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Sooner Rather Than Later

 

Early this year we handed in our resignation (dated January 7, 2018) for the Camp Director position at Adventure Learning Camp.  In that resignation letter, we offered to stay on as Camp Director to help with the transitioning to a new Camp Director until January 2019  but sooner if a new Camp Director was found.  

As we have been praying through our transition, we are seeing more and more that it is much harder then we expected it to be. Our desire and fortitude is waning.  Unfortunately, serious family issues are weighing us down and playing into our decisions as well.   With that, we are sensing the Lord saying that the end needs to be sooner rather than later.   We are seeking an earlier transition than previously expected.  

Knowing the calendar and the seasons of both the Centre and the Camp, we feel with the new school year starting in early September and a new accompaniment of staff arriving at the beginning of the school year, an early September departure would be an appropriate time.  It is only 4 months early, and it will also let the new staff and leadership jump in and take the reigns of the Camp. With the new team, a new sense of synergism can begin afresh. 

Our departure date is Wednesday, September 5, 2018.  We will initially be landing in Summerville, South Carolina where Mindy’s sisters and their families live.  Our plan is to take a few months to rest, heal, regroup, pray and seek God to find out what he would have us do.  We will also be attending a Pastor’s conference in October and taking a pre-planned vacation (who would have known but God that the conference and vacation would fall at about the same time we would be leaving and needing time to refuel and rest).

 It is still unclear what direction God has for us.  We are confident that He is already working out all those details, and so we will continue to focus on this busy summer schedule and finishing strong here at Adventure Learning Centre and Camp.  Though this is a tough season for us right now (personal and ministry), we feel God’s grace meeting us in our time of need.

Support/Need

To all of you who have supported us:  We value you and all you have been for us over these last 5 1/2+ years here in the Bahamas and the 3 1/2 years before that at the camp ministry in Wisconsin.  Without your partnership with us, we would have not been able to complete the mission work God called us to do.

Though we leave the Bahamas on September 5, 2018, the financial need will continue for a few months. Gainful employment is not on the radar as yet, and there will also be travel and relocation expenses.  When we moved to The Bahamas, what we didn’t bring with us (vehicle and household items in particular), we gave away or sold.  What we brought with us, with a few exceptions,  we are selling or giving away here (costs too much to take back).  Add deterioration of things from this salty, humid climate (clothing and electronics in particular), and we will not have much when we return. Please know that we have a healthy, godly perspective on money and possessions.  Neither of us desire to accumulate a lot of “things”.  We see “things” as only tools to be used to do what God calls us to do on this earth, and excesses of these “things” are not what we desire.

Our mission organization, Sheherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators,  will be collecting tax deductible funds on our behalf until November 30, 2018.  Our last pay out from them will be December 7, 2018.  If you would like to contribute to our relocation expenses or donate to our monthly living expenses for now until November, you may do so via this link:  Shepherd’s Staff Mission Facilitators.

We appreciate your generosity.

Ministry Update

Changes continue at Adventure Learning Centre and Camp.  Honestly, we are so focused on and busy serving our groups and planning for our upcoming groups, we are a little out of the loop with what is going on at the Centre and our executive director’s new plans for the Camp.  We apologize for that.  This update will have to focus on what we know.  Our co-laborer, Jen Rogers, has a great blog as well.  Her update is a great resource as is the ALC&C Facebook page.

End of School Year, Staff Development, Good-byes

Early this month we had staff development days where we were blessed and encouraged by a guest speaker (see below).  We also got together for a staff vision meeting with our executive director, Kenneth Romer.  During the meeting, we took the time to thank and say good-bye to 4 staff members that will be leaving ALC&C this summer.  Adam Greenhow served in maintenance November 2016 – June 16, 2018. Stephanie Wittmer served as a facilitator August 28, 2017 – June 16, 2018.  Debbie Degen served as facilitator for 8 months at the Centre (November 2016-July 2017) and then as an assistant for 9 months at Camp (October 2017-July 9, 2018).  Sam Robb has served at Adventure Learning Centre since the mid 2000’s and will be leaving to serve on the OM’s Logos Hope ship in early September. We wish them all well in their next adventure.

Living in Community

We have had a great group living at Camp this year.  We had one last “family” meal followed by the dreaded family photo earlier this month before things got busy and some started leaving.  There have also been opportunities for game nights and beach trips with the gang on our rare “down times”.  

Getting Ready for a Busy Summer

Let the craziness of summer begin!  A lot of time goes into planning for and preparing for mission teams to come.  There is facilities to clean and prepare, maintenance issues to tend to, staff meetings to have so we are all on the same page, menus to plan for, food and supplies to purchase, schedules to finalize and work through, bus driving assignments to figure out, etc.  Soooo much to do!  All for one purpose: serving everyone who comes to Adventure Learning Camp with excellence.

Final Youth Night

Our last night of youth night was June 8th.  We were able to have one final opportunity to meet with the small groups, celebrate our graduating 12th grader Gabby Hanna, and fellowship with pizza and Dairy Queen treats.

Groups/Visitors

Joan Godsey and her friend Ruthann were on island June 2-7 to bless and encourage the ALC&C staff.  They lead a seminar on self care and met/prayed with individual staff members.  

A group of Navigators (a national college ministry organization) from he USA were on island and came to ALC&C to serve with various service projects.  They did a lot of jobs that staff do not have time to finish.  They also helped us at Camp get everything ready for our first group.

Micah Godsey (left) and her friend Caitlin Jones came on June 5.  Micah is no stranger to ALC&C as she was a facilitator 3 years ago and has been coming summers and spring breaks ever since.  She will be serving with us until July 17.  Caitlin was here for little over a week volunteering at the Centre.

Team Loge!  Nathaniel and Jesse Loge and their children (June 13-July 17), Bridgette and Zach Brown (June 20-July 3), Marcus and Christian (June 24-July 3), and Catherine (June 24-July 11)  have been on site helping at Camp and the Centre’s Day Camp.  We have appreciated their partnership with us.  The Loges were here last summer serving alongside us as well.

Grace Christian Missionary Alliance from Cleveland, OH was in the Bahamas on their mission trip June 9-16.  They worked with ALC&C, Calvary Bible Church, United Missionary Alliance Church, Bahamas Down Syndrome and  Bahamas Association of Physically Disabled.  They helped with painting, mixing cement for the new staff cottage foundation walls, building the playhouse at the Centre that was destroyed by the hurricane, cleaning, moving wood piles, and many more projects.  They got a lot of work accomplished and were a tremendous blessing. 

Dave and Gail Herwerden have been coming to volunteer at ALC&C for a couple of years now.  This year they came as part of their church’s mission team (Grace CMA) and then staid a week longer to help.  Dave worked on buses and Gail helped me at the Camp.

Calvary Chapel (Plantation, Florida) Six 7/8 youth group came June 16-23rd and served the ALC&C, United Missionary Alliance Church, and Children’s Emergency Hostel.  They were great helpers as they did various jobs at the Centre and helped at the Camp to lay rock that had been washed away by the 2016 hurricane.

Laurel Highlands FCA has been coming for years with Mission Discovery, but this year they came alone.  Their leader is Kayla Zambanini.  They came June 17-23 and served in the same Haitian community that they have served at for many, many years.

Work Projects 

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We have had some extra hands around the Camp and Centre this month doing projects.  We are so thankful for all the work that has been accomplished.

Summer Day Camp

Adventure Learning Centre has been running their annual Summer Day Camp since June 18th.  They have been ministering to 50-67 children each week.  Pray as the staff continue to serve during the hot, humid days and that the campers will see the love of Jesus in the staff and hear the clear Gospel message.  

Personal Note

Some of you know that we have been experiencing some trials.  God has been teaching us lately to lean more on him and rely on the promise that “all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.” (Romans 8:28). This is not a flippant, prosperity-gospel, name it claim it sort of way, but rather a promise from God that He will take everything and make something good out of it.  And one very important lesson about the definition of “good” is that it is “good” as it is defined by God and not by us.  Please pray that we continue to experience God’s gracious peace.

Thank you for your support of us and the Adventure Learning Centre and Camp.  We appreciate every prayer, encouraging thought and word, and dollar given.

Grace and Peace,

Tim and Mindy Seeley

 

 

Like a Lion

Using the phrase, “In/out like a lamb/lion”, to describe the month of March as it relates to the weather was a popular phrase I heard as I was growing up in Illinois.  March was said to have come in or out like a lamb if the weather was balmy, non-snowy and nice but in/out like a lion if it were cold and snowy.  Here in The Bahamas, the weather is not an issue, but the “busyness” here at Adventure Learning Camp can be described in terms of “In/out like a lamb/lion”.

March is very busy and rarely comes in or goes out in any way other than a lion.  March is Spring break time, and that means, like summer, we have a lot of visitors/guests.  In the first 2 weeks of March alone we saw 5 mission teams, 5 individuals/families/couples, 2 sets of guests from the cruise ship (third one had to cancel), and several visitors coming to see the Camp for future booking possibilities.  For 2 weeks straight we burned the candle at both ends (530am-10pm) every day serving guests (with a smile), cooking/preparing 3 meals a day, transporting, cleaning, juggling schedules, working through ministry contacts, etc.  Although we had a week of no guests in the middle of March, we could not stop because we have a very busy summer mission team schedule that we have started planning for.

How do we do it you ask?  Well, very carefully and under strength not of our own making.  I Thessalonians 5:24 (ESV) says, “He who calls you is faithful: he will surely do it.”  In other words, He has called us here to labor for this season in camp ministry, and He has equipped us to do the work.   After these seemingly brutal periods of work, I look back amazed at how we even survived, but every time we do.  All praise goes to God for that.

Although March came in like a lion and will be going out like a lion in terms of busyness, we find great joy in the fact that God keeps sending us people to serve and minister to.  We take pleasure and find great joy in partnering with God in the work He is doing here at the Camp side of the Adventure Learning Centre and Camp ministry.

Ministry Update

Camp Groups and Visitors

Let March madness begin!  From planning group’s schedules and logistics to airport pick-ups to cooking meals to group orientations, it is all part of what we do to welcome and serve groups.  These groups experience missions, hear and see the Gospel lived out in the ALC staff, and support the ministry so the Centre can continue its mission to bring the Gospel to all the children of the Bahamas.

James Madison University sent another team to serve at Uriah McPhee Primary School March 2-9.  They have been coming to Nassau for 15 years and serving in the schools athletic department.

Keith and Greg (far left) from Tomoka Christian Church in Florida came for a site visit.  They anticipate staying with us at the Camp and working with Bob and Donna Mastin in the fall.

March 3-10 St. Francis University from Loretto, PA brought a team to serve at the Bahamas Association of Physically Disabled, Children’s Emergency Hostel, Stapledon Primary School, and ALC&C.

Nathaniel Loge and his daughter Bailey connected with us last winter through Tim’s sister in Minnesota.  They came a year ago March to volunteer for a week and then came back with their whole family last summer to volunteer at the Centre’s Day Camp program for a month in June/July.  They came back and served alongside us again this year on March 6-19th.  They are planning to return again in June as a family to serve alongside us here at Camp and the Centre Day Camp.

Denise Young has become a dear friend of mine.  She found the ALC on line and messaged us back in the fall of 2013 about coming to visit the ministry while in port on a cruise, and when we agreed to pick her up at the port, we developed a friendship that has lasted til this day.  She comes for a week every year to help us cook for groups.

Kayla Zambanini has been coming to Nassau with her mission team lead by Mission Discovery for 15 years.  This year she decided to go it alone.  Her team will be coming in June, but she came for sevearl days in early March to plan and prepare for the team.

Mark and JerriAnn Hewitt came through Nassau on a cruise on March 8th.  I went to high school with JerriAnn and her sister. We were able to pick them up at the cruise port and bring them to the Camp and Centre for a tour.

Derrick Parsons brought a mission team 2 years ago to the Bahamas and worked with Bilney Lane orphanage.  He stopped by to see us while on the island to conduct a nieces wedding.  He wanted to book a week next March to bring a second mission team to Nassau.

Rob and Nancy Weise (far left) and their friends Tim and Brenda (far right) were in Nassau while on a cruise on March 10th.   Rob and Nancy grew up in the same church circle as Tim.  They are also one of our supporters.  We were not able to spend much time with them while they were in port because we had 2 groups leaving and 3 groups arriving that day, but we did get to give them a brief tour of both facilities and get them transported back down town.  It was great to see them.

Christus Rex Lutheran Ministry Center from the campus of the University of North Dakota was with us March 10-17th.  This group was led by Bahamian born former UND student and now USA resident, Keno Walkes.  Mr. Walkes brought this team to the Bahamas to volunteer a couple of places and tour his homeland.

A team of young ladies from The King’s Academy from Florence, South Carolina was here March 10-17th.  These young ladies served at Bahamas Association of  Physically Disabled, Children’s Emergency Hostel, The Nazareth Centre, Deaf School, and ALCentre.

A team of high school students from Sherwood Oaks Christian Church from Bloomington Indiana was here on their first mission trip to Nassau on March 10-17th. They ministered at the Children’s Emergency Hostel, Bahamas Association of Physically Disabled, ALCentre/Adventure Club, our Friday night Youth Night, and Bahamas Downs Syndrome.  We thoroughly enjoyed serving this team and appreciated some of the hard work they did in the work projects at the Centre and Camp.

David and Sue Bryant came to New Providence to help us out, to rest, and to be a source of encouragement.  They are finishing up their ministry work on Andros, a Bahamas family island.

Adam’s parents Richard and Judy Greenhow and sister Jill came to visit March 15-20th.

Bahamas 4 Jesus leadership team came to see the Camp.  There is a good possibility that  they will be bringing up to 100 young people to stay at Camp for a couple weeks in November.

 

Carl Fama and his brother Ross arrived on the 27th.  Carl is coming on invitation of the ALC&C board and will be meeting with them at their board meeting on March 31st.  Carl led a team here from his church in Windsor, Ontario.  Carl and his wife are the ones who hosted us and headed up the very successful ALC fundraiser we attended at their church in October. These gentlemen are here to assist on work projects, and Carl is introducing his brother Ross to the ministry.

Mitchell Road Christian Academy in Greenville, SC sent their 8th graders to the island for their first mission trip with us.  They arrived on Wednesday of this week and are a contact from fellow missionaries, John and Karen Stodgehill.  They will be serving at C.W. Sawyer School, The Children’s Emergency Hostel and ALC’s Easter Monday Funday.

Projects

Planning for future groups.  (Pictured are two FaceTme calls we made with upcoming group leaders. Planning for future groups begins months in advance.)   Please be in prayer for us for this summer.  I mentioned that we have a very busy summer schedule.  To date, we have bookings June 9-August 26 with only a couple weeks worth of days not booked (and even those days still have the potential to being booked).  In the middle of summer (July 7th to be exact), our son Logan is getting married, so we will be in Minnesota for the wedding.  We are looking forward to seeing how God is going to work all this out in terms of support staff as well as stamina to endure the work and the heat that makes the work even more difficult.

Tim is working on the footings of the 2 new staff cottages.  After chipping away at the trenches and laying most of the steel, he had Nathaniel Loge and Richard Greenhow help him by tying up the last of the steel rods.  The inspector came and ok’d the steel, and the site is now ready for the concrete to be poured for the footings.  We hope to do that next week. These cottages are important because we have a large group that will be even larger next year, and they need another cabin.  Please pray that God provides the funds to complete this project.

Aaron

Aaron continues to be a very valuable member of the ALC&C team.   He has been working on several projects around Camp.

Leading Mission Team Work Projects

One of the things we do when we have teams on site is lead them in work projects (nearly every team does some type of work project).  Tim and Aaron at the Camp and Adam at the Centre do a great job in mobilizing skilled and unskilled work teams in various work projects around both sites.   Part of the responsibility of a project manager is prepare before the teams begin the projects, monitor the teams as they work and clean up after them when they leave.  It is a tough job.

Youth Night

Youth Night has become such an encouraging ministry to us.  The fellow staff (Stanley, Moya and Janet, Kenny, Celine and Adam) are such a blessing to us.  We love their enthusiasm and desire to be involved and pour into these young people.  The young people continue to come and learn and show a desire to be here.  Please pray for us as we continue to impact these young people’s lives and that God would continue to strengthen us that serve.

Connecting With Our New ED

We mentioned in our last update that the ALC&C now has a new Executive Director.  Kenneth Romer is settling into his position and using the few days he has with us each week to connect and learn the ministry.  We have had a couple of opportunities to host him at Camp and to share ministry updates with him.  He even had our last staff meeting here at Camp.  Please pray for Kenneth as he continues this very demanding job.

Good-bye, Bob and Faye!  March also means telling these 2 awesome people good-bye.  Bob and Faye come and snow bird with us in the Bahamas.  Bob spends much of his time working on our vehicles with Adam, and Faye works with me at the Camp and Ms. Ada at the Centre.  Besides all the hard work they do, they are a big source of encouragement. 

Encouraging and Being Encouraged

Ministry can be draining, but we have seen evidences of God’s love and care for us in the people he sends to us to bless us and encourage us as well us the opportunities to bless others.  Times of fellowship and great theological conversations with friends (thank you Cranston and Susanna), hugs from “moms” (thank you Ms. Ada and Faye), times getting to pour into young people’s lives through discipleship are all what parts of what makes this work so rewarding.

Easter Monday Funday

The day after Easter is ALC&C’s annual Easter Monday Funday.  It is one of the two annual fundraisers/Gospel outreaches we have at ALC.  Please pray that the Gospel is clearly proclaimed, that patrons come and feel the love of Jesus through interactions with staff and seeing what we do at ALC, that final preparations are made (there seems to still be a lot that needs to be done), and that staff are strengthened and encouraged (it is a long busy day, and this year 3 of us that work primarily at Camp are busy serving a mission team before/during/after and will not be able to be as much support as usual).

Centre Program

Although our days are consumed with responsibilities at the Camp, we still meet every morning for devotions at the Centre and get peeks into what goes on over there all day every day.  We love seeing the precious children that God brings for the ALC staff to love on and share the Gospel with.  The facilitators are gifted hard workers, and we are encouraged as we see them love on these children.  Please pray for all the staff of ALC&C.  We do what we do (the Camp in its financial support of the ministry, the Centre in its hands on work) for one reason, and that reason is to reach every Bahamian household with the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the children that come to us.  Our prayer is that God is glorified in all we do here at Adventure Learning Centre and Camp!

What’s Next

After the group leaves on the 4th, April is a slower month for us, but we will be using the slower group schedule to start the planning and preparing for the heavy summer group schedule.  Please pray for us as we plan, continue to train Debbie, and continue our mission of ministering to the Bahamian people and those here to serve the Bahamian people!

Thank you for your time and interest in what we do!

Tim and Mindy Seeley

 

 

 

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

 

This time of year is so busy for all of us.  We pray that in all the busyness, you (and we) don’t forget to take time to reflect on why we celebrate this time of year.  Yes, we celebrate baby Jesus’ birth, but why?  

We celebrate because of  the Gospel:   God coming to this earth as 100% God/100% human baby conceived/born of a virgin, living a perfect life, dying a death he did not deserve,  rising again from the dead, and ascending back to Heaven so we can be reunited with our Creator!  That is why we celebrate this time of year.  

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

John 3:16

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

Ephesians 2:8

We pray as you give and receive gifts this year that you do not forget the most important gift of all:  a relationship with your Creator through faith in Jesus Christ!

General Update

Mentorship

The final Monday night before on-site staff started to depart for the holidays, we took the young people out for our weekly meeting.  The gals went to Stix at Bahamar, and the guys went to Bahamas Grill.  We all ended up wondering around Bahamar, enjoying the fountain and pretty decoration.

Visitors

Brian and Carol (Tissot) Fairley, Mark and Cheryl Tissot, Robert and Laura Beth Sheets (and their son) were on the island while on a cruise, and we were able to pick them up at the port and show them around the island and the ALC&C.   Adam attends church with them in Windsor, Ontario, and Tim grew up in the same church circle with the Tissots.  We were blessed with their visit.

Dave and Sue were here for a few days again at the beginning of the month on their way back from the States to Andros.  They blessed us with their company, and Dave was able to help with some of the painting in the Camp office.

Pat and Janice Armstrong (former ALC staff) were on island for a week for vacation and to visit friends.  We were able to steal some of their time and had a good visit (albeit very short).  

A good friend of ours, Cathy Mott (in the middle) brought her cousin and his wife to see the ALC&C while they were on island for vacation.  This couple are the parents of a young lady, Karin, who volunteered for a couple weeks of Day Camp in summer 2015.  They wanted to see where their daughter served.

Christmas Lights Drive Thru

Like many of you, this time of year is very busy and full of holiday plannings and preparations.  We spent the last month and half helping Centre staff put together the annual Christmas Lights Drive Thru.  What is the Christmas Lights Drive Thru? It is one of the ALC’s two yearly fundraiser/Gospel outreach events.  Cars drive thru the property and passengers experience beautiful light displays and a Gospel message presented in a living play/pageant presentation.  This year we had over 3,544 guests in 933 cars over 5 nights.

Since many of you have never seen or experienced this awesome event, here is the walkthrough for you to enjoy…

Camp Update

New Addition to Camp Staff

We are beyond thrilled to welcome Debbie Degen to the “other side” of the ministry.  When Debbie came to the ALC&C in November 2016, she came to work at the Centre side of the ministry as a facilitator.  She expressed an interest last year of helping with Camp ministry.  She returned to the island in early November and immediately began helping set up for the Christmas Lights Drive Thru.  Now that CLDT is over, she has begun her training with us here at Camp.  She had her first real experience with serving groups this last week and is doing a fantastic job.  She has such a sweet, servant heart.  

Groups

Shekinah Family Ministries, under the leadership of Pastor Arthur and Samantha Evans, held their end of the year retreat and Christmas banquet at Adventure Learning Camp on December 15-16.  The children love Adventure Learning Camp, and we love serving them.  Since we cooked their meals for them, we got to spend more time with them than other local groups. What a joy they are!

Florida Atlantic University students who are a part of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) were on island December 17-22 for their 5th year serving area ministries and Princess Margaret Hospital.  This group is a delight to serve, and we enjoyed hearing their stories of how this trip has impacted them. 

Special thank you!

We appreciate the staff that did what they could to help Tim, Debbie and me with our final 2 groups of the year.  From cleaning cabins (Stephanie and Kadesha), to cooking (Ms. Ada cooked dinner for Bahamian meal night), to helping us serve/clean (Adam and Aaron).  We appreciate all the work you did!

Aaron

Once again, Aaron has been hard at work.  He has been working long hours trying to get the office remodeled in anticipation of our big group coming the 2nd week in January.  Great job, Aaron, juggling this project and being pulled to help with projects at the Centre and fixing broken things here at Camp.  Aaron is a blessing to this ministry!

Centre Update

Other than the CLDT (see above), the Centre was closed and staff were mostly gone for the month of December.  The staff returns and the Centre reopens January 8th.

What’s Coming Up

As you may have noticed, this monthly blog is coming out a week earlier than usual.  This month it is our goal to get this out before the holiday, as we are planning (starting tomorrow) on taking some time off to enjoy the holiday with family (not our children unfortunately).  We are looking forward  to the break  and will return after the first week of January to welcome and serve 2 large groups coming shortly thereafter.

Have a very Merry Christmas and may God bless you and your family in the New Year!

Tim and Mindy Seeley

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Those wanting to give towards our ministry in their end of the year giving, you may do so by clicking the link here https://ssmfi.org/missionary/tim-and-mindy-seeley/  or by clicking the “Shepherd’s Staff logo in the side bar. 

Thank you!

 

The Refreshing Power of the Gospel

Our church has begun its journey through the book of Galatians.  We have benefitted from a steady diet of the Gospel these last several Sundays as Pastor Moss has spent worship services expositing the Apostle Paul’s admonition to the Galatians (and to us) to remain faithful to the one true Gospel.  The Gospel is purely, simply, strictly this:  Jesus Christ died, was buried and then rose again for our sins.  It is exclusively the faith and trust one places in Jesus’ work on the cross that redeems them and brings them into eternal fellowship with God their Creator.  Nothing else added to or taken away can define the Gospel or make the Gospel more effectual.  

The Gospel points us back to the glory of God and His sovereignty over all.  We find great peace, comfort and rest in knowing that God is in total control.  He is working out things in our lives (as seemingly insignificant as they may be in the grand scheme of life) for His glory and our good.  During this time of great busyness and pouring out of ourselves in ministry (sometimes weeks upon weeks at a time), getting to hear and be reminded of the Gospel that we cling to refreshes us in ways that are hard to describe.  

Thank you Pastor Moss for your faithfulness to the Word and for weekly doses of encouragement!  You will never know how encouraging your expositing is week in and week out.

Help Needed!

The Adventure Learning Centre and Camp ministry makes a difference in lives of Bahamians: the Centre with its focus on outdoor education programs for Bahamian school children, after school Adventure Clubs, and Evangelical outreach Fun Days, and the Camp with its focus on youth outreaches, providing retreat facilities for Bahamian churches, and serving foreign mission teams that are here to serve the Bahamian people.  

How would you like to join us and help us minister to the Bahamian people and those here to serve the Bahamian people?  We are looking for qualified, missionary-minded individuals who desire to bring glory to God through hard work and initiative.  We are looking for full time staff:

Maintenance staff (diesel mechanic skills a plus)

Facilitators (run and maintain outdoor education programs)

We are also looking for summer time help:

Camp Assistants We are looking for 2 people who would be willing to come help us serve groups this summer (i.e., housekeeping, serve alongside our full-time cook in the kitchen, and do various hospitality jobs).  We prefer someone over 21 who is capable of learning to drive one of our buses, but anyone over 18 would be considered.  We are willing to train people for this and would prefer a more than 1 week at a time commitment. 

Day Camp Counselors to work 6 weeks at the Centre’s Summer Day Camp Program.

Ministry

Red Bays, Andros

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You may recall in February we got away to Andros for a couple of days to rest and encourage fellow missionaries, Dave and Sue Bryant in Red Bays, Andros.  Sunday we took Adam Greenhow with us and flew back to Andros to get some time away to recharge and to help Dave and Sue build a chicken coop.  We enjoyed our time together.  During the days we worked (Tim and Adam building and Mindy working on this blog, organizing office work and connecting with future mission teams) and in the evenings we played, laughed and fellowshipped with the Bryants and the people they minister to there in Red Bays.  We were even able to help Dave and Sue by Tim speaking on Sunday evening at church, helping the neighborhood children with repairs, and working with the children on their school work.  What a blessing it is to be able to take some time away and fellowship and bless other missionaries.

Marleigh’s Ministry

You may recall from our January update that we have been connected with a couple from Wisconsin that has started a ministry called Marleigh’s Ministry.  It is a ministry that provides care packages for mothers of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit babies.  Jill and Matt Gilmore came to Nassau on a cruise in January, and we were able to connect them with Princess Margaret Hospital NICU to deliver care packages.  We are in conversation with Jill about her return to Nassau in May and about partnering with her to connect with Bahamas parents with NICU babies.  Each care package has items for mom and baby along with a Bible and tract.  It is our desire that the packages be delivered and facilitated with our local church here so the families of these babies have a contact follow-up here.  Please pray as we reach more Bahamian families with the love of Christ through their children.

Good-byes

Saying good-bye again.  This is the fifth time since we arrived 4 years ago that we have had to tell these two good-bye.  Bob and Faye Browning come every year for almost 3 months to encourage the ministry with their capable, willing, working hands.  They are such hard workers and are a huge blessing to the ministry.

We also said good-bye to Pat and Janice Armstrong.  They left to go to work at a Camp in upstate New York.  They served with us here at ALC&C (Pat at the Centre and Janice at the Camp) for over 2 years.  Their absence is felt.  We wish them well in their new position.

Staff

Kevin has been an employee of Camp now for over a month.  His culinary skills along with his organization, cleaning and time management skills have made him the perfect Camp cook.  We have also been working with him on other details of food service management, and he is doing a fantastic job.  We are amazed and proud of him.

You may remember us introducing Andy Cartwright in previous posts.  He is a local Bahamian business man (landscaper) who volunteers at the Centre.  His wife Keri has recently started volunteering her time at the Camp.  Faye showed her how to do Camp laundry and how we clean the Camp between guest groups.  We are so thankful for Keri’s volunteer service to the ALC&C.

Environmental Impact

Environmental and health nightmare.  The dump started burning on Sunday, March 5, and it has been smoldering ever since.  The toxic fumes wafted through the air causing breathing difficulties, shutting down schools, forcing people out of their homes, and causing who knows what kind of environmental impact.  It is really very sad to see things like this happen to this beautiful, tiny little island.  Please pray for those affected and that it does not happen again.

Drinking Water Issues

Water issues persist at the Camp and Centre.  Tim has been working very hard at getting this resolved.  A local water expert has been on site to assist in the design of the new system and repairs of the reverse osmosis system.  Because things are not fixed yet, we continue to have to purchase bottled water.  Please pray that things come together soon.

Centre Update

Programming

Adventure Learning Centre exists to bring the message of Jesus Christ and His redemptive work on the cross to the people of the Bahamas. It is our desire to see the families of this country come to Christ, and we believe it starts with the children. Through each child’s imagination and curiosity, the Adventure Learning Centre provides them with hands-on experience to discover God’s creation. In Matthew 19:14, Jesus said, “Let the little children come unto me, and do not forbid them; for such is the Kingdom of Heaven.”  Please pray for the staff as they continue the ministry work at the Centre and for the children they serve.

Mark Wallace continues to bring in 6th graders almost every day for the planetarium program.  We are hoping to reach all the government school 6th grade classes again this year.  We are also bringing in preschool groups and other younger grades for outdoor education programs.  

Easter Monday Funday

Easter Monday Funday is quickly approaching and facilitator staff, under the direction of our event coordinator, Tika Penn, have been very busy making preparations.  It is one of the 2 fundraiser events we have each year.  It is a family fun day, fundraiser and opportunity for us to present the Gospel to the community.  Please pray for the event.

Camp Update

GROUPS/VISITORS

Once again God sustained us through 5+ 7-day ministry work weeks (some days were 12-15 hour days).  As you can probably tell, mid-February till the end of March is one of our busy seasons.  It was draining physically, but the groups were all great and we enjoyed serving them. 

February 25 to March 4, 2017 Hood Canal Community Church from Hoods Port, Washington was on island for their mission trip.  The group of 24 served at the Children’s Emergency Hostel, Blairwood Academy/Bahamas Downs Syndrome, ALCentre, and Bahamas Assoc of Physically Disabled.  They helped complete the portion of the boardwalk into the wetlands as far as the observation tower.  This is a blessing as it has gotten us another step closer to being better than we were before Hurricane Matthew.

Students from James Madison University come ever spring to volunteer with the athletic department at Uriah McPhee primary school.  They were with us again this year on March 3-10.

Tim’s parents Lee and Jan Seeley came for a week long visit again this spring.  They are such a  huge blessing encouragement to all of us.  They blessed staff a couple nights with meals and time of fellowship.

Theo and Ruth Habel are friends of Jen, Aaron and us that we knew from the past ministry we worked at, Living Waters Bible Camp.  They are also good friends and supporters of the ALC&C.  Theo was instrumental in getting the ALCentre planetarium going and Ruth was Camp Director for a few years in the late 1990’s.  They were here March 6-15 to encourage, see the ministry and volunteer their time.

Micah Godsey is no stranger to ALC&C.  In fact she spent a gap year here last year and was a facilitator at the Centre.  She came for a visit March 8-20.  This was her first trip back since she left last August.  Seeing the landscape changes from Hurricane Matthew brought tears to her eyes.

Lena McGee and her two sons (one of the boys is not pictured because he was being shy) came through on a cruise.  Lena used to teach 8th graders at Calvary Christian Academy and came here a couple years on their eighth grade mission trip.  We picked them up at the port and brought them to ALC&C to see the ministry.

The King’s Academy (TKA) from Florence, South Carolina came March 11-18.  This is their 5th year coming to Nassau on a mission trip.  The school takes one week every year and sends all the students out on mission trips, local and abroad.  The young people served at the Centre, Bahamas Association of Physically Disabled, Hopedale Centre, United Alliance Church, and Children’s Emergency Hostel.  

Mission Discovery usually brings teams in the summer.  This year they brought a spring break team.  A group of 22 young men from a Christian (not in name) club at Texas A&M came March 11-17 to serve at Sadie Curtis Primary School and Blairwood Academy.  They did work projects at both schools and ministered to children.  This group of young men were a huge encouragement to our staff as they had such sweet, giving, serving spirits.

Steve and Cheryl Hargraves from London, Ontario, Canada were on a mission team with West London Alliance Church (Bob and Faye’s church) 2 years ago.  They were in Nassau on a cruise on March 17 and came to the ALC&C to see us.  It was a blessing to get to reconnect with them.

On March 17-24, Woodlands Church in Stevens Point, Wisconsin were here for their third senior high mission trip to the Bahamas.  The team served at United Alliance Church (Pastor Bazile’s church), BAPD, All Saints, C.W. Sawyer Middle School and Grace Community Church.

Nathaniel Loge and his daughter Bailey came on Sunday, March 19th and left on Sunday, March 26.  Tim’s sister Becky did not know the Loges but someone at their church put them in touch with Becky who then put them in touch with ALC&C.   Nathaniel helped Adam with construction projects, Tim with digging trenches and making a concrete slab for the new water tank, and post-group cleaning projects. Bailey helped Garnet with the animals.  There is talk of the Loges bringing mom and 2 siblings back to Nassau this summer to help with Summer Day Camp and/or serve mission teams at the Camp.  We would gladly welcome this servant minded father-daughter duo. They were a huge blessing to us, and we enjoyed getting to know them.

YOUTH NIGHT

We continue to average 20-30 young people at our Friday night Youth Night.  This semester has been really encouraging to us as the younger ALC&C staff have stepped up and taken ownership and leadership of the outreach.  Thank you Jesse, Eva, Debbie, Celine, Adam, Kenny, Tika, and Elton for your hard work and dedication!   We have also had some great evenings where mission teams have lead the activities and challenges for the evening.  Please pray for our young people that lead and for the youth as they come.

FRONT GATE/FENCE

We had yet another accident wake us up in the middle of the night last week.  This time a young woman who was driving under the influence hit our fence (thankfully not by the gate this time), ricocheted off the fence and swerved across the street hitting the brick wall and  landing on the sidewalk.  We continue to try to work with the electric company and Ministry of Works to address the unsafe curve and poor lighting, but nothing seems to be happening. Please pray something happens soon.  Also at issue is the leaning power poll that is out front of the Camp.  BEC needs to address that as well. In the mean time, we do what we can, and that includes adding a solar rope light in the shape of an arrow on the from fence.

Misc Projects

Aaron has been plodding away at many tasks at Camp.  Working on the front gate at Camp and the Centre, fixing broken faucets/cabinets/etc, installing new can openers in the kitchen, building a hand washing sink in the dining hall, and building table racks in the dining hall are just some of the small jobs he has been working on.  He has been doing a lot more than that, but he is often so quiet about what he is doing, we don’t catch him in the act.  We appreciate all he does. He is a blessing.

Seeley Update

Now the fun, personal news (and 1 picture of the grand baby because we have to do it!).

The Tim and Mindy Seeley Clan is about to get bigger, and with this addition, the Seeley females will finally balance out the Seeley males!  This is 28 years in the making.

 Our son, Logan, proposed to his girlfriend, Anna Heinrich on March 15 in front of an old Shakespeare book store in Paris, France.  Anna’s father lives in Germany and the kids had been there for spring break (and obviously to get engaged).  Congratulations, Logan and Anna!

Anastasia continues to grow and develop.  We are looking forward to getting to see her in a month when we go back to the States to attend Logan’s college graduation.  It is hard to believe she is already 7 months old.

As we conclude another very long update, we want to thank you for your continued support of us (in prayer, financial giving, and in your thoughts of us).  We are blessed and encouraged as we consider how God brings people into our lives to partner with us in the work He has called us to do here.  

May God bless you!

Tim and Mindy Seeley

 

 

 

Giving Praise Where Praise Is Due

  I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.

 Psalm 22:22

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)

Help Wanted Needed!

     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 mindysalcbahamas@gmail.com 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!

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     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.

 

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     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.

Camp Update

Guests/Visitors

     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.

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     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!

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     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.

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     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.

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     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.

 

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     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.

Cabin Update

     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.

Centre Update

Programme

     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

     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.

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     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!

Ministry Opportunities

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     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.

Personal Update

     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!

Introvert for a Day

 

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

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

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

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

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

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Update: ALC&C

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

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

Update: Camp

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

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

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Looking Ahead

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

July Guest Groups and Visitors

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

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

Mission Discovery 3 (July 1-July 10)

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

Peace Church (July 10-16)

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

E-team (July 16-23)

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

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

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

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

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

Boy’s Brigade (July 29-August 1)

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

Update: Centre

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

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Update: Family

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

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

Celebrating our Passport Country’s Birthday

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

Enjoying Family and Friends

August Plans

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

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

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

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

 

Choosing Contentment Over Covetousness

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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

Staff Needs

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There are many areas of need for staff at ALC&C.  One of those areas is the need for facilitators at the Centre.  Facilitators run and help maintain programming at the Centre.  It is a lot of work in very hot conditions, but it is rewarding.  If you know of someone who is able to work with children, has a heart for ministry, able to teach (curriculum content as well share the Gospel), please contact us.    We would love to connect you and tell you how you can become a part of the ALC&C staff family.  We prefer individuals that can commit to an entire semester or year but would consider shorter terms.  Please pray God sends us the staff we need.

Good-bye, Chloe!

IMG_6822It 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.  

Buses

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.

Summer Helpers

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.  

Eisermann Family

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 O’Sullivan

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Yes, Again!

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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. 

New Cabin

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!

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Guests

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

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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.

Ministry Opportunity

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

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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

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Last week we had a meeting with Pastor Q from Epic Church to discuss Clean Slate Living and Young Adult Weekend.

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

The treasure hunt is on at Adventure Learning Centre’s Summer Day Camp.  Children ages 5-12 experience music, sports, games, crafts, Bible lessons, field trips, beach outings, and so much more each week day.  We are blessed to have Bahamian young people and volunteer missionary staff on site to serve as counselors, sports directors, teachers, jungle gyms, mentors, etc.  There are still opportunities for volunteers to come and assist with the Day Camp this summer.  If you or someone you know is interested in helping out, please let us know.  This is an exciting and rewarding opportunity for someone to come and serve at a place where life is always an adventure!
Please pray for the children that attend and the staff that serve them through the hot summer days!
Personal Update
We know we have to get through these next several weeks of ministry work here, but it is sometimes hard to stay focused on what needs to be done in the here and now because we know of the excitement that is awaiting us in August.  Of course we are speaking of the awesome opportunity that we have to be going back to Minnesota for a visit with family and to meet our new granddaughter.   Zachary and I will be in Minnesota Aug 4- Sept 3, and Tim will be joining us the last week of August.  We are thankful that God has provided affordable airfare back to Minnesota (we are using miles and a free voucher we received for being bumped off a flight last year).
Speaking of our granddaughter, Abby, our daughter-in-law, is doing well as is the baby.   We praise God for their health and safety, and pray for them as the due date (August 8), approaches.
Please be in prayer:
*for God’s provision for us and several of our staff who are reporting lower than usual donations in recent months 
*as we continue working through these hot months
*for health and safety of all the staff (many are experiencing minor sicknesses)
*for wisdom and discernment as we minister to the Bahamian people
*that God sends others to come and share the work load with us
*that God be glorified in all we do (Ultimately we are here to bring glory to the Lord, and it is our desire that we do just that.)
 
Thank you so much for your continued support and interest in our lives.  We appreciate you and your prayers for us.  We need them!
 
God bless,
Tim, Mindy and Zachary Seeley
 
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 We are not employed by Adventure Learning Centre and Camp.  The work we do here in the Bahamas is exclusively funded by the generous support of individuals and churches.  If you feel led to do so, you may partner with us and support our ministry work by clicking on the “Shepherds Staff Mission Facilitators” logo in the side bar of this page and following the instructions.  All donations are tax deductible.  Thank you for your prayers and generosity.  May God bless you!
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