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.
This time of year is so busy for all of us. We pray that in all the busyness, you (and we) don’t forget to take time to reflect on why we celebrate this time of year. Yes, we celebrate baby Jesus’ birth, but why?
We celebrate because of the Gospel: God coming to this earth as 100% God/100% human baby conceived/born of a virgin, living a perfect life, dying a death he did not deserve, rising again from the dead, and ascending back to Heaven so we can be reunited with our Creator! That is why we celebrate this time of year.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
We pray as you give and receive gifts this year that you do not forget the most important gift of all: a relationship with your Creator through faith in Jesus Christ!
The final Monday night before on-site staff started to depart for the holidays, we took the young people out for our weekly meeting. The gals went to Stix at Bahamar, and the guys went to Bahamas Grill. We all ended up wondering around Bahamar, enjoying the fountain and pretty decoration.
Brian and Carol (Tissot) Fairley, Mark and Cheryl Tissot, Robert and Laura Beth Sheets (and their son) were on the island while on a cruise, and we were able to pick them up at the port and show them around the island and the ALC&C. Adam attends church with them in Windsor, Ontario, and Tim grew up in the same church circle with the Tissots. We were blessed with their visit.
Dave and Sue were here for a few days again at the beginning of the month on their way back from the States to Andros. They blessed us with their company, and Dave was able to help with some of the painting in the Camp office.
Pat and Janice Armstrong (former ALC staff) were on island for a week for vacation and to visit friends. We were able to steal some of their time and had a good visit (albeit very short).
A good friend of ours, Cathy Mott (in the middle) brought her cousin and his wife to see the ALC&C while they were on island for vacation. This couple are the parents of a young lady, Karin, who volunteered for a couple weeks of Day Camp in summer 2015. They wanted to see where their daughter served.
Christmas Lights Drive Thru
Like many of you, this time of year is very busy and full of holiday plannings and preparations. We spent the last month and half helping Centre staff put together the annual Christmas Lights Drive Thru. What is the Christmas Lights Drive Thru? It is one of the ALC’s two yearly fundraiser/Gospel outreach events. Cars drive thru the property and passengers experience beautiful light displays and a Gospel message presented in a living play/pageant presentation. This year we had over 3,544 guests in 933 cars over 5 nights.
Since many of you have never seen or experienced this awesome event, here is the walkthrough for you to enjoy…
New Addition to Camp Staff
We are beyond thrilled to welcome Debbie Degen to the “other side” of the ministry. When Debbie came to the ALC&C in November 2016, she came to work at the Centre side of the ministry as a facilitator. She expressed an interest last year of helping with Camp ministry. She returned to the island in early November and immediately began helping set up for the Christmas Lights Drive Thru. Now that CLDT is over, she has begun her training with us here at Camp. She had her first real experience with serving groups this last week and is doing a fantastic job. She has such a sweet, servant heart.
Shekinah Family Ministries, under the leadership of Pastor Arthur and Samantha Evans, held their end of the year retreat and Christmas banquet at Adventure Learning Camp on December 15-16. The children love Adventure Learning Camp, and we love serving them. Since we cooked their meals for them, we got to spend more time with them than other local groups. What a joy they are!
Florida Atlantic University students who are a part of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) were on island December 17-22 for their 5th year serving area ministries and Princess Margaret Hospital. This group is a delight to serve, and we enjoyed hearing their stories of how this trip has impacted them.
Special thank you!
We appreciate the staff that did what they could to help Tim, Debbie and me with our final 2 groups of the year. From cleaning cabins (Stephanie and Kadesha), to cooking (Ms. Ada cooked dinner for Bahamian meal night), to helping us serve/clean (Adam and Aaron). We appreciate all the work you did!
Once again, Aaron has been hard at work. He has been working long hours trying to get the office remodeled in anticipation of our big group coming the 2nd week in January. Great job, Aaron, juggling this project and being pulled to help with projects at the Centre and fixing broken things here at Camp. Aaron is a blessing to this ministry!
Other than the CLDT (see above), the Centre was closed and staff were mostly gone for the month of December. The staff returns and the Centre reopens January 8th.
What’s Coming Up
As you may have noticed, this monthly blog is coming out a week earlier than usual. This month it is our goal to get this out before the holiday, as we are planning (starting tomorrow) on taking some time off to enjoy the holiday with family (not our children unfortunately). We are looking forward to the break and will return after the first week of January to welcome and serve 2 large groups coming shortly thereafter.
Have a very Merry Christmas and may God bless you and your family in the New Year!
Tim and Mindy Seeley
Those wanting to give towards our ministry in their end of the year giving, you may do so by clicking the link here https://ssmfi.org/missionary/tim-and-mindy-seeley/ or by clicking the “Shepherd’s Staff logo in the side bar.
Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.
Last month’s trip to the States that ended with our return to Nassau on the 6th was, as you may recall, a “business/ministry” trip that took us to many locations in the upper Midwest/Great Lakes area. During our travels, we encountered many people doing their normal life which included, as far as I was concerned, one of my biggest desires. That is, many fellow empty nesters were enjoying the benefits of living alone as husband and wife yet in close enough proximity to family, relatives, adult children and grandchildren to be able to see and interact with at a very short notice or to make plans for an outing or meal together. We even got a brief taste of it when we were in Minnesota (and boy did that taste good!).
While observing these seemingly normal, mundane encounters, I began to feel sad at the loss of such luxury. The sadness went beyond that to almost self pity. I even cried out to God, “Why can’t I have that too?” Even as I contemplated what I was missing out on by living so far away from family, God reminded me that number 1, it was Satan that was sewing these seeds of discontent; number 2, my sufficiency is not in anyone or anything, no matter how noble or good, and number 3, He has promised to supply the affections of all that we have given up in ways that are unexpected. Even as I contemplated what God was speaking to me about, I remembered the verses in Mark 10:29-30 (verses above). As if I needed further assurance and convincing, the topic of a devotional by Solid Joys that week was speaking to this very thing. My sufficiency is in Jesus alone, and though far from the affections of mother, father, sister, children, grandchildren, God has provided other relationships for me to enjoy and nurture (we have a great group of young people on site right now, and they are such a blessing!).
I confessed my lack of trust in Jesus to be my all sufficiency and prayed that I would trust more in Him to be that comfort of family around that I so longed for. I would be lying if I said I do not still wish I had my children closer, or that I could have my grand daughter come spend the weekend with me, or that I could pop into my parent’s house and have coffee with my beautiful mother, or go shopping with my twin sister, or do any of those other things families do when they are in close proximity. However, I am now recognizing the source of the discouragement and trusting Jesus to be my all in all. He knows and sees every tear and heart ache. I take great comfort in that.
Furthermore, I am reminded of how fortunate I am to be living in a time of Skype and FaceTime and texting and messaging. These tools are very valuable in helping us remain connected.
One of the new things we started this fall was taking an hour each week to connect with the on-site staff, Tim with the guys and me with the gals. It has been a great time for all of us to encourage one another and take an opportunity to pray together, discuss issues going on as we live in community, and build each other up.
We have not spoken much about our church, but since it is something that is an integral part of our lives, we thought we would start including it in our blog. We have had many opportunities to meet with our pastor and his wife for fellowship and encouragement. We have also had opportunity to meet with other members of the congregation (David and Antja Humes above) outside of the Sunday morning worship and Wednesday evening discipleship classes. Tim has been able to lead Wednesday night discipleship class when Pastor was out of town and also periodically leads worship in giving and announcement times on Sunday mornings. We are blessed by our church family at Kingdom Life Church.
It is tough being away from family during holiday times. Thanksgiving is not observed here in the Bahamas; however, we chose to take the day off because we had worked the weekend previous and needed to take a day off anyway. We chose to adopt “parents” for the day. We had a lovely time with Donny and Barbara Maura. After lunch and a great conversation, a tour of Lyford Cay and Island House with the Maura’s, we drove to Bahamar to walk around and then ended up eating a traditional Thanksgiving meal alone together at a local restaurant. It was such nice day together; made better by telephone conversations with all our children and parents.
Please pray that God provides the following staff personnel, but also pray for the board as they work to fill the most important positions of all, Executive Director and Centre Director. Pray for our current leadership team, Mark and Tim, as they fill these positions during the interim.
Expectations: Responsible for overseeing facilitator staff, communicate with teachers and schools, booking school field trips, scheduling and logistics. Requirements: customer service and phone skills, can delegate and manage staff. Not required but desired: organizational skills and basic computer program skills such as word and excel.
Requirements: Skills in general construction and repair, able to lead mission teams and volunteers with work projects. Preferred but not required: mechanical and diesel engine repair abilities
If you know of anyone who has organizational skills and desire and ability to work in a kitchen, we may have a ministry position for them. We are in need of someone who can manage and cook in our kitchen especially during the busy spring and summer schedules and at other times through out the year. Since this is just a seasonal position, the interested person can also come and assist in other areas around Camp and the Centre.
Interested applicants with a godly character and servant heart can contact Tim (email@example.com) or Mark (firstname.lastname@example.org).
2400 to be exact! That is the goal for the Christmas Lights Drive Thru this year (see below). We sell concessions at the Christmas Lights Drive Thru to bring in more revenue to fund the ministry. We usually sell out of these cookies every year, so I decided to make more than usual in hopes of meeting the demand. A couple weeks ago I measured and put ingredients together, and in the last week I made large batches of dough, scooped them into balls and froze the dough to be made into cookies later this week. We will repeat the process next week for the event’s 2nd weekend.
Our Ms. Ada lost her husband and the ALC staff attended his funeral in support of her.
Groups/Visits & Visitors
November 9-10th, Calvary Chapel Academy sent a couple scouts, Marty Fanning (left) and Steve Mayo, to work on coordinating ministry connections for the mission team coming in January.
Dave and Sue Bryant, missionaries from Andros and good friends of ours, came for a couple nights on their way back to the States for Thanksgiving holiday.
Epic Kids led by Ms. Rodena Sands from Epic Church came for a weekend retreat at Camp November 17-19. This is their second retreat this year. What a great group of children. We were able to attend their church. We enjoyed the opportunity to worship and experience another assembly on the island.
New Bahamas missionaries, Bob and Donna Mastin, arrived on the island in late October. They are here to work with Bahamas Youth Network. We were able to meet with them for a Sunday afternoon and experience Jollifcation festival together. We were able to impart to them some tips of living in a new culture with plans to meet up again really soon.
Brother Bradly King, good friend and one of the pastors at East Street Gospel Chapel, and his sister Vanria from Florida, joined us for lunch last Saturday. It has been a while since we had opportunity to connect with them and we enjoyed our time together.
This last Friday we had our last youth gathering until the New Year. We have been averaging 8-18 young people a night. We have enjoyed the opportunities to pour into these young people. We have a few challenges with some of the young people (namely with a couple of them that have been caught coming on property at odd hours and causing mischief). Please pray for all the young people we minister to but one young man in particular, Tirique. He needs Jesus. Pray that we are able to minister to this young man.
Aaron has been pulled to the Centre to do a lot of projects, but one big project at Camp that is needing done (mostly because we need space for our group of 100 people in January and this is part of clearing that space) is the closet and storage structures in the Camp office. He has been moving along well and hopes to have it done by Christmas (if he is not pulled away to do things at the Centre). We appreciate this young man so much and all the hard work he does. He truly is a blessing.
We have been very busy over the last 3 weeks pulling things together for the local group that comes December 15-16, our large group the week before Christmas (December 17-22), for our larger group in January and the new groups in March. The January group, Calvary Christian Academy from Fort Lauderdale, comes twice for 5 days in early to mid January. Both CCA groups are about 100 people each. It gives us challenges with transportation schedules, lodging assignments, ministry connections, etc. Since the groups come right after the holiday, we started earlier this year so we can enjoy some time off for the holidays. We have also been making connections with the new teams that are coming in March. Exciting things happening, but they just take time to plan and work through details.
Please pray for Tim and me as we help with the Christmas Lights Drive Thru and then continue on for the following 2 weeks serving groups at Camp.
Christmas Lights Drive Thru 2017
There is a lot going on at the Centre side of the ministry, but the biggest thing right now is the preparations for the annual Christmas Lights Drive Thru that begins this weekend. For 6 nights, we will be hosting guests driving thru the Centre to see the beautiful display of lights and witnessing the Gospel of Jesus come to life from the Shepherd’s perspective. Please pray for this important fundraiser and Gospel outreach.
Pray for the staff in the preparation phase as well as during the event. There has been a lot of work done in preparing for the event and there remains a lot to be done.
Program and Adventure Club
Even with all the CLDT preparation this last month, children still came into the Centre, and the Gospel was still being presented to children through the educational programs. The staff were stretched. Thankfully today was the last day of programing until after Christmas break. They get some time off next week between the 2 Christmas Lights Drive Thru weekends and then after the 2nd weekend until their return in January.
Adventure Club Christmas party was also this week. This is often the highlight for the clubbers where they get to come to Adventure Learning Centre and play, eat food and see the pretty lights.
Our Broken Down Train
Our train at the Centre may have seen its last chugga-chugga, choo-choo around the Centre. A radiator and wheel axel problem may have put it out of commission permanently. We are in the market for an alternative. Please pray that God provides for this area of our program.
Thank you and a final note of encouragement!
Thank you for your continued support of us and the ALC&C ministry. Those of you who contribute financially, your gifts are making a difference, and we thank God for your partnership with us in this work. Those of you who contribute to us by supporting us in prayer, we want you to know we appreciate you as well. Your prayers are vital. We do not underestimate them.
If you do not currently support us financially or through prayer, we invite you to start doing so as the Lord allows, lays it on your heart and provides.
We know the days of our sojourning on this earth are quickly coming to an end. The events we are witnessing around us and around the world point to a soon return of Jesus, our bridegroom! It is our prayer as we continue the work here to further the Kingdom of God, that you will seriously search your heart and heed Jesus when he said in Luke 19:13: “Occupy until I come.”
Have a very Merry Christmas!
Tim and Mindy Seeley