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I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.
As this is our “fourth anniversary blog” (Can you believe we have been here 4 years already?), we had originally thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane and show pictures of all the changes that have taken place at Adventure Learning Camp in our tenure, but as we thought about it, we began to consider, if we did that, would that not be tantamount to bragging and saying, “look what we have done?” We have decided instead to simply say. “What an awesome God we have! May he continue to be glorified.”
God has allowed us to learn and grow through the experience of serving here. He has graciously allowed us to be His hands and feet and to be partakers of the great work being done here. Along the way we have been blessed and privileged to meet a lot of great people, serve along side other godly servant minded missionaries, face a lot of challenging ideas/dilemmas/work/people and personalities, and learn a lot about our world/human nature/ourselves. God could have done His work here all by Himself, but He has allowed us first hand to see the blessing of His work accomplished.
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge. With the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.
Psalm 71:15-16 (ESV)
How would you like to come for a week, two weeks or even a month or more and serve alongside us here at ALC&C? We are looking for a cook(s) to come and help us serve our mission teams next week, from the end of February until late March, for 2 weeks mid May, and then late June through the first week of August (minus July 23-29). If you can follow directions and do basic cooking and kitchen maintenance (aka cleaning), you can be a big help to us in the kitchen. Serving mission teams in food service can be hard work, but it is fun and rewarding. Message Mindy at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in any of the dates.
Living in The Bahamas
The end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017 were commemorated with our kids and with the ALC staff that were on site at the time. We attended service at Kingdom Life Church where we shared God’s faithfulness to us that year, then we headed over to Paradise Island to welcome in the New Year. On the night of the 1st, most went to downtown Nassau to enjoy the Junkanoo Parade.
A little blessing from God: cool weather! For us northerners, the 60-70 degree weather we have been having has been awesome. We love being able to work without sweating profusely. It is also fun to wear our “winter” wardrobe.
Welcome, New Staff!
Adam Greenhow was a visiting volunteer in November and December. He came to us from Windsor, Ontario to help with hurricane clean up. He fell in love with the ministry and decided he wanted to come back on a more permanent basis. He is helping with maintenance.
Celine Barr is from Andros, a family island between Nassau and the United States. She is with us as a volunteer facilitator at the Centre. She loves children and fell in love with the ALC when she was here in November for a visit and followed programming at the Centre. Please pray for Celine as she learns her new role and as she seeks supporters to help fund her ministry here.
Welcome back, Bob and Faye Browning! They have been coming to Nassau for over ten years. They come to snowbird here from January to March and are a huge help to all of us here at ALC&C.
Logan’s girlfriend, Anna Heinrich, came for a week at the end of December. This was her first trip to visit us here in The Bahamas. We enjoyed having her here and Logan enjoyed showing her the ministry and where he lived.
Marcia Harvey is a dear friend and made it by to see Logan and Zachary before they left the island. Marcia is Faye Browning’s cousin and a supporter of the ALC&C.
Two Calvary Chapel Academy 8th grade mission trips were here Wednesday-Sunday the first two weeks of January. Each team had more than 96 people on the trip. The trip theme is “Knowing God and Making Him Known”. It is a purposeful and evangelistic focus mission trip, and the young people experience ministry at schools, Adventure Learning Centre, Hopedale Centre, All Saints, Children’s Emergency Hostel, other orphanages, and of course an opportunity for evangelism downtown.
Keegan O’Leary came to help out on the first Calvary Chapel Academy trip for 5 days but ended up staying with us for almost 4 weeks. He helped with both CCA groups and then helped us cook for Taylor University and for our Young Adult Weekend. We sent him home this past weekend and miss him already. We hope he comes back soon. He was a huge help to us!
This is Marty Fanning and his wife Christina. Marty has been a leader on the CCA 8th grade mission trip for years. He was just recently married, and this is his wife’s first trip. We got to host them in our house during the second week of the CCA 8th grade trip.
Celine (center) got an over night visit from her two sisters, Anika and Amanda Barr. We had the girls with us for only a very short time, but we love them like we love their dear sister. They had come from Andros and were flying out the next morning to go to the USA for school.
John and Karol Paul are from New Hampshire where John is the pastor of a church. They had been visiting our friends the Bryants on Andros. The Bryants told them about the ALC&C, and we were able to host them a night while they got to know the ministry and waited for an early morning flight back to the USA. They were a delightful couple, and we look forward to future relationships with them.
Taylor University came to the Bahamas while Calvary Chapel was with us. We were able to facilitate transportation for them between airports and hotels (we had no room at the Camp) as they spent their first week in San Salvador (a family island). They returned to Nassau for their second week in the Bahamas and spent the week with us at the Camp. The school was here on a J-term course on Small Island Sustainability. This group was a great group. It so happens that Taylor University was the group that was here 4 years ago when we first arrived on the island. It was very special getting to serve this team again.
Adam’s parents Richard and Judy Greenhow were in port on a cruise, and we were able to pick them up and bring them to ALC&C to see where Adam works. Adam was encouraged by his parent’s visit and we enjoyed getting to know them.
Dean and Karin Siler, John and Hannah Siler, and Rachel Siler were on island on a cruise. We were able to pick them up at the port and take them out to lunch before bringing them back to the ALC&C for a quick tour. We served for a short while together at Living Waters Bible Camp.
Young Adult Weekend
Young Adult Weekend was scheduled for October 7-9, the weekend after the hurricane. Because of damages from the storm and loss of power, the event had to be cancelled. However, we rescheduled, and the event was held this past weekend. We had a great group of young people. Jay Seegert spoke on defending your faith. The young people received valuable information they can use as they encounter an increasing hostile, humanistic world.
Thought you would like to see the first occupants of the new cabin. Cabin 3 is finished (except the railing and benches on the porch). The 8th grade girls of Calvary Christian Academy were the first to occupy the 20 bed cabin.
Programme has resumed at the Centre. We have not reached anywhere near the number of children we usually reach by this time of year due to the hurricane, but we hope to get as many school children in as possible the rest of the year. Please pray for our facilitators as they train and work on programming and that more children will come to the Centre. We are able to reach every child that comes to the Centre with the Gospel. Pray also for Mark Wallace and Sam Robb (filling in as program director while Jen Rogers is off island for a sabbatical) as they work on getting more groups in (especially all 6th graders from New Providence government schools).
Repairs are being made. One of the most recent projects has been the roof repairs to the pavilion. Work on the front fence is slated to be started when the mission team is here next week, and plans are being worked on for the repair of the board walk into the wetlands. New, large trees were planted at the Centre where trees came down during the hurricane. Andy Cartwright continues to volunteer his time at ALC, and we appreciate the work he has done to improve the landscape of the property. Please pray for the timely repairs of the property and that God continues to provide the funds for the repairs. Please pray also for the repairs of the reverse osmosis system. We are currently having to buy bottled water because the system is down.
ALC new year babies! On January 1st, one of our goats gave birth to triplet goats. It is always fun to see new life at the Centre. Triplets are an even bigger blessing!
You may remember us introducing Chriszantio Davis last month. This young man was brought to us, and we have been able to minister to him on many levels. One of which is helping him get glasses. We noticed within hours of knowing him that he had poor eye sight. Upon getting an eye exam, his eyes were -4.00 and -3.50. He said he had not had glasses in over 10 years. We were able to order him some glasses, and he received the “gift of sight” this past Wednesday. Please pray for this young man. He has recommitted his life to Christ this weekend and will be starting discipleship meetings with Pastor Moss at Kingdom Life Church.
Marleigh’s Ministry…A mutual friend introduced us to Jill and Matt Gilmore who run a ministry that provides care packages for neonatal intensive care unit families. The care packages include mother/baby items as well as a Bible and gospel message. The Gillmores are parents of 7 children ages2-11 years old (the 4 youngest were premies) and were in Nassau on a cruise ship. The ministry is named after their youngest child. We were able to facilitate the delivery of 10 care packages to the Princess Margaret Hospital NICU here in Nassau with hopes of future deliveries. The pastor at our church has expressed an interest in assisting us with this ministry and look at it as another opportunity to serve the Bahamian community and touch the lives of Bahamian people with the Gospel.
Bus driving…Mindy said she would never drive the buses here in Nassau for fear of having to back them up. Because of needs with groups at Camp, she decided it was time to face her fears and learn. Her first passengers (after driving the small bus a few times for practice and transporting luggage) were the Taylor University crew from the airport to a downtown hotel. She waited to tell them they were her first passengers until after they arrived at their destination safely. The next week when Taylor was staying at Camp she transported them to many destinations. She even had to learn to face her fear of backing up the large bus when she was misguided into a tight lane.
Aaron continues to amaze us with all the projects he completes. He is able to get so much done, and we are so thankful for his faithful service.
We continue to work a lot. We praise God for strong bodies. The days can be long (6am-9pm, 7 days a week), but God always seems to meet us in our time of need. We have been trying to be very purposeful with taking some time “off”. There have been a couple days over the last month where we have locked our selves in and disconnected totally from the ministry. Those days along with several evenings of down time have been refreshing and revitalizing. Lord willing we will be taking a real vacation in late March. We also plan to get away for a couple days to Andros in February to visit our friends and fellow missionaries, Dave and Sue Bryant. Please pray for us that we get needed rest and honor our commitment to take care.
We were so blessed to have the boys with us until January 5th and 7th. It was hard saying good-bye to them when we don’t know when we will be making it back up their way, but we are so thankful for Skype. We have been blessed with several opportunities to “see” them via internet.
Blessed with a day out! Carolyn Guebert is the wife of the professor leading the Taylor University students. Taylor University happened to be the first team we served when we arrived on island 4 years ago. We met Carolyn and Mike back then, and we have remained in contact via Facebook. We were able to take a day and spend some time catching up.
Thank you for taking the time to get caught up with us and what is going on here at ALC&C! We sincerely appreciate your support of us in your prayers, thoughts and financial contributions. You are a blessing to us. Please be in touch. We enjoy hearing from you!
If you know me (Mindy), you know that I am textbook extrovert. I love people, am energized by people and thrive on being around people. I cannot remember a day where I have not been an extrovert. That is until a couple weeks ago. That day, I switched from being an extrovert to being an introvert, much like flipping the light switch from light to dark. It was foreign to me, and I could not understand my feelings and emotions. Yes, even we extroverts get days where we need some privacy, but on that day it was much more than that. It was beyond “I need to go in my house and shut the door to the world.” It was all that and, “I don’t want to see, talk to, or think about people.” I even found myself disliking people (not certain persons, only people in general). What made those feelings worse for me was the guilt I was experiencing for feeling so unloving. As much as I prayed that day for that feeling to go away and for my love and desire to be with people to return, it would not. As the day would pan out, God had lessons for me to learn that day.
As the day began, I found it very hard to get up and think about facing the mission team, staff and others at breakfast let alone serve them with a cheerful smile. Being greeted with “the freezer door was left open last night and everything is thawing” did not help my already troubled spirit as I entered the Camp kitchen just before breakfast, and as I worked through cooking all the meat that had partially thawed, I found myself growing more and more impatient and uncharitable to people. After the work was done, I walked home, relieved to enter my house and close the door behind me. But wait, we live on sight of the ministry which means our door is open to all. It wasn’t too long after I arrived home that someone on our staff came walking in our back door. This usually does not bother me, but all I wanted to do was scream, “Doesn’t anyone know how to knock around here?” I just smiled and pretended I was ok.
At lunch time, I had reached my limit, and began almost in tears to explain my foreign feelings to my husband, who immediately (unbeknown to me) took that as his opportunity to get me out of the house and off property that evening by saying, “I am taking you out to dinner tonight.” Almost immediately, the thought of getting away from people we know began to soften my heart, so I was able to plod through the afternoon. As we left for dinner and my excitement at finally having my husband to myself began to set in, I found myself relaxing a bit, but I still felt ornery and not wanting to see anyone I know. We had a wonderful quiet dinner and then drove out East to watch the sea reflect the rays of the setting sun behind us. Sitting on that bench with my sweethearts arm around me-just the two of us-I felt safe and at peace all the while realizing that only several miles away, a group of people I know and love were waiting for us to return. I did not want to return. In the end, I knew we must so I agreed to going back.
As we entered the Camp, we saw Aaron fixing the gate (again, poor guy), and my uncharitable thoughts towards people came back. Even as we pulled into our parking spot and started walking toward the house, my thoughts were of getting inside before someone saw us and decided to pay us a visit. As I hurriedly walked up to the porch (our car alarm was going off and Tim’s clicker was not working, so I was going in the house to get mine), I noticed through the dark screen around our porch that RJ was sitting in the corner by the door. I could also see Kevin. My immediate thought was, oh no, Zachary decided to have the young people over for the evening. I was about ready to whisper to him, “I was hoping to come home to some peace and quiet”, when all of a sudden, “Surprise, Happy 5oth Birthday!” erupted from a porch full of people. Just as the switch that morning went from extrovert to introvert, I immediately switched from introvert to extrovert again. The transformation was sudden and amazing to me. After a few tears (more out of feeling guilty for my uncharitable thoughts) and a speech of gratitude to everyone, my heart was gladdened and I once again enjoyed the presence of these dear people.
Why is this story so important? It is because of what I learned that day…I not only learned what a wicked sinner I am (I had some pretty uncharitable thoughts about people and circumstances), but I also learned what my introvert husband (and others who are like him) experiences when he is around people all the time. It gave me a sensitivity that I could never understand before. Above all, the experiences of that day showed me how God is in control and works things out for His glory and our good. Had I not wanted to be away from people, I would not have cried out to my husband at lunch; he would not have said and I willingly accepted, “I am taking you out to dinner tonight, away from this place and all the people.”; we would not have gotten away and allowed the other staff to bless me in the way they did with the surprise party; and in the end I would not have seen how God switched me miraculously from not wanting to see people to loving and embracing those dear people around me (which is exactly how I felt immediately after the “surprise” welcomed me onto our porch that night).
Please continue to pray for our bus situation. We were blessed by the addition of another very, very well used bus to our fleet of already well used buses. We were able to purchase it on the island, and although cosmetically a little rough, it does run. We could still use another nicer, more reliable bus. Buses not only transport the school children to the Centre during the school year to experience the adventures at Adventure Learning Centre and hear the Gospel presented, the buses are also heavily used to transport mission teams to and from the airport and to ministry sites around the island and to transport summer day camp children to off site outings and field trips.
As we mentioned in the June update, we had several volunteers come this summer to help out. They came at their own expense and worked under very hot/humid conditions to serve the Bahamian people and those here to serve the Bahamian people on mission trips. Thank you to all of you who came to help us serve the mission teams at Camp and the day camp children at the Centre this summer! We appreciate all you did and the time we had to spend with each of you.
Back to back to back groups and cabin construction has been the name of the game for us at the Camp this summer. We have had someone at the Camp every day (except 2 days) this summer since mid-May. A lot of ministry and a lot of progress on major construction has taken place. It has been a grueling schedule, but we have made it through by God’s grace and with the help from some very dedicated volunteers that came to help us out.
We will let the picture slide show tell the story. The local guys worked on the construction up until this past Monday. Now the rest can be completed by Tim and Aaron. It is coming right along.
We are already preparing and looking ahead to our next big construction projects at Camp: 2 new staff cottages. Cottage 2 (Pat and Janice Armstrong’s residence) and Cottage 3 (single female staff cottage) are currently located to the southeast of the dining hall. We have the permits in hand for the construction of Cottage 1 (single male staff cottage) and Cottage 4 (couple housing). Our maintenance guy, Denny, has already been working at clearing the sites for construction. We are hoping to use mission teams to help construct these cabins. Please pray for teams and materials to complete these two projects.
July Guest Groups and Visitors
Shekinah Family Ministries Summer Camp (June 29-July 1)
The last week of June into July was supposed to be a week long camp for a group of precious children from a local church, but the week long camp had to be changed to a 2 day camp because of financial hardship of the church. The joy of the children at this camp was touching to say the least, and because we got to be a part of the camp because we cooked for them, we were blessed to see the exuberance of the children. On departure day, the children were sad to have to go. Their loving leader, Samantha Evans, is such a patient kind lady and takes her job as leader of the children’s ministry at her church very seriously. It is a blessing to see this group and to serve them.
Mission Discovery 3 (July 1-July 10)
The second summer week for Mission Discovery (the third for the year) took place the first week of this month. The group that MD hosted was from Fort Worth Texas. It was a large group, and they served at 2 Haitian churches and both the girl’s school and the boy’s school. This was a mission team experienced church that did a great job teaching and discipling their young people. Of course we enjoyed the fellowship with the returning MD leaders as well.
Peace Church (July 10-16)
The Blitz Student Ministries of Peace Church from Wilson, NC has been coming to Nassau for mission trips for many years. Their leader, Brad Perry, is the youth and missions pastor of their church. He brings his wife and parents with him on the trip to chaperone, and of course we are always blessed and encouraged by these dear people. We enjoy partnerships with them in ministry and friendship. This year they worked with VBS at Pastor Bazile’s church (a Haitian church) and did work projects at Pastor Bazile’s house and around Camp. One of the tougher jobs they helped with was the trench digging to help Aaron bury a line leading to the bath house. What great servants they are!
E-team (July 16-23)
The E-team, comprised of members from 3 Sovereign Grace Ministries church in Pennsylvania and Maryland, came to help run the Music Camp at Kingdom Life Church (a Sovereign Grace Ministries Church here on New Providence which happens to also be our church). Because the team is from our sister churches, we feel a special connection with them. Zachary was able to spend the entire week as the 16th member of the team. We were excited that Zachary was able to serve alongside this awesome team. We got to spend one evening out with this team.
First Covenant Church Hamilton (FCCH) (July 16-23)
Another awesome team (our summer was full of these awesome teams) which happened to coincide with the E-team, was the team from First Covenant Church of Hamilton, Massachusetts and led by our very own Chelsea Kingston Erickson. Chelsea not only did a fantastic job of serving the community associated with Pastor Wilney Joseph’s church, Carmichael Evangelical Church, she sacrificed time home with her new husband (she was newly married in June) to lead the team to Nassau. She has a heart for the church here, and their group came alongside the church members and helped the church members operate a day camp/VBS in their community. It was such an awesome ministry that they did in that they partnered/came alongside an existing ministry to help equip the local ministry instead of taking over and running the show. Way to go FCCH! We got to spend an evening with these folks and enjoyed the fellowship and hearing from each of the team members through out the evening.
Methodist Churches of Caribbean and America Summer Camp (July 24-28)
This week we hosted another local group that ran a kids camp of their own on our property. The group consisted of 24 children ages 9-12 and 6 leaders. On one evening, a bus of 30+ teenagers aged 13-18 from the group’s church came to join the younger children for a camp fire. Camp was full of children’s laughter, bouncing basketballs on the basketball court, and the occasional stern reprimand of leaders trying to get the children to obey orders. We always love having children use this facility. After all, it is a camp, and Camp ministry is our passion.
Boy’s Brigade (July 29-August 1)
This weekend, we will be hosting a group of young boys from Abundant Life Bible Church. Our Ms. Ada (cook at the Centre) is one of the leaders of the Boy’s Brigade and brings the group here for an annual camp the first weekend in August (Monday is a holiday-Emancipation Day-so it is a 3 day weekend). We do not have pictures yet of course, but we will try to squeeze some in to next month’s blog.
Summer Day Camp has been the dominating scene at the Centre. The children have been treasure hunting here, there and everywhere. Most of all, they found the treasure of God’s Word in classes and daily interactions!
Happy Birthday to my wombmate, Melissa McDaniel, who lives in Summerville, SC! Wish we could be together for this milestone birthday. I love you, Twinnie!
Besides my 50th birthday which happens this Sunday, Tim and I will be celebrating our 29th wedding anniversary on Monday, August 1st. It is so hard to believe that it has been nearly 3 decades since we began doing life together. As we reflect back on the years and see how God has worked and moved in our lives, we are in wonder and amazement at what a great, awesome, providential God we have. Our union has not only brought about a great deal of sanctification in each of us, it has produced 4 great young men, 2 wonderful daughters-in-law, a soon-to-arrive granddaughter, an exciting life of ministry, and many joyful, treasured memories. We thank God for His blessings on our lives!
Celebrating our Passport Country’s Birthday
July 4th was a work day for us. We had a mission team here and decided to treat the team to a quick birthday celebration with decorations and traditional 4th of July picnic food. Paula Brown made a beautiful watermelon carving.
Enjoying Family and Friends
Zachary and I will be leaving for Minnesota on August 4th, and Tim will be joining us on August 23rd. We will all return to the island together on September 3rd in preparation for new staff orientation on September 5th (Zachary’s return to the States for good will come in October).
Please pray for Tim as he stays behind to hold the fort down and serve the one last mission team that is coming August 15-22. He has Aaron and Ms. Ada here with him, and Jullian Williams (a Toronto man who used to be program director at the Centre and that comes every year for several weeks) will be coming on the 17th to help serve the group for part of the week. Tim will be managing the team and staff alone.
Whew! You made it through another lengthy post. Saving these updates for once a month, though necessary because we don’t have time to do them any more often then that, makes for long posts. We really appreciate your support of us by keeping up to date on what is going on. Please contact us and let us know your thoughts. We love hearing from you!
God bless, and have a great weekend!
Tim, Mindy and Zachary Seeley
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Matthew 6:26 (ESV)
Long ago I learned the verses, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13, ESV) and “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:19). For many Christians, these are go to verses in times of trial and struggles or when they have a list of things they want or think they need.
Recently I read a “Solid Joys” devotional (from Desiring God ministries) where author John Piper challenges the reader to understand that true contentment in all circumstances is possible in that God promises us the strength to do all things and will supply all our needs. When it is perceived that a need is not being met, a person can become covetous which is “loss of contentment in Christ so that we start to crave other things to satisfy the longings of our hearts.” We need to battle back against covetousness and rest contentedly in God’s grace.
There are those who, in their attempts to encourage us, would say, “God knows what you can handle and will give you nothing more than you can bear.” Did you know that that is not biblical? It sounds good, and I confess I heard it all my growing up years and believed it, but it is wrong. God will indeed give you or allow to be given to you that which is more than you can bear. The key is, He will give you nothing more than what you can bear while availing yourself to His all sufficient grace and strength. You cannot do it alone. He will give me a too-heavy-load, but with that load, he has given me the grace to bear it through His all sufficient grace (2 Corinthians 12:9).
As this post is going to press, we are in the midst of a very busy season. We have been serving groups since May 24th, and have had someone here at Camp to serve every day since then (and will have someone here everyday until August). Add to all the groups we are serving the maintenance issues (expected and unexpected), staff training/development, new cabin construction, leadership responsibilities, enduring the heat and humidity, and not having enough staff, one can easily see why we say we have a very heavy work load.
We love serving others, and we are so thankful God has allowed us to serve Him full time here. We love being able to pour into the lives of others and minister to the needs of Bahamians and those coming to serve Bahamians. We also are encouraged as we see the work God is doing in those we are serving, but reality is we are still frail humans suffering from exhaustion (not meant as a complaint, only a fact that needs prayer).
We are in need of constant refocusing and reminders that God is in control, He is the one that provides us with strength, He supplies all our needs, and His grace is sufficient for us in bearing the heavy load he has called us to bear. He is the source of our contentment. Please continue to pray for us as we keep going and doing what we are doing. Pray also that God sends the right people to help bear the load here. Pray that we are able to recognize Satan’s attempts to defeat, destroy and discourage so we do not succumb.
Ministry Update: ALC&C
It seems like only yesterday it was January and we were welcoming Chloe Eisermann (center) to the ALC&C family, but time flew by so quickly, and it was time to say good-bye to her earlier this month. Chloe came in January to volunteer a semester as a facilitator at the Centre. We appreciate the time she was here, the opportunities to impact the lives of Bahamian children, and the ministry she was able to accomplish. Thank you, Chloe for your service. May God bless you.
They may look beautiful and colorful on the outside, but inside and under the hood, the condition of the buses tells a different story. Vehicles break down and deteriorate no matter where you are in this world, but in this salty humid climate, things seem to rust and break down quicker. Recently we did some major repair work on two of our buses. The buses are old, but praise the Lord we were able to fix them. However, this last month spent fixing the aging buses reminded us of our need to start looking into securing buses to replace our aging fleet. We hope to soon start a capital campaign to add a bus (or two) and replace the train. Please be in prayer with us as we work to raise the necessary funds. Perhaps you, your church, your Sunday School class, your youth group, etc is looking for a worthy cause to raise money for. Did you know that the buses at ALC&C are used not only to bus children to the Centre to experience programming that brings “the wonders of God’s Creation together with the curiosity of kids”, but they also are used to transport the hundreds of foreign mission team members to the various ministry sights on the island where they are serving Bahamian people and where we are “exposing laborers to the harvest through short term mission.”? Please be in prayer for the current buses, those given the task to keep them running, and for God’s provision for new buses.
God has sent us some helpers this summer to help lighten our load a bit. We appreciate the many volunteers that use their own free time/vacation time, resources and energy to fly here and work alongside us as we serve the Bahamian people and those coming to serve the Bahamian people. Many of them came as a result of pleas from staff and from notices in our newsletters and update blogs. We appreciate them and their partnership with us.
Chris and Sheila Eisermann are not only Chloe’s parents, they are also good friends of our and part of our sending church in Wisconsin. They came in early June to help Chloe return to the States and to bless us, encourage us and help us with work projects around Camp. They painted and helped manage mission team work projects at the Camp.
Connor is Zachary’s cousin and came this summer to help out with odd jobs and to spend time with Zachary before he leaves the island this fall. He mostly helped support us by helping Zachary take care of odd jobs at our house (which freed us up to do Camp business) as well as run the snack shop for Ms. Janice, serve teams at meal times, help Aaron with clean up jobs, among other things. We have enjoyed having him here. He leaves July 5th.
Karissa Salm and Lauren Thomas
Our facilitator Micah (far right) was blessed to have a group of young people from her home church here earlier this month on a mission trip. A couple of Micah’s friends, Karissa and Lauren, stayed an extra week to encourage her and to help out around ALC&C. We enjoyed getting to know these young ladies and appreciated their help in various areas.
Debbie Tuthill and Nancy Barnes
Nancy Barnes (left) and Debbie Tuthill (right) came the first full week in June to cook for the mission team we were serving. These ladies have been here before and are greatly appreciated for all they do for us and the ministry. They are from the Armstrong’s church in Delhi, New York.
Jenni Morgan, Allison Morgan, Macy Oliver and Bekah McKee
These four ladies came from my (Mindy’s) cousin’s church in Rossville, Indiana. They have been wanting to come and serve for a long time, and when they heard we needed help in the kitchen this summer and with the horses at the Centre, they jumped on the chance to come and help out. They were a great help in the Camp kitchen, and Bekah was a great help with working with the horses at the Centre. The girls also got to volunteer at the Centre’s Day Camp a couple of days. Thank you ladies for all your hard work!
Kathryn and Kinsey Nguyen
(sorry, no picture)
One of the Calvary Christian Academy 8th grade mission team members from January of this year and her mother came last week to volunteer for the first week of Summer Day Camp. They were not only a huge help in serving the children, they enjoyed the experience. They said the week went way too fast for them and are looking forward to doing it again.
Nick and Lydia Liebe
Volunteer staff and help come and go all the time. Rarely do they return. But this weekend we had the privilege of welcoming again Nick Liebe and his wife, Lydia. Nick volunteered for six weeks at Summer Day Camp in 2013. We are thrilled to have him back and the two of them together. They will be with us for 3 weeks volunteering at Summer Day Camp.
Ministry Update: Camp
We wish we could say we are kidding, but we cannot. If you will recall in our last blog post (“It is Finished”), we mentioned a series of accidents that had happened on Marshall Road. One of the accidents involved someone hitting our fence and damaging the gate. In that instance, the car did not come into the camp and just drove off without taking ownership of the damage. Exactly four weeks to the day (almost to the hour), we were awakened at 1:00am on a Sunday morning to the sound of a car coming through our fence and hitting a tree/wooded area inside our property. The gentleman was not hurt, but we suffered significant damage to our fence and gate. You may recall, Aaron had already fixed the gate twice, and with this accident, he had yet another opportunity to fix the system. We appreciate Aaron and all he does.
Ok all you construction buffs, interested supporters, and prayer warriors who have been praying for this project, here is a slide show of the June accomplishments on the new cabin. Tim and Aaron have done a lot of work along side the team of workers employed by a local man, but we have also had a lot of help from mission teams. Enjoy viewing the progress!
Bedford Free Methodist, Bedford, Indiana
Bedford Free Methodist is Micah’s home church, and they came to minister to the children of the Children’s Emergency Hostel and to help at Adventure Learning Centre and Camp. They were also here to encourage, Micah. Once particular job they got done was paint the trim in the dining hall yellow. They also did cleaning jobs and cement mixing and rock moving for the new cabin.
Grace CMA Church, Cleveland, OH
The junior high youth group along with parents (52 total) from Grace CMA church of Cleveland, OH were here the second week in June. They were a huge blessing to us and many ministries on the island. They served at Ranfurly Children’s Home, The Seahorse Institute and Bahamas Downs Syndrome. At the Camp and Centre they worked on cleaning and painting jobs, moved rock, helped with ground work around the new cabin and painted the snack shack, the dining hall and the picnic tables. They got a lot accomplished, and the Camp is more beautiful because of their diligence.
Carolyn and Cam Muir
Carolyn Muir and her husband Cam came on a reconnaissance trip to Nassau from Chicago area and stayed with us for a few days. Carolyn grew up in the same church circle as Tim, and the Muirs know a lot of the same people we know. Carolyn will be leading future mission teams here.
We were blessed by a return visit of a young man that came and stayed with us last month. He was back on the island for doctor appointments and brought his uncle with him. They were Camp guest for 4 days. I got to practice some nursing skills on him as he was injured recently while on his home island.
Orlando Football Team
The football team of a Christian school in the Orlando area were on the island again this year to conduct football camps with Bahamian children living near Abundant Life Bible Church. In the mornings they like to squeeze in manual labor work projects at island ministries. They served us again this year. Their being here coincided with the fence accident, so they were able to help us dig holes for the footings of the fence posts. They also helped move rock and dig around the new cabin.
Mission Discovery 2
Mission Discovery was back for week number 2 just last week. (Their first week was in February of this year). The teams from Pennsylvania and Kentucky were led by Rich Rhode and Nate Ryver, and Nate’s wife Cara was the worship leader. The teams served at Elizabeth Estates Children’s Home, All Saints, and a Haitian family’s home. The team members were blessed by their experiences and were glad to pour into the lives of the people they were serving. Week 3 of Mission Discovery with be the first week in July.
Final Youth Outreach Night For the Year
The final night of the 2015-16 Youth Outreach at Camp was on June 18th. We finished up the year discussing Fruit of the Spirit. We saw numbers go from 10-15 at the beginning of the year with numbers in the 30’s by the final night. We feel God blessing us and working in the lives of the young people in the South Beach area and communities surrounding South Beach.
Future Events: Clean Slate Living in September and Young Adult Weekend in October
Work has begun on two big events coming this fall. The first event is connecting a Hip Hop Ministry Team, Clean Slate Living, with youth venues here in the Bahamas and is scheduled to take place at the end of September. Last week we had a meeting with a local pastor, Pastor Q from Epic Church, that knows youth and young adults well and is very interested in the ministry of Clean Slate Living. The second event, Young Adult Weekend, is scheduled for the first full weekend in October. Please pray for both events, and pray as we endeavor to reach the youth of the Bahamas for Christ and direct them into godly living.
Ministry Update: Centre
End of the Programming Year
The 2015-16 programming year at the Centre ended strong earlier this month. Besides groups of children in all age groups coming through out the school year to experience the wonders of God’s Creation, this past school year we worked at getting EVERY 6th grade class in the Bahamas government school system on the island of New Providence to Adventure Learning Centre. We got very close to accomplishing that goal (only 2 schools did not make it). Praise the Lord! That means almost every Bahamian child leaving government primary schools on this island will enter junior high school next year having heard the Gospel!
Summer Day Camp
In a couple weeks, after submitting Zachary’s finalized high school transcript to Liberty University, we will officially be able to say, we are finished! Our classroom will be empty, and The Seeley Family Academy will close its doors forever. God called us to this task of homeschooling over 15 years ago, and after many years of work, we can relax from this significant responsibility. What a privilege it has been to pour into Zachary (and his brothers) all these years. Praise God for His work in us and for allowing us to minister to the next generation of Seeleys in this way.
On Saturday, May 21st, we were joined by Logan, Mindy’s parents, ALC&C family, Kingdom Life Church family, and many Bahamian friends for Zachary’s graduation ceremony which was held here at ALC&C. The ceremony was a blessing to many and Zachary was surrounded by the customary well wishes and prayers from many and even heard from friends and loved ones from back home in the States. Pastor Moss closed the ceremony out with prayer and some wise words for Zachary. He reminded Zachary that he is being blessed by all the prayers that were being offered on his behalf that day and not everyone receives such honor and prayers at this type of occasion. Since prayer is so very important, Zachary was truly blessed on that day. Following the ceremony, we gathered in the dining hall at Camp and enjoyed food and a time of fellowship.
Thank you everyone who came, everyone who sent video messages, those who joined us via internet live-stream, and anyone who joined us in their thoughts and prayers. We felt loved and supported!
(For those of you wondering, “It is Finished, Round 2” will be continued in October of this year, so stay tuned!)
Ministry Update: ALC&C
This month we said an early good-bye to one of our facilitators. Charlie left to go back to her home in Canada in early May. As we do with all our short term and long term staff that come and serve with us, we had a time of fellowship and prayer as we bid her good-bye.
WHAT IS GOING ON ON MARSHALL ROAD?
These last couple of months we have seen many “strange” happenings on the road outside of Camp and Centre. You may recall from our last month blog that we had a 3-car fire right outside the camp gate in late April. The first week of May we were awakened around 315am to smoke and went outside to find another car on fire outside the Camp. This car looked abandoned. Two weeks ago we had 3 accidents within 3 days from cars obviously going too fast around the curve. Just this past week, we found skid marks in the gravel and grass area outside our gate where another driver lost control of his/her vehicle. We had a meeting scheduled with someone connected with Ministry of Works to discuss what can be done about this dangerous curve out front, but the person never showed up for the meeting. Please pray for safety of drivers, pedestrians and property. It is only a matter of time before we see some major injuries and damage. The week before our front gate was hit, Aaron had worked hard to get the gate fixed: pulleys, wheels, track, gate opener. Thanks to Aaron’s abilities, he was able to get the gate and fence repaired after the vehicle hit it.
SUMMER INTERNSHIP AT ALC&C
Alexandra King (center) is a hospitality management major at College of Bahamas, and she is working with us at ALC&C as part of a summer internship program. This week she is with us at Camp, learning how to plan, prepare for and serve mission teams. We have enjoyed getting to know her and appreciate all her hard work. She will be working at the Centre and Camp until late July.
POWER SURGES/BROWN-OUTS, AGING VEHICLES, WORN OUT EQUIPMENT
This last month we have been experiencing a high number of costly, time consuming repairs to vehicles, equipment and electronics around the Centre and the Camp. Two of our four buses are out of commission right now. This is concerning because we will need all buses this summer as we transport mission teams around and the Centre needs the buses to transport day camp children on field trips.The gate opener and the mechanical parts of the Camp gate were damaged and needed replaced. In less than a week after Aaron repaired the gate, a car hit the fence/gate and messed the gate up again. Our electric company does not have the most clean, reliable service, so power surges and brown outs are common. One brown out earlier this month fried the transfer switch that switched power from the generator to BEC use. The part required to fix that fry was over $1500. Of course we are still dealing with an aging train at the Centre as well. Please pray protection and longevity of equipment, that repairs are made affordably, and that we have the right help at the right time to make the necessary repairs.
Praise the Lord, we have the permit for the new cabin and the 2 new staff cottages (a future project). We laid the forms and steel for the footings and foundation for the new cabin, had the first inspection (it failed), made corrections, and had the inspector back today. The inspector’s comment: “I wish more people were like you and do what I ask them to do.” Inspection passed!!! The sand, gravel, cement, more steel, and cement blocks are on site and ready to start the build. Hopefully tomorrow building will commence. We are so excited to have this finally underway. Please pray for wisdom and that everything goes smoothly here on out.
Ministry Update: Camp
Besides deep cleaning the kitchen and dining hall and organizing and mapping out storage cabinets/refrigerator/pantry this spring, Mindy has created kitchen procedures and put together a manual that will assist the many new weekly staff that will be coming this summer (and hopefully into the future) to help cook and serve in the dining hall and kitchen. The procedures will assist all who are serving and add a bit of professionalism and improve safe food handling.
We continue to see increased numbers at our Friday night Youth Outreach. We are blessed and encouraged by it. Some of our mission teams have helped lead the outreach this spring, and the young people seem to connect well with their USA counterparts. We continue to have “opportunities” (a nice way of saying we have some boys that are not always the best behaved) mixed into the group of delightful young people that come out each week, but we are so thankful that these “opportunities” keep coming back every week. Please pray for each child that comes, and especially for these “opportunities”. Pray also for wisdom and discernment as we deal with the increased numbers and the challenge that brings.
…for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.
Hebrews 4:10 (ESV)
Satan tries to convince us that rest is for lazy people who are not serious about serving God. How wrong He is! Rest, properly applied, is not only biblical in and of itself, it is also testament to one’s faith in God (Hebrews 4:10). Perhaps that is why Satan works so hard to discourage us and tempt us to keep plugging away at life and ministry work and not taking time to rest.
For 5 days earlier this month, we were able to get away from the Camp and get off densely populated, noisy New Providence Island and go to a sparsely populated, quiet island southeast of here called Exuma. While away, despite the less than ideal lodging arrangements (when we arrived on the island we found out the cottage we rented was double booked resulting in us having to stay in a rundown smelly fisherman’s cottage), we were able to get a couple personal projects done, explore a “new” Bahamian island, spend quality time together away from the pressures of ministry life here at ALC&C, and most importantly take some time to rest and relax.
Coming back so relaxed and refreshed and being confronted with the heavy work load that did not miraculously go away while we were gone, we found ourselves almost feeling guilty for leaving. At least, we were conflicted as to whether we should feel guilty of not. Providentially, we never reached the point of total guilt, and by Sunday God had prepared another reminder and reinforcement that our going away to rest was indeed good.
Our pastor spoke on Ecclesiastes 2:18-26. In that sermon, Pastor Moss reminded us that to rest along with joy and contentment in our work is a gift from God. He said, “Taking seasons to worship and rest, is an expression of faith in God.” There needs to come a day in our labors where we stop and trust God by taking time, in faith, to step back and rest from our labors and not spend ourselves.
As I (Mindy) sat there listening to Pastor, God spoke to my heart saying, “Do you trust me? Do you have faith in me? Then, rest! Let go of all that you think is important and needs to get done, and rest in me. That is showing me you have faith in me.” Wow! How freeing. How humbling. How convicting. We can work at what He has called us to do and still take time to rest knowing that in His strength, power and timing, we can accomplish what needs to get done. Furthermore, if something doesn’t get done, was it supposed to get done in the first place? We can be content in what we get done or what we don’t get done, knowing that God is in control.
So, for those of you (and there are many of you out there) who are consistently inquiring how we are doing and if we are taking time to rest, be assured that we have been enlightened to our failure and have confessed our sin of pride and self-reliance in this area. Although we realize our days of being “on the clock 24/7” are far from being over, we intend to be more purposeful at expressing our faith in God by resting!
Now for some “restful” pictures of our trip to beautiful Exuma!
Ministry Update: ALC&C
This week we welcomed a short term missionary staffer, a young man from Wisconsin. Jesse Keizer is here to help with Summer Day Camp at the Centre. He has been helping with chores around the Centre these last couple of days but will soon be helping with Day Camp preparations. He was a huge help this week when we were out fighting the fires (see below). He has experience with camp ministry and mission trips. We are glad to have Jesse here to serve with us and look forward to getting to know him.
We are still in need of kitchen help for July 10-24 at Camp, and the Centre is in need of Summer Day Camp staff. As we look to the fall, we could use facilitator staff for the Centre. If you or anyone you know is interested in a short term mission experience or a longer term commitment to serve along side us here at Adventure Learning Centre and Camp, please contact us. Please pray that God sends the right people.
Earlier this month board members met to conduct ALC&C business. Following the meetings, they blessed the ALC&C staff with dinner at Lucciano’s. We enjoyed the food and fellowship together and even celebrated the first half of the year birthdays with a special cake.
Ministry Update: ALCAMP
You may recall from our blog post in January, 2016: Dread or Delight?, this is a huge transition year for us.
In two months, our homeschool classroom will empty, and in a little over 6 months, Zachary will be returning to the United States to begin the next chapter of his life. As we contemplate Zachary’s departure and try to enjoy every day we have left with him, we can’t help but thank God for the blessing and opportunity we have had in getting to raise this awesome young man. God has done a miraculous job in molding and shaping him into a godly man, and we are so proud of him. More importantly, we thank God for his heart and desire to live a life that honors and glorifies his Creator.
We have planned to honor Zachary with a simple graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 21st here in the Bahamas. The invitation is open to everyone (please RSVP to email@example.com). We are looking forward to Grandma and Grandpa Mikels and Logan joining us to celebrate this time with us, and we would love it if you could join us. Let us know if you are interested. If you are not able to attend Zachary’s graduation (and that is probably >95% of you), we would appreciate your thoughts and prayers for him.
Upon leaving Nassau in October, Zachary will be living with his grandparents in Indiana and will continue to take Liberty University Online courses. Please pray for him in this time of transition. Besides normal challenges faced by all new college students, he will be coming off a foreign missionfield, and as such, will need to find his first gainfully employed job, learn to drive, and adjust to American culture again.
Please pray for the following staff needs.
Camp: Summer cooks
The Bible says there is nothing new under the sun, and that includes working through busy Camp schedules with little staff and few days off. Three years ago we served mission teams all by ourselves. Of course then we went into it with a relatively light schedule compared to what our schedules are now and not fully understanding what lie ahead. We survived the busy, do-it-yourself schedule, but it was difficult. This year we face a year of serving teams with just us and our office manager (you may recall Bob and Judi left in January), but unlike 3 years ago, we have a busier schedule. We have teams here from May 24-August 1. Although we are not unduly anxious, we realize we need to be proactive and get the word out: we need help!
Primarily we are looking for people who can come and help us cook for the groups. This year we organized the kitchen, set up a system, and documented clearly what needs to be done for each meal, so almost anyone willing to learn, work hard and has some leadership and organization abilities can do the job. We could also use people who can come and be support staff (ie bus driving). If you have a desire to serve the Lord on a foreign missionfield (for a week, two weeks, a month, two weeks, etc), please let us know of your interest by email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). It is hot, hard work, but it is rewarding, and you get to meet a lot of great people and minister alongside other missionary staff.
Centre: Summer Day Camp Counselors, Program Facilitators
The ALCentre holds an annual Summer Day Camp for 5 to 12 year old children for 5 to 6 weeks in the summer. Activities include a required bible class, sports, dance, crafts, animals and science. We utilize our animal petting farm, nature centre, playground, nature trails, wetlands, and planetarium to share God’s love with campers and each other. The teacher/counselor to camper ratio is approximately one to five which provides a safe and intimate Christian environment in a super fun setting. If you (or someone you know) are over 18 and faithfully walking with the Lord and are interested in ministering to children and volunteering as a short-term missionary this summer by being a counselor at Day Camp, please contact us.
We are also looking for program facilitators. Program facilitators help run and maintain programming at the Centre through out the school year. If you (or someone you know) are over 18 and faithfully walking with the Lord and are interested in ministering alongside other missionaries and local staff for the next school year or indefinitely, please contact us.
Thank you and Good-bye!
Last week we as a staff said good-bye to 3 fellow laborers who have been here since December (Bob and Faye Browing) and January (Tobias Jaton) shouldering the burden of ministry work with us. We made commemorative video for them and if you would like to view them, here are the links:
Special thanks is also in order for Debbie Tuthill. She is friends with the Armstrongs and was here for 3 weeks to help us cook and to provide her artistic abilities to props for Easter Monday Funday. We could not have served the groups the way we did without her. She was a blessing.
Thank you Bob, Faye, Debbie and Tobias, for all the work you have done!
Please pray for the ALC&C reverse osmosis system. It has been broken down a good part of the last month. Tim has been doing what he can to try to diagnose and repair it. We have had some challenges getting repairmen to come and look at the system. In the meantime, we have had to order bottled water delivery. It is amazing how much we take things for granted.
Whirlwind. That is how we can describe the month of March. Besides normal day to day work needs around Camp, we had 5 different mission teams (3 at one time), one local group, and many visitors. We have also been helping where we can to get ready for ALC&C’s big fundraiser, Easter Monday Funday.
The new cabin permit is getting closer to being completed, but it is still not in hand yet. Please pray this gets done soon!
Aaron continues to amaze all of us with the work projects he is getting done. We have tried to chronicle most of them in pictures, but he does some projects without us knowing about them until after they are done. He is a huge blessing with his maintenance and cleaning abilities.
We continue to see increase in numbers for our Youth Night. God has brought us some great young people to impact for Him. Three boys in particular are challenging, but we continue to love them and encourage them. Mission teams, TKA and Woodlands (see below), worked with the outreach on 2 consecutive Friday nights, and it was a blessing to see the involvement and interaction between the Bahamian young people and their USA counterparts. We would like to promote more interaction between mission teams and our Friday night Youth Outreach.
Mission Teams, Local Groups and Visitors
At the end of February, Mission Discovery brought in a team from Las Vegas, Nevada. We enjoyed getting to serve this team with the leaders of MD. Usually MD comes in the summer. This February/March trip was a nice deviation from the norm.
Eighteen students from James Madison University’s Recreation Centre have been coming to Nassau for many years to serve the physical education department at Uriah McPhee Primary school. They arrived Friday afternoon after the Mission Discovery group left. We enjoyed hearing the stories these young people brought back to Camp each day.
The day after JMU arrived, we welcomed two more teams to the Camp (yes, we had 3 mission teams at Camp at one time.) Judson University is from the Chicago area and was led by our board member, Stacie Burtelson. The group served at Adventure Learning Centre (programs and work projects) and at All Saints Camp. They got a lot of painting done at the Centre. The front gate looks great!
The King’s Academy from Florence, SC is a group of mostly 8th graders who came and ministered at Abundant Life Bible Church, Children’s Emergency Hostel, BAPD, ALC&C, our Friday night Youth Outreach, and a Haitian Church. We spent a lot of time with this group facilitating team building, directing work projects, and guiding their days through their ministry sites. We really enjoyed getting to know the young people, and were blessed by them as they prayed around us one evening after we shared our testimony and how God brought us here to The Bahamas. We received some great comments and testimonies from the young people on this team after they returned home. We praise God that He allowed us a small part in impacting these kid’s lives.
This year we welcomed back the eleventh graders of Woodlands Church in Stevens Point, WI. The team was led by Pastor Heath Erickson and was here for a week. The group served at the Centre and Camp (led Youth Outreach on Friday, did work projects), All Saints Camp, and BAPD. Serving at BAPD, though brief was the highlight of the week for many in the group.
Good-Friday evening, we welcomed over 50 people from Rebirth Ministries to Camp for an evening/overnight retreat. We pray that God impacted the lives of the young ladies this ministry ministers to.
Visits from family and friends are so important for all our staff. This past couple weeks, many of us were blessed by visits from family: Lee and Jan Seeley (Tim’s parents), Debbie Tuthill (friend of the Armstrongs), Vance and Jan Armstrong (Janice’s brother), and the Godsey family (Micah’s family). Though painful to let go when it is time for them to leave, all of these visitors bring such blessing and encouragement!
Brief visits are also an encouragement to us. We believe God brings people into our lives at just the right time and for a specific purpose. We call them divine appointments. This weekend, a gentleman walked into our front gate and introduced himself as Wolfgang Ebener (he had taken a taxi downtown from the airport then a bus from downtown to here). He is here for only a day from Germany. He is visiting family in Florida and wanted to come back and revisit the ALC. We welcomed him in and had a great time fellowshipping with him, hearing his story and finding common friends and acquaintances (Theo Habel, Randy Grebe, Ditthardt family). Ricardo Stubbs was influenced 10+ years ago by Phil Barker and was on sight to speak at the Rebirth Ministries program at Camp. Phil Barker was here last week with Woodlands and is staying over. Betsy who was here on the island through a cruise yesterday had been on a mission trip 3 years ago (and has stayed in contact with us on Facebook). Susanna Flanders is friends with our good friend Cranston Knowles. Cranston brought her and the Miller family from Bill Rice Ranch here to see the ministry.
(Though not all inclusive, here is a little highlight of what is going on at the Centre. We often times are out of the loop at what goes on at the Centre, not because we are disinterested because we have our hands full at the Camp. If you want more on what is happening at the Centre, Jen has a great blog!)
Jen Rogers is the current program director. She has been doing a fantastic job at leading the facilitator staff through day to day programming at the Centre and after school Adventure Clubs. In Feburary, 1301 students from 27 schools came to Adventure Learning Centre. That means over 1300 Bahamian families were touched with the gospel in that month alone!
Easter Monday Funday (EMF) continues to dominate the Centre’s attention. EMF is one of our two Fundays for the year that is a fundraiser for the ministry as well as a gospel outreach. Please pray for God’s working on the event. Staff at the Centre will be getting some much needed down time this next week after the EMF. Pray for their rest time. The work here is often times long and hard, and they need to be refreshed.
The Centre is getting a facelift. As with everything else, over time landscaping becomes drab and run down. A revitalization of the landscape at the Centre has been taking place. Of course, it will take a few growing seasons to show its full benefit, but the time and effort we put into it now will make it all worth it in the end. Andrew Cartwright is donating his time to help with the plan and we are looking to local nurseries for donations of plants in exchange for recognition. Thank you, Andrew, for your time and expertise!
What started out as an assignment for school has now become an every week occurrence for Zachary. He has been volunteering his time to help in the office at the Centre every Thursday. He helps the office staff answer phones, and he does the weekly clean-up of the surveillance camera SD cards.
At the end of Feburary, we flew to Indiana so Tim could attend a charitable giving conference in Chicago. Zachary and I stayed with my parents and got some projects and shopping done. After the conference and a couple days visiting family, we flew to Cleveland, OH to meet with a mission team that is coming in June. We had a great time getting to reconnect with Pastor Ryan and Pastor Scott, meet their wives, the mission team members and Ryan’s former assistant Pam and her family, and share the ministry and Bahamas culture with the team.
This is Iva Hepburn and her son Alexander. We attend Kingdom Life Church together, and they are in our Care Group. She blessed me by coming and helping me clean my very dirty, neglected house. She has been in need of work, and I have been in need of deep cleaning my house. We hope to work together again.
Tim’s parents came for 10 days, and their presence was just as much an encouragement to the ALC&C staff as much as it was for us. Thanks Mom and Dad for the pizza, Chinese Food, and DQ cake! We appreciate all the help you gave us while you were here. We loved having you guys.
Thank you again to all of you who battled through another very long update. We appreciate you interest in our work and our lives.
May God be glorified!
Tim, Mindy and Zachary Seeley
So, it has finally arrived: 2016. My heart is screaming, “Let it not be so! I am not ready for the huge changes this year is going to bring. I am not ready to give up my role of full-time mom!” This sentiment will come as no surprise to those of you who know me well. I have always loved being a mom and have long since dreaded an empty nest (and empty classroom). But 2016 has arrived, and I must face it.
Now the question is, am I going to face it with dread or with delight?
As I come to terms with the potential pain that this year represents, God, in His divine, well thought out ways, has softened the blow this year is threatening to deliver by sending us great news (more on that later) and messages/reminders of who we are and why we are here on this earth as a way to helping me adjust my perspective.
This past Sunday, our pastor preached on I Corinthians 10:31, which interestingly enough happens to be the “Seeley Family Academy” theme verse. The verse in the ESV version says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” God called us to parent Andrew, Garrett, Logan and Zachary into adulthood for a season. All we did as parents was to be done to the glory of God. I wish we could say we did it perfectly, but we cannot. Nonetheless, as that season of day to day parenting comes to an end and we enter the next season of our lives, our call remains to “do all to the glory of God.” Who am I to dishonor God by maintaining a wrong perspective of this next season of our lives?
This past Wednesday, friend/ALC&C board member/pastor of Abundant Life Bible Church, Pastor Cranston Knowles was with us for ALC&C staff devotions. What he shared was a huge encouragement to all of us. I won’t take the time to share all he said here (I hope to focus on it next month), but as I listened to what he said, I could not help but think of my current situation as I adjust my perspective of this year. One of the points he said was, “Don’t doubt in the darkness what God has revealed in the light. Knowing God has called you here will be the anchor to ground you in tough days.” Three years ago this very weekend, God called us to the Bahamas and made our path here smooth (you may refer back to past blogs for testimony to this). God has used his call and smooth orchestration of us getting here as a source of encouragement. I can rest in the fact that we are where we need to be. No matter how much I long for the past or want to be with absent loved ones, I can rest in knowing I can be content where I am because I am where God has called me to be.
Does this mean I am not going to be sad when we take Zachary back to the States this fall or that I will never long to reach out and cuddle the little boys I see in photos or experience the messy, loud, crude, rambunctiousness of my 4 little boys in my house? I don’t think so. I am quite sure I will have my times of tears and sadness, but I know who walks beside me and sustains me. As much as my flesh wants me to face 2016 with dread, my perspective of eternity and theology of a loving, sovereign, providential God allows me to face 2016 with delight. So bring it on!
We thank God for the memories and for the years He gave us to raise these boys!
Welcome Aboard and Welcome Back
We would like to introduce three of our newest ALC&C staff: Garnet Hepburn (left) is our new animal and grounds caretaker at the Centre. Chloe Eisermann (center) is from Wisconsin and will be a facilitator at the Centre until June. Aaron Mills (right) is serving in Camp maintenance and housekeeping and helping IT needs across both campuses.
Bob and Faye Browning are back on the island for 3 more months. This is their eleventh year of coming and snow birding with us from Ontario, Canada.
Jen Rogers has been our curriculum writer and a facilitator at the Centre for the last 2 1/2 years. With Dilan Van Ryn’s departure in December, Jen has taken over the education and facilitator oversight portions of the program director position. Tika Penn, who has been a facilitator at the Centre for 4 years is now doing the events coordinator portion of the program director position. Please pray for these ladies as they minister in their new roles.
Future Mission Teams and Prospective Staff
In December, God gave us the opportunity to meet in Charleston, South Carolina with a mission team that is possibly looking to come back to Nassau for another mission trip this summer. The group led by Mamie Rand came for the first time this past June. We attended church with Mamie and her family on Sunday morning, and while at Seacoast Church, we were able to meet with the missions pastor. After church and lunch, we met with families interested in coming on the trip and shared a slide presentation of the ALC&C ministry and the Bahamas culture.
Also while in South Carolina, we were able to meet with the leader of The King’s Academy mission team that is coming in March. After our meeting with Betty Levinier to iron out scheduling details, we got to visit with friends, Peter, Patti and Parker Rau and tour Operation Mobilization’s offices.
While in North Carolina between Christmas and New Years, we met with the daughter of a fellow Bob Jones University student who is interested in working at the ALC’s summer day camp program this summer. Please pray for Grace Gillespie as she makes plans to come to Nassau to serve Bahamian children.
Calvary Chapel Academy 8th Grade Mission Trip
Since our return to Nassau on January 2nd, we have been busily preparing for and serving a group of students and their leaders from Calvary Chapel Academy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The school sends their 8th grade class on the Bahamas mission trip every year at this time. The first week we had about 95 students/leaders and the second week we had about 90 students/leaders. The team has a very evangelistic focus: Knowing God and Making Him Known. They served at orphanages, government schools, All Saints Camp, and Adventure Learning Centre. They also spent some time down town sharing the Gospel with tourists and Bahamians.
We are looking for a great year of out reach to the youth in the South Beach area. Meetings started again this week with about 12 young people coming. Last weekend the leaders met to do a walk about around the neighborhood to advertise the weekly meetings and discuss the schedule. Please pray for the meeting’s impact on the young people and for the staff as they work with the young people.
Well, nothing as changed since last month’s blog. We have been in contact with the architect that is working on fixing the problems that the Ministry of Works has flagged on the prints, but nothing has moved forward. So, we keep praying and asking the Lord to work in this. In a month, it will be a year since we started this process. Please pray it gets completed soon!
They say a picture is worth a thousand words; what is the value of a video? In this case, it is priceless. Why are we sharing it? Because we want everyone to see what a valuable tool the train is to the ministry work we do at the Centre. It is not just a “fun” event for the children, it is also an integral part of some of the programs. The problem though is the train is limping along. It needs to be replaced. We are looking at a $120,000 price tag for a train replacement (that is the cost of the train, duty, VAT, and shipping to the island). Please be in prayer that funding for the train comes in.
The “great news” we spoke of in the opening section is the timely announcement of a new addition to the Seeley family. Garrett and Abby told us with a clever Christmas present that they are expecting their first child in August. We are looking forward to our new roles of “Grammy and Grampy” and pray God blesses our son and daughter as they prepare for the baby’s arrival and raising our grandchild for the Lord.
While in South Carolina in December we were able to get a lot of supply shopping/packing done and spend Christmas with my sisters and their families. After Christmas we travelled to North Carolina to spend time with Tim’s family. We met some great-nieces and nephews and attended a nieces wedding on New Years Eve. Garrett and Abby and Logan and his girlfriend Alex were also in North Carolina, so we got to spend some time with them. Andrew and Katie did not come south this year. We will get to see them in February when they come to Nassau for a visit.
Praise the Lord for new staff, opportunities to serve, and blessings that come from ministering to the mission teams and those who come to the ALCentre
Winter/Spring guest group schedule at Camp and programming at the Centre: pray God prepares hearts and that the Gospel is proclaimed
That the new staff and staff filling new positions adjust to their new roles well
Installation of new board members and executive director
Missionary staff needs: cook, facilitators
Replacement of the train
Wisdom and discernment in our relationships with one another and as we serve the Bahamian people and those coming to serve the Bahamian people.
Thank you for taking the time to get caught up with what is happening here in The Bahamas at Adventure Learning Centre and Camp.
Tim, Mindy and Zachary Seeley