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We have always known that God is gracious and giving. He hears our prayers and gives us exactly what we need at the precise moment when we need it. What He gives us is good, HIS definition of good [emphasis added]! As we reflect back over the last 10 months since leaving the Bahamas and the ministry at ALC&C, we are able to see once again God’s providential care of us and how He has orchestrated our lives to be exactly what we need, when we need it. Of course there have been times when we have felt like “God, have you forgotten we are here waiting?” or “Is this transition time ever going to end?” God is faithful, and though we can’t see the movement in the moment, a glimpse in the rearview mirror shows us that God has indeed been working. Furthermore, He has been providing for us and blessing us.
In our time back and discussions with various people, we have gotten a lot of questions. We are going to try to answer a few of them here now.
What have you been doing lately?
We both completed degrees. Tim received a BS degree in Ministry Leadership from Moody Bible Institute in December. In addition to the degree in Ministry Leadership, Tim finished a Life Coaching course last year, and became a certified Life Coach in October. I completed the RN to BSN program and received a BS degree in Nursing from Liberty University in May. With the education pursuits completed, Tim has been building the foundation of his Life Coaching career, and I have been working on getting employment here in the Charleston, SC area. There are a couple of leads on RN positions, one is a work from home position with my sister’s company in utilization review and the other is at a juvenile detention center a few miles away from where we live. Both positions are per diem which would provide flexibility.
God has providentially provided housing for us with my sister and her husband. We contribute to them with housekeeping, buying groceries, cooking etc. When they decided to relocate to a house out in the country in June, we were able to assist them with the huge job of moving. We have spent most of June and July helping them pack their former home in Summerville, SC and moving to their new home in Ridgeville, SC. The move was a long, hard job, but we helped them accomplish it and are now settled into the new house. We are not sure when we will be moving into our own place, but for now, the living arrangement is working out great for all parties involved.
God has blessed us with a great church in Summerville, SC. The transition to Risen Hope has been easy in that it is a sister church to Kingdom Life Church in the Bahamas. We have plugged into ministry and connecting with other members for spiritual growth, encouragement and accountability. The elders, lead by Pastor Mike Seever, have been a huge source of blessing and encouragement and have shepherded us well. Attending services and events are a highlight to our weeks and helps fill the void we feel from no longer living in the ministry bubble/way of life. Discipleship opportunities will be coming up in the next couple of months, and we both are excited about it. We thank God for Risen Hope.
Do you miss the ALC&C/Bahamas? What do you miss most?
We miss the people of the Bahamas, the people we served, and getting to serve and minister to mission teams and local groups and youth. We have a lot of fond memories of people, experiences, and most of all the many ways in which we saw God working and moving in the lives of staff, guests, and youth we worked with. Our arms ache to embrace our church family, the young adults we mentored, staff we worked with, and friends and mission team members we have built a relationship with over the years. As has always been our remedy for homesickness and missing loved ones, we keep our focus on eternity and the work and ministry at hand.
Have you been able to rest?
Yes. Although we have been busy with the move, helping care for my sister’s house, finishing up school, building the ground work for job/ministry (Tim) and job hunting (me), and even spending time in Minnesota helping our kids with home remodeling projects, we have had time to rest. Recently during a moment of frustration when we felt like God had forgotten about us (some times it has felt like we are in total limbo; there is no movement; nothing is happening), God seemed to speak to us and bring to mind a prayer we often prayed when were in the thick of ministry in the Bahamas. In the last 2 years in the Bahamas when we were experiencing extreme fatigue from long hours/days of ministry, we would cry out to God for rest. Recollection of these prayers has made us stop and realize that it is as if God is saying, “Didn’t you ask for rest? Well, here it is. Enjoy it. Trust me.” God is gracious. His timing is perfect.
How is the ALC doing?
We remain in contact with a few staff associated with ALC, other Bahamas missionaries, past mission team leaders, and with some Bahamian friends. Along with daily prayer, these connections give us opportunities to remain connected with the Bahamian people and the ministry that still occupies a large place in our hearts. As we view pictures and reports of ministry work being done in the Bahamas from the mission teams we have had relationship with over the years, our hearts are encouraged by the work God is still doing in the people. God continues to work. Please continue to pray for the ministry, for Vonette and Logan who continue to work very hard at the Camp serving teams with only a skeletal crew, for leadership for the ALC, and for the Gospel to continue to be proclaimed and God to be glorified in all that is said and done in the work at the ALC&C.
We want to thank you once again for your interest in our lives and for your continued support of us through your thoughts and prayers. Our daily “work” may look different now than what it did when we were in the Bahamas, but one thing has not changed. We continue to seek to honor our Creator and bring Him glory in all we do and say. Please pray for us and write to us when you get a moment.
God bless you!
Tim and Mindy Seeley
“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
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.
Can you tell we are not in the Bahamas? As this post goes to press, we are on a 3-½ week, 9-stop trip n the USA/Canada promoting the ALC&C and connecting with future mission teams. The trip has been such a blessing thus far. You can get an idea of the itinerary and whom we saw and what we did in the “Guests/Visitors” section of this post, but we would like to quickly highlight one of our stops, which was the stop that instigated this trip in the first place.
On October 21, 2017 we attended and spoke at an ALC&C Fundraiser Auction and Dinner hosted by the past mission team from Heritage Park Alliance Church in Windsor, Ontario. Also instrumental in the event were a past mission team from West London Alliance Church (London, ON), Grace and Truth Chapel (Windsor, ON), and long time Windsor area ALC supporters. It was a great evening. The ministry was blessed in many ways including the large monetary donation collected from the love offering and auction.
The ALC’s work of reaching Bahamians with the Gospel, which for us begins with the children of the Bahamas, could not continue with out vital ministry supporters. The event was heart warming to us as we witnessed and felt the support of more than 160 people that night.
Part of the blessing of being in community with one another is getting to rejoice with each other during life events. We rejoice with our Celine as she obeyed Jesus’ command to follow him in believer’s baptism. Pastor Moss baptized her as we witnessed at Goodman’s Bay in early October. We then met at a French café for breakfast afterwards. God bless you, Celine!
One of the initiatives that ALC leadership implemented this year is staff care and development days. We have started taking one day a month to get off site to do something together as a staff. For October, the staff took a day to serve Billy and Leah Slater at their Castle ministry. Billy and Leah Slater were past ALC staff before they started their own ministry to young adults. As you can tell from the pictures, the staff had a great time serving the Slaters.
This year at our church, we have been working through a series on discipleship in our Wednesday night meetings. The first week in October, Tim was able to lead the discussion on one of the chapters while Pastor and Alexine were off island at the annual Sovereign Grace Ministries Pastor’s Conference. “The Walk” is a great book on discipleship.
We recently got all our full-time staff (absent Tika Penn) together for a hard-to-get ALC&C full-time staff picture. As we share this picture with you, we are reminded that we are in need of other laborers. 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
Interested applicants with a godly character and servant heart can contact Tim (email@example.com) or Mark (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Our train continues to limp along. For over 2 years now we have been sharing the need for the train to be replaced. The fact it has not been replaced is evidence that God has not seen the need to replace it yet, but we continue to ask for prayer that God either provides a new train or keeps this one going. It is in sad shape and absorbs a lot of man hours to keep it running. Please pray for wisdom/discernment in keeping this one going or seeking a new one. (Continue to pray for our fleet of buses as well.)
Since we have been gone most of this month, we are not only going to highlight the guests that have come to the Camp but also those we visited and our speaking engagements along the way on our trip.
Libby Brode is from Australia and used to be a part of the ALC staff in the early days. She was on island for a visit and came by to spend a day at ALC. She blessed us with a testimony and devotional during our staff devotion time. We enjoyed meeting her and getting to know her.
Kristin Guzak is a young lady from Texas that is on island working with a Bahamian pastor and his wife that are starting a church ministry. In early October, the pastor and his wife had to return to the States for a family emergency, so Kristin came to stay with us while they were off island. During the 5 days she was staying with us, Kristin worked with the animals, assisted with the Adventure Clubs and followed programs at the Centre. She fell in love with the ministry, and even though she has returned to the Russell’s, she has been back to ride the horses and help with Adventure Club. It has been a joy getting to know and minister alongside this young lady.
Our first stop was at my parent’s house, Dick and Connie Mikels. As time marches on, we find our time spent with our parents to be more and more precious. We are thankful for the opportunity we had this trip to spend a few days with them. They are big supporters of us (in many ways), and their love for Jesus and their declaration of the Gospel is inspiring. We are thankful for them! We also got to attend an encouraging Bible study at their church and participate in their church’s small group at their house.
While in Indiana, we also got to see some aunts, uncles and cousins.
On Sunday, October 15th, we met with a team that is coming on their first mission trip to Nassau in March. We were able to present the ALC ministry and Bahamian culture to the youth during their Sunday class time at Sherwood Oaks Christian Church. Our very own Micah Godsey and her mother Joan met us there. We had lunch with the youth pastor, his family, a couple other team leaders and the Godseys after church.
Early Tuesday, October 17th, we flew to Raleigh, NC to meet with friends/past mission team members from Peace Church in Wilson, NC. We were able to connect with mission pastor Brad Perry and current youth pastor Brian Tippet. The church plans to send another mission team to Nassau in the future.
Carl and Ann Fama led the mission team from Heritage Park Alliance Church in February, spearheaded a lot of what took place for the fundraiser on the 21st, and hosted us while we were in Windsor. This couple has a huge heart for missions, and they were a blessing to us.
Richard and Judy Greenhow attend Heritage Park and are parents to Adam Greenhow who is part of our maintenance staff at ALC. They hosted us one evening while we were in Windsor.
We had the opportunity to speak at Maranatha Christian School in Windsor. We shared the ministry and a brief challenge.
We were able to spend an evening with the Tissot/Fairley Clan while in Windsor. Sam Tissot (wife Lil) was one of the founding board members of the ALC. Their daughter and son-and-law, Brian and Carol Fairley, and son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Cheryl Tissot, are long time friends of the Seeley family. We were able to spend an evening with this family as well.
Sunday evening, October 22, we were able to give an update to the church where the Tissots and other long time ALC supporters attend. Grace and Truth Chapel were instrumental in helping Heritage Park work through the tax legalities for the charitable donations from the donors at the fundraiser. This is also the home church of Adam Greenhow.
We drove right through Bob and Faye Browning’s home town, London, Ontario on our way from Windsor, ON to Buffalo, NY. We were able to stop and have lunch with them. It was good getting to see them.
We were able to have dinner with Jeff and Cindy Hackett and Jesse Pohle in Buffalo, NY. Jeff and Jesse are part of the organization Score International. The organization facilitates mission teams, and they had brought a group to Nassau in September of this year. After dinner on the Eerie Canal (we ate a restaurant on the canal, and had they not told me it was the “Eerie Canal”, I would not have known. It was that unimpressive), they took us to their church to tour it.
The Focus Group at The Chapel in Buffalo, NY was the group that came to Nassau with Score International in September. We reunited with the team members and Tim got to share a little about the ministry with the group in their Monday evening meeting.
On our way from Buffalo to Piseco, we stopped and met Pat and Janice Armstrong for dinner in Rome, NY where they currently live. It was nice getting to reconnect with them.
Adirondack Bible Chapel in Piseco, NY is another church that supports the Adventure Learning Centre and Camp by supporting a couple ALC missionary families and through past and present attempts to send staff to help at ALC. We were able to give the church an update during their Wednesday evening prayer meeting. We also wanted to connect with them about continuing the ministry partnership by sending staff and teams to the Bahamas.
While in Piseco, we stayed at the ABC’s Ministry Center. It is a unique ministry that disciples people and ministers to hurting people, Christian laborers, missionaries and pastors. It is situated in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains and provides quiet rest and ample opportunities to be nurtured and ministered to. We were able to take 2 days off to rest while there, and the staff at the Centre did everything they could to make us feel welcome and cared for. This was our second visit there.
Pastor Ed Hart and his wife Faith hosted us for an evening at their beautiful mountain top home. Ed is the pastor of ABC, and he was an early board member of ALC&C. At one time he had 7 young people serving at ALC&C. The Harts (as well as many at ABC) have a huge heart for ALC and have been on many construction trips to the ALC. Judy Olenik joined us for dinner as well.
Our final speaking engagement for this trip was at Grace Christian Missionary Alliance Church in Cleveland, OH. The church junior high came on a trip in June 2016, and they will be bringing another team in June 2018. The purpose of our stop this time was to speak to the parents/families/junior high students that will be coming on the trip. We shared the ministry and Bahamas culture with them. We connected with Pastor Shawn Brennan who is no stranger to Nassau in that he used to live and minister there in the early 2000’s.
Dave and Gail Herwerden hosted us while we stayed in the Cleveland, OH area. Dave and Gail have been to Nassau several times to help. You may recall the most recent time was last April. They came to help us get our buses and other vehicles fixed and to help us with other projects. They are such a blessing to be with and we thank them for their hospitality. (They took us to the house where the move “The Christmas Story” was filmed.)
Jon and Lisa Harris are big partners of ours in the ministry we are doing in the Bahamas. We appreciate their continued support of us and their encouragement and faithful prayers for us. We were able to spend a few hours with them in Toledo, OH on our way to Detroit today. They are a huge blessing.
How many people would loan their nice Dodge 2500 diesel pick-up truck to traveling missionaries to use for an entire week? I am sure there are others out there, but Bill and Deb Giles from Windsor, ON loaned us their truck to use so we did not have to rent a vehicle. It was a very nice ride (complete with Sirius XM radio) that got excellent gas mileage. We are so thankful for these servants and their willingness to support us and the ministry in this way. As we dropped the truck off with them today to catch the flight from Detroit to Minneapolis, we were reminded that it isn’t only the big money donors to a ministry or the out-there-in-front missionaries or evangelists that are doing a great work to build the kingdom of God on this earth. Everyone who has ever prayed, financially supported, provided for a need, worked alongside, etc are just as much the kingdom builder as are the missionaries on the front lines. Thank you, Bill and Deb!
We continue our Friday night Youth Night where the young people are learning through Andy Stanley’s curriculum on the Seven Checkpoints of Christianity. The staff has held the fort down while we have been off island, and we look forward to the reports when we return.
Aaron has been spending a lot of time at the Centre these days, but he has had some time to get some small projects completed at Camp. He helped Tim fix an installation issue of one of the toilets in the women’s bath house; he installed a new water cooler shelf at the bath house; he is working on building storage closet in the Camp office; he repaired light fixtures damaged in storms.
Victory has finally been had in the repair and reconstruction of the reverse osmosis system at the Centre. Praise the Lord! Aaron and Tim continue to battle the system at Camp, but we are hoping that will soon be resolved.
Our first program at the Centre for this school year happened the first week in October and it was for the class of the little boy that we told you about in our last update. You may recall that we told you about a little boy who had been doing his school work at his kitchen table in his home when a stray bullet struck him and killed him. Eugene Woodside’s third grade class from Albury Sayles Primary School was our first program at Adventure Learning Centre this year. The facilitators and staff reported that the children from the class were especially clingy, and the staff were able to heap love and affection on these hurting children. What a ministry opportunity it was, complete with hugs, hand holding, play time and most importantly time to share the Gospel and love of Jesus. The class also was one of the first groups to get to enjoy the use of our newly constructed play set.
Christmas Lights Drive Thru 2017: “Believe”
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…Christmas Lights Drive Thru that is. Lights are going up. Volunteer rounding-up is in full swing. Set/pageant preparations are being made. Meetings are being had. All this is for the annual Christmas Lights Drive Thru at Adventure Learning Centre. This year’s theme is “Believe”. Please pray for this event, its preparation, execution, Gospel delivery, community attendance, as it is a major fundraiser for the ministry as well as a Gospel outreach to the community.
Matters for Prayer
Though this trip we are on is coming in far under budget then what we had originally anticipated (due to God’s provision of great airfares, the vehicle use, and generous hosts along the way), we are funding it personally. The ministry is not paying for it. It is an added expense for us. Please pray with us that God will provide the rest of the funds that will close the budget gap.
We are seeking God’s wisdom and guidance on a couple things, please pray with us on these.
Please pray for the outreach of the Christmas Lights Drive Thru, programming at the Centre and Camp, and through the various side ministries of the staff.
Please pray for our Ms. Ada (cook at the Centre). Her husband passed away from prostate cancer yesterday.
Thank you for your time in reading this update and for your interest in the ministry of Adventure Learning Centre and Camp.
Until next month…
During the recent bout of storms (which, by the way, did not affect us despite warnings and calls by our passport country’s government to “evacuate” and our resident country’s government to “prepare”), there came to me a new realization of why we are here and why we should keep working in spite of how we feel of what is or is not happening.
In the days leading up to Irma’s arrival in our vicinity, when the hurricane’s cone of uncertainty was still over the Bahamas, we were admonished by NEMA (Bahamas equivalent to USA’s FEMA) to prepare our property for a large dangerous hurricane. As we began surveying what needed to be done, not only did I see the large preparation task ahead of us (all this during our annual staff orientation week), but I also saw unfinished projects (projects put on the back burner because of lack of staff to complete them and more urgent projects arising) and remnants of the damaged landscape from last year’s Hurricane Matthew. As I pondered what happened last year and what might happen again this year, I asked myself, “Why even try? Why do we keep doing this? We work hard to make things nice, and then it gets destroyed. Between hurricanes, salty humid air, and dirty electricity, things just keep breaking. It all seems so futile. Furthermore, work just keeps coming with no end in sight. I am tired. Do I even want to do this anymore?”
Despite what Satan was trying to tell me, God reminded me that there is in fact a work going on here; God is moving; lives are being impacted; what we are doing by God’s grace is important.
God is using the Adventure Learning Centre and Camp to bring glory to himself. ALC&C is reaching the Bahamian people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the educational programs at the Centre, Adventure Clubs in the schools, puppet shows at Birthday party rentals, and pageants/dramas at the 2 annual Fundays. The Camp financially supports the ministry (guests that come to Adventure Learning Camp pay a small fee to stay at the Camp), facilitates/serves mission teams where participants not only draw closer to the Lord in their service to him but also are given opportunities to minister to and share the Gospel with the Bahamian people, provides a retreat facility for local churches and groups to getaway from every day life, and operates a weekly Youth Night outreach where ALC staff together with former Joy Bible Camp staff impact the lives of local young people.
So, every tree branch we pick-up off the road and carry to the burn pile, every fence board we cut/prime/paint/nail to the post, every water filter or pipe fitting we replace, every twisted light fixture we repair, every tree or plant we prune, every program lesson developed/practiced/taught, every picnic table we turn upside down then right side up again, every board we nail in place over a glass window, every roof shingle we replace, every blown tire we replace on a vehicle, every smile/touch/kind word to a guest, every animal we move to safety and then back out to pasture, every conflict between staff we mediate, every meal we prepare is all worth it for one reason: it keeps the ALC&C ministry going so we can continue the work God has called us here to do!
We continue, taking each day as it comes and praying that God gives us the grace we need to do what needs to be done and the wisdom/discernment we need to prioritize each task.
He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
(I Thesselonians 5:24)
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.
( I Peter 1:3)
Please pray with us for maintenance staff and a program director. These positions are urgent needs.
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
Interested applicants with a godly character and servant heart can contact Tim (email@example.com) or Mark (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Welcome aboard, Kadeisha and Stephanie
We are so excited to have these 2 ladies as part of our facilitator team this year. Kadeisha is originally from Trinidad and has lived in Nassau for the past 2 years. Her husband is Bahamian, and they met at Bible college in the States. You met Stephanie last month, but in case you missed it…Stephanie Wittmer comes back to us from New York. Stephanie was here for 9 months in 2009-10. We are glad to have her back. Please pray for these ladies as they begin their service and employment here at Adventure Learning Centre.
Staff Retreat Day
The ALC&C board, minus Pastor Cranston who is on sabbatical and off island, gathered with the staff for our annual pre-year staff retreat. It was held at Atlantis on September 2nd. As a staff we revisited our mission as a ministry. It was another opportunity to see why we are here and the value of what we do. Always a great way to begin the new school year!
Staff Orientation Begins
Another great way to start a new school year is coming together as staff during new staff orientation week for team building activities. Jen’s first team building activity involved donuts. Way to go, Jen! The first week of training was interrupted by hurricane preparedness, but we eventually got it done.
Getting the Word Out
On September 10th Tim was able to provide an ALC&C ministry update to the church at East Street Gospel Chapel. This is their annual missions month, and we usually attend at least once every year to provide the local ministry update. Aaron, Celine and Stephanie joined us.
Ministry of Another Kind
We were able to help fellow Bahamians during the recent Hurricane Irma. As many of you may know, the southern Bahamas islands received a direct hit from this Category 5 hurricane. In the days leading up to the hurricane, NEMA evacuated the tiny islands. NEMA requested the use of our buses to transport the evacuees from the airport to the shelters here on New Providence.
Friday Youth Night
Youth Night 2017-18 has begun, and boy are we excited for another great year of ministering to these young people! The young people have started to return, and we are encouraged by their enthusiasm and overall desire to be here. Our dedicated staff are also an encouragement as they devote themselves to ministering to the young people. Last Friday the mission team from Buffalo, NY led the program. This week we begin a new series based on Andy Stanley’s “Seven Checkpoints”. Pray for the exciting new year of ministry ahead of us.
Not much in way of projects has been taking place at Camp. Aaron and Tim have been spending a lot of time at the Centre working on projects over there. We hope to resume the office storage construction soon. Denny continues to work his magic on the grounds. He is a hard, quick and efficient worker.
The only mission team we had this month was a group of young adults from Buffalo, New York. They are part of a group called Focus Group The Chapel and were here through a mission organization called Score International. Among the many things they did while on the island, they did work projects at the Centre, led our Friday Youth Night, worked in the community to build a playground/benches in the Kemp Road area, did outreach with a Bahamian boxer, and served at Uriah McPhee Primary School. They were a blessing to serve.
Bradley King (left) brought a couple from Barbados, Mr. and Mrs. Rodney Brown, to tour the Camp. They do camp ministry on their island and were here in Nassau to speak at East Street Gospel Chapel’s missions conference.
The staff are practicing the curriculum and getting ready to begin teaching the children that come to Adventure Learning Centre throughout the school year. A 3rd grade class from Albury Sayles Primary school will be here next week as our first group of the year (this is a way of reaching out to and encouraging the class of a little Bahamian boy that was shot and killed by a stray bullet while sitting at his dining room table doing homework this past Monday night). Pray for the little boy’s family, that we are able to encourage the children, and for the facilitators as they minister to these children, sharing the Gospel of Jesus and providing outdoor education programming.
One of the ways we minister to the Bahamian people is by opening the Centre for rental for children’s birthday parties. We not only provide a service to the attendees, but we are also able to present the Gospel through the puppet show. We had the first birthday party of the school year this past weekend.
Another set of triplet goats were born at the Centre on September 11th. This is the second set of triplets born this year. They are adorable. Enjoy viewing these little cuties!
Busy Fall Ahead
On the Road
A church in Windsor, Ontario is holding an ALC&C fundraiser on October 21st, and this fundraiser has prompted us to make a promotion/connecting trip in Indiana (mission team coming next March), North Carolina (meet a new youth pastor of a supporting church and past mission team), Windsor (fundraiser/meet with past mission teams), New York (meet with prospective staff and connect with supporting church), and Cleveland Ohio (mission team coming next June). We should be gone from the island for about 3 weeks. Pray for us as we prepare and for travel and for the connections we will be making.
When we return, we have local groups scheduled for 3 weekends in November. The first 2 weekends in December are our annual Christmas Lights Drive Thru. Then we have a local camp December 15-16 and a week long mission team of 45 people the week before Christmas. Please pray for us as we make preparations for these big events.
Have a great October!
First our August trial…
Friday, August 11th was day 54 of our busy summer ministry schedule; our bags were packed in preparation for our 2 week trip beginning on the 12th, a group was getting ready to vacate the Camp, and the last group of the summer was scheduled to arrive later that day. As we ventured back to Camp that morning (we had been spending the nights that last week at the house we were watching/securing for the fall), we received a call from Aaron that the frig and microwave on the office porch were missing. When we arrived home, we found that the thief had also broken into our house and stolen things from us as well. We filed a police report, assessed what needed to be replaced/purchased, and continued with our plans to leave the island.
Which leads us to our August blessing…
August 1st was our 30th wedding anniversary. To celebrate this year, we booked a cruise vacation so we could get away, relax and experience some quality time together. We left the island on the 12th and flew to Indiana to help Zachary (he had come to the island for a visit on July 29th) move to Minnesota. After a week of shopping (not on our original plan but necessary after the theft of jewelry and clothing) and visiting family, we flew to Fort Lauderdale to begin our cruise vacation on August 20th. We spent 7 glorious days at sea and on 3 Caribbean islands. When we returned to Fort Lauderdale on August 27th, we were rested, refreshed, and reveling in the quality time we had gotten to spend together.
Before and after the cruise, we were able to spend some bonus time with friends from Calvary Chapel, Fort Lauderdale. We were also able to meet with leaders and discuss the school’s upcoming mission trip in January.
We returned to the island on the 28th with news that the thief had been apprehended and some of our belongings had been recovered. We were able to go to the police station the day after we arrived back and reclaimed our belongings. While at the police station, we inquired about reaching out to the thief in prison. We were encouraged by the police officer to do so, and we are praying for the right moment and opportunity. Please pray that God opens a door to minister to this young man.
Praise: Though there were trials this summer (burglary, weeks of long days of ministry in the heat), God blessed us with a peace about our situation, a God-honoring perspective of the break-in and feelings towards the perpetrator, a few days in the presence of our family in Indiana and Minnesota and with friends/ministry partners in Florida, and a wonderful vacation together. We feel incredibly blessed, refreshed, rested, and ready to begin ministry again.
Thank you to all of you who helped make this vacation possible. We had received some gifts over the past year from people requesting that we use the money to “do something fun”. Those funds were used towards the cost of this trip. This trip made us realize that we spend so much time through out the year serving others and spending time in the presence of others. We now see the importance of getting away and being alone and have decided a similar getaway is a must every year. Thank you!
The last day of Day Camp at the Centre was July 28th. Most Centre staff were off island on vacations/visiting family this month. Many have since returned and are preparing for staff training which begins next week.
Jen Rogers, our program director, has been particularly busy this week as much of the training schedule and logistics fall on her shoulders. Please pray for Jen this week and the next 2 weeks.
There were a couple fun days at the Centre hosted by Scotia Bank and RBC Bank for children that live in orphanages on the island. Another great opportunity to partner with businesses in serving the Bahamian children.
Our newest staff, Stephanie Wittmer, arrived this week. She was here for about 9 months in 2010 and has returned to facilitate once again. We have enjoyed getting to know her this week and feel like she is going to make a great addition to the ALC&C staff family. Welcome aboard, Stephanie!
Early in August, while the Centre was vacant and quiet, Tim and Aaron were able to work on some projects. Aaron worked on the front gate, but we are still finding some challenges with it. We hope to resolve them soon. Tim and Mark worked on getting the play set on the playground finished. Tim installed bathroom sinks and counters in the children’s bathrooms.
July 29-August 6 we hosted a mission team from Pennsylvania/Maryland/New Jersey area. They are the E-team under the leadership of Doug Plank, pastor of Crossway Church in Lancaster, PA. They were on island to help serve at Kingdom Life Church’s annual Music Camp. This awesome team was such a blessing to us on many levels. We enjoyed serving them as they served the Bahamian community.
Calvary Baptist Church rented the Camp for a youth Camp the week of August 7-11. It was a blessing to see the pastor of the church engaging his youth and interacting with them as they retreated from every day life to Adventure Learning Camp.
Ms. Ada’s group, Boys Brigade (not pictured), from Abundant Life Bible Church was our last group of the season. 21 boys/leaders were on site for their annual camping trip at Adventure Learning Camp. Zachary was able to hail Ms. Ada before he left to go back to the states.
Nancy is a dear friend and ministry partner of ours. She was a Joy Bible Camp camper when she was a child. She came by this week to visit, and we enjoyed getting to catch up with her.
As we said earlier, staff training starts next week. This weekend coming the board will be on island and we have an all staff retreat day on Saturday. We are looking forward to a great year.
Until next month…