“The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises.”
Ecclesiastes 1:5 (ESV)
(For those of you who don’t like sappy, sentimental posts, don’t worry. This is not one of those posts.)
Another chapter in the book of our life is almost finished; a new one is about to be written. One season of our lives is slowly coming to an end; a new one is about to begin. The sun is setting on one day and will rise on the new day. All metaphors that speak of life’s many changes.
Our ministry and life in the Bahamas is about to come to an end (we leave September 5th), and it is bittersweet for us. We are sad to be leaving our beautiful host country yet excited to be going back to our passport country. We are saddened at the prospect of leaving our dear friends/church family/ministry family here in the Bahamas, yet excited about reuniting with family and friends and meeting/making new friendships in the place(s) God directs us to next. We are sad about this being our last week getting to serve mission teams (only local groups left between now and the end of August when we leave), yet excited about the anticipation of seeing how God uses what we have learned here in the next “mission” he has for us.
Please pray for us this last month as we finish purging/packing/cleaning, train/pass-on our knowledge, experience a lot of painful good-byes, process through what we have experienced, and logistically manage everything that goes along with an international move. We know our frame and that we are dependent on God for the grace and strength to finish, endure, move-on.
Word about Support
To all that have supported us throughout the years financially, we want to express our deepest heartfelt gratitude. You have partnered with us in this mission, and we thank you and pray God’s blessings on you for your generosity and sacrifice.
Going forward…Moving expenses and living expenses for us will continue for several months after we return. Due to “re-entry” issues/debriefing, pre-planned vacation/wedding/family reunion travel, and a need for rest/evaluation/reflection time, we will not be seeking gainful employment right away.
Shepherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators (our mission organization that collects funds for us), will be receiving funds on our behalf until November 30, 2018. This will provide for our basic needs until the end of the year. These donations are tax deductible and can be submitted at this link: SHEPHERD’S STAFF DONATION LINK.
Camp ministry is busy work. We could not do it alone. This month we were blessed with the culinary skills of Shontae and Vonette. Francina (right) has been helping us with housekeeping and laundry. We appreciate the hard work of these ladies and have enjoyed getting to know them. They are part of the transition team that will be helping to run camp when we leave.
June 30-July6, 2018: Grace Fellowship from Alabama was one of the 3 groups led by John and Karen Stodghill (center) this summer. We were not on the island when this team was here, but we heard great things about this group. They served at CW Sawyer primary school with the Stodghill’s church as they conducted VBS programs. The Stodghills are missionary friends of ours that live here in Nassau and are part of the new PCA church plant.
July 9-15, 2018: Coast Hills Church youth group from Aliso Viejo, California were here for their first mission trip. They helped at the ALCentre’s Day Camp.
Chet and Andrea Lowe were back on island with their church youth group (Coast Hills, see above) mission team. Chet was executive director of ALC&C until mid 2014. It was great seeing these two again. They were a huge source of encouragement.
July 14-21, 2018: Valley Presbyterian Church from Alabama are another group led by John and Karen Stodghill. Like the previous group, they helped with their church’s VBS held at CW Sawyer primary school.
Good-bye to the Loge family! What a great summer with this family again. They were a huge blessing and encouragement to us and the entire ministry. We are blessed that they live only a couple miles from Tim’s parents in Shoreview, MN, so Lord willing we will be seeing them again.
July 14-22, 2018: E-team (Lancaster, PA, Maryland and Virginia) 9 days with this group is never enough! The E-team is unique in that we have a double connection with them. They come and stay with us here at ALCamp, but they also serve with our church, Kingdom Life Church. The team members are from 3 different Sovereign Grace Ministry churches, and they come to volunteer at our church’s annual Music Camp. The music camp is a ministry outreach of our church and is offered free of charge to children in Nassau.
July 17-23, 2018 Denise Young (right) came back to Nassau for a second time this year to be an encouragement and help at Camp. She is a dear friend of ours and we enjoyed having her here.
July 21-28, 2018: River Oaks Church from Memphis, TN is another group led by John and Karen Stodghill. They too helped with the VBS at CW Sawyer.
July 21-28, 2018: First Congregational Church from Hamilton, Massachusetts under the leadership of Chelsea Kingston Ericson came for their 3rd year. Chelsea has been bringing groups here for 10 years, and so she pre-dates us here at ALCamp. We have had a great working relationship with her from our very first year and appreciate her heart for missions and her students. We are sad that this is our last year with her.
Although FCCH and River Oaks are our last mission teams that we will be serving in the Bahamas, we still have 2 local groups left to serve. The first group is a group of 100 that will be here July 28-August 5 for a kids camp. The second group is with us the last weekend we are at Camp in late August. It is sad for us to be saying good-bye to the part of the ministry we love the most: serving and investing in lives for the Kingdom of God.
The Family of God
Those of us who have put our trust in Jesus (as divine redeemer of from our sinful depraved condition that we are born with) are related to one another. That relation we have with one another transcends geography, race, cultures, and any man limitation out there and brings us together like no other relationship can. It provides us with the ability to come together with one purpose as brothers and sisters.
One of the most beautiful nights of this summer happened a week ago Tuesday. Two mission teams were at Camp. One wanted to go see a sunset on Jaws Beach. They invited the other team which immediately liked the idea. So we loaded the bus up (the 2 teams and all the ALC&C on site staff) and headed to catch a sunset on the beach. As if the mere thought of all of us coming together from different parts of the country/world and enjoying an evening out was not awesome enough, we got to experience a beautiful sunset together, watch the young people in the group kick around a soccer ball in the sand, and worship together in song at water’s edge. Wow! Wish you could have been there. Just a taste of what heaven is going to be like! Thank you, God, for life’s blessed times together as a family!
Unfortunately for those of you who rely on our updates to receive an update on how Aaron is doing and what he has been working on, we do not have much knowledge of that right now. It has been sad for us these last couple of months as we have not had a lot of contact with Aaron. He has not been with us here at Camp due to restructuring that has pulled him to the Centre to work. Between his absence from Camp and our busyness here at Camp, we don’t know much of what he has been doing. We do know he puts in a lot of hours over there. He will have to update you on what he is doing.
Centre Day Camp
6 weeks of Day Camp at Adventure Learning Centre finished this week. We were able to pop into the Centre briefly several times throughout the summer, and it appeared to us that the children were enjoying themselves. We pray that lives were impacted for the Kingdom!
The staff bathroom and barn apartment are among the renovation projects that have been completed in the last several months. Signs around the Centre is another project that has been invested in.
We now have another member in our family. Our third son Logan married Anna Heinrich on July 7, 2018 in Minnesota. We are happy for them and pray God blesses their marriage. They currently reside in Minneapolis, MN. Congratulations Logan and Anna!
Now back to our busy summer schedule…Have a great rest of your summer.
Tim and Mindy Seeley
Early this year we handed in our resignation (dated January 7, 2018) for the Camp Director position at Adventure Learning Camp. In that resignation letter, we offered to stay on as Camp Director to help with the transitioning to a new Camp Director until January 2019 but sooner if a new Camp Director was found.
As we have been praying through our transition, we are seeing more and more that it is much harder then we expected it to be. Our desire and fortitude is waning. Unfortunately, serious family issues are weighing us down and playing into our decisions as well. With that, we are sensing the Lord saying that the end needs to be sooner rather than later. We are seeking an earlier transition than previously expected.
Knowing the calendar and the seasons of both the Centre and the Camp, we feel with the new school year starting in early September and a new accompaniment of staff arriving at the beginning of the school year, an early September departure would be an appropriate time. It is only 4 months early, and it will also let the new staff and leadership jump in and take the reigns of the Camp. With the new team, a new sense of synergism can begin afresh.
Our departure date is Wednesday, September 5, 2018. We will initially be landing in Summerville, South Carolina where Mindy’s sisters and their families live. Our plan is to take a few months to rest, heal, regroup, pray and seek God to find out what he would have us do. We will also be attending a Pastor’s conference in October and taking a pre-planned vacation (who would have known but God that the conference and vacation would fall at about the same time we would be leaving and needing time to refuel and rest).
It is still unclear what direction God has for us. We are confident that He is already working out all those details, and so we will continue to focus on this busy summer schedule and finishing strong here at Adventure Learning Centre and Camp. Though this is a tough season for us right now (personal and ministry), we feel God’s grace meeting us in our time of need.
To all of you who have supported us: We value you and all you have been for us over these last 5 1/2+ years here in the Bahamas and the 3 1/2 years before that at the camp ministry in Wisconsin. Without your partnership with us, we would have not been able to complete the mission work God called us to do.
Though we leave the Bahamas on September 5, 2018, the financial need will continue for a few months. Gainful employment is not on the radar as yet, and there will also be travel and relocation expenses. When we moved to The Bahamas, what we didn’t bring with us (vehicle and household items in particular), we gave away or sold. What we brought with us, with a few exceptions, we are selling or giving away here (costs too much to take back). Add deterioration of things from this salty, humid climate (clothing and electronics in particular), and we will not have much when we return. Please know that we have a healthy, godly perspective on money and possessions. Neither of us desire to accumulate a lot of “things”. We see “things” as only tools to be used to do what God calls us to do on this earth, and excesses of these “things” are not what we desire.
Our mission organization, Sheherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators, will be collecting tax deductible funds on our behalf until November 30, 2018. Our last pay out from them will be December 7, 2018. If you would like to contribute to our relocation expenses or donate to our monthly living expenses for now until November, you may do so via this link: Shepherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators.
We appreciate your generosity.
Changes continue at Adventure Learning Centre and Camp. Honestly, we are so focused on and busy serving our groups and planning for our upcoming groups, we are a little out of the loop with what is going on at the Centre and our executive director’s new plans for the Camp. We apologize for that. This update will have to focus on what we know. Our co-laborer, Jen Rogers, has a great blog as well. Her update is a great resource as is the ALC&C Facebook page.
End of School Year, Staff Development, Good-byes
Early this month we had staff development days where we were blessed and encouraged by a guest speaker (see below). We also got together for a staff vision meeting with our executive director, Kenneth Romer. During the meeting, we took the time to thank and say good-bye to 4 staff members that will be leaving ALC&C this summer. Adam Greenhow served in maintenance November 2016 – June 16, 2018. Stephanie Wittmer served as a facilitator August 28, 2017 – June 16, 2018. Debbie Degen served as facilitator for 8 months at the Centre (November 2016-July 2017) and then as an assistant for 9 months at Camp (October 2017-July 9, 2018). Sam Robb has served at Adventure Learning Centre since the mid 2000’s and will be leaving to serve on the OM’s Logos Hope ship in early September. We wish them all well in their next adventure.
Living in Community
We have had a great group living at Camp this year. We had one last “family” meal followed by the dreaded family photo earlier this month before things got busy and some started leaving. There have also been opportunities for game nights and beach trips with the gang on our rare “down times”.
Getting Ready for a Busy Summer
Let the craziness of summer begin! A lot of time goes into planning for and preparing for mission teams to come. There is facilities to clean and prepare, maintenance issues to tend to, staff meetings to have so we are all on the same page, menus to plan for, food and supplies to purchase, schedules to finalize and work through, bus driving assignments to figure out, etc. Soooo much to do! All for one purpose: serving everyone who comes to Adventure Learning Camp with excellence.
Final Youth Night
Our last night of youth night was June 8th. We were able to have one final opportunity to meet with the small groups, celebrate our graduating 12th grader Gabby Hanna, and fellowship with pizza and Dairy Queen treats.
Joan Godsey and her friend Ruthann were on island June 2-7 to bless and encourage the ALC&C staff. They lead a seminar on self care and met/prayed with individual staff members.
A group of Navigators (a national college ministry organization) from he USA were on island and came to ALC&C to serve with various service projects. They did a lot of jobs that staff do not have time to finish. They also helped us at Camp get everything ready for our first group.
Micah Godsey (left) and her friend Caitlin Jones came on June 5. Micah is no stranger to ALC&C as she was a facilitator 3 years ago and has been coming summers and spring breaks ever since. She will be serving with us until July 17. Caitlin was here for little over a week volunteering at the Centre.
Team Loge! Nathaniel and Jesse Loge and their children (June 13-July 17), Bridgette and Zach Brown (June 20-July 3), Marcus and Christian (June 24-July 3), and Catherine (June 24-July 11) have been on site helping at Camp and the Centre’s Day Camp. We have appreciated their partnership with us. The Loges were here last summer serving alongside us as well.
Grace Christian Missionary Alliance from Cleveland, OH was in the Bahamas on their mission trip June 9-16. They worked with ALC&C, Calvary Bible Church, United Missionary Alliance Church, Bahamas Down Syndrome and Bahamas Association of Physically Disabled. They helped with painting, mixing cement for the new staff cottage foundation walls, building the playhouse at the Centre that was destroyed by the hurricane, cleaning, moving wood piles, and many more projects. They got a lot of work accomplished and were a tremendous blessing.
Dave and Gail Herwerden have been coming to volunteer at ALC&C for a couple of years now. This year they came as part of their church’s mission team (Grace CMA) and then staid a week longer to help. Dave worked on buses and Gail helped me at the Camp.
Calvary Chapel (Plantation, Florida) Six 7/8 youth group came June 16-23rd and served the ALC&C, United Missionary Alliance Church, and Children’s Emergency Hostel. They were great helpers as they did various jobs at the Centre and helped at the Camp to lay rock that had been washed away by the 2016 hurricane.
Laurel Highlands FCA has been coming for years with Mission Discovery, but this year they came alone. Their leader is Kayla Zambanini. They came June 17-23 and served in the same Haitian community that they have served at for many, many years.
We have had some extra hands around the Camp and Centre this month doing projects. We are so thankful for all the work that has been accomplished.
Summer Day Camp
Adventure Learning Centre has been running their annual Summer Day Camp since June 18th. They have been ministering to 50-67 children each week. Pray as the staff continue to serve during the hot, humid days and that the campers will see the love of Jesus in the staff and hear the clear Gospel message.
Some of you know that we have been experiencing some trials. God has been teaching us lately to lean more on him and rely on the promise that “all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.” (Romans 8:28). This is not a flippant, prosperity-gospel, name it claim it sort of way, but rather a promise from God that He will take everything and make something good out of it. And one very important lesson about the definition of “good” is that it is “good” as it is defined by God and not by us. Please pray that we continue to experience God’s gracious peace.
Thank you for your support of us and the Adventure Learning Centre and Camp. We appreciate every prayer, encouraging thought and word, and dollar given.
Grace and Peace,
Tim and Mindy Seeley
One of the biggest questions we have been getting since we reported that we will be leaving the Bahamas is “What’s next?” We have an idea of where we are headed when we leave here (we will announce this at a later date), but when this will take place for sure remains unclear. As we mentioned in our last update, we have given ALC&C until January 2019 to find our replacement but would be willing to leave sooner if given the opportunity.
Many people who are seasoned business/ministry people have asked us why we have given such a long resignation period. They say we are being very generous. We are beginning to understand what they mean. Transitions are tough on many levels. There is the pulling away of not only tasks and responsibilities but also of relationships and emotions. Changes (there are a lot of them at ALC&C right now) are exciting but can be tough to watch and anticipate. Some are huge; some are small; some are necessary; some are confusing; some are things that have been done before with little success; some sound awesome and make us think “why didn’t I think of that” (these are the ones that are precisely why we feel it is time to move on and let someone else take the Camp to a new level); and to some we are indifferent.
But, it is not about us and what we want! It is about God. We are here to serve others with excellence for the glory of God until God relocates us.
All that to say this, WE NEED PRAYER! Over the next several months, we have to remain grounded enough to plan for and serve with excellence the 19 groups we currently have scheduled (the summer is as busy as ever and the fall is busier than it has ever been), sort/plan/pack/ship/sell/do whatever with all our things, help train our replacement if one is found, and sever many emotional ties to Bahamian people and the ministry we have grown attached to over the last 5+ years.
If you follow our updates, you will likely begin to notice a little bit of a change. Until January 7th of this year, besides Camp Director, Tim was Maintenance Director and part of the ALC&C leadership team. While he was in those positions, we naturally reported in our updates about work across both ministries because we were heavily involved. Whereas we remain active members of the ALC&C team, we have pulled back to focus on the needs of Camp and transitioning away from the ministry. This transition will likely affect what we report. We invite you to check out ALC’s Facebook page for more information on what is going on at the Centre.
Welcome back Kevin! We are excited to announce that Kevin will be back among us this summer. He will be cooking and doing other jobs for the ministry. We are so excited to have him back.
God continues to bring people into our lives to mentor and encourage. It is these relationships that are going to be the hardest to let go of when we leave. Please pray that God continues to bless us with these (and other) ministry opportunities.
The young ladies from Calvary Deliverance Church have been coming for their retreat at Adventure Learning Camp for many years. We served them at Camp May 19-21. It is always a joy to hear the laughter of the girls as they enjoy the Camp experience.
Amanda Barr (left) volunteered for ALC for a couple weeks in late April and early May. Dave and Sue Bryant (right) missionary friends from Andros were with us for a few days in early May to visit.
We continue to be encouraged by the turn out of young people for our weekly Youth Night. A typical night includes a time of worship in song, reviewing Bible verses, lesson introduction, group discussion time, snack time and down time on the basketball court or hanging out. The most recent lesson the young people discussed was “Your Identity in Christ Gives You a Sense of Belonging”. Besides the young people and our staff that help us out each week, we so enjoy time with Moya and Janet Strachan, Lizzie Brown, and Stanley Rolle who serve alongside us.
The biggest project we have been working on lately is the foundation for the new staff cottages. We began this project in January when we received word that the CCA 8th grade mission trip for next January will be 20-30 people larger than past years. We need space to accommodate this group. Unfortunately the project will stop when Tim completes the foundation walls due to lack of funding. With the bricks he laid for the foundation, Tim can now add “mason” to his list of many talents. He has done a great job with this project and has enjoyed the challenge of working on it.
A big project that has been on our to do list for more than 2 years is an updated Camp manual that reflects what we actually do at Camp. Unfortunately, with everything else we have had to do these last couple of years, we have not had the time to get it done. With our soon departure and word from our new ED that he plans on changing the structure of the ministry, we have decided that a new manual is not a wise investment of time and energy. Nonetheless, we spent a good part of a week this month putting together and organizing documents we use when planning/preparing/serving groups. We have sent this file of documents to Kenneth in hopes it will help in training a new Camp Director.
The Centre has been hosting end of the year class parties and having a few days here and there of regular programming. They also got to take animals into the schools one day last week.
Summer Day Camp is just around the corner. This year’s Day Camp is a Hawaiian theme, “Aloha!” They even get to learn about volcanoes.
What is ahead?
Our busy summer schedule begins this Saturday. From June 2-August 13 we have on-site volunteers/groups/guests here. We are busy now getting ready for the visitors and are looking forward to doing what we love to do most: serve people. As busy as the summer time is, our work of impacting lives (directly through service to the mission team members and indirectly through the Bahamians/Haitians being served by the mission teams) energizes us. If only there was a way to keep our aging bodies from giving out before our heart and desire do. Please pray for us. The summers can be brutal because of the non-stop, back-to-back, long days and sometimes multiple groups at one time.
This summer we have groups/guests/volunteers from Ohio, Florida, Tennessee, 2 from Alabama, California, 2 from Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Indiana. Please pray for the groups and the volunteers as they come and serve on the island.
On a Personal Note
These are the times when it is tough to be so far away. We received word that our sweet granddaughter broke her leg. The nurse and grammy in me wanted so bad to be there to love on her and support her parents. For now we have to love and encourage from afar.
In a month, we will be heading back to the States for a quick trip to attend our 3rd son’s wedding. Logan and Anna are getting married on July 7th. Although the timing is not ideal for us, it is their day, and God has provided the logistics to make it possible for us to attend. We look forward to going and encouraging them as they become husband and wife.
Thank you for your continued support of us and the work we are doing here at ALC&C. We appreciate every prayer, word of encouragement, penny given. May God richly bless you!
Tim and Mindy Seeley
We are in our 6th year at Adventure Learning Centre and Camp. It has been quite a ride, and we feel incredibly blessed that we were allowed over these past years to be a part of the ministry that was going on here at Adventure Learning Centre and Camp in Nassau, The Bahamas.
Although we are blessed and love what we do (serve people), we feel it is time to pass the baton of leadership of Adventure Learning Camp to someone else! We have advised the ALC&C board of our resignation and are working with them on an exit plan.
The Back Story to Our Decision
First, here is the leadership structure of Adventure Learning Centre and Camp:
(Current: Lee and Stacie Burtelson, Cranston Knowles, Kenneth Romer, Sharon Stuart)
(Current: Kenneth Romer)
Centre Director Camp Director
(Current: Vacant) (Current: Tim Seeley)
Volunteer Missionary/paid Bahamian staff
Second, here is a recent history of the leadership of the ALC&C: In the spring of 2014, Chet Lowe stepped down from his position as Executive Director of ALC&C. In the summer of 2015, Mark Wallace stepped down as Director of the Centre side of the ministry. Until Kenneth became Executive Director in February 2018, ALC&C as a whole and the Centre side of the ministry have been under the leadership of a “team” (consisting of various people through out the time period with Mark Wallace and Tim Seeley being on the “team” the entire time). While on the leadership team, Tim maintained directorship of the Camp and was in charge of maintenance on both sides of the ministry.
In late 2016, it was this absence of a “single” Executive Director and Centre director and the added responsibility of already doing/sharing the work load of these 2 positions that prompted Tim to express to the board his willingness to provide the much needed single person leadership as either ED or Centre Director. Leadership teams have challenges and are not always functional and ideal.
During the summer of 2017, desire to continue, let alone taking on added responsibility that would come with becoming ED or Centre Director (I would have remained at Camp to run Camp), was waning. Tim began having second thoughts about the ED/Centre Director positions and even considered pulling his hat out of the ring of consideration. Throughout the fall of 2017 while we waited for the board to move on the decision of providing leadership at the Centre, we continued in prayer for God’s guidance. Because God did not give us clear direction at that point, we decided he would keep his hat in the ring and let things play out. On December 23, the day before we left for Christmas, the board communicated to Tim that he should remain focused on Camp because it was thriving/growing and to take on added responsibility would be too much for him and for us.
Although we remained discouraged with the leadership vacuum at the Centre, we were encouraged that we finally had an answer as it relates to us. With the board’s decision made, we decided to continue on with plans to spend one week at Christmas with family and one week off alone somewhere seeking God’s face and praying about what He would have us do. While away alone and praying, we evaluated the ministry, our relationship with it, where it was heading, what we were allowed to accomplish over the years, and how much more we thought we could do to benefit the work. We also realized that we had overseen a lot of changes/improvements at Adventure Learning Camp, and it was probably time to pass the baton to another leader to bring the ministry to the next level.
When we returned to the island on January 7th after much discussion and prayer, our decision was made. We drafted a letter to the board expressing our desire to step down and facilitate a change of leadership of Adventure Learning Camp. We also reached out to the Board to communicate our decision with them. Because of busy schedules and multiple failed attempts to connect with Cranston (as a personal friend and board member we wanted to tell him in person before presenting the letter to the board at large), the letter was not immediately disseminated to the board. By the time we had set up a meeting with Cranston to tell him our decision, the board announced the appointment of Kenneth Romer as ED of ALC&C.
We were very excited about the move towards single leadership of the ministry (even though it was not the full time on the ground leadership the Centre so desperately needs), and we realized that the resignation was not to go to the board but to our new ED. Because of busy schedules, we were forced to wait a couple of weeks before an opportunity arose to meet with Kenneth to hand him the resignation letter. The opportunity did finally come. In late February, Kenneth accepted the letter of resignation, but he asked us to wait to announce our decision to others until after the board meeting scheduled for March 31st.
What’s The Next Step?
We continue to work on projects that we want to accomplish before we go. We have the kitchen system and the housekeeping system standardized and running. The office isn’t totally standardized, but we feel it is at a good place to leave it. Tim wants to get the 5 cabins repaired (water has gotten into the blocks and caused deterioration), get the foundation laid on the 2 new staff cottages, and get at least one of the staff cottages up with walls/ceiling/windows/doors. It is important that we get at least 1 cottage up to accommodate Calvary Christian Academy in January. We also hope to assist the ministry in replacing us. What of these projects will get done remains to be seen, but we feel they are good goals. We have given the board a January 2019 departure date with the provision that if they find someone sooner, we will leave sooner.
Where Are We Headed from Here?
We are not sure yet. When God lets us know, we will let you know. This decision does not come easily for us. We do not like moving, nor do we like breaking ties to relationships. We know God is in control and will guide us in His timing to our next adventure.
PLEASE PRAY FOR US and feel free to contact us at any time!
Using the phrase, “In/out like a lamb/lion”, to describe the month of March as it relates to the weather was a popular phrase I heard as I was growing up in Illinois. March was said to have come in or out like a lamb if the weather was balmy, non-snowy and nice but in/out like a lion if it were cold and snowy. Here in The Bahamas, the weather is not an issue, but the “busyness” here at Adventure Learning Camp can be described in terms of “In/out like a lamb/lion”.
March is very busy and rarely comes in or goes out in any way other than a lion. March is Spring break time, and that means, like summer, we have a lot of visitors/guests. In the first 2 weeks of March alone we saw 5 mission teams, 5 individuals/families/couples, 2 sets of guests from the cruise ship (third one had to cancel), and several visitors coming to see the Camp for future booking possibilities. For 2 weeks straight we burned the candle at both ends (530am-10pm) every day serving guests (with a smile), cooking/preparing 3 meals a day, transporting, cleaning, juggling schedules, working through ministry contacts, etc. Although we had a week of no guests in the middle of March, we could not stop because we have a very busy summer mission team schedule that we have started planning for.
How do we do it you ask? Well, very carefully and under strength not of our own making. I Thessalonians 5:24 (ESV) says, “He who calls you is faithful: he will surely do it.” In other words, He has called us here to labor for this season in camp ministry, and He has equipped us to do the work. After these seemingly brutal periods of work, I look back amazed at how we even survived, but every time we do. All praise goes to God for that.
Although March came in like a lion and will be going out like a lion in terms of busyness, we find great joy in the fact that God keeps sending us people to serve and minister to. We take pleasure and find great joy in partnering with God in the work He is doing here at the Camp side of the Adventure Learning Centre and Camp ministry.
Camp Groups and Visitors
Let March madness begin! From planning group’s schedules and logistics to airport pick-ups to cooking meals to group orientations, it is all part of what we do to welcome and serve groups. These groups experience missions, hear and see the Gospel lived out in the ALC staff, and support the ministry so the Centre can continue its mission to bring the Gospel to all the children of the Bahamas.
James Madison University sent another team to serve at Uriah McPhee Primary School March 2-9. They have been coming to Nassau for 15 years and serving in the schools athletic department.
Keith and Greg (far left) from Tomoka Christian Church in Florida came for a site visit. They anticipate staying with us at the Camp and working with Bob and Donna Mastin in the fall.
March 3-10 St. Francis University from Loretto, PA brought a team to serve at the Bahamas Association of Physically Disabled, Children’s Emergency Hostel, Stapledon Primary School, and ALC&C.
Nathaniel Loge and his daughter Bailey connected with us last winter through Tim’s sister in Minnesota. They came a year ago March to volunteer for a week and then came back with their whole family last summer to volunteer at the Centre’s Day Camp program for a month in June/July. They came back and served alongside us again this year on March 6-19th. They are planning to return again in June as a family to serve alongside us here at Camp and the Centre Day Camp.
Denise Young has become a dear friend of mine. She found the ALC on line and messaged us back in the fall of 2013 about coming to visit the ministry while in port on a cruise, and when we agreed to pick her up at the port, we developed a friendship that has lasted til this day. She comes for a week every year to help us cook for groups.
Kayla Zambanini has been coming to Nassau with her mission team lead by Mission Discovery for 15 years. This year she decided to go it alone. Her team will be coming in June, but she came for sevearl days in early March to plan and prepare for the team.
Mark and JerriAnn Hewitt came through Nassau on a cruise on March 8th. I went to high school with JerriAnn and her sister. We were able to pick them up at the cruise port and bring them to the Camp and Centre for a tour.
Derrick Parsons brought a mission team 2 years ago to the Bahamas and worked with Bilney Lane orphanage. He stopped by to see us while on the island to conduct a nieces wedding. He wanted to book a week next March to bring a second mission team to Nassau.
Rob and Nancy Weise (far left) and their friends Tim and Brenda (far right) were in Nassau while on a cruise on March 10th. Rob and Nancy grew up in the same church circle as Tim. They are also one of our supporters. We were not able to spend much time with them while they were in port because we had 2 groups leaving and 3 groups arriving that day, but we did get to give them a brief tour of both facilities and get them transported back down town. It was great to see them.
Christus Rex Lutheran Ministry Center from the campus of the University of North Dakota was with us March 10-17th. This group was led by Bahamian born former UND student and now USA resident, Keno Walkes. Mr. Walkes brought this team to the Bahamas to volunteer a couple of places and tour his homeland.
A team of young ladies from The King’s Academy from Florence, South Carolina was here March 10-17th. These young ladies served at Bahamas Association of Physically Disabled, Children’s Emergency Hostel, The Nazareth Centre, Deaf School, and ALCentre.
A team of high school students from Sherwood Oaks Christian Church from Bloomington Indiana was here on their first mission trip to Nassau on March 10-17th. They ministered at the Children’s Emergency Hostel, Bahamas Association of Physically Disabled, ALCentre/Adventure Club, our Friday night Youth Night, and Bahamas Downs Syndrome. We thoroughly enjoyed serving this team and appreciated some of the hard work they did in the work projects at the Centre and Camp.
David and Sue Bryant came to New Providence to help us out, to rest, and to be a source of encouragement. They are finishing up their ministry work on Andros, a Bahamas family island.
Adam’s parents Richard and Judy Greenhow and sister Jill came to visit March 15-20th.
Bahamas 4 Jesus leadership team came to see the Camp. There is a good possibility that they will be bringing up to 100 young people to stay at Camp for a couple weeks in November.
Carl Fama and his brother Ross arrived on the 27th. Carl is coming on invitation of the ALC&C board and will be meeting with them at their board meeting on March 31st. Carl led a team here from his church in Windsor, Ontario. Carl and his wife are the ones who hosted us and headed up the very successful ALC fundraiser we attended at their church in October. These gentlemen are here to assist on work projects, and Carl is introducing his brother Ross to the ministry.
Mitchell Road Christian Academy in Greenville, SC sent their 8th graders to the island for their first mission trip with us. They arrived on Wednesday of this week and are a contact from fellow missionaries, John and Karen Stodgehill. They will be serving at C.W. Sawyer School, The Children’s Emergency Hostel and ALC’s Easter Monday Funday.
Planning for future groups. (Pictured are two FaceTme calls we made with upcoming group leaders. Planning for future groups begins months in advance.) Please be in prayer for us for this summer. I mentioned that we have a very busy summer schedule. To date, we have bookings June 9-August 26 with only a couple weeks worth of days not booked (and even those days still have the potential to being booked). In the middle of summer (July 7th to be exact), our son Logan is getting married, so we will be in Minnesota for the wedding. We are looking forward to seeing how God is going to work all this out in terms of support staff as well as stamina to endure the work and the heat that makes the work even more difficult.
Tim is working on the footings of the 2 new staff cottages. After chipping away at the trenches and laying most of the steel, he had Nathaniel Loge and Richard Greenhow help him by tying up the last of the steel rods. The inspector came and ok’d the steel, and the site is now ready for the concrete to be poured for the footings. We hope to do that next week. These cottages are important because we have a large group that will be even larger next year, and they need another cabin. Please pray that God provides the funds to complete this project.
Aaron continues to be a very valuable member of the ALC&C team. He has been working on several projects around Camp.
Leading Mission Team Work Projects
One of the things we do when we have teams on site is lead them in work projects (nearly every team does some type of work project). Tim and Aaron at the Camp and Adam at the Centre do a great job in mobilizing skilled and unskilled work teams in various work projects around both sites. Part of the responsibility of a project manager is prepare before the teams begin the projects, monitor the teams as they work and clean up after them when they leave. It is a tough job.
Youth Night has become such an encouraging ministry to us. The fellow staff (Stanley, Moya and Janet, Kenny, Celine and Adam) are such a blessing to us. We love their enthusiasm and desire to be involved and pour into these young people. The young people continue to come and learn and show a desire to be here. Please pray for us as we continue to impact these young people’s lives and that God would continue to strengthen us that serve.
Connecting With Our New ED
We mentioned in our last update that the ALC&C now has a new Executive Director. Kenneth Romer is settling into his position and using the few days he has with us each week to connect and learn the ministry. We have had a couple of opportunities to host him at Camp and to share ministry updates with him. He even had our last staff meeting here at Camp. Please pray for Kenneth as he continues this very demanding job.
Good-bye, Bob and Faye! March also means telling these 2 awesome people good-bye. Bob and Faye come and snow bird with us in the Bahamas. Bob spends much of his time working on our vehicles with Adam, and Faye works with me at the Camp and Ms. Ada at the Centre. Besides all the hard work they do, they are a big source of encouragement.
Encouraging and Being Encouraged
Ministry can be draining, but we have seen evidences of God’s love and care for us in the people he sends to us to bless us and encourage us as well us the opportunities to bless others. Times of fellowship and great theological conversations with friends (thank you Cranston and Susanna), hugs from “moms” (thank you Ms. Ada and Faye), times getting to pour into young people’s lives through discipleship are all what parts of what makes this work so rewarding.
Easter Monday Funday
The day after Easter is ALC&C’s annual Easter Monday Funday. It is one of the two annual fundraisers/Gospel outreaches we have at ALC. Please pray that the Gospel is clearly proclaimed, that patrons come and feel the love of Jesus through interactions with staff and seeing what we do at ALC, that final preparations are made (there seems to still be a lot that needs to be done), and that staff are strengthened and encouraged (it is a long busy day, and this year 3 of us that work primarily at Camp are busy serving a mission team before/during/after and will not be able to be as much support as usual).
Although our days are consumed with responsibilities at the Camp, we still meet every morning for devotions at the Centre and get peeks into what goes on over there all day every day. We love seeing the precious children that God brings for the ALC staff to love on and share the Gospel with. The facilitators are gifted hard workers, and we are encouraged as we see them love on these children. Please pray for all the staff of ALC&C. We do what we do (the Camp in its financial support of the ministry, the Centre in its hands on work) for one reason, and that reason is to reach every Bahamian household with the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the children that come to us. Our prayer is that God is glorified in all we do here at Adventure Learning Centre and Camp!
After the group leaves on the 4th, April is a slower month for us, but we will be using the slower group schedule to start the planning and preparing for the heavy summer group schedule. Please pray for us as we plan, continue to train Debbie, and continue our mission of ministering to the Bahamian people and those here to serve the Bahamian people!
Thank you for your time and interest in what we do!
Tim and Mindy Seeley
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)
After almost 4 years without an Executive Director at Adventure Learning Centre and Camp (Chet Lowe resigned as ED in the spring 2014), we are excited to announce the hiring of a new Executive Director! Bahamian Board member Kenneth Romer joins fellow Bahamian staff and the foreign missionary staff as ALC&C’s new Executive Director. Over the next several months, he will provide the much needed leadership of the ministry while a more permanent Director is obtained. His position is part time, but he is bringing a lot of expertise and energy to the ministry. He has some exciting ideas, and we are looking forward to seeing how God will use him to further the work being done here at Adventure Learning Centre and Camp. Please pray for Kenneth as he learns both sides of the ministry, adjusts to his new position, and leads all of us.
Please continue to pray for other key positions that need to be filled as well: Centre Director (vacant for almost 3 years now), Program Director (Jen has expressed a desire to vacate this position at the end of this school term), Maintenance Director, Camp Cook.
Mark stepped down from being the Centre Director over 2 1/2 years ago. When he did so, Tim became part of the ALC&C leadership team that answered to the board and gave oversight to the entire ministry. He also took on oversight of the maintenance department for both sides of the ministry. With the new ED in place, Tim is back to focusing solely on the Camp.
There are 2 big projects he is focusing on now. The first is the construction of 2 new cottages and the structural repairs to the 5 guest cabins. Another project that we are working on is kitchen improvements and restocking supplies.
While Tim works on managing the big projects and providing over all directorship of the Camp side of the ALC&C ministry, I continue to assist him with the on the ground operations. This includes training our new camp assistant Debbie, overseeing guest services and hospitality (housekeeping, cooking, kitchen management, etc), planning/working with mission teams and groups, etc. We are so thankful to Debbie and Faye for all the hard work they put in to help us manage this place. They have servant hearts and work really hard. We appreciate the dedication.
Aaron continues to work his magic in the maintenance department. Besides consulting with the maintenance staff at the Centre, at Camp he has been working on the media/sound system in the dining hall, repairing/painting doors and chairs, and figuring out an electrical issue that is causing electricity to shut off in the office. He plods away at various projects. We appreciate his hard work and dedication.
Mom and Dad (affectionately known by fellow staff as Grandma and Grandpa Seeley) were here January 26-February 10th. We had a great time with them, and they were a blessing to us all. They joined us on the staff inservice day, helped with projects around the house and Camp, helped with youth night, and provided meals and encouragement to us all.Jen’s sisters came for a long weekend visit in early February. Their visit was a blessing to her, and we enjoyed getting to see them.
Some of you may or may not know that I am a twin. Years ago Missy and I planned to do a “50th Birthday” cruise when we turned 50. In 2016, our granddaughter was born the week of mine and Missy’s 50th birthday, so the cruise had to be postponed. This month, my twin sister and I finally got to go on our cruise together. It was a blast (like cruising with myself). One of the ports of call was Nassau. While we were on the cruise, we do what we do best: socialize and meet new people. That connecting with people allowed us the awesome opportunity to bring 2 couples with us to the ALC&C to see the ministry. Carl & Victoria (center) and Kari & David (left) enjoyed the opportunity to see the ministry and a side of the island not seen by many cruisers. Staff also got to meet my twin sister who had not been to the island to visit in almost 4 years.
BYN (Bahamas Youth Network) G2 was at Camp February 23-24 for their retreat. We were able to serve these young people meals (most local groups cook for themselves), so we got to witness some of their activities. Their leaders, fellow missionaries Dan Weightman and Bob & Donna Mastin, were a blessing to watch as they worked with and engaged the young people.
Evangelistic Temple Rebirth Ministries was here February 24-25 for their annual retreat. The young ladies renewed their vows/made their vows to God and enjoyed time together in the beautiful ALCamp setting. We were able to serve these young ladies meals as well (most local groups cook for themselves), so we got to witness some of their activities. It was a blessing to us to get to see them in action and to serve them.
This year for Youth Night we have been learning about “Authentic Faith”. The young people continue to come and enjoy the time together. We are able to meet even with over night groups at Camp. We are so thankful for the 2 facilities. When there is an event at Camp, we move the Youth Night to the Centre. We are also thankful for the former Joy Bible Camp people who labor with us in this ministry to the youth of the South Beach area.
Funds and man power to build the new cottages (we need at least one cottage done by next January for Calvary Christian Academy because their groups will be larger next year)
Funds to get the necessary repairs done to the crumbling cabins
Wisdom and discernment as we prioritize projects and in general
God will order our steps
Thanks for your support and interest in what we are doing here in the Bahamas to help build the Kingdom of God.
May God be glorified!
On Wednesday, January 17th, shortly after the second group of Calvary Christian Academy (see below) arrived, Tim brought to the house a box wrapped in white wrapping paper. As he handed me the box, he said it was a gift from an anonymous person brought to the island by one of the team members. I had absolutely no expectations, so as I pulled back the wrapping paper and saw what it was, I was stunned speechless. The gift was a DSLR camera.
I have always valued photography. Pictures to me represent memories; memories represent people; people are what relationships are all about, and relationships with people are important to me. However, as meaningful as this camera is to me, what makes this gift even more meaningful is the testimony of the giver. The carrier told me that the giver had been sensing God telling her to buy this camera for a long time, and she finally listened. Her sensitivity and obedience to God astounded me. I am not sure who I spoke to about not having my camera any more or in what context this benefactor found out that I loved my DLSR camera that broke a couple years ago.
The camera itself, the sensitivity of this person to God’s nudging, and the seemingly randomness of the generous act was such a surprise and blessing. Wow!
Can You Bless the ALC&C?
Sure you can, in many ways. Many of you have already done so. We are grateful for all the donors, volunteers, prayer warriors, visitors etc that have supported and thus blessed the ministry over its nearly 25 years of existence, but we are once again looking for people who are wanting a way to tangibly bless the ALC&C. Here are a couple of specific ways:
Come and volunteer for a week (or two or three) as Camp cook. We are looking for people to come and help us serve the mission teams that will be staying on site and serving ALC and the Bahamas community. Weeks of need: March 3-17, March 28-April 4, June 9-July 29, and maybe August 5-10.
Come and volunteer your time to help with general maintenance and vehicle maintenance/repair. Our buses are old and are constantly breaking down. (Maintenance is also a full time need.)
Your lodging (and food when we are cooking for guest groups) will be taken care of as you serve, so the only major expense is your transportation here. Come and enjoy meeting and serving people and more importantly help us build the kingdom of God.
Staff Development Day
Thank you to Jen Rogers and Tika Penn for planning and executing an exciting day of staff development on Monday, January 29th. The day started with staff devotions at South Beach. At the beach we were encouraged by Jen, shared time together in prayer, got together one on one with another staff member to talk and pray, and shared donuts. We then hopped into the bus and headed to Potter’s Cay for a culture experience and team game involving conch and Bahamian fruit jams. We ended the outing with a “blind folded” event at the Caves. We headed back to the Centre for a pizza lunch and birthday cake for our January-March babies. We had a great time together. Man we love these people!!!! So glad we get to do ministry with these guys and gals. So blessed we are.
Welcome Back, Bob and Faye!
Bob and Faye Browning returned in early January and hit the ground running as soon as they arrived helping us get ready for our 2 weeks of large groups. Bob immediately set in to fixing our buses and train and Faye to helping clean camp and help Ms. Ada at the Centre. We are so pleased to have these two back serving with us for 2 1/2 months.
Praise the Lord, the train is running again. Thank you Bob for making this happen!
We just finished the first step of the yearly process of getting our fleet of buses inspected and licensed. This poor fleet of vehicles continues to limp along, but God keeps them going despite rust, broken radiators, failing starters, and many other mechanical woes. Please pray they pass all inspections and continue to run. We rely on these buses both at the Camp and at the Centre to do the ministry work we do.
Calvary Christian Academy from Fort Lauderdale, FL sends their 8th graders on a mission trip to Bahamas every year where they learn to “Know God More and Make Him Known”. The two groups of nearly 100 that come for 5 days each (one group one week and the other group the next week) in early January stretch our capacity and resources here at the Camp, but partnering with these teams has been such a blessing as we have seen the team’s focus/ministry evolve over the years (more on CCA 8th graders below). They serve at government schools, orphanages, All Saints, and the Centre.
Bob and Jane Caldwell (in purple and black) were on island visiting fellow Bahamas missionaries, John and Karen Stodgehill (in red and black). We met up with these couples for a team planning meeting and tour of ALC&C. Bob will be leading a mission team here over Easter. They will be serving with us at our Easter Monday Funday, and Kenny was showing them the train track where the train skit takes place.
Long time ALC&C friend Marcia Harvey joined us a couple Saturdays for lunch and a visit. Marcia is also related to Bob and Faye.
Illiana and BYN board member, Leslie, came and met with us last Saturday to discuss a BYN leaders retreat at ALCamp this summer.
Former ALC maintenance man, Tom Schafer was back on the island and staying with Tim Ryan. He came to ALC and served for a couple of days while here. It was fun hearing him laugh again and seeing him running his old toys.
After the holiday times of December and CCA mission teams in early January, we began our weekly youth night last Friday evening. We had 18 young people on our first night back. Before our first meeting, leaders got together to plan and pray for the youth and the meetings.
Every year we deep clean our Camp kitchen in late January. This year Debbie tackled this huge job for us. She did a fantastic job. Thank you, Debbie, for your hard work.
Tim, Aaron and I have been working on various projects at Camp. Aaron finished the office closet, and we are in the process now of getting the office back in order. Tim has been working on many small projects at Camp and…
…one big one. He has begun laying out the foundation for the 2 remaining staff cottages. It is our goal to begin these two construction projects this year. A couple of mission teams have expressed interest in helping with this project.
We have begun to train Debbie in what we do to serve mission teams and local guest groups from the time they first call to book their stay with us to when we physically serve them. We are looking forward to having her help us and to backing us up in our efforts to serve these groups. Debbie is a quick learner and is great at taking initiative to do whatever is needed to be done.
Program at the Centre has resumed. The first of the groups for 2018 were in conjunction with Calvary Christian Academy. CCA helped facilitate the programs/fundays for local government schools at the Centre. It is such a joy seeing children coming to the Centre again, and one of the sweetest sounds is hearing laughing children at play and the train whistle blowing. Please pray for the children we are serving and the staff that are teaching and sharing the Gospel of Jesus through the educational programing.
Barn Roof Repair
Tim Ryan along with a couple friends, Adam and Kenny worked very hard in getting the barn roof re-shingled. As you can tell, the barn roof is a dangerous pitch. We appreciate these men’s risk and time spent in getting this job done. Well, done, gentlemen!
Tim’s parents Lee and Jan Seeley are currently here visiting us. Their visit is a blessing and encouragement to not only us but to all the ALC staff. We love having them here and are looking forward to their two week long visit.
Thank you for your continued support of us in your thoughts, prayers and financial giving. We appreciate all you do to help us in the ministry work God has called us to do here in Nassau, The Bahamas.