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The Sun Rises and the Sun Sets

“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.

Ministry Update

New Staff

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.

Groups/Guests

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!

Aaron Mills

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!

Centre Update

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.

Family Update

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.

God bless,

Tim and Mindy Seeley

Introvert for a Day

 

If you know me (Mindy), you know that I am textbook extrovert.  I love people, am energized by people and  thrive on being around people.  I cannot remember a day where I have not been an extrovert.  That is until a couple weeks ago.  That day, I switched from being an extrovert to being an introvert, much like flipping the light switch from light to dark.   It was foreign to me, and I could not understand my feelings and emotions.  Yes, even we extroverts get days where we need some privacy, but on that day it was much more than that.  It was beyond “I need to go in my house and shut the door to the world.”  It was all that and, “I don’t want to see, talk to, or think about people.”  I even found myself disliking people (not certain persons, only people in general).  What made those feelings worse for me was the guilt I was experiencing for feeling so unloving.  As much as I prayed that day for that feeling to go away and for my love and desire to be with people to return, it would not.  As the day would pan out, God had lessons for me to learn that day.

As the day began, I found it very hard to get up and think about facing the mission team, staff and others at breakfast let alone serve them with a cheerful smile.  Being greeted with “the freezer door was left open last night and everything is thawing” did not help my already troubled spirit as I entered the Camp kitchen just before breakfast, and as I worked through cooking all the meat that had partially thawed, I found myself growing more and more impatient and uncharitable to people.  After the work was done, I walked home, relieved to enter my house and close the door behind me.  But wait, we live on sight of the ministry which means our door is open to all.  It wasn’t too long after I arrived home that someone on our staff came walking in our back door.  This usually does not bother me, but all I wanted to do was scream, “Doesn’t anyone know how to knock around here?”   I just smiled and pretended I was ok.  

At lunch time, I had reached my limit, and began almost in tears to explain my foreign feelings to my husband, who immediately (unbeknown to me) took that as his opportunity to get me out of the house and off property that evening by saying, “I am taking you out to dinner tonight.”  Almost immediately, the thought of getting away from people we know began to soften my heart, so I was able to plod through the afternoon.  As we left for dinner and my excitement at finally having my husband to myself began to set in, I found myself relaxing a bit, but I still felt ornery and not wanting to see anyone I know.  We had a wonderful quiet dinner and then drove out East to watch the sea reflect the rays of the setting sun behind us.  Sitting on that bench with my sweethearts arm around me-just the two of us-I felt safe and at peace all the while realizing that only several miles away, a group of people I know and love were waiting for us to return.  I did not want to return.  In the end, I knew we must so I agreed to going back.  

As we entered the Camp, we saw Aaron fixing the gate (again, poor guy), and my uncharitable thoughts towards people came  back.  Even as we pulled into our parking spot and started walking toward the house, my thoughts were of getting inside before someone saw us and decided to pay us a visit.  As I hurriedly walked up to the porch (our car alarm was going off and Tim’s clicker was not working, so I was going in the house to get mine), I noticed through the dark screen around our porch that RJ was sitting in the corner by the door.  I could also see Kevin.  My immediate thought was, oh no, Zachary decided to have the young people over for the evening.  I was about ready to whisper to him, “I was hoping to come home to some peace and quiet”, when all of a sudden, “Surprise, Happy 5oth Birthday!” erupted from a porch full of people.  Just as the switch that morning went from extrovert to introvert, I immediately switched from introvert to extrovert again.  The transformation was sudden and amazing to me.  After a few tears (more out of feeling guilty for my uncharitable thoughts) and a speech of gratitude to everyone, my heart was gladdened and I once again enjoyed the presence of these dear people.

Why is this story so important?  It is because of what I learned that day…I not only learned what a wicked sinner I am (I had some pretty uncharitable thoughts about people and circumstances), but I also learned what my introvert husband (and others who are like him) experiences when he is around people all the time.  It gave me a sensitivity that I could never understand before.  Above all, the experiences of that day showed me how God is in control and works things out for His glory and our good.  Had I not wanted to be away from people, I would not have cried out to my husband at lunch; he would not have said and I willingly accepted, “I am taking you out to dinner tonight, away from this place and all the people.”; we would not have gotten away and allowed the other staff to bless me in the way they did with the surprise party; and in the end I would not have seen how God switched me miraculously from not wanting to see people to loving and embracing those dear people around me (which is exactly how I felt immediately after the “surprise” welcomed me onto our porch that night).  

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Update: ALC&C

Please continue to pray for our bus situation.  We were blessed by the addition of another very, very well used bus to our fleet of already well used buses.  We were able to purchase it on the island, and although cosmetically a little rough, it does run.  We could still use another nicer, more reliable bus.  Buses not only transport the school children to the Centre during the school year to experience the adventures at Adventure Learning Centre and hear the Gospel presented, the buses are also heavily used to transport mission teams to and from the airport and to ministry sites around the island and to transport summer day camp children to off site outings and field trips.

As we mentioned in the June update, we had several volunteers come this summer to help out.  They came at their own expense and worked under very hot/humid conditions to serve the Bahamian people and those here to serve the Bahamian people on mission trips.  Thank you to all of you who came to help us serve the mission teams at Camp and the day camp children at the Centre this summer!  We appreciate all you did and the time we had to spend with each of you.

Update: Camp

Back to back to back groups and cabin construction has been the name of the game for us at the Camp this summer.   We have had someone at the Camp every day (except 2 days) this summer since mid-May.  A lot of ministry and a lot of progress on major construction has taken place.   It has been a grueling schedule, but we have made it through by God’s grace and with the help from some very dedicated volunteers that came to help us out.  

Cabin

We will let the picture slide show tell the story.  The local guys worked on the construction up until this past Monday.  Now the rest can be completed by Tim and Aaron.  It is coming right along.

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Looking Ahead

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We are already preparing and looking ahead to our next big construction projects at Camp:  2 new staff cottages.  Cottage 2 (Pat and Janice Armstrong’s residence) and Cottage 3 (single female staff cottage) are currently located to the southeast of the dining hall.  We have the permits in hand for the construction of Cottage 1 (single male staff cottage) and Cottage 4 (couple housing).  Our maintenance guy, Denny, has already been working at clearing the sites for construction.  We are hoping to use mission teams to help construct these cabins.  Please pray for teams and materials to complete these two projects.

July Guest Groups and Visitors

Shekinah Family Ministries Summer Camp (June 29-July 1)

The last week of June into July was supposed to be a week long camp for a group of precious children from a local church, but the week long camp had to be changed to a 2 day camp because of financial hardship of the church.  The joy of the children at this camp was touching to say the least, and because we got to be a part of the camp because we cooked for them, we were blessed to see the exuberance of the children.  On departure day, the children were sad to have to go.  Their loving leader, Samantha Evans, is such a patient kind lady and takes her job as leader of the children’s ministry at her church very seriously.  It is a blessing to see this group and to serve them.

Mission Discovery 3 (July 1-July 10)

The second summer week for Mission Discovery (the third for the year) took place the first week of this month.  The group that MD hosted was from Fort Worth Texas.  It was a large group, and they served at 2 Haitian churches and both the girl’s school and the boy’s school.  This was a mission team experienced church that did a great job teaching and discipling their young people.  Of course we enjoyed the fellowship with the returning MD leaders as well. 

Peace Church (July 10-16)

The Blitz Student Ministries of Peace Church from Wilson, NC has been coming to Nassau for mission trips for many years. Their leader, Brad Perry, is the youth and missions pastor of their church.  He brings his wife and parents with him on the trip to chaperone, and of course we are always blessed and encouraged by these dear people.  We enjoy partnerships with them in ministry and friendship.  This year they worked with VBS at Pastor Bazile’s church (a Haitian church) and did work projects at Pastor Bazile’s house and around Camp.  One of the tougher jobs they helped with was the trench digging to help Aaron bury a line leading to the bath house.  What great servants they are!

E-team (July 16-23)

The E-team, comprised of members from 3 Sovereign Grace Ministries church in Pennsylvania and Maryland, came to help run the Music Camp at Kingdom Life Church (a Sovereign Grace Ministries Church here on New Providence which happens to also be our church).  Because the team is from our sister churches, we feel a special connection with them.  Zachary was able to spend the entire week as the 16th member of the team.  We were excited that Zachary was able to serve alongside this awesome team.  We got to spend one evening out with this team. 

First Covenant Church Hamilton (FCCH)  (July 16-23)

Another awesome team (our summer was full of these awesome teams) which happened to coincide with the E-team, was the team from First Covenant Church of Hamilton, Massachusetts and led by our very own Chelsea Kingston Erickson.  Chelsea not only did a fantastic job of serving the community associated with Pastor Wilney Joseph’s church, Carmichael Evangelical Church, she sacrificed time home with her new husband (she was newly married in June) to lead the team to Nassau.  She has a heart for the church here, and their group came alongside the church members and helped the church members operate a day camp/VBS in their community.  It was such an awesome ministry that they did in that they partnered/came alongside an existing ministry to help equip the local ministry instead of taking over and running the show.  Way to go FCCH! We got to spend an evening with these folks and enjoyed the fellowship and hearing from each of the team members through out the evening.

Methodist Churches of Caribbean and America Summer Camp (July 24-28) 

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This week we hosted another local group that ran a kids camp of their own on our property.  The group consisted of 24 children ages 9-12 and 6 leaders.  On one evening, a bus of 30+ teenagers aged 13-18 from the group’s church came to join the younger children for a camp fire.  Camp was full of children’s laughter, bouncing basketballs on the basketball court, and the occasional stern reprimand of leaders trying to get the children to obey orders.  We always love having children use this facility.  After all, it is a camp, and Camp ministry is our passion.

Boy’s Brigade (July 29-August 1)

This weekend, we will be hosting a group of young boys from Abundant Life Bible Church.  Our Ms. Ada (cook at the Centre) is one of the leaders of the Boy’s Brigade and brings the group here for an annual camp the first weekend in August (Monday is a holiday-Emancipation Day-so it is a 3 day weekend).  We do not have pictures yet of course, but we will try to squeeze some in to next month’s blog.

Update: Centre

Summer Day Camp has been the dominating scene at the Centre.  The children have been treasure hunting here, there and everywhere.  Most of all, they found the treasure of God’s Word in classes and daily interactions!

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Update: Family

Happy Birthday to my wombmate, Melissa McDaniel, who lives in Summerville, SC!  Wish we could be together for this milestone birthday.  I love you, Twinnie!

Besides my 50th birthday which happens this Sunday, Tim and I will be celebrating our 29th wedding anniversary on Monday, August 1st.  It is so hard to believe that it has been nearly 3 decades since we began doing life together.  As we reflect back on the years and see how God has worked and moved in our lives, we are in wonder and amazement at what a great, awesome, providential God we have.  Our union has not only brought about a great deal of sanctification in each of us, it has produced 4 great young men, 2 wonderful daughters-in-law, a soon-to-arrive granddaughter, an exciting life of ministry, and many joyful, treasured memories.  We thank God for His blessings on our lives!

Celebrating our Passport Country’s Birthday

July 4th was a work day for us.  We had a mission team here and decided to treat the team to a quick birthday celebration with decorations and traditional 4th of July picnic food.  Paula Brown made a beautiful watermelon carving.

Enjoying Family and Friends

August Plans

Zachary and I will be leaving for Minnesota on August 4th, and Tim will be joining us on August 23rd.  We will all return to the island together on September 3rd in preparation for new staff orientation on September 5th (Zachary’s return to the States for good will come in October).

Please pray for Tim as he stays behind to hold the fort down and serve the one last mission team that is coming August 15-22.  He has Aaron and Ms. Ada here with him, and Jullian Williams (a Toronto man who used to be program director at the Centre and that comes every year for several weeks) will be coming on the 17th to help serve the group for part of the week.  Tim will be managing the team and staff alone.

Whew!  You made it through another lengthy post.  Saving these updates for once a month, though necessary because we don’t have time to do them any more often then that, makes for long posts.  We really appreciate your support of us by keeping up to date on what is going on.  Please contact us and let us know your thoughts.  We love hearing from you!

God bless, and have a great weekend!
Tim, Mindy and Zachary Seeley

 

Merry Christmas from the Seeleys

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Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel

Isaiah 7:14

I have not been listening to a lot of Christmas music this year, but the times I have indulged, I usually find myself listening to three of my favorites:  “Mary Did You Know?”, “How Many Kings?”, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”.  All three songs tell the story of not just our Savior’s birth but also of his divinity, his life and ministry, and his death and resurrection.  Praise God for the birth of that tiny baby who was 100% God and 100% man, lived a perfect sinless life,  died on the cross for my (and all those who put their trust in Him) sins, and then rose again defeating sin and death so I might have an eternal relationship with Him!

Seeley Family Update

As I sit on our front porch enjoying the “cool” breezes against my skin, the soft white Christmas lights strung around the perimeter of the porch, and the Christmas Carols wafting from my laptop’s speakers, I am reminded it is only one week away from Christmas.  My wonderment may sound odd to many of you since it has been December now for 16+ days and I do not live in a bubble, but for this girl who grew up with cold, snowy Decembers, it is sometimes hard to remember what time of year it is here.   It is green outside instead of brown or white; I am still wearing  shorts, flip flops and light weight cotton blouses instead of sweaters, jeans, boots, parkas and hats; and I am not greeted by numerous houses in our neighborhood adorned with Christmas lights and yard ornaments (electricity is so expensive here).  

Regardless of the tricks being played on my un-retrained, unacclimated senses, my common sense tells me it is indeed one week away from Christmas.  That means we leave in couple days to travel back to the USA.  We will be spending Christmas week in the Charleston, SC area and the week of New Years in the Charlotte, NC area.  Although we will not see our other boys for Christmas, we will get to see Logan, Garrett and Abby for a couple days while we are in Charlotte.  We will all be attending a niece’s wedding on New Years Eve.

Working Vacation

This Sunday we will be meeting with a mission team from Charleston that came last June to the Bahamas and is interested in coming again on another mission trip in the future.  We will be sharing the ALC&C ministry with the group as well as Bahamas culture and the area ministries we work with.  Next Wednesday we will be traveling up to Florence, SC to meet with the leader of another mission team that is bringing a group in March.  This group has been here the last 3 years under the direction of Randy and Kim Grebe, but we will be doing most of the facilitating of the team this year since Randy and Kim won’t be coming.  While in Charlotte, NC we hope to connect with a young lady that is interested in missions and has expressed an interest of maybe serving at ALC some day.  She is the daughter of someone I went to Bob Jones University with years ago.  

Ministry Update

Year-End-Giving-logo_1

The ALC&C December newsletter went out this morning. (Are you on our mailing list?   If you would like to add your name to the email list for the ALC&C newsletter, you may do so here at this link.).  In it we mentioned how ALC&C could benefit from generous donors looking for places to send donations to for their end of year giving.  ALC&C has been around now for 22 years, and that means equipment is aging, breaking down and needing to be replaced.  If you would like to put your money to good use helping the ALC&C to continue its mission to reach the Bahamian people for Christ and serve those coming to the island to serve the Bahamian people, then consider donating to  ALC&C.  You may do so electronically at this link:  Donate here, or by check at the address at this link:  Donate here.

Staff Needs

If you or someone you know is looking for a ministry opportunity, we have several positions open.  We are looking for a program director, cook, maintenance staff, animal caretaker, and facilitators.

Ministry Update: Camp

Good News Seventh Day Adventist Church

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These are some of the young ladies of the group that was at Camp for a church youth retreat the first weekend in December.  There are two sets of twins in this group, and when they found out I was also a twin, they wanted to see a picture of her.  I invited them to the house to  see her.  We love visits at our house from young people like this!

Grace CMA of Cleveland, Ohio

Ryan Davis and Scott Lessings, pastors of Grace CMA in Cleveland, OH were on the island for a scouting trip.  They will be bringing a team of 50-60 next June.  They took us to Fish Fry for Bahamian cuisine.  They also helped us pick the winner of the free ALC t-shirt.  We had a drawing from all the names of those who filled out a survey for us.  Our very own Allison Sands won the t-shirt.  Thank you Allison and everyone else who filled out the survey.

Fellow missionaries from Andros

Dave and Sue Bryant are missionaries in Red Bays, Andros, The Bahamas.  We met Dave earlier this year at the immigration office.  He had noticed Zachary’s Bible verse on his t-shirt and began a conversation with us.  Dave and Sue were here last weekend to rest at Camp and get some paperwork taken care of at the registrar’s office for some Bahamians they minister to.  We were glad to host them and serve them in this way.  

Youth Outreach

The last Youth Outreach for the year was the 27th of November.  We had a campfire with marshmallows and hotdogs, and time for singing, games and a challenge that finished up our discussion on the Fruits of the Spirit we studied this term.  We look forward to the restart of the Youth Outreach in January.

College of Bahamas Architecture Students

You may recall in our last post that we introduced the architecture students from COB that are working on a project that we were assisting them with.  We had a great time working with these young people.  We hope to have them to Camp in the new year for a time of fellowship.

AMSA

It feels so good serving mission teams again.  It has been a while since we had our last mission team here.  AMSA from Florida Atlantic University is here this week.  This is their 4th trip and 3rd year being here.  They are serving at Princess Margaret Hospital, Willamae Pratt Centre for Girls, Red Cross and Hypertension Screening Clinic at Town Centre Mall.

Connecting with Orphanages

This week we met with the directors of the Nazareth Centre and Ranfurly Homes.  We were able to understand their ministries better and how we can assist them as teams come to the island wanting to serve them.  We had tours of both facilities.

Ministry Update:  Centre

For the past 2 months (while regular programming was going on), facilitators and maintenance staff have been transforming the Centre into a winter wonderland (minus the snow) with pageant props and thousands of lights for the annual Christmas Lights Drive-thru.  The event was held the first two weekends of December.  The Drive-thru (and its Easter time counter part, Easter Monday Funday) is one of our ministry’s big gospel outreaches/fund raising event.  We had over 1200 cars come through the gates those 6 nights, and over 4600 people saw the spectacular event and heard the Gospel story clearly proclaimed in pageantry as well as spoken word.   Although pictures cannot do it justice, enjoy the pictures of the event.

The lights…

The pageantry…

 Life of Ministry in the Bahamas

Thanksgiving with our ALC&C family

We had a great Thanksgiving.  We celebrated twice- the first was late on Thanksgiving Day with all the staff of ALC&C in the dining hall, and another more quiet, laid back intimate dinner on Saturday afternoon after Thanksgiving.  We enjoyed the time with our island family, and the food was delicious!

Saying Good-bye

It is part of our way of life in the type of ministry work we do:  saying frequent good-byes to those we work with.  This time it is hard because we are losing not one or two people but four people at one time.  Dilan and Laura have been here for the last 11 months and Bob and Judi have been here for 22 months.  They have added so much to this ministry and have worked very hard while they were here.  They are going to be missed.  We were able to get together one day last week and have a time of fellowship and opportunity to formally say good-bye.

Elton Deetjen

IMG_6248You may remember Elton.  Elton was a facilitator at ALC until he left last year for a job elsewhere.  He is in school now and waiting to get into his own place.  He is staying with us for a few weeks.  We are glad to get to help him out in this way. He is serving us while we are off the island by holding down the fort (and keeping unwanted pests and burglars away).

 

Prayer

Praise the Lord for a great turn out at the Christmas Lights Drive-thru.  Pray for the souls of those that heard the Gospel proclaimed

Praise the Lord for the positive response to our recent “85 cents a day” fundraising campaign; continue to pray that we reach the fully funded level and remain there

Praise the Lord for time to get away.  Pray for travel safety and that we are able to experience some rest and relaxation while away.  We will be hitting the ground running when we return.

Pray for Staff needs: program director, cook, facilitators, maintenance, animal caretaker

Pray for funds needed to replace the train at the Centre ($120,000).

Whew!  Another lengthy blog.  There is just so much going on.  Life is never dull here.  Thank you for your time and interest in our lives and ministry work.

God bless,

Tim, Mindy and Zachary

Our Hope Has Come!

Let us join with the angel voices
Let us join their happy song
All of heaven and earth rejoices
For the Lamb of God has come
He has come to rescue sinners
Come to meet our desperate need
He was born to bring forgiveness
Born for Calvary

CHORUS
Alleluia, Hope has come

Alleluia, Christ has come
We once were slaves in misery
Till You appeared and set us free
Alleluia, Hope has come

VERSE 2
Let us lay our gifts before Him

Let us magnify His Name
With our thankful hearts adore Him
For the Lord has come to save
He has come to break sin’s power
He has come to set us free
Hope was born that glorious hour
Christ the mighty King 

(2006 Sovereign Grace Praise)

Hope Has Come is the title of the music and drama production we were involved in at our church this past weekend.  Although practice and work on our parts took up a lot of time, we received a blessing as we reflected on the meaning of the message of the production.  We praise God for the opportunity we get this time of year to celebrate the birth of Jesus and contemplate the meaning of Christ’s coming to this earth as a perfect baby to later die on a cross and rise again to conquer sin, death and hell.  Hallelujah indeed!

Logan sang in the chior and played the acoustic guitar.

Logan sang in the chior and played the acoustic guitar.

Zachary narrated two sections of the drama.

Zachary narrated two sections of the drama.

Mindy played the part of Anna.

Mindy played the part of Anna.

Tim played the part of Simeon.

Tim played the part of Simeon.

Thank you, Keith Bunting and Clarence Rolle, for the work you did to put together this production!

Female Staff Cottage Update

Except for some small areas that need touched up, the interior painting of the staff cottage is complete.  The spiral staircase arrived before Thanksgiving and is waiting to be installed.  Tim is installing the gas line that will supply power to the water heater and gas stove.   We are in the process of purchasing appliances and furnishing the spaces with a couch, beds and table/chairs.  Our goal is to have everything done by the time Jen and Michelle (our current female missionary staff) return to the island on January 6th so they can move right in.

The spiral stair case took some work to get shipped over here, but it finally arrived and is waiting to be installed.  It will give the girls access to the loft sleeping area.

Tim is finishing up the installation of the gas line that will fuel the water heater and the stove.

Florida Atlantic University Mission Team

30 American Medical Student Association members from Florida Atlantic University came for a mission trip December 16th-20th

When we left for our vacation in the USA, we were not quite prepared to facilitate the mission team from Florida Atlantic University that would be coming to ALCamp the week of December 16th-20th.  So we spent quite a bit of our vacation time preparing for this group’s mission team ministry work.  All the diligence and hard work paid off, and not only did everything turn out well for the group and the ministry areas they worked at, we received such a blessing from the presence of the young people on this team.  The 30 young people, all part of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) at Florida Atlantic University, ministered on the pediatric ward at Princess Margaret Hospital, the geriatric ward of Sandilands Care Centre, and at All Saints Camp.  It was our first attempt at facilitating a mission team, and God was faithful and allowed us to accomplish all we needed to accomplish and taught us a lot of lessons along the way.

When we picked up each group from their ministry work at All Saints Camp each day (the team was divided into three groups and rotated to all 3 work sites), we were able to give them a tour of the Adventure Learning Centre.  This day we were able to take the group out onto the new wetlands boardwalk.

When we picked up the young people from their ministry work at All Saints Camp each day (the group was divided into three teams and rotated to all 3 work sites), we were able to give them a tour of the Adventure Learning Centre. This day we were able to take the group out onto the new wetlands boardwalk.

Congratulations, Logan!

Although it took almost a month to find us here in The Bahamas, a reward letter from the University of Minnesota came today bringing with it tidings of great joy for sure!  Logan has received a large academic scholarship from the University of Minnesota (with more scholarships possibly coming in the spring) .  We  learned in September that Logan had qualified as a merit scholar finalist with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, and shortly after that he applied and was enthusiastically accepted into the honors program at University of Minnesota starting fall 2014.  What we did not know was that we would be hearing from the University of Minnesota this early in the year.  What a blessing and encouragement this is!  Congratulations, Logan.  Praise God for your gifts and talents.

Logan received an academic scholarship award letter from University of Minnesota today!

Update of events

Our last blog entry was 4 weeks ago when we were en-route to Minnesota to see family, celebrate Thanksgiving, spend some time resting/relaxing and shopping.  We did not get much resting/relaxing done, but we had a great time visiting with family/friends, finishing up some school work for a couple courses we were taking online, visiting/updating 3 churches on our ministry work, and even experiencing Minnesota winter weather.

Enjoy the last month in pictures!

Our trip back to Minnesota began with Thanksgiving dinner with Tim's family....

Our trip back to Minnesota began with Thanksgiving dinner with Tim’s family….

It continued with playing street hockey (and eventually ice hockey) for the boys,...

It continued with playing street hockey (and eventually ice hockey) for the boys,…

...Mindy finally getting to be with all 4 of her boys (and Katie too),...

…Mindy finally getting to be with all 4 of her boys (and Katie too),…

...subzero temperatures, ...

…subzero temperatures, …

...dips in Aunt Becky and Uncle Paul's hot tub (yes, it cold weather) with the cousins, ...

…dips in Aunt Becky and Uncle Paul’s hot tub (yes, it was cold weather, and that is sparkling juice in the bottles/cups) with the cousins, …

...visiting with Tim's parents,...

…visiting with Tim’s parents,…

...visit with Mindy's parents,...

…visiting with Mindy’s parents,…

...watching the boys hang out together (playing what else but hockey),...

…watching the boys hang out together (playing what else but hockey),…

...visiting a long time traditional holiday spot, Macy's Christmas display in downtown Minneapolis, and the Holidazzle Parade,....

…visiting a long time traditional holiday spot, Macy’s Christmas display in downtown Minneapolis, and the Holidazzle Parade,….

...celebrating an early Christmas together as a family...

…celebrating an early Christmas together as a family…

...Mindy's annual lunch /shopping date with each of the boys,...

…Mindy’s annual lunch /shopping date with each of the boys,…

...enjoying snow (easy to enjoy when you know you will be heading back to 80's in a week),...

…enjoying snow (easy to enjoy when you know you will be heading back to 80’s in a week),…

...the guys enjoying a Minnesota Wild hockey game...

…the guys enjoying a Minnesota Wild hockey game…

...celebrating Logan's 18th birthday, ...

…celebrating Logan’s 18th birthday, …

...updating our sending church and Wisconsin friends at Grace Church, Viroqua, WI...

…updating our sending church and Wisconsin friends at Grace Church, Viroqua, WI…

...spending some time fellowshipping with our dear friends, the Becks...

…spending some time with our dear friends, the Becks (thanks for housing us while we were in the Viroqua area)…

...updating Bible Truth Chapel (Wausau, WI) on our ministry work...

…updating Bible Truth Chapel (Wausau, WI) on our ministry work…

...then visiting with our gracious hosts, Eric and Denise Shelly and daughters Grace and Hope  (Thank you for your awesome hospitality, Shelly family!)...

…then visiting with our gracious hosts, Eric and Denise Shelly and daughters Grace and Hope (Thank you for your awesome hospitality, Shelly family!)…

...not having to miss this wonderful pass time this year--shoveling snow...

…not having to miss this wonderful pass time this year–shoveling snow…

...catching Eden Baptist Church's annual ladies Christmas dinner (Mindy enjoyed surprising her good friend Carole Miller)...

…catching Eden Baptist Church’s annual ladies Christmas dinner (Mindy enjoyed surprising her good friend Carole Miller)…

...giving ministry update to Grace and Truth Chapel in Minneapolis, MN...

…giving ministry update to Grace and Truth Chapel in Minneapolis, MN…

...Grandma and Grandpa taking Logan to a Chinese Buffet to celebrate his birthday...

…Grandma and Grandpa taking Logan to a Chinese Buffet to celebrate his birthday…

...Grandma and Grandpa taking Zachary out for a belated birthday dinner at Ole Spaghetti Factory...

…Grandma and Grandpa taking Zachary out for a belated birthday dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory…

...saying a tearful good-bye (for Mindy anyway) to Andrew and Katie after a wonderful 2 weeks of off and on visits together...

…saying a tearful good-bye (for Mindy anyway) to Andrew, Katie and Garrett after a wonderful 2 weeks of off and on visits together…

...also saying good-bye to Tim's parents and her sister and brother-in-law,  Becky and Paul Kuehn...

…also saying good-bye to Tim’s parents and his sister and brother-in-law, Becky and Paul Kuehn…

...leaving snowy Minneapolis, Minnesota behind (you geography buffs, this is looking west)...

…leaving snowy Minneapolis, Minnesota behind (you geography buffs, this is looking west)…

...and arriving back in warm, sunny Nassau with a 2-week visitor, Aaron Mills.

…and arriving back in warm, sunny Nassau with a 2-week visitor, Aaron Mills.

When we got back, we hit the ground running, preparing the camp facility for the Florida Atlantic University team.  While we worked on the paper work and planning aspect of the team's arrival, Aaron and the boys cleaned the facilities.  The dining hall was cleaner than it has been cleaned in a very long time. Thank you, Aaron for all your hard work!  We never would have been able to do it without you!

When we got back, we hit the ground running, preparing the camp facility for the Florida Atlantic University team. While we worked on the paper work and planning aspect of the team’s arrival, Aaron and the boys cleaned the facilities. The dining hall was cleaner than it has been cleaned in a very long time. Thank you, Aaron for all your hard work! We never would have been able to do it without you!

Two days after we returned, the ALC staff got together for a Christmas party.

Two days after we returned, the ALC staff got together for a Christmas party.

We squeezed a few hours out of our weekend on Saturday evening, December 14th, to decorate for Christmas.  This is significant, and Mindy wanted a picture of the occasion.  The Christmas decorating is usually left to Mindy and the boys.  Tim rarely if ever gets involved.  We had a great time together and were joined by Michelle Brisbin and Aaron Mills that evening.

We squeezed a few hours out of our weekend on Saturday evening, December 14th, to decorate for Christmas. This is significant, and Mindy wanted a picture of the occasion. The Christmas decorating is usually left to Mindy and the boys. Tim rarely if ever gets involved. We had a great time together and were joined by Michelle Brisbin and Aaron Mills that evening.

The cute pencil Christmas tree and white lights throughout our tiny house helped make it feel like Christmas time.  The weather sure doesn't make it feel Christmasy to us northerners, but at least the lights added to the festivity.

The cute pencil Christmas tree and white lights throughout our tiny house helped make us “think” Christmas, but it sure did not feel or look like Christmas outside to us northerners.

After decorating the house, we had dinner together and watched "Home Alone" and "Charlie Brown's Christmas".

After decorating the house, we had dinner together and watched “Home Alone” and “Charlie Brown’s Christmas”.

On December 15th, Kingdom Life church told USA/Canada residents, Alissa and Blair Finley, good-bye.  The Finleys were going back to Canada after their year here working in Nassau.  The Finleys are going to be missed.

On December 15th, Kingdom Life church told USA/Canada residents, Alissa and Blair Finley, good-bye. The Finleys were going back to Canada after their year here working in Nassau. The Finleys are going to be missed.

We spent December 16-20th serving and leading the FAU students while they were here ministering to the Bahamian people.

We spent December 16-20th serving and leading the FAU students while they were here ministering to the Bahamian people.

Tis the season for coconuts.  Zachary has become a machete wielding coconut cutter upper.

Tis the season for coconuts. Zachary has become a machete wielding coconut cutter upper.

As soon as the FAU students left, we switched gears and began preparing our cabins to house more than the 14 they usually house.  Logan, Aaron and Zachary (but mostly Aaron), pulled beds apart, moved beds around, assembled "new" beds and fixed existing beds in all 5 of our cabins.  Each cabin is now configured to house sleep 16.  There is still work that needs done, but Aaron was a huge blessing to us in that he got so much done.

As soon as the FAU students left, we switched gears and began preparing our cabins for a huge group coming in January. Logan, Aaron and Zachary (but mostly Aaron), pulled beds apart, moved beds around, assembled “new” beds and fixed existing beds in all 5 of our cabins. Each cabin is now configured to sleep 16. There is still work that needs done, but Aaron was a huge blessing to us in that he got so much done.

"Hope Has Come" production at Kingdom Life Church.

Saturday and Sunday evenings were involved with the “Hope Has Come” production at Kingdom Life Church.

Aaron did not get to do many touristy things, but we did get him to Twin Brothers for conch fritters, conch salad and smoothies.

Aaron did not get to do many touristy things, but we did get him to Twin Brothers for conch fritters, conch salad and smoothies on Sunday afternoon.

Aaron worked to fix and tighten existing beds in all the cabins.  What a blessing Aaron was!

Aaron worked to fix and tighten existing beds in all the cabins. What a blessing Aaron was!

Elton Deetjen (one of our ALC facilitators) came to work with us at camp for a day since the Centre does not have school groups while the schools are on Christmas break.

Elton Deetjen (one of our ALC facilitators) came to work with us at camp for a day since the Centre does not have school groups while the schools are on Christmas break. He and Tim worked on moving a lot of “junk” out of the cottage next to the new girl staff cottage and worked on laying a gas line to the girl staff cottage.

Christmas Eve, Elton joined us and helped us bake cookies and prepare for the evening and Christmas day festivities.

Christmas Eve, Elton joined us and helped us bake cookies and prepare for the evening and Christmas day festivities.

Christmas Eve supper we made our own personal pan pizzas,...

Christmas Eve supper we made our own personal pan pizzas…

...and watched "Santa Clause" together while drinking hot cocoa with spray cream and candy canes.

…and watched “Santa Clause” together while drinking hot cocoa with spray cream and candy canes.

Kevin Poitier was finally around to receive his Christmas present from us.

Kevin Poitier was finally around to receive his Christmas present from us.

Christmas morning began the traditional way:  reading of the Christmas story before unwrapping presents.  What was not so traditional for us:  doing it in shorts and t-shirts with doors and windows wide open.

Christmas morning began the traditional way: reading of the Christmas story before unwrapping presents. What was not so traditional for us: doing it in shorts and t-shirts with doors and windows wide open.

Aaron joined our family this year for Christmas (God graciously gave us an "extra" distraction to fill the Garrett and Andrew/Katie void).

Aaron joined our family this year for Christmas (God graciously gave us an “extra” distraction to fill the Garrett and Andrew/Katie void).

After presents were opened, it was on to the kitchen to make bread and...

After presents were opened, it was on to the kitchen to make bread and…

...the traditional Chinese Nut Clusters.

…the traditional Chinese Nut Clusters.

That evening we joined both of our church's pastors and their families for dinner at the Bunting's house.  We had a great time of food and fellowship.

That evening we joined both of our church’s pastors and their families for dinner at the Bunting’s house. We had a great time of food and fellowship.

We are so blessed with these dear friends, to the left is Cedric and Alexine Moss, and to the right is Kristin and Keith Bunting.

We are so blessed with these dear friends, to the left is Cedric and Alexine Moss, and to the right is Kristin and Keith Bunting.

Tim and I went to bed late Christmas night for a few hours of sleep, but the boys opted to tough it out before we were to be picked up at 345am to go downtown for the Boxing Day Junkanoo Parade.

Tim, Aaron and Mindy went to bed late Christmas night for a few hours of sleep, but Zach and Logan opted to not nap before our 345am pick-up to go downtown for the Boxing Day Junkanoo Parade. We went with Tim and Felicia Ryan and their children, Faye Boscom, Keisha and Katie Dean, and Bradley King.

Our eyes were pretty bright during those wee hours of the morning.

Our eyes were pretty bright during those wee hours of the morning,…

...but as the morning progressed, our eyes began to become heavier.  The parade was fantastic, and we enjoyed seeing the pageantry!  We are new to Junkanoo and hold no biases for the different groups that performed in the parade.  We disagree with who the judges picked as the winners, but the Bahamians in our group were quite happy with the group that "won" the competition.  Congratulations Valley Boys for your victory (even though One Family was clearly a better group).

…but as the morning progressed, our eyes began to become heavier. The parade was fantastic, and we enjoyed seeing the pageantry! We are new to Junkanoo and hold no biases for the different groups that performed in the parade. We disagree with who the judges picked as the winners, but the Bahamians in our group were quite happy with the group that “won” the competition. Congratulations Valley Boys for your victory (even though One Family was clearly a better group).

By afternoon, we were quite exhausted (you can really see it in our eyes here).  By the time we left at 230pm, we were ready to go home and go to bed.  We are so glad we stuck it out all day.  It was quite fun to see.

By afternoon, we were quite exhausted (you can really see it in our eyes here). By the time we left at 230pm, we were ready to go home and go to bed. We are so glad we stuck it out all day. It was quite fun to see.

Thank you for taking the time to “get caught up” on our last month of events.  We will try not to take so long next time to update you.  As we conclude, we would like to share a few prayer requests with you.  May God bless you and may you have a blessed new year!

Please pray for

Discernment and wisdom in dealing with those we work with and serve

That God will be glorified in all we do

That God continues to raise up those who are able to partner with us in our ministry work both in prayer and in financial support

That others will join us here–especially in the area of maintenance for Camp and the Centre and facilitator staff at the Centre

That God will continue to open doors for ministry

Kingdom Life Church–opened doors for ministry and growth

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