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Passing the Baton

January 2013-August 2018

Since January 2013, we have had the awesome opportunity to serve at Adventure Learning Centre and Camp.  As we look back, we can’t help but see the hand of God in so many things.  It humbles us as we think how God has allowed us to be a part of what He is doing here.  We praise Him for the opportunities He has given us to serve, lead, learn and grow.

Our goal all along had been to mentor a Bahamian to take over for us.  We feel strongly that foreign missions is not permanent.  Nationals are better at reaching their own people, and as such, we feel foreign missionaries should strive to mentor and come alongside national workers to work themselves out of a “job.”  Of course time and service varies for each individual and situation. Only God knows what each case looks like.

Next month, ALC will be 25 years old.  A lot of missionaries have come and gone.  Along with some paid Bahamian/Haitian staff, It has received the ground work and support from foreign supported missionary staff for many years.  With the departure of 5 missionary staff (and arrival of only 1) and the hiring of a paid executive director and support staff, that seems to be changing.    We feel, as we leave, that we have done what we were called to do here, and we have tried to pass on what we know to the team (comprised of mostly Bahamian young people and a young man from the USA) that Kenneth Romer, ALC Executive Director, has put together.  We are excited to see so many Bahamian staff at ALC&C!   

What happens here on out continues to be in God’s hands.  We have loved and will continue to love the Bahamas, her people and the beloved ALC&C ministry.  God has a divine plan for ALC&C.  We leave with our heads held high knowing that we did what we could, and God’s will for this ministry will endure.

The Camp Management Hand-off

We are still unclear of Kenneth’s plans for the Camp, but what we do know is the Camp is going to be managed by Logan Mungillo (left) and Vonette Jean (right).  They are very bright young people, and they seemed to catch on to a lot of what we told them in the day we spent orientating them to Camp.  If the systems we implemented are continued, Vonette has a jump on learning Camp management as she spent time cooking for groups in the Camp kitchen for 3 weeks in July.  Logan arrived August 20th, but he was part of a mission team that we served here at Camp last summer.  We are anxious to hear about what new and exciting things will be coming to ALCamp under Logan and Vonette’s leadership and how God provides for the implementation of the new ideas.

Guests

 

We hosted Young Life Youth Camp again this year at ALCamp July 27-August 4.  What a fun week it was hearing and seeing Bahamian Youth using the Camp for what it was created for: youth camp ministry.  A group of 22 American Young Life members were part of the leadership/service of the Camp, and it felt like we were hosting not only the youth camp but also a mission team.  What a great week it was!  We also got to drive the group every afternoon in our buses to their outing destinations.  Their last day of outings was our last day of driving our buses:  bittersweet.  Ricky Pearce and Schell Stubbs are the local Young Life leaders in charge of the Camp, and they did a fantastic job.

 

Bahamas Youth Network (BYN) Leadership Retreat was held at ALCamp August 24-26.  It was the last group we hosted in our tenure as Camp Director.  It was also time for us to be present and a support to the “new” leadership as they hosted the group.  This group does a great work with Bahamian youth, both college/young adult groups and high school groups.  It is lead by Dan and Kelly Weightman, 20 year Bahamian missionary veterans.

Good-bye Tour

 

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It seems to happen anytime you relocate.  We also have seen it by others who have been on island for a while but then leave.  It is the tiring, yet necessary good-bye tour that takes place in the weeks and days leading up to a departure.  There are so many people to talk to, to see, to greet one last time.  

The Last week in the Bahamas Begins

 

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The hard part of moving, sorting/discarding/selling/giving-away/packing our earthly possessions, was completed Monday, and our last week in the Bahamas began Tuesday with us moving out of the Camp house and handing over our duties and keys to the new staff.    A missionary once told us that they regretted not taking some time to retreat and rest before leaving their field of ministry.  We have taken that advice and are now taking a few days to unwind, reflect, contemplate and pray in a place away from Nassau.  This gives us time to collect our emotions and seek wisdom before actually saying the final good-byes to those we served with.  For some of the young people we have mentored, this gives them a week to get used to us being gone while still getting another opportunity to see us before we depart.  We have thoroughly enjoyed our time alone to reflect and have had time to pray and seek God.

Youth Night Will Continue

One of the questions we have been getting since we announced our departure is, “Will Friday night Youth Night continue?”  We met with the staff/leaders from Joy Bible Camp that have been helping us with the outreach for 4 years now, and have discussed the upcoming year and how important we all feel that this ministry continues.  We have received commitment from Kenneth that it will continue.  We are so excited to hear this news and look forward to progress reports from this team.  Please pray for this outreach.  This outreach is very valuable to a lot of young people.

Adventure Learning Centre

 

A couple of big events, tours and remodeling going on at the Centre.  Earlier this month the Centre hosted some big events sponsored by organizations on the island.  Another new activity implemented this year is the Centre is now open for walk-in tours.  For a $6 admission fee people can come and receive a tour of the ALC.  Aaron and other staff have been busy painting and decorating the Media Centre (see pictures above).  Other projects have included new signs around the Centre, staff bathroom complete make over, painting of the roundabout wall, remodel of the barn loft, and other projects.

 

What is Next

Tomorrow (September 1st) we travel back to Nassau, and we will be staying with our pastor and his family until we fly to South Carolina on Wednesday morning.  We will be attending our church one last time on Sunday, and we have a few more “good-byes” to make Monday and Tuesday.  We appreciate your prayers for us as we tie up the loose ends, travel, and start the process of re-entry into the USA.  

I Thessalonians 5:24 says, “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”  We are confident in God’s calling on our lives and trust Him to lead and guide us in this transition, move, and even to guide us into what He would have us do next.  We are excited to see what God has in store for us next.

Thank you again for your interest in our lives and ministry and for your prayer and financial support.  

May God bless you!
Tim and Mindy Seeley

Like a Lion

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.

Ministry Update

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.

Projects

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

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

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).

Centre Program

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!

What’s Next

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

 

 

 

Is all this Futile?

 

 

 

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)

General Update

Staff Needs

Please pray with us for maintenance staff and a program director.  These positions are urgent needs. 

Program Director

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.

Maintenance

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 (tims@alcbahamas.org) or Mark (markw@alcbahamas.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.  

Camp Update

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.

Projects

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.

Visitors/Guests

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.

Centre Update

 

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!

 

 

August’s Trial and Blessings

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.

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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!

Ministry Update

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.

Guests/Visitors

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.

What’s Next?

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…

Forty days down, just a week (or two) to go!

Many highlights for this month, but one in particular was hosting these awesome gentlemen from the Logos Hope.  They stayed with us for a couple days during their 2 day rest break. 6 countries are represented in this photo:  India, Germany, USA, Great Britain, Norway, South Africa.

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…

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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.

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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)

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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.  

Prayer Requests

Staff rest

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!

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.

God bless!

Tim and Mindy

Out of the Fishbowl

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. 

Ministry Life

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!

Camp

Guests/Visitors/Volunteers

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.

Centre Update

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.

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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.

What’s Ahead

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)

“Out of Office”

As leaders of a ministry, do we really get to get “out of the office”?  Not really. But we are trying, and the scenery we are enjoying is definitely different.  Even now as we visit with family and friends in Minnesota, love on our granddaughter, shop for/sort through/pack/re-pack supplies (for personal and ministry), and rest, we are continuing our communication with the ALC staff over issues and with mission teams that will be arriving at the ALCamp while we are gone and shortly after we return.   We are also pulling together a presentation to present to our sending church whom we will be visiting next Sunday.

Because we are trying to rest, celebrate our son’s college graduation, enjoy time with family, and recuperate from a very busy season, we have chosen not to spend one of our precious few days putting together a blog post for this month.  These posts, though necessary and appreciated by many of our supporters, usually take a full day to pull together, and time is so precious.  Please excuse us for letting it go this month and enjoying the time spent with family (especially the snuggles and love from our dear Anastasia).  We will catch you all up on “April” news in the May update.

Until then, please keep us in your prayers:

Ministry work at ALC&C

Staffing needs at ALC&C:  

Mechanic/maintenance

Facilitators at the Centre

Summer Camp Assistant

Summer Day Camp Staff

Our travels between Minnesota and Indiana (we will be taking a few days away next week and end up in Indiana to pick up Zachary to bring him to Minnesota for Logan’s graduation)

Time of rest and relaxation

Logan’s graduation

The 2 mission teams that arrive at ALC while we are gone and the staff that will be taking over for us.

Thank you for your continued interest in us and the ministry work we do.

Tim and Mindy Seeley

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