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Here’s to a New Day, a New Year, and a New Decade!

This morning we woke to a new day, a new year and a new decade!  

At this time of year where we find ourselves reflecting back over the past year and making resolutions for the new year, we have also reflected back to the beginning of the 2010-2019 decade.

In this past decade, we have lived and worked at two ministries (one in our passport country/one in a host country), met and served 1000’s of people from all over the world, been a part of 3 church families (Wisconsin, Bahamas, South Carolina), graduated 3 of 4 sons from our homeschool program and then launched them into adulthood, made 2 international moves, experienced a cat. 4 hurricane, emptied our nest/learned how to be a family of 2 again, welcomed 4 females into our formerly male dominated family, became grandparents, discovered our love for cruising, and experienced many painful good-byes, many faith-growing/humbling/image-of-Christ forming trials, countless undeserved blessings from our loving/providential/sovereign God, and new/never-ending opportunities for ministry.  What a decade of sanctification and growth, joys and sorrows, ups and downs, etc.  

Through it all and as we reflect back, we can’t help but see the hand of God and how He has worked in us and through us. We enter 2020 with much anticipation and prayer as we wait to see what God has in store for us.

A Home of Our Own

After 11 years living in ministry housing (Remember our blog on fishbowl living?) and with family, we finally have our own place.  In September we moved into a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom apartment in Summerville, SC. It is the first time in over a decade that we and all our belongings are under one roof. Because we did not bring much back with us from the Bahamas and most of what we had in storage in Minnesota was camping/fishing/hunting gear and memorabilia, we had to purchase nearly all of our furnishings/housewares. We have enjoyed feeling like young newlyweds again as we shopped for and furnished our little apartment. This time around though, we have been very choosy about what we buy.  We are trying to be minimalists and avoid materialism. What we like most about being in our own place is having privacy and a place to practice hospitality once again.

Speaking of hospitality.  We had an opportunity to extend hospitality to a young lady who recently moved to the area and found herself without a place to live. The weekend before Christmas she came to our church, and we have been able to host her for several days at our apartment while she tries to sort things out. We love using our home to serve the Lord, and extending hospitality to those in need is one way to do that.

Job Status

In August I started working as a utilization review nurse for AmeriHealth Caritas.  In short, I review medical claims/cases to determine medical necessity for insurance companies that provide coverage for Medicare/Medicaid recipients.  The work is intense, and it has taken a lot of time to learn how to do the job.  However, I enjoy the work, get to work from home and choose my own hours.  The only draw back is I only get to work up to 20 hours a week.  I still have not heard back from the other position with the juvenile detention center.  It will be nice if that position ever comes available again.

Tim is working steadily on building his coaching and leadership development business.  In January he begins monthly meetings called cohorts.  These leadership development meetings are a partnership with his brother-in-law’s company, Strong Lead, based out of Hickory, NC.

Trip Back to Nassau

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In November, we were able to make a quick 3 day trip back to Nassau to check in with our Kingdom Life Church family, the kids we mentored, fellow missionary staff (from ALC&C as well as from other ministries on the island), Joy Bible Camp/youth night co-leaders, and other friends we knew while living in The Bahamas.  Of course the trip was a whirlwind experience, and we left feeling like we did not have time to see and do everything we wanted to do.  We did get to see ALC&C and get a brief update on how things are going.  Please feel free to private message us if you want more details.

Our Church and Ministry Opportunities

We continue to be blessed, cared for, and encouraged as we fellowship with, worship with, and serve alongside like minded believers at Risen Hope Church.  We are so thankful for how they live out their mission to “…exist to glorify God as we treasure, apply, and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.”  We can honestly say that Sundays are a highlight of our week.

Besides helping on the welcome team together on occasional Sundays, we serve in other areas at the church.  Tim works the sound booth periodically, I serve on the hospitality committee, and we both are discipling a younger person.

It is no surprise that we miss not having the day to day interaction with our own sons and their families. But God has given us “family” within our church to love on and be loved by.  Charleston is a big transplant area with people coming from all over the USA to work for Boeing, Volvo, Mercedes Benz, the military (Navy and Airforce), and civilian/government work.  Because of this, there are several young families here without extended family (parents/grandparents).  We have had several opportunities to be “mom and dad/grandma and grandpa” to some of these young people in our church. One thing we have done for a few families with small children is go to their homes in the evening and send mom and dad out on a date while we sit with the children.  We love serving these families in this way.

Pictured above is the community group we were a part of last year.  It was lead by Nathan and Michelle Wingate (top right).  In the new year, we will be leading a small group at our home (something we would not have been able to do before getting our own place).  We look forward to serving our church in this way.

A Look to the Future

We continue to live day by day, moment by moment.  We do not worry about what we will be doing or where we will be living in the years or decade ahead.  We are confident that our providential God has a plan for us and has already ordered our steps and numbered our days.  We look forward to seeing and experiencing God’s providential guidance and care of us and participating in the tasks He calls us to do.

In the immediate future, we are heading to Minnesota/Wisconsin today (New Years Day) to spend some holiday time with our children and parents and are thankful for these opportunities to be to be with them all. 

Thank you for taking the time to get caught up on what is going on in our lives.  Until next time…

Happy New Year and Happy New Decade from our home to yours!

 

 

Ten months later…Some Questions Answered

We have always known that God is gracious and giving.  He hears our prayers and gives us exactly what we need at the precise moment when we need it.  What He gives us is good, HIS definition of good [emphasis added]!  As we reflect back over the last 10 months since leaving the Bahamas and the ministry at ALC&C, we are able to see once again God’s providential care of us and how He has orchestrated our lives to be exactly what we need, when we need it.  Of course there have been times when we have felt like “God, have you forgotten we are here waiting?” or “Is this transition time ever going to end?” God is faithful, and though we can’t see the movement in the moment, a glimpse in the rearview mirror shows us that God has indeed been working. Furthermore, He has been providing for us and blessing us.

Questions

In our time back and discussions with various people, we have gotten a lot of questions.  We are going to try to answer a few of them here now.

What have you been doing lately?

We both completed degrees.  Tim received a BS degree in Ministry Leadership from Moody Bible Institute in December.  In addition to the degree in Ministry Leadership, Tim finished a Life Coaching course last year, and became a certified Life Coach in October.  I completed the RN to BSN program and received a BS degree in Nursing from Liberty University in May.  With the education pursuits completed, Tim has been building the foundation of his Life Coaching career, and I have been working on getting employment here in the Charleston, SC area.  There are a couple of leads on RN positions, one is a work from home position with my sister’s company in utilization review and the other is at a juvenile detention center a few miles away from where we live.  Both positions are per diem which would provide flexibility.

God has providentially provided housing for us with my sister and her husband.  We contribute to them with housekeeping, buying groceries, cooking etc.  When they decided to relocate to a house out in the country in June, we were able to assist them with the huge job of moving.  We have spent most of June and July helping them pack their former home in Summerville, SC and moving to their new home in Ridgeville, SC.  The move was a long, hard job, but we helped them accomplish it and are now settled into the new house.  We are not sure when we will be moving into our own place, but for now, the living arrangement is working out great for all parties involved.

God has blessed us with a great church in Summerville, SC.  The transition to Risen Hope has been easy in that it is a sister church to Kingdom Life Church in the Bahamas.  We have plugged into ministry and connecting with other members for spiritual growth, encouragement and accountability.  The elders, lead by Pastor Mike Seever, have been a huge source of blessing and encouragement and have shepherded us well.  Attending services and events are a highlight to our weeks and helps fill the void we feel from no longer living in the ministry bubble/way of life.  Discipleship opportunities will be coming up in the next couple of months, and we both are excited about it.  We thank God for Risen Hope.

Do you miss the ALC&C/Bahamas?  What do you miss most?

We miss the people of the Bahamas, the people we served, and getting to serve and minister to mission teams and local groups and youth.  We have a lot of fond memories of people, experiences, and most of all the many ways in which we saw God working and moving in the lives of staff, guests, and youth we worked with.  Our arms ache to embrace our church family, the young adults we mentored, staff we worked with, and friends and mission team members we have built a relationship with over the years.  As has always been our remedy for homesickness and missing loved ones, we keep our focus on eternity and the work and ministry at hand.

Have you been able to rest?

Yes.  Although we have been busy with the move, helping care for my sister’s house, finishing up school, building the ground work for job/ministry (Tim) and job hunting (me), and even spending time in Minnesota helping our kids with home remodeling projects, we have had time to rest.  Recently during a moment of frustration when we felt like God had forgotten about us (some times it has felt like we are in total limbo; there is no movement; nothing is happening), God seemed to speak to us and bring to mind a prayer we often prayed when were in the thick of ministry in the Bahamas.  In the last 2 years in the Bahamas when we were experiencing extreme fatigue from long hours/days of ministry, we would cry out to God for rest.  Recollection of these prayers has made us stop and realize that it is as if God is saying, “Didn’t you ask for rest? Well, here it is.  Enjoy it.  Trust me.”  God is gracious.  His timing is perfect.

How is the ALC doing?

We remain in contact with a few staff associated with ALC, other Bahamas missionaries, past mission team leaders, and with some Bahamian friends.  Along with daily prayer, these connections give us opportunities to remain connected with the Bahamian people and the ministry that still occupies a large place in our hearts.  As we view pictures and reports of ministry work being done in the Bahamas from the mission teams we have had relationship with over the years, our hearts are encouraged by the work God is still doing in the people.  God continues to work.  Please continue to pray for the ministry, for Vonette and Logan who continue to work very hard at the Camp serving teams with only a skeletal crew, for leadership for the ALC, and for the Gospel to continue to be proclaimed and God to be glorified in all that is said and done in the work at the ALC&C.

We want to thank you once again for your interest in our lives and for your continued support of us through your thoughts and prayers.  Our daily “work” may look different now than what it did when we were in the Bahamas, but one thing has not changed.  We continue to seek to honor our Creator and bring Him glory in all we do and say.   Please pray for us and write to us when you get a moment.

God bless you!
Tim and Mindy Seeley

 

Humility and Hospitality In Action

While on our retreat for two weeks at Adirondack Bible Chapel Ministry Center in upstate New York earlier this month, we had a lot of time to study/read God’s Word, attend devotions and Bible studies, contemplate and talk about our past and future, and rub shoulders with the people at a church and ministry that knows well how to “do” or “be a” church and ministry.  The two things that stuck out the most to us is the humility in the leadership of the church and Ministry Center (the church stewards a ministry that serves people in crisis) and hospitality of the individuals in the the church body as well as the church/ministry as a whole. 

Recently we read an article from Puritan Thomas Watson.  It said:

“A humble man is willing to have his name and gifts eclipsed, so that God’s glory may be increased. He is content to be outshone by others in gifts and esteem, so that the crown of Christ may shine the brighter. . . A humble Christian is content to be laid aside if God has any other tools to work with which may bring him more glory.” 

In speaking with the retiring pastor, new pastor, and others at the church, we sensed a humble god-honoring approach to leading the flock at ABC and the Ministry Center.   They exemplified well what Thomas Watson said, and it was an encouragement to us.  Furthermore, humility is exemplified in their emphasis on the “body” vs emphasis on the “individual” person(s).  We have never seen a church that describes their staff as the entire congregation.  On their website, under “staff”, you will not find individuals pictured/listed but rather the entire congregation  is pictured (http://adirondackbiblechapel.org/about/staff).  

Hospitality and the edification and building-up of one another was also evident.  They welcomed us in; they came together regularly for times of Bible study, prayer, meals; the entire church seemed plugged in and engaged with the Ministry Center; they helped one another and took genuine interest in the lives of each other.  There was a sense of true community.  We feel hospitality is one of our gifts, but seeing this church in action taught us a lot of how to do hospitality better.   

We appreciate the time we had at ABC Ministry Center.  We have been impacted and blessed by the love, generosity, care, and service of the dear people at this church.   With hearts full of gratitude, we continue to remember them in our thoughts and prayers.

Where We Have Been

We are currently on the last weeks of our busy fall tour. We have had some awesome visits with supporters, past mission teams, friends and family. Along our journeys, God has given us some awesome opportunities to rest and learn/understand more about Him, ourselves and what it is to do ministry and be a church.  Despite the great fellowship with others, one could say we are a bit road weary, tired of living out of a suitcases and looking forward to settling down.  Settling down (if the Lord wills) will begin December 9th.

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As we mentioned, we began the month in Speculator, NY at Adirondack Bible Chapel (ABC) and Ministry Center.  ABC has been a strong, faithful supporter of ours for many years.  They strongly support missions and have been very generous and caring towards us.  

We were able to spend a weekend in the Cleveland, OH area with our friends David and Gail Herwerden and members from Grace CMA church that came to Nassau for mission trips this past summer and in 2016.   Dave and Gail have been to Nassau to volunteer on several occasions.

In La Crosse, WI we were able to spend some time with Rich and Karen Maurer (pastor from our sending church), and supporters/ministry partners Theo and Ruth Habel.   

We were able to visit with 3 of our sons and their families and our daughter in law Katie.    We treasure every opportunity we have to visit and pour into these young people.  Please pray with us for each one of them.

We were able to connect briefly with the Loge family.  They live near our parents in Minnesota and have been to Nassau often to serve at the ALC&C

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Thanksgiving Day was spent as a family at a local restaurant followed by a mini-celebration of Mom and Dad’s 60th wedding anniversary (which was that day).  Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!  You are an inspiration to all of us.  Thank you for the godly heritage, love, care, support, generosity, (and the list could go on) you have given all of us.  We love you!

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One of the events of this fall that was planned over 2 years ago was a reunion with our parents for their 60th wedding anniversary.  Tim’s parents celebrated 60 years of marriage surrounded by their 3 children and their spouses, and all but a few of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Festivities began on Thanksgiving Day and continued through the weekend.  Though many became ill with a nasty stomach virus (some still are getting sick), we all had a great time together celebrating Mom and Dad, playing together, talking, laughing, and of course eating. 

This week we are spending time with my (Mindy’s) parents in Indiana.  We will be here until we leave on December 6th to go to Tennessee to attend the wedding of Cranston Knowles (good friend of ours from Nassau and board member of ALC&C) and Susanna Flanders on December 7th.  

With Thanksgiving

Ultimately anything accomplished in us or through us, any life touched, any soul brought to Christ, any seed sown, or any project completed is a result of the grace of God.    Although we recognize this sufficiency of God and give him all the glory, we recognize that God has used others to help us and materially equip us to do the work He has called us to do. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have supported us and partnered with us in our full-time ministry work these past nearly 10 years.  We pray for you and will continue to do so as God brings you to mind.

We still do not know where God is leading us next, but we do have plans for the immediate future, and those plans include returning to South Carolina to live with my sister and brother in law.   We will continue working with and mentoring some young people that God has brought into our lives while we wait for direction from God.  We will keep you posted on what happens.

Until next time, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

 

Mission Accomplished, Mission Accomplishing

Mission Accomplished

Even ahead of our two-week hiatus (more on that in a moment), we have already had a lot of quiet road trip time with which to think and contemplate.  As we have spent time thinking over our time in the Bahamas, God has revealed some things to us.  We have seen that our mission has never been to build a ministry, but rather, our mission has been to impact lives.

Whether it was the hundreds of people that came to us through the gates of Adventure Learning Camp (on mission trips, local retreats, Friday night youth night, local visitors, tourist visits, or foreign missionary staff) or the people that we interacted with while helping at the Centre or the people we met in the community or at Kingdom Life Church, God brought people into our lives to minister to and impact for Him and His Kingdom.

With the blessing of getting to impact lives for the Kingdom, God has also blessed us with the enrichment that comes from meeting and knowing so many great people from the Bahamas and from around the world.  We have forever been changed, and we praise God for the lessons learned.

As we continue to contemplate our past opportunities to serve God and what God has in store for us in the future, we look forward to unpacking more insights into what our mission was all about and what is to come.  As the Lord reveals and allows, we look forward to sharing this with you in future blogs, so stay tuned.  God is indeed at work, and it is exciting!

Mission Accomplishing

These 4 special Bahamian young people (Celine Barr, Elton Deetjen, Kentario Mackenzie and Kevin Poitier) are like our kids to us.  This “family” picture is even a part of our family photo gallery in our sitting room, and we use it as a constant reminder to pray for them as we do for our own children.  We have a vested interest in their lives and will continue to pour and speak into their lives as the Lord allows.  Geography may separate us, but we continue to use technology to remain connected with them. 

A Season of Travel begins (Part I)

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October began with a trip to Orlando, Florida to attend Sovereign Grace Ministries annual pastor’s conference.  The time was refreshing for us as we reconnected with friends and enjoyed great worship music, preaching, and fellowship.  We even got to spend a very special meal with our Bahamas’ pastor and our pastor at our new church.

Last fall we planned ahead to this year’s vacation.  Following the Pastor’s conference (We could have not planned this better if we had tried.  God worked this all out perfectly.), we drove 3 hours south from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale, Florida where our friends (Marty and Kristina Fanning) babysat our car and took us to the airport to fly to Quebec City for our vacation.  Following our vacation, Mike and Kori Ellis picked us up at the port in Fort Lauderdale, and we got to attend church with them and eat lunch with them before heading back to South Carolina.

A Season of Travel (Part II)

Following our vacation, we prepared for part 2 of our busy fall traveling schedule with plans to connect with supporters, past mission teams/ministry staff, and family/friends.  Our first stop was in Corbin, KY to see Tim’s cousin and drop off the table we used while in the Bahamas. We then drove north to Windsor, Ontario.   While in Windsor, Ontario, we attended the wedding of Adam Greenhow and Stephanie Wittmer on October 27th.  The wedding was beautiful, and we enjoyed celebrating with Mr. and Mrs. Greenhow.  Following the wedding weekend and visiting with supporters at Grace and Truth Chapel of Windsor on Sunday evening, we headed to London, Ontario to visit with Bob and Faye Browning and past mission team members from West London Missionary Alliance Church. 

What is ahead

We will be continuing our travels to Toronto to visit a supporter and then on to a ministry center for a time of concentrated and focused (ie- totally disconnected from media, outside connections, etc.) communion with God as we debrief what we have done these past nearly 10 years and seek Him for guidance and direction for the next stage of our lives.   Before heading back home to Charleston, South Carolina on December 8th, we will be traveling to Minnesota and Indiana to see both sets of parents and our children and then to Tennessee to attend a wedding.  Please continue to pray for us as we travel, and that God would meet with us as we set time apart to pray and seek Him.

Contacting us

We have been asked for our contact information.  Here it is:

Email:  seeleyfamily87@gmail.com

Cellphone:  Tim (843) 714-7838,  Mindy (843) 209-6657

Snail Mail:   408 W. 7th North St.,   Summerville, SC   29483

Please note that on November 2nd we will be going “dark” (limited internet, no social media, no phone/text/email conversations) for 2 weeks.  We will be spending these 2 weeks praying, studying, reflecting, and seeking God’s guidance.   Of course we understand that God can use kind, inspirational words and scripture from others to bless and encourage us.  Because that is true and because we use email to receive daily updates during our devotional times, we will likely be checking emails (NOT for the purpose of correspondence of course).  So, please feel free to email us if God lays something on your heart (we just won’t respond).

If you need to get a hold of us for any reason, please contact Mindy’s sister Melissa at 843-499-1125. 

Thank you!

Thank you for your continued support and interest in our lives and ministry work.  Your prayers for us, the money you have donated to us, and the time you spent reading about us and what God is doing through us may not be totally understood and seen by any other human being, but God knows and sees what you have done.  It is a great source of encouragement to us, and we are grateful to you.  We pray for God’s blessings on you as you have so richly blessed us.

Tim and Mindy

 

Out of the Fishbowl

He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

I Thessalonians 5:24 (ESV)

In 2009 we moved into camp housing at Living Waters Bible Camp and lived on site at the Camp as we served there.  In January 2013, we moved to Adventure Learning Camp in the Bahamas and lived on site  until our departure at the end of last month.

While living and working at ALC&C, we were essentially “on the clock” 24/7.  Down time was rare.  This “fishbowl” living, as we liked to call it, was very convenient, but it was also physically and emotionally challenging.  Whereas it was great to be available when guests needed something (we never felt bothered by guests that needed us–an act of God’s grace in and of itself) or when there was an emergency situation, being on the clock constantly was very taxing to our bodies.

As we have relocated back to the States and have taken up residence in a much quieter, less demanding surrounding, we have begun to understand how tiring fishbowl living is.  We have begun to unwind and re-learn what it is to relax.  The first couple weeks were “weird”, and we have had to fight back the feelings of  “I know I need to be doing something right now?”

God has granted us peace, calmness and feelings of less stress.  Knots, aches and pains that were present for months have started to subside.  Although we pray for and are open to any “work” or ministry opportunities God brings into our path, we look forward to more rest and opportunity to recharge as we wait for direction from God.

The Last Week and Good-bye Tour

In the weeks leading up to our departure from our residence at ALCamp on August 28th, we had a lot of meetings with people to say good-bye (those are pictured in last month’s blog).  The good-bye tour continued until the day we departed.  Here are some of those moments…

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Kingdom Life Church:  Sunday, September 2nd was our last day with our church family at Kingdom Life Church.  We had a time of food and fellowship followed by a touching time of kind words of encouragement, prayer and parting gifts.  We are going to miss KLC and were greatly touched by our time together.

Mark and Kim Wallace family.  We were able to take a few minutes on Sunday the 2nd to stop in and say good bye to fellow ALC staff and his family.  It has been great getting to see these kids grow up.

Teddy and Yvonne Bootle.  Teddy and Yvonne are dear friends and former Joy Bible Camp friends that we have worked with over the years on our Friday night Youth Outreach.  We met them at this exact restaurant (Checkers) in late 2013.  

Yreille Belizaire.  No good-bye tour would be complete without a meal with this dear servant of God.  This woman is a missionary that not only spreads the Gospel to her own people in the Bahamas but also to people all around the world.  This woman is fascinating and we are blessed to call her our sister and friend.  She was our first “Joy Bible Camp” contact that first year we moved to Nassau.  Because of her, we met other JBC people and began the partnership that lead to our Friday night Youth Outreach.

Moya Strachan and her daughter Robyn.  Moya and her daughter Robyn are faithful attendees of our Friday night Youth Night.  Moya was part of Joy Bible Camp back in the day and was one of our co-leaders.  We had not had the opportunity to tell them good-bye when we had the other JBC staff over, so we made a point to stop in and see them at the school where she teaches and Robyn is a student.

Calvin and Keisha Dean family.  This family attended our church.  They were off island for 4 years living in Freeport and had just recently returned.  We took the opportunity to catch up with them and tell them good-bye.

We requested there be no dinner or going away party for us from ALC (We don’t like hoopla.  Also the ministry had had a going away dinner for Sam in August, and we did not want the financial burden on the ministry for an added dinner/party).  What we did request is one last devotion time with the ALC staff.  The day before we departed, we showed up for devotions, but it was the first real day of staff training and Pastor Cranston spoke instead.  Cranston prayed for us after he spoke, and then we said a quick good-bye to the staff.

Mary and Joseph Canter.  This dear couple are parents-in-law to our ALC office manager, Eldora Canter.  We got to know these dear people when Zachary was still on island and spending a lot of time with Eldora’s son RJ.  We also got to spend time with them following the tragic death of their son.

One last good-bye to Ms. Ada.  After leaving ALC that morning of the 4th where she was not present for staff training, we knew we needed to stop in and tell her one last good-bye.  As we arrived to say good-bye, there were tears in all our eyes.  This “Bahamas mother” of ours means the world to us, and we are going to miss her.

KLC friend and sister in Christ, Oralee Johnson, was unable to attend church on Sunday, so we made it a point to stop in and tell her good-bye.  She is our pastor’s sister, and she and her husband were leaders of the small group we were a part of the first couple years we were in the Bahamas.

Colyn and Jan Roberts invited us to their home for lunch.  We first met this couple the first year we moved to Nassau when Tim’s parents came for a visit.  Their Brethren church is in the same circle of churches that Tim’s parents attend in Minneapolis, and Jan is cousin to very good friends of ours.

We had coffee with fellow missionaries, John and Karen Stodghill.   Some people become close friends right away, and this couple is one of those people.  We are going to miss them!

The first meal we ever had on the island when we arrived that first time in August 2012 was at this Wendy’s.  We felt it was the fitting place to eat our last meal on New Providence.  So we invited the kids to join us for the “last supper.”  

Celine Barr, Elton Deetjen, Kentario McKensie, and Kevin Poitier are the 4 young people we have invested a lot of time in over the years while in the Bahamas.  Leaving these kiddos behind was very difficult.  Spending our last evening on the island with them meant a lot to us.  We pray that God continues to work in their lives.

September 5, 2018:  Good-bye, Bahamas.  Hello, USA

Saying good-bye is never easy.  As we took off from New Providence for the last time, I (Mindy) was not prepared for how sad I was going to be.  Up until that time, I was looking forward to entering the next chapter, and because I knew what it took to get to that next chapter (we had to actually leave), I was looking forward to departure day.  As I filmed our departure from the island and realized that I was seeing the island possibly for the last time, I was taken over with emotion. It was a tearful good-bye.

Where Are We?

We have relocated to Charleston, SC area.  The reason we chose South Carolina and not Minnesota is mostly because Tim does not want to endure long, cold winters.  We are currently living with my sister, Melissa and her husband, Chuck.   We have so enjoyed the time of reconnecting with family and actually getting to spend time with them.  Tim’s younger sister and her family live only 3 1/2 hours away in Hickory, NC.  We have already gotten to drive up there to see them.  Also while in NC, we got to see Bahamian friends, Donny and Barbara Maura in Asheville.  

Next Steps

Since arriving in South Carolina, we have purchased a vehicle, settled into our new home, shopped for cool weather clothing, obtained our SC driver’s license, established residency, worked on personal matters that have been put on the back burner while away and tied up with the busyness of ministry life, and visited our new church.  You will notice that we have made no mention of settling into a routine schedule.  That is because, Lord willing, we will literally be gone for the next 8-10 weeks.  

As God would providentially have it, fall is going to be filled with times of rest, rejuvenation, re-entry debriefing, 2 weddings, a family reunion for Tim’s parent’s 60th wedding anniversary, and time with supporters/family/friends throughout the Midwest, East and even Florida.  During our time away, we will be taking some time to seek the Lord for the direction He would have us go in this next chapter of our lives. 

Please be in prayer for us with all the traveling we have planned and for wisdom and discernment for this next chapter of our lives.

Regarding support

Thank you for your faithful support of us and your interest in our lives and work.  We do not take any of you for granted.  God has been so good to us and so faithful.  We marvel daily.  

Over the next few months while we travel to rest/rejuvenate/connect with supporters/find direction, we are still in need of support.  If God lays it on your heart to donate towards us during this transition time, you may do so over the next 2 months (October and November)through Shepherd’s Staff Mission facilitators (link here).

Keep in touch.  We love to hear from you.

God bless,

Tim and Mindy Seeley

 

 

 

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

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

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