Saturday, April 9, 2011

March (and April) Madness

The craziness of March and April had nothing to do with VCU making it to the Final Four or my beloved Lady Vols getting beat out by Notre Dame. While March used to mean the coming of a much needed Spring Break, it was almost the complete opposite here at Camp Bahamas.

We started off March with a group from the Baptist Collegiate Ministries at the University of Central Florida. This was a special group because, after spending all of February putting on the finishing touches, they were officially the first group to stay in the cabins on the Camp Bahamas property! While they were here they put the hurricane clips on the foundations for the two duplex cabins along with putting the flooring on.

The group from UCF was followed by the high school boys volleyball team from Florida Christian School. They were a fantastic group who took on the difficult task of prepping the foundation of the main building for a concrete pour by shoveling dirt and rock out of trenches and tying steel. During their time here they also played volleyball in the afternoons with school children and played nightly volleyball games with some local adults.

Right after we said goodbye to Florida Christian we welcomed a youth group from First Baptist Oviedo, a group of high school students from Orlando AND Rod Straw. You may remember that Rod was here for all of January building and came back for 3 weeks in March to start work on a duplex cabin. The team from Oveido worked on the beach, the paintball field and helped Rod complete and raise the walls of the duplex cabin. While they were here they also did a VBS program in the afternoons with children from Palmetto Point.

Afer the group from Oviedo left we had a week without a team, but with Rod here that didn't mean a week without work. During that week we put a roof on the duplex cabin. It seems that amount of work should have made for a longer sentence, but oh well :)

On Monday we welcomed a youth group from Sugar Hill Church in Atlanta, GA. While they were here work continued on the duplex cabin, adding a porch with a roof, some interior walls and a set of stairs. They also continued work on the paintball field and built bunk beds. They also did VBS both in Tarpum Bay and Palmetto Point. They closed out their week last night with the first of many bonfires on the Camp Bahamas beach.

Whew! As you can see it has been a busy busy time here, but SO much has been accomplished and we have met SO many amazing people who sacrificed their spring break to come serve with Camp.

Along with all that has been accomplished by the teams, work continues to be done in preparation for the main building. Two weeks ago the building itself was delivered to the Camp Bahamas Property. As soon as the work on the concrete foundation is finished the building will begin to go up. Exciting!

Keep checking the Camp Bahamas Ministries Facebook Page for updates!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

beginnings of 2011

After a couple months, I'm reentering the world of blogging with hopes of doing a bit better than I did in 2010...but no promises :)

I got to see many of you during the month I spent at home in Iowa. During my time in the states I made my way to Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, and of course, Iowa. My time at home was fantastic which made leaving a little bitter sweet. I got to see many friends and family. It was a refreshing time of relaxing and reclaiming my high school job as a lifeguard for a month. At the end of my time in the States I was able to travel to Atlanta to attend the Passion Conference. About 12 counselors from Camp Bahamas met there and had a wonderful time getting to spend time together outside of the Bahamas. The conference was amazing and if you missed it you should consider their next one in April in Ft. Worth, Texas.
After 30ish hours in a car I hopped on a plane and headed back to the Bahamas. When I arrived there was a team here from Pennsylvania. I only got to spend two days with them, but wish it could have been more. They were great! The leaders of this trip have been coming for the past four years and continue to be a huge blessing to Camp Bahamas. One of the leaders, Rod Straw, owns his own construction company and is a very gifted builder and he actually stayed all of January to help with construction at camp.
Having Rod here was a GIGANTIC blessing. So much was accomplished and it is so great to see things at camp moving along. While Rod was here we pretty much worked from sun up to sun down. For those that know me well that 6:30 wake up call six days a week was a challenge :) But like I said, SO much was accomplished.
Here's a list of the awesome things happening at the camp property:
-Camp road widened to two lanes
-Land cleared for the new main building (a gymnatorium)
-Water storage tanks finished
-All bathroom fixtres installed in all 6 cabins
-Foundations for the next 4 cabins finished
-Bunk beds (3 high!) built for all 6 cabins
-Bathroom fixtures installed
-Bathroom shelving built, painted and installed
-Dining room benches built
-Shed to house the Reverse Osmosis plant built
-Electricity poles installed
-Well dug
-Air conditioners for cabins installed

Whew! As you can see things are moving right along, and that's super exciting for us! For pictures check out the Camp Bahamas Ministries Facebook Page

Monday, November 22, 2010

In Transit...

As I write this I'm a mile high in the air somewhere between Atlanta and Kansas City International Airport. Praise the Lord for free in-flight Wi-Fi. :]

This post is a tad overdue, but what's new or surprising about that?

On November 5th we welcomed our last team of the year from the New Jersey Homeschool Association. They were an absolutely fantastic group who I found myself missing after they left. They worked hard to finish grouting the tiling in the bathrooms of the cabins, mixing concrete and pouring concrete slabs among other things.

As I mentioned I am currently on my way home for the holiday season. I left the Bahamas on November 16th and after a week pit-stop in Texas I'm almost back to the freezing temperatures of home. I am excited to spend some time with family and friends, and I am hoping to get to see many of you! I will be in Iowa until December 30th and will be back in the Bahamas on January 5th where we will start the year off with several mission teams.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Updates, Musings, and an Overabundance of Links

I continue to prove my own statement that I'm a horrible blogger. So over a month after my last post I will update those who have perserved through the lack of updates. :]

Since my last post we have left Nassau -- on September 23rd to be exact -- and spent some time on Spanish Wells, another island that some of our campers live on. After that we settled back into life on Eleuthera continuing office work and preparing for our next mission team.

On October 12th we welcomed a team of 5 from Auke Bay Bible Church in Juneau, Alaska. They were a fantastic team that worked like 20 people instead of 5. While they were here they finished prepping the two freshwater tanks for a concrete pour, set forms for the concrete slabs the cabin air conditioners along with a number of smaller projects. They also brought several bags of hooded sweatshirts, jackets, and baseball caps that they distrubuted in several of the poorer communities here. They were here for almost two weeks and will be missed!

Things are moving right along on the camp property. The two freshwater tanks are expected to be done this week, post holes are being dug for the next set of cabins, air conditioners are being installed, and thanks to a substantial donation Richard was able to completely pay for electricity to be brought out to the property and the digging for the poles will being within the next week. It is really great to be able to see so much progress happening!

If you would like to see some of the happenings from this summer at Camp Bahamas check out Camp Bahamas Ministries YouTube page

It is crazy to think that in a month I will be back in Iowa. I'm looking forward to seeing family and friends, but not looking forward to the temperature shock I'm sure I will be experiencing. I know I've become a little bit spoiled when I feel chilly when the temperature drops below 80.

This week while sitting outside of a local restaurant/bar with a friend waiting for our 6 orders of french fries--it happens when you live with 5 kids :]-- I was reminded of why I'm here and the burden God has given me for the people here. A local homeless man, some fishermen who so graciously informed us that they had been drinking all day and after eating their burgers were going to go smoke a few joints, mothers waiting on food to take home to their children, teenagers and kids with nothing better to do than to try and be just like the older boys who were smoking weed on the other side of the building. There is much hurt, much confusion, much wanting and not a lot of truth or pursuit of truth. I'm reminded that these are beautiful people in a beautiful place that are in desperate need of a beautiful love.

Constant - Charlie Hall

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. - 1 Corinthians 15:58

If you find yourself with some time (even if you don't have time...make some)
Radical by David Platt

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Bit Overdue...

It's official.

I am a horrible blogger.

It's been about two months since I lasted posted about my time in the Bahamas. In my defense it doesn't feel like it's been that long. The fast pace and busyness that consumed my summer made it easy for a week to feel like a day and on some of the more tired days, a day to feel like a week. So I suppose it's time to update those interested on life here in the Bahamas.

During the month of July and the first week in August was camp. Five crazy, tiring, and fun-fiilled weeks of camp. The theme this year was Red@Night. In Matthew 16 the Pharisees ask Jesus for a sign from heaven. Jesus replies with what has become a common saying (at least for those not landlocked and surrounded by corn :] ) "Red at night, sailor's delight. Red in the morning, sailor's take warning." We discussed how we do not need a sign from God about how to live upright and Godly lives, His word contains all we need. We discussed spiritual adultery and what it means to "cheat on God with the world".
Camp was an overall fantastic success. We were blessed with a phenomenal staff and tremendous campers. With many former campers returning as junior staff members I had the opportunity to disciple them by leading a Bible study two times a week. During the day I worked at the zip line, harnessing kids in and trying to convince them they weren't going to plunge to their death.

The day after camp ended we welcomed a mission team from Fellowship Orlando in Florida. The spent the week working on water storage containers and painting cabins (as you can see from the picture). We also spent the week packing up our things and cleaning the hotel we currently rent out for camp. The day the team left we moved out of the hotel and back to where we stayed during June. The next day saw us welcoming another team from Grace Community Church in Nassau. This team continued painting cabins and began tiling in the bathrooms of the cabins.

About five days after the last team left we made our way over to Nassau. My time in Nassau has been a relaxing one and has offered a much needed break after the hectic summer. I've had the opportunity to spend time with my aunt and uncle, spent time with friends, visited youth groups, visited an orphange and even met Sean Connery. :]
Yesterday I began work on the expense report for the summer, and will continue working on that for the next few days.

In a week or so we will head back to Eleuthera and begin work on the office type work that will help prepare us for next summer. In October we will be hosting another team as well as one in November.

I apologize for my lack of blogging skills, but hopefully this will give you a bit of an idea of what that last two months have looked like for me. If you have any questions feel free to email me!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tomorrow!...errr Today!

Since it is no longer Saturday that means the first week of Camp Bahamas 2010 starts today! We are expecting a week of 90 campers. We will have a group of kids from Long Island, Bahamas, but most of the students will be from the orphanages in Nassau. It will be a crazy and even difficult first week, but I am SO excited for it to start.
This past week we have had two mission teams in. We made the move to the hotel where we host camp, and started prepping for camp.
I spent the majority of this past week in the kitchen. I am becoming a pro at feeding 50+ people :)The the majority of our counselors and jr. counselors also came in this week. God has certainly blessed us with an outstanding group of people and I'm excited to see what God has in store for us this summer!

Prayer requests:

- the first week of campers
- the staff...most of them are here for the first time so this first week will be a lot of firsts for them
- all of your equipment...sound equipment, vehicles, boats, etc
- safety

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

right around the corner...

Camp is quickly approaching, and I know I'm continually saying this, but it is hard to believe that it is so close. We had two more staff members come already this week and starting Thursday we have at least two staff members coming every day until camp. The arrival of staff is always an exciting time. Things for camp start getting done and it means camp is right around the corner. On Saturday we make the move to the hotel where we will be having camp and where we will be until August 15ish.

Tomorrow afternoon another mission team arrives. It is a team of 30 from North Carolina that we are definitely excited about and then on Saturday we get another team of 18 from Virginia Beach. They will be continuing work on the camp property.

This past week we have continued work on the property and continued camp prep. On Thusday, Andrea, the Camp Director's wife and I went to Nassau to attend the high school graduation of about 10 of our campers. It was a quick trip, as we left the next day, but we were really glad we went. All of the campers were very appreciative and happy that we were there. Most of them will be Team Leaders and Junior Counselors this year so we will see them again soon. We also had the mastermind behind our zipline down this week for some upgrading and maintenance of the zip line. He made several improvements that are greatly appreciated and much needed.

I am really looking forward to camp and can't wait for it to get here. It has been so interesting helping plan everything, so I'm excited to see it all put into action.

Please pray:
- for our new staff arriving
- for the planning that is left to be done
- for both of the mission teams coming in this week
- and as always, for the campers that will be at Camp Bahamas this summer