enjoyed the time of reconnecting with family and actually getting to spend time with them. Tim’s younger sister and her family live only 3 1/2 hours away in Hickory, NC. We have already gotten to drive up there to see them. Also while in NC, we got to see Bahamian friends, Donny and Barbara Maura in Asheville.
Since arriving in South Carolina, we have purchased a vehicle, settled into our new home, shopped for cool weather clothing, obtained our SC driver’s license, established residency, worked on personal matters that have been put on the back burner while away and tied up with the busyness of ministry life, and visited our new church. You will notice that we have made no mention of settling into a routine schedule. That is because, Lord willing, we will literally be gone for the next 8-10 weeks.
As God would providentially have it, fall is going to be filled with times of rest, rejuvenation, re-entry debriefing, 2 weddings, a family reunion for Tim’s parent’s 60th wedding anniversary, and time with supporters/family/friends throughout the Midwest, East and even Florida. During our time away, we will be taking some time to seek the Lord for the direction He would have us go in this next chapter of our lives.
Please be in prayer for us with all the traveling we have planned and for wisdom and discernment for this next chapter of our lives.
Thank you for your faithful support of us and your interest in our lives and work. We do not take any of you for granted. God has been so good to us and so faithful. We marvel daily.
Over the next few months while we travel to rest/rejuvenate/connect with supporters/find direction, we are still in need of support. If God lays it on your heart to donate towards us during this transition time, you may do so over the next 2 months (October and November)through Shepherd’s Staff Mission facilitators (link here).
Keep in touch. We love to hear from you.
Tim and Mindy Seeley