Home » Posts tagged 'Adventure Learning Camp'
Tag Archives: Adventure Learning Camp
“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
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
This month has been crazy. As this is going to press, we are on day 40 straight (no break) with a little over 9 days left (more if the group that has asked to come the week of August 7th ends up coming). Besides us serving back to back and overlapping mission teams and a local group of about 100 these last several weeks, what has made it so crazy is Tim has been doing some major maintenance projects at the Centre (Tim and Aaron are it for maintenance staff right now), leading maintenance projects being done by crew members of the OM ship Logos Hope at the Centre (there is a lot that goes into project managing work crews), and trying to keep the buses running (3 of the 5 buses are out of commission right now). This has left me (with Kevin’s help) here at Camp serving the groups.
We are exhausted and busy, but we are still able to function. We have some good rest at night and that has helped a lot. Although this week we have 100 people here at Camp, next week should be relatively quiet with a group of only 16. The ship is gone from port which means there will be no more work teams to manage. And Day Camp at the Centre will be over (no need to juggle the 2 functioning buses).
July in a nutshell…
CAMP: 4 weeks of mission teams and a week of Young Life Bahamas (youth camp)
CENTRE: Day Camp with 50-80 campers ages 5-12 every weekday.
Operation Mobilization Logos Hope in port and partnering with us here at the Centre (2 fun days for the crew at the Centre 2 evenings in early July, crew ministry days at the Centre, ALC Day Camp field trips to the ship, many days of work projects at the Centre, rest days for crew at the Camp)
Maintenance continues at the Centre. With buses being out of commission, the reverse osmosis system still having issues, projects to manage, and messes to clean up, Tim and Aaron are quite busy.
There you have it, short and sweet.
We need staff here at the ALC&C, namely facilitators and maintenance staff at the Centre. Please pray God sends godly, servant minded people to fill these positions.
Strength to finish out the summer, both serving the guest groups and completing unfinished work projects at the Centre (the ship crew were unable to finish some of the projects they started)
Wisdom and discernment as we serve
We will be traveling August 12-19 to help our son move from Indiana back to Minnesota; then we will be taking a vacation from August 20-27 to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.
Leadership of the ALC&C: board, Tim and Mark, future Executive Director, etc
The fall term as it begins in little over a month. We have one new staff member coming.
Thank you for your support of us in keeping up with our updates, praying for us, and partnering with us in your giving. We sincerely appreciate it and thank God for your faithfulness.
Tim and Mindy
The phrase “living in a fishbowl” means living your life on display for everyone to see, just as everyone from the outside can see what the fish is doing in its fishbowl home.
We that live in community on sight at Adventure Learning Camp live in a “fishbowl”. Everyone sees and knows what is going on. Whereas living on site can be very convenient and is often necessary, it can also be tiring in that someone is always around and there is never a time when we are not working or being ready to work. Someone can be knocking at the door at any given time. In times we want to disconnect, we have to be very purposeful and intentional.
We were blessed this past week and half with the opportunity to live “off site”. That meant we had to commute to work each day, something we have not done in over 8 years. We are house sitting for a couple who are away. We are watching their home for them and keeping the homestead clean and ready for Kim and Randy Grebe and their family when they come to the island in the next couple of weeks. When the Grebes leave, we will hurricane proof the house and close it up.
The view of the canal and ocean on one side of the house and the view of the in-ground pool on the other side is breath taking. Although we are not able to make it to the house everyday (mission teams are on site now), the views as well as the experience of being alone has done wonders to revitalize us! We are thankful to the homeowners, Donny and Barabar Maura, for their generous gift to us and to the Lord for providing us this connection and opportunity to serve the Mauras and the Grebes.
Vehicles and Maintenance Staff
This picture brings to mind two very important prayer requests: Please pray for our vehicles. The buses, the train, the van, the Explorer, the pick-up truck, and even our own personal vehicles are all tools for the ministry and are very important for what we do, but many of them are limping along and require many man hours to remain safe and road worthy. Please pray God sends us godly, mission minded maintenance staff with gifting in leadership, general maintenance and vehicle maintenance skills! Adam, Aaron, Tim and Mark do what they can to maintain the ministry and to keep the vehicles maintained and running, but we could use someone with this expertise.
PRAISE THE LORD! Tim has spent spent countless hours, days, weeks and even months trying to get the water problem solved at both the Centre and the Camp. The RO system was having issues for the last year and half, but it was complicated further by flooding from Hurricane Matthew and needed repairs. Dewey Dawkins (pictured in first picture) has been graciously helping Tim with the plan for the system. Today we are happy to report we think the project is nearing completion. Thank you also goes to Adam Greenhow and Aaron Mills for their help. This has been a project that has taken a lot of Tim’s time, and now that it is finished, we can focus on other important things.
A sad good-bye… Our sweet Eva Sartor from Germany left this past week. She came to work as a missionary facilitator at the Centre side of the ALC&C ministry in September. We miss her already and wish her well as she starts school next year.
Kevin continues to thrive and grow in his position as Camp cook. He has had a firm grasp on the cooking aspect of the job (great time management skills, very organized, food is great, etc) and is now being trained to do menus, inventory, place orders, manage staff, and even implement and enforce serve safe practices in the kitchen. We are well on our way to having a well organized, industrial, “Serve Safe” kitchen!
The Operation Mobilization’s Logos Hope is coming to Nassau July 7-25! ALC founders Randy and Kim Grebe were among the OM staff that came for a planning meeting in late May. They hope to send ministry people here to help us, and we look forward to meeting all of them.
Brazil, Germany, Japan, Peru, Canada, USA, Bahamas, Jamaica! Those are some of the countries represented at this table. OM ship preparation team (and others) came and had dinner at Camp. One of our facilitators, Debbie, used to minister on the OM ship and had invited all these young people for dinner.
Aaron has been helping fix things and build props for Day Camp, but his big project this past month has been the storage closet in the Camp Office. Our office still looks like a war zone, but after he finishes this closet and builds additional storage, we will get it fixed up nice. Thanks, Aaron, for your hard work!
Beautification of the grounds at the Centre was highlighted in last month’s blog. The Camp is also getting a much needed face lift. The grounds crew has planted some new plants in the beds around the Cabins and added beautiful mulch. Denny received a new “toy”, a leaf blower and has been using it to help him with his work at Camp. Today he started tearing out the ugly, painful, mosquito incubators (these plants hold water in its base) from around the office, the dining hall and Camp house. As soon as funds are available, we hope to plant and mulch around these buildings.
Happy Birthday to our staff with April-June birthdays! From left to right: Garnet Hepburn (animal caretaker), Mark Wallace (Science and Outreach at the Centre), Romain Denise (Camp grounds keeper), Ms. Ada (Centre cook)!
Congratulations, RJ! RJ is the son of the Centre Office Manager, Eldora and a very good friend of our son, Zachary. When Zachary still lived at home, RJ would hang out with us. This is the first time we had seen him in a while. He just completed high school and is now taking technical courses at Bahamas Vocational Technical Institute.
Adam Greenhow has been working in maintenance at the Centre now since January. He has “adopted” us as parents. He took us out for dinner to celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Afterwards we toured the new resort, BahaMar!
Celine’s two sisters, Anika and Amanda, stopped in for a visit between their travels from the USA back to their home in Red Bays, Andros, The Bahamas. We love seeing these young ladies and watching these 3 sisters interact.
Calvary Deliverance church had a group of 32 young ladies at Camp for their annual retreat in early June.
Logos Hope / Operation Mobilization pre-trip staff were on site to visit former Logos Hope team member, Debbie Degen. Debbie is one of our facilitators at the Centre. We were able to visit with them for the evening.
Epic Kids were at Camp for a one night sleepover in early June. Their pastor, Pastor Q, is a dear friend of ours, and we enjoyed getting to see him and host this awesome group.
This is Cordea. She is from Red Bays, Andros, and she has an identical twin sister with a very similar name. The Bahamas passport office issued her sister a passport, but because they thought one person was trying to order 2 passports, they cancelled Cordea’s passport. She was on island trying to get it sorted out, and we were able to assist her. Just another way we are able to partner with the ministry Dave and Sue Bryant have on Andros.
With one eye always on upcoming events, we were able to give a tour of the Camp and Centre to a group from Precept Ministries that will be holding a camp here in October. The local representatives brought the USA ministry team to see where the event will be hosted.
On a recent Sunday, Sue Bryant and Celine’s brother Torn flew to Nassau from their homes in Andros, and since they had a few hours to kill while they waited to go to the international airport to fly to the USA, Adam picked them up and brought them to church.
Loge family (Nathaniel, Jessie, Bailey, Josiah and Kaitlin) came to the Bahamas on June 15 to serve as missionaries for a month as part of a family mission team. They are laboring in the heat (they are from the cold north: Minnesota) to serve with the Day Camp at the Centre. They are such a blessing to all of us here at the ministry, not only with the hard work they are doing but also for bringing a lot of supplies and for being great companions and encouragers during this very busy time. Thank you, Loge family, for all you are doing!
ALC Board Meeting took place last weekend. Lee Burtelson from Chicago flew in (Stacie Burtelson had to join the meeting via internet as she just recently had foot surgery) to meet with the 3 Bahamian board members, Cranston Knowles, Kenneth Romer, and Sharon Stuart. The board took the ALC&C staff out for dinner one evening while they were all here.
Micah, Alex and Candace Godsey are no strangers to ALC&C. Micah was here as a facilitator last year, worked at Day Camp last summer, and returned this summer again to work at Day Camp. Her sister Candace is here for a week to help at the Day Camp, and Alex is here until mid-July. We are so thankful for these young ladies!
Leeia Hutcheson worked at the Day Camp 2 years ago as a counselor. This summer she is helping out at Camp for a week or two. We are enjoying her presence and appreciate her help.
Mission Discovery summer 2017 group 1. The group consists of teams from Emmanuel Baptist Church in Pennsylvania, several churches from Pepin , Wisconsin, and a group of 3 ladies from Rapid City, South Dakota. They are here learning about foreign missions by working at Elizabeth Estates children’s home and at a Haitian church. MD has been coming here for many, many years.
Regular school programs at the Centre ended in early June. We had over 6000 children come to Adventure Learning Centre this year. That is fewer than normal, but considering we had a slow start to the year because of the hurricane, we are pleased with the amount of children we were able to reach with the Gospel through our education programs. Please pray for the preparations being made for this fall. Also pray God sends us facilitator staff to help run and maintain programs this fall.
Summer Day Camp at Adventure Learning Centre began on June 19th, but before the children began enjoying programs and activities with a Circus theme, staff from both the Centre and Camp got together for team building times and staff training. I (Mindy) was able to help out with first aid training.
Children that attend Day Camp go to the beach every week and on a field trip most weeks. They also have fun games and activities as well as Bible lessons and craft times. Please pray the Summer Day Camp program and the staff. It is hot here and the activity level and work can be grueling.
We start another Mission Discovery group on Sunday with mission teams and camps back to back clear through mid-August. We hope to get some down time, but it does not look like that is going to happen. Please pray that God grants us much grace as we work through the hot summer days, maintaining/stewarding the ministry and serving the many people staying with us here at Adventure Learning Camp.
We are looking forward to a visit from Zachary at the end of July. He will be staying with us until August 12th at which point we will fly back with him to Indiana and help him pack and move to Minnesota. While in the States, we hope to take some time to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary which is on August 1st. Please pray for safety in travel, that we would be able to be away to celebrate, and for us as we make the necessary arrangements.
So much to be thankful for! Praise God we received 5-year visas this year and 3-year driver’s licenses. That means several years before we have to think about paper work, expense, or hours spent obtaining these documents. We are so thankful for God’s favor in helping us get these necessary tasks completed. Now, whether that means God will have us here for another 3-5 years remains to be seen. At least as far as documents go, we are legally able to be here!
Thank you for your continued support of us and the ministry through your prayers and financial giving. We pray God’s richest blessings on you as you partner with us in this great work of kingdom building here in The Bahamas.
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in knowledge of God.
Colossians 1:9-10 (ESV)
Our church has begun its journey through the book of Galatians. We have benefitted from a steady diet of the Gospel these last several Sundays as Pastor Moss has spent worship services expositing the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the Galatians (and to us) to remain faithful to the one true Gospel. The Gospel is purely, simply, strictly this: Jesus Christ died, was buried and then rose again for our sins. It is exclusively the faith and trust one places in Jesus’ work on the cross that redeems them and brings them into eternal fellowship with God their Creator. Nothing else added to or taken away can define the Gospel or make the Gospel more effectual.
The Gospel points us back to the glory of God and His sovereignty over all. We find great peace, comfort and rest in knowing that God is in total control. He is working out things in our lives (as seemingly insignificant as they may be in the grand scheme of life) for His glory and our good. During this time of great busyness and pouring out of ourselves in ministry (sometimes weeks upon weeks at a time), getting to hear and be reminded of the Gospel that we cling to refreshes us in ways that are hard to describe.
Thank you Pastor Moss for your faithfulness to the Word and for weekly doses of encouragement! You will never know how encouraging your expositing is week in and week out.
The Adventure Learning Centre and Camp ministry makes a difference in lives of Bahamians: the Centre with its focus on outdoor education programs for Bahamian school children, after school Adventure Clubs, and Evangelical outreach Fun Days, and the Camp with its focus on youth outreaches, providing retreat facilities for Bahamian churches, and serving foreign mission teams that are here to serve the Bahamian people.
How would you like to join us and help us minister to the Bahamian people and those here to serve the Bahamian people? We are looking for qualified, missionary-minded individuals who desire to bring glory to God through hard work and initiative. We are looking for full time staff:
Maintenance staff (diesel mechanic skills a plus)
Facilitators (run and maintain outdoor education programs)
We are also looking for summer time help:
Camp Assistants We are looking for 2 people who would be willing to come help us serve groups this summer (i.e., housekeeping, serve alongside our full-time cook in the kitchen, and do various hospitality jobs). We prefer someone over 21 who is capable of learning to drive one of our buses, but anyone over 18 would be considered. We are willing to train people for this and would prefer a more than 1 week at a time commitment.
Day Camp Counselors to work 6 weeks at the Centre’s Summer Day Camp Program.
Red Bays, Andros
You may recall in February we got away to Andros for a couple of days to rest and encourage fellow missionaries, Dave and Sue Bryant in Red Bays, Andros. Sunday we took Adam Greenhow with us and flew back to Andros to get some time away to recharge and to help Dave and Sue build a chicken coop. We enjoyed our time together. During the days we worked (Tim and Adam building and Mindy working on this blog, organizing office work and connecting with future mission teams) and in the evenings we played, laughed and fellowshipped with the Bryants and the people they minister to there in Red Bays. We were even able to help Dave and Sue by Tim speaking on Sunday evening at church, helping the neighborhood children with repairs, and working with the children on their school work. What a blessing it is to be able to take some time away and fellowship and bless other missionaries.
You may recall from our January update that we have been connected with a couple from Wisconsin that has started a ministry called Marleigh’s Ministry. It is a ministry that provides care packages for mothers of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit babies. Jill and Matt Gilmore came to Nassau on a cruise in January, and we were able to connect them with Princess Margaret Hospital NICU to deliver care packages. We are in conversation with Jill about her return to Nassau in May and about partnering with her to connect with Bahamas parents with NICU babies. Each care package has items for mom and baby along with a Bible and tract. It is our desire that the packages be delivered and facilitated with our local church here so the families of these babies have a contact follow-up here. Please pray as we reach more Bahamian families with the love of Christ through their children.
Saying good-bye again. This is the fifth time since we arrived 4 years ago that we have had to tell these two good-bye. Bob and Faye Browning come every year for almost 3 months to encourage the ministry with their capable, willing, working hands. They are such hard workers and are a huge blessing to the ministry.
We also said good-bye to Pat and Janice Armstrong. They left to go to work at a Camp in upstate New York. They served with us here at ALC&C (Pat at the Centre and Janice at the Camp) for over 2 years. Their absence is felt. We wish them well in their new position.
Kevin has been an employee of Camp now for over a month. His culinary skills along with his organization, cleaning and time management skills have made him the perfect Camp cook. We have also been working with him on other details of food service management, and he is doing a fantastic job. We are amazed and proud of him.
You may remember us introducing Andy Cartwright in previous posts. He is a local Bahamian business man (landscaper) who volunteers at the Centre. His wife Keri has recently started volunteering her time at the Camp. Faye showed her how to do Camp laundry and how we clean the Camp between guest groups. We are so thankful for Keri’s volunteer service to the ALC&C.
Environmental and health nightmare. The dump started burning on Sunday, March 5, and it has been smoldering ever since. The toxic fumes wafted through the air causing breathing difficulties, shutting down schools, forcing people out of their homes, and causing who knows what kind of environmental impact. It is really very sad to see things like this happen to this beautiful, tiny little island. Please pray for those affected and that it does not happen again.
Drinking Water Issues
Water issues persist at the Camp and Centre. Tim has been working very hard at getting this resolved. A local water expert has been on site to assist in the design of the new system and repairs of the reverse osmosis system. Because things are not fixed yet, we continue to have to purchase bottled water. Please pray that things come together soon.
Adventure Learning Centre exists to bring the message of Jesus Christ and His redemptive work on the cross to the people of the Bahamas. It is our desire to see the families of this country come to Christ, and we believe it starts with the children. Through each child’s imagination and curiosity, the Adventure Learning Centre provides them with hands-on experience to discover God’s creation. In Matthew 19:14, Jesus said, “Let the little children come unto me, and do not forbid them; for such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Please pray for the staff as they continue the ministry work at the Centre and for the children they serve.
Mark Wallace continues to bring in 6th graders almost every day for the planetarium program. We are hoping to reach all the government school 6th grade classes again this year. We are also bringing in preschool groups and other younger grades for outdoor education programs.
Easter Monday Funday
Easter Monday Funday is quickly approaching and facilitator staff, under the direction of our event coordinator, Tika Penn, have been very busy making preparations. It is one of the 2 fundraiser events we have each year. It is a family fun day, fundraiser and opportunity for us to present the Gospel to the community. Please pray for the event.
Once again God sustained us through 5+ 7-day ministry work weeks (some days were 12-15 hour days). As you can probably tell, mid-February till the end of March is one of our busy seasons. It was draining physically, but the groups were all great and we enjoyed serving them.
February 25 to March 4, 2017 Hood Canal Community Church from Hoods Port, Washington was on island for their mission trip. The group of 24 served at the Children’s Emergency Hostel, Blairwood Academy/Bahamas Downs Syndrome, ALCentre, and Bahamas Assoc of Physically Disabled. They helped complete the portion of the boardwalk into the wetlands as far as the observation tower. This is a blessing as it has gotten us another step closer to being better than we were before Hurricane Matthew.
Students from James Madison University come ever spring to volunteer with the athletic department at Uriah McPhee primary school. They were with us again this year on March 3-10.
Tim’s parents Lee and Jan Seeley came for a week long visit again this spring. They are such a huge blessing encouragement to all of us. They blessed staff a couple nights with meals and time of fellowship.
Theo and Ruth Habel are friends of Jen, Aaron and us that we knew from the past ministry we worked at, Living Waters Bible Camp. They are also good friends and supporters of the ALC&C. Theo was instrumental in getting the ALCentre planetarium going and Ruth was Camp Director for a few years in the late 1990’s. They were here March 6-15 to encourage, see the ministry and volunteer their time.
Micah Godsey is no stranger to ALC&C. In fact she spent a gap year here last year and was a facilitator at the Centre. She came for a visit March 8-20. This was her first trip back since she left last August. Seeing the landscape changes from Hurricane Matthew brought tears to her eyes.
Lena McGee and her two sons (one of the boys is not pictured because he was being shy) came through on a cruise. Lena used to teach 8th graders at Calvary Christian Academy and came here a couple years on their eighth grade mission trip. We picked them up at the port and brought them to ALC&C to see the ministry.
The King’s Academy (TKA) from Florence, South Carolina came March 11-18. This is their 5th year coming to Nassau on a mission trip. The school takes one week every year and sends all the students out on mission trips, local and abroad. The young people served at the Centre, Bahamas Association of Physically Disabled, Hopedale Centre, United Alliance Church, and Children’s Emergency Hostel.
Mission Discovery usually brings teams in the summer. This year they brought a spring break team. A group of 22 young men from a Christian (not in name) club at Texas A&M came March 11-17 to serve at Sadie Curtis Primary School and Blairwood Academy. They did work projects at both schools and ministered to children. This group of young men were a huge encouragement to our staff as they had such sweet, giving, serving spirits.
Steve and Cheryl Hargraves from London, Ontario, Canada were on a mission team with West London Alliance Church (Bob and Faye’s church) 2 years ago. They were in Nassau on a cruise on March 17 and came to the ALC&C to see us. It was a blessing to get to reconnect with them.
On March 17-24, Woodlands Church in Stevens Point, Wisconsin were here for their third senior high mission trip to the Bahamas. The team served at United Alliance Church (Pastor Bazile’s church), BAPD, All Saints, C.W. Sawyer Middle School and Grace Community Church.
Nathaniel Loge and his daughter Bailey came on Sunday, March 19th and left on Sunday, March 26. Tim’s sister Becky did not know the Loges but someone at their church put them in touch with Becky who then put them in touch with ALC&C. Nathaniel helped Adam with construction projects, Tim with digging trenches and making a concrete slab for the new water tank, and post-group cleaning projects. Bailey helped Garnet with the animals. There is talk of the Loges bringing mom and 2 siblings back to Nassau this summer to help with Summer Day Camp and/or serve mission teams at the Camp. We would gladly welcome this servant minded father-daughter duo. They were a huge blessing to us, and we enjoyed getting to know them.
We continue to average 20-30 young people at our Friday night Youth Night. This semester has been really encouraging to us as the younger ALC&C staff have stepped up and taken ownership and leadership of the outreach. Thank you Jesse, Eva, Debbie, Celine, Adam, Kenny, Tika, and Elton for your hard work and dedication! We have also had some great evenings where mission teams have lead the activities and challenges for the evening. Please pray for our young people that lead and for the youth as they come.
We had yet another accident wake us up in the middle of the night last week. This time a young woman who was driving under the influence hit our fence (thankfully not by the gate this time), ricocheted off the fence and swerved across the street hitting the brick wall and landing on the sidewalk. We continue to try to work with the electric company and Ministry of Works to address the unsafe curve and poor lighting, but nothing seems to be happening. Please pray something happens soon. Also at issue is the leaning power poll that is out front of the Camp. BEC needs to address that as well. In the mean time, we do what we can, and that includes adding a solar rope light in the shape of an arrow on the from fence.
Aaron has been plodding away at many tasks at Camp. Working on the front gate at Camp and the Centre, fixing broken faucets/cabinets/etc, installing new can openers in the kitchen, building a hand washing sink in the dining hall, and building table racks in the dining hall are just some of the small jobs he has been working on. He has been doing a lot more than that, but he is often so quiet about what he is doing, we don’t catch him in the act. We appreciate all he does. He is a blessing.
Now the fun, personal news (and 1 picture of the grand baby because we have to do it!).
The Tim and Mindy Seeley Clan is about to get bigger, and with this addition, the Seeley females will finally balance out the Seeley males! This is 28 years in the making.
Our son, Logan, proposed to his girlfriend, Anna Heinrich on March 15 in front of an old Shakespeare book store in Paris, France. Anna’s father lives in Germany and the kids had been there for spring break (and obviously to get engaged). Congratulations, Logan and Anna!
Anastasia continues to grow and develop. We are looking forward to getting to see her in a month when we go back to the States to attend Logan’s college graduation. It is hard to believe she is already 7 months old.
As we conclude another very long update, we want to thank you for your continued support of us (in prayer, financial giving, and in your thoughts of us). We are blessed and encouraged as we consider how God brings people into our lives to partner with us in the work He has called us to do here.
May God bless you!
Tim and Mindy Seeley
If you know me (Mindy), you know that I am textbook extrovert. I love people, am energized by people and thrive on being around people. I cannot remember a day where I have not been an extrovert. That is until a couple weeks ago. That day, I switched from being an extrovert to being an introvert, much like flipping the light switch from light to dark. It was foreign to me, and I could not understand my feelings and emotions. Yes, even we extroverts get days where we need some privacy, but on that day it was much more than that. It was beyond “I need to go in my house and shut the door to the world.” It was all that and, “I don’t want to see, talk to, or think about people.” I even found myself disliking people (not certain persons, only people in general). What made those feelings worse for me was the guilt I was experiencing for feeling so unloving. As much as I prayed that day for that feeling to go away and for my love and desire to be with people to return, it would not. As the day would pan out, God had lessons for me to learn that day.
As the day began, I found it very hard to get up and think about facing the mission team, staff and others at breakfast let alone serve them with a cheerful smile. Being greeted with “the freezer door was left open last night and everything is thawing” did not help my already troubled spirit as I entered the Camp kitchen just before breakfast, and as I worked through cooking all the meat that had partially thawed, I found myself growing more and more impatient and uncharitable to people. After the work was done, I walked home, relieved to enter my house and close the door behind me. But wait, we live on sight of the ministry which means our door is open to all. It wasn’t too long after I arrived home that someone on our staff came walking in our back door. This usually does not bother me, but all I wanted to do was scream, “Doesn’t anyone know how to knock around here?” I just smiled and pretended I was ok.
At lunch time, I had reached my limit, and began almost in tears to explain my foreign feelings to my husband, who immediately (unbeknown to me) took that as his opportunity to get me out of the house and off property that evening by saying, “I am taking you out to dinner tonight.” Almost immediately, the thought of getting away from people we know began to soften my heart, so I was able to plod through the afternoon. As we left for dinner and my excitement at finally having my husband to myself began to set in, I found myself relaxing a bit, but I still felt ornery and not wanting to see anyone I know. We had a wonderful quiet dinner and then drove out East to watch the sea reflect the rays of the setting sun behind us. Sitting on that bench with my sweethearts arm around me-just the two of us-I felt safe and at peace all the while realizing that only several miles away, a group of people I know and love were waiting for us to return. I did not want to return. In the end, I knew we must so I agreed to going back.
As we entered the Camp, we saw Aaron fixing the gate (again, poor guy), and my uncharitable thoughts towards people came back. Even as we pulled into our parking spot and started walking toward the house, my thoughts were of getting inside before someone saw us and decided to pay us a visit. As I hurriedly walked up to the porch (our car alarm was going off and Tim’s clicker was not working, so I was going in the house to get mine), I noticed through the dark screen around our porch that RJ was sitting in the corner by the door. I could also see Kevin. My immediate thought was, oh no, Zachary decided to have the young people over for the evening. I was about ready to whisper to him, “I was hoping to come home to some peace and quiet”, when all of a sudden, “Surprise, Happy 5oth Birthday!” erupted from a porch full of people. Just as the switch that morning went from extrovert to introvert, I immediately switched from introvert to extrovert again. The transformation was sudden and amazing to me. After a few tears (more out of feeling guilty for my uncharitable thoughts) and a speech of gratitude to everyone, my heart was gladdened and I once again enjoyed the presence of these dear people.
Why is this story so important? It is because of what I learned that day…I not only learned what a wicked sinner I am (I had some pretty uncharitable thoughts about people and circumstances), but I also learned what my introvert husband (and others who are like him) experiences when he is around people all the time. It gave me a sensitivity that I could never understand before. Above all, the experiences of that day showed me how God is in control and works things out for His glory and our good. Had I not wanted to be away from people, I would not have cried out to my husband at lunch; he would not have said and I willingly accepted, “I am taking you out to dinner tonight, away from this place and all the people.”; we would not have gotten away and allowed the other staff to bless me in the way they did with the surprise party; and in the end I would not have seen how God switched me miraculously from not wanting to see people to loving and embracing those dear people around me (which is exactly how I felt immediately after the “surprise” welcomed me onto our porch that night).
Please continue to pray for our bus situation. We were blessed by the addition of another very, very well used bus to our fleet of already well used buses. We were able to purchase it on the island, and although cosmetically a little rough, it does run. We could still use another nicer, more reliable bus. Buses not only transport the school children to the Centre during the school year to experience the adventures at Adventure Learning Centre and hear the Gospel presented, the buses are also heavily used to transport mission teams to and from the airport and to ministry sites around the island and to transport summer day camp children to off site outings and field trips.
As we mentioned in the June update, we had several volunteers come this summer to help out. They came at their own expense and worked under very hot/humid conditions to serve the Bahamian people and those here to serve the Bahamian people on mission trips. Thank you to all of you who came to help us serve the mission teams at Camp and the day camp children at the Centre this summer! We appreciate all you did and the time we had to spend with each of you.
Back to back to back groups and cabin construction has been the name of the game for us at the Camp this summer. We have had someone at the Camp every day (except 2 days) this summer since mid-May. A lot of ministry and a lot of progress on major construction has taken place. It has been a grueling schedule, but we have made it through by God’s grace and with the help from some very dedicated volunteers that came to help us out.
We will let the picture slide show tell the story. The local guys worked on the construction up until this past Monday. Now the rest can be completed by Tim and Aaron. It is coming right along.
We are already preparing and looking ahead to our next big construction projects at Camp: 2 new staff cottages. Cottage 2 (Pat and Janice Armstrong’s residence) and Cottage 3 (single female staff cottage) are currently located to the southeast of the dining hall. We have the permits in hand for the construction of Cottage 1 (single male staff cottage) and Cottage 4 (couple housing). Our maintenance guy, Denny, has already been working at clearing the sites for construction. We are hoping to use mission teams to help construct these cabins. Please pray for teams and materials to complete these two projects.
July Guest Groups and Visitors
Shekinah Family Ministries Summer Camp (June 29-July 1)
The last week of June into July was supposed to be a week long camp for a group of precious children from a local church, but the week long camp had to be changed to a 2 day camp because of financial hardship of the church. The joy of the children at this camp was touching to say the least, and because we got to be a part of the camp because we cooked for them, we were blessed to see the exuberance of the children. On departure day, the children were sad to have to go. Their loving leader, Samantha Evans, is such a patient kind lady and takes her job as leader of the children’s ministry at her church very seriously. It is a blessing to see this group and to serve them.
Mission Discovery 3 (July 1-July 10)
The second summer week for Mission Discovery (the third for the year) took place the first week of this month. The group that MD hosted was from Fort Worth Texas. It was a large group, and they served at 2 Haitian churches and both the girl’s school and the boy’s school. This was a mission team experienced church that did a great job teaching and discipling their young people. Of course we enjoyed the fellowship with the returning MD leaders as well.
Peace Church (July 10-16)
The Blitz Student Ministries of Peace Church from Wilson, NC has been coming to Nassau for mission trips for many years. Their leader, Brad Perry, is the youth and missions pastor of their church. He brings his wife and parents with him on the trip to chaperone, and of course we are always blessed and encouraged by these dear people. We enjoy partnerships with them in ministry and friendship. This year they worked with VBS at Pastor Bazile’s church (a Haitian church) and did work projects at Pastor Bazile’s house and around Camp. One of the tougher jobs they helped with was the trench digging to help Aaron bury a line leading to the bath house. What great servants they are!
E-team (July 16-23)
The E-team, comprised of members from 3 Sovereign Grace Ministries church in Pennsylvania and Maryland, came to help run the Music Camp at Kingdom Life Church (a Sovereign Grace Ministries Church here on New Providence which happens to also be our church). Because the team is from our sister churches, we feel a special connection with them. Zachary was able to spend the entire week as the 16th member of the team. We were excited that Zachary was able to serve alongside this awesome team. We got to spend one evening out with this team.
First Covenant Church Hamilton (FCCH) (July 16-23)
Another awesome team (our summer was full of these awesome teams) which happened to coincide with the E-team, was the team from First Covenant Church of Hamilton, Massachusetts and led by our very own Chelsea Kingston Erickson. Chelsea not only did a fantastic job of serving the community associated with Pastor Wilney Joseph’s church, Carmichael Evangelical Church, she sacrificed time home with her new husband (she was newly married in June) to lead the team to Nassau. She has a heart for the church here, and their group came alongside the church members and helped the church members operate a day camp/VBS in their community. It was such an awesome ministry that they did in that they partnered/came alongside an existing ministry to help equip the local ministry instead of taking over and running the show. Way to go FCCH! We got to spend an evening with these folks and enjoyed the fellowship and hearing from each of the team members through out the evening.
Methodist Churches of Caribbean and America Summer Camp (July 24-28)
This week we hosted another local group that ran a kids camp of their own on our property. The group consisted of 24 children ages 9-12 and 6 leaders. On one evening, a bus of 30+ teenagers aged 13-18 from the group’s church came to join the younger children for a camp fire. Camp was full of children’s laughter, bouncing basketballs on the basketball court, and the occasional stern reprimand of leaders trying to get the children to obey orders. We always love having children use this facility. After all, it is a camp, and Camp ministry is our passion.
Boy’s Brigade (July 29-August 1)
This weekend, we will be hosting a group of young boys from Abundant Life Bible Church. Our Ms. Ada (cook at the Centre) is one of the leaders of the Boy’s Brigade and brings the group here for an annual camp the first weekend in August (Monday is a holiday-Emancipation Day-so it is a 3 day weekend). We do not have pictures yet of course, but we will try to squeeze some in to next month’s blog.
Summer Day Camp has been the dominating scene at the Centre. The children have been treasure hunting here, there and everywhere. Most of all, they found the treasure of God’s Word in classes and daily interactions!
Happy Birthday to my wombmate, Melissa McDaniel, who lives in Summerville, SC! Wish we could be together for this milestone birthday. I love you, Twinnie!
Besides my 50th birthday which happens this Sunday, Tim and I will be celebrating our 29th wedding anniversary on Monday, August 1st. It is so hard to believe that it has been nearly 3 decades since we began doing life together. As we reflect back on the years and see how God has worked and moved in our lives, we are in wonder and amazement at what a great, awesome, providential God we have. Our union has not only brought about a great deal of sanctification in each of us, it has produced 4 great young men, 2 wonderful daughters-in-law, a soon-to-arrive granddaughter, an exciting life of ministry, and many joyful, treasured memories. We thank God for His blessings on our lives!
Celebrating our Passport Country’s Birthday
July 4th was a work day for us. We had a mission team here and decided to treat the team to a quick birthday celebration with decorations and traditional 4th of July picnic food. Paula Brown made a beautiful watermelon carving.
Enjoying Family and Friends
Zachary and I will be leaving for Minnesota on August 4th, and Tim will be joining us on August 23rd. We will all return to the island together on September 3rd in preparation for new staff orientation on September 5th (Zachary’s return to the States for good will come in October).
Please pray for Tim as he stays behind to hold the fort down and serve the one last mission team that is coming August 15-22. He has Aaron and Ms. Ada here with him, and Jullian Williams (a Toronto man who used to be program director at the Centre and that comes every year for several weeks) will be coming on the 17th to help serve the group for part of the week. Tim will be managing the team and staff alone.
Whew! You made it through another lengthy post. Saving these updates for once a month, though necessary because we don’t have time to do them any more often then that, makes for long posts. We really appreciate your support of us by keeping up to date on what is going on. Please contact us and let us know your thoughts. We love hearing from you!
God bless, and have a great weekend!
Tim, Mindy and Zachary Seeley
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Matthew 6:26 (ESV)
Long ago I learned the verses, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13, ESV) and “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:19). For many Christians, these are go to verses in times of trial and struggles or when they have a list of things they want or think they need.
Recently I read a “Solid Joys” devotional (from Desiring God ministries) where author John Piper challenges the reader to understand that true contentment in all circumstances is possible in that God promises us the strength to do all things and will supply all our needs. When it is perceived that a need is not being met, a person can become covetous which is “loss of contentment in Christ so that we start to crave other things to satisfy the longings of our hearts.” We need to battle back against covetousness and rest contentedly in God’s grace.
There are those who, in their attempts to encourage us, would say, “God knows what you can handle and will give you nothing more than you can bear.” Did you know that that is not biblical? It sounds good, and I confess I heard it all my growing up years and believed it, but it is wrong. God will indeed give you or allow to be given to you that which is more than you can bear. The key is, He will give you nothing more than what you can bear while availing yourself to His all sufficient grace and strength. You cannot do it alone. He will give me a too-heavy-load, but with that load, he has given me the grace to bear it through His all sufficient grace (2 Corinthians 12:9).
As this post is going to press, we are in the midst of a very busy season. We have been serving groups since May 24th, and have had someone here at Camp to serve every day since then (and will have someone here everyday until August). Add to all the groups we are serving the maintenance issues (expected and unexpected), staff training/development, new cabin construction, leadership responsibilities, enduring the heat and humidity, and not having enough staff, one can easily see why we say we have a very heavy work load.
We love serving others, and we are so thankful God has allowed us to serve Him full time here. We love being able to pour into the lives of others and minister to the needs of Bahamians and those coming to serve Bahamians. We also are encouraged as we see the work God is doing in those we are serving, but reality is we are still frail humans suffering from exhaustion (not meant as a complaint, only a fact that needs prayer).
We are in need of constant refocusing and reminders that God is in control, He is the one that provides us with strength, He supplies all our needs, and His grace is sufficient for us in bearing the heavy load he has called us to bear. He is the source of our contentment. Please continue to pray for us as we keep going and doing what we are doing. Pray also that God sends the right people to help bear the load here. Pray that we are able to recognize Satan’s attempts to defeat, destroy and discourage so we do not succumb.
Ministry Update: ALC&C
It seems like only yesterday it was January and we were welcoming Chloe Eisermann (center) to the ALC&C family, but time flew by so quickly, and it was time to say good-bye to her earlier this month. Chloe came in January to volunteer a semester as a facilitator at the Centre. We appreciate the time she was here, the opportunities to impact the lives of Bahamian children, and the ministry she was able to accomplish. Thank you, Chloe for your service. May God bless you.
They may look beautiful and colorful on the outside, but inside and under the hood, the condition of the buses tells a different story. Vehicles break down and deteriorate no matter where you are in this world, but in this salty humid climate, things seem to rust and break down quicker. Recently we did some major repair work on two of our buses. The buses are old, but praise the Lord we were able to fix them. However, this last month spent fixing the aging buses reminded us of our need to start looking into securing buses to replace our aging fleet. We hope to soon start a capital campaign to add a bus (or two) and replace the train. Please be in prayer with us as we work to raise the necessary funds. Perhaps you, your church, your Sunday School class, your youth group, etc is looking for a worthy cause to raise money for. Did you know that the buses at ALC&C are used not only to bus children to the Centre to experience programming that brings “the wonders of God’s Creation together with the curiosity of kids”, but they also are used to transport the hundreds of foreign mission team members to the various ministry sights on the island where they are serving Bahamian people and where we are “exposing laborers to the harvest through short term mission.”? Please be in prayer for the current buses, those given the task to keep them running, and for God’s provision for new buses.
God has sent us some helpers this summer to help lighten our load a bit. We appreciate the many volunteers that use their own free time/vacation time, resources and energy to fly here and work alongside us as we serve the Bahamian people and those coming to serve the Bahamian people. Many of them came as a result of pleas from staff and from notices in our newsletters and update blogs. We appreciate them and their partnership with us.
Chris and Sheila Eisermann are not only Chloe’s parents, they are also good friends of our and part of our sending church in Wisconsin. They came in early June to help Chloe return to the States and to bless us, encourage us and help us with work projects around Camp. They painted and helped manage mission team work projects at the Camp.
Connor is Zachary’s cousin and came this summer to help out with odd jobs and to spend time with Zachary before he leaves the island this fall. He mostly helped support us by helping Zachary take care of odd jobs at our house (which freed us up to do Camp business) as well as run the snack shop for Ms. Janice, serve teams at meal times, help Aaron with clean up jobs, among other things. We have enjoyed having him here. He leaves July 5th.
Karissa Salm and Lauren Thomas
Our facilitator Micah (far right) was blessed to have a group of young people from her home church here earlier this month on a mission trip. A couple of Micah’s friends, Karissa and Lauren, stayed an extra week to encourage her and to help out around ALC&C. We enjoyed getting to know these young ladies and appreciated their help in various areas.
Debbie Tuthill and Nancy Barnes
Nancy Barnes (left) and Debbie Tuthill (right) came the first full week in June to cook for the mission team we were serving. These ladies have been here before and are greatly appreciated for all they do for us and the ministry. They are from the Armstrong’s church in Delhi, New York.
Jenni Morgan, Allison Morgan, Macy Oliver and Bekah McKee
These four ladies came from my (Mindy’s) cousin’s church in Rossville, Indiana. They have been wanting to come and serve for a long time, and when they heard we needed help in the kitchen this summer and with the horses at the Centre, they jumped on the chance to come and help out. They were a great help in the Camp kitchen, and Bekah was a great help with working with the horses at the Centre. The girls also got to volunteer at the Centre’s Day Camp a couple of days. Thank you ladies for all your hard work!
Kathryn and Kinsey Nguyen
(sorry, no picture)
One of the Calvary Christian Academy 8th grade mission team members from January of this year and her mother came last week to volunteer for the first week of Summer Day Camp. They were not only a huge help in serving the children, they enjoyed the experience. They said the week went way too fast for them and are looking forward to doing it again.
Nick and Lydia Liebe
Volunteer staff and help come and go all the time. Rarely do they return. But this weekend we had the privilege of welcoming again Nick Liebe and his wife, Lydia. Nick volunteered for six weeks at Summer Day Camp in 2013. We are thrilled to have him back and the two of them together. They will be with us for 3 weeks volunteering at Summer Day Camp.
Ministry Update: Camp
We wish we could say we are kidding, but we cannot. If you will recall in our last blog post (“It is Finished”), we mentioned a series of accidents that had happened on Marshall Road. One of the accidents involved someone hitting our fence and damaging the gate. In that instance, the car did not come into the camp and just drove off without taking ownership of the damage. Exactly four weeks to the day (almost to the hour), we were awakened at 1:00am on a Sunday morning to the sound of a car coming through our fence and hitting a tree/wooded area inside our property. The gentleman was not hurt, but we suffered significant damage to our fence and gate. You may recall, Aaron had already fixed the gate twice, and with this accident, he had yet another opportunity to fix the system. We appreciate Aaron and all he does.
Ok all you construction buffs, interested supporters, and prayer warriors who have been praying for this project, here is a slide show of the June accomplishments on the new cabin. Tim and Aaron have done a lot of work along side the team of workers employed by a local man, but we have also had a lot of help from mission teams. Enjoy viewing the progress!
Bedford Free Methodist, Bedford, Indiana
Bedford Free Methodist is Micah’s home church, and they came to minister to the children of the Children’s Emergency Hostel and to help at Adventure Learning Centre and Camp. They were also here to encourage, Micah. Once particular job they got done was paint the trim in the dining hall yellow. They also did cleaning jobs and cement mixing and rock moving for the new cabin.
Grace CMA Church, Cleveland, OH
The junior high youth group along with parents (52 total) from Grace CMA church of Cleveland, OH were here the second week in June. They were a huge blessing to us and many ministries on the island. They served at Ranfurly Children’s Home, The Seahorse Institute and Bahamas Downs Syndrome. At the Camp and Centre they worked on cleaning and painting jobs, moved rock, helped with ground work around the new cabin and painted the snack shack, the dining hall and the picnic tables. They got a lot accomplished, and the Camp is more beautiful because of their diligence.
Carolyn and Cam Muir
Carolyn Muir and her husband Cam came on a reconnaissance trip to Nassau from Chicago area and stayed with us for a few days. Carolyn grew up in the same church circle as Tim, and the Muirs know a lot of the same people we know. Carolyn will be leading future mission teams here.
We were blessed by a return visit of a young man that came and stayed with us last month. He was back on the island for doctor appointments and brought his uncle with him. They were Camp guest for 4 days. I got to practice some nursing skills on him as he was injured recently while on his home island.
Orlando Football Team
The football team of a Christian school in the Orlando area were on the island again this year to conduct football camps with Bahamian children living near Abundant Life Bible Church. In the mornings they like to squeeze in manual labor work projects at island ministries. They served us again this year. Their being here coincided with the fence accident, so they were able to help us dig holes for the footings of the fence posts. They also helped move rock and dig around the new cabin.
Mission Discovery 2
Mission Discovery was back for week number 2 just last week. (Their first week was in February of this year). The teams from Pennsylvania and Kentucky were led by Rich Rhode and Nate Ryver, and Nate’s wife Cara was the worship leader. The teams served at Elizabeth Estates Children’s Home, All Saints, and a Haitian family’s home. The team members were blessed by their experiences and were glad to pour into the lives of the people they were serving. Week 3 of Mission Discovery with be the first week in July.
Final Youth Outreach Night For the Year
The final night of the 2015-16 Youth Outreach at Camp was on June 18th. We finished up the year discussing Fruit of the Spirit. We saw numbers go from 10-15 at the beginning of the year with numbers in the 30’s by the final night. We feel God blessing us and working in the lives of the young people in the South Beach area and communities surrounding South Beach.
Future Events: Clean Slate Living in September and Young Adult Weekend in October
Work has begun on two big events coming this fall. The first event is connecting a Hip Hop Ministry Team, Clean Slate Living, with youth venues here in the Bahamas and is scheduled to take place at the end of September. Last week we had a meeting with a local pastor, Pastor Q from Epic Church, that knows youth and young adults well and is very interested in the ministry of Clean Slate Living. The second event, Young Adult Weekend, is scheduled for the first full weekend in October. Please pray for both events, and pray as we endeavor to reach the youth of the Bahamas for Christ and direct them into godly living.
Ministry Update: Centre
End of the Programming Year
The 2015-16 programming year at the Centre ended strong earlier this month. Besides groups of children in all age groups coming through out the school year to experience the wonders of God’s Creation, this past school year we worked at getting EVERY 6th grade class in the Bahamas government school system on the island of New Providence to Adventure Learning Centre. We got very close to accomplishing that goal (only 2 schools did not make it). Praise the Lord! That means almost every Bahamian child leaving government primary schools on this island will enter junior high school next year having heard the Gospel!
Summer Day Camp