“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh.” Mt. 24:44. “Watch therefore…” 25:13a
Greetings, everyone, from the beautiful hills of Maine! We’re in the States for a couple of months, catching up with family, friends, churches, doctor appointments, and purchasing supplies. (Many of our Red Bays families wait to buy their school supplies from us because we can get them so much cheaper here, even with duties and taxes and all.) Lots to do, and so little time…From Nassau we flew to NH to spend a few days with our youngest daughter and her family, relaxing, yard saling, and transitioning. It’s been wonderful to see these beautiful mountains, and feel the cool air–yes, I am still wearing a sweater!
When we left Red Bays, there were somewhere around fifty residents whose legal documents had been procured, copied, and filed in preparation for the Passport Office which is supposed to be coming to Andros this summer. The Bahamian government passed rulings requiring everyone to have passports as citizenship identifiers, since there are so many illegal immigrants in the Islands, and most Red Bays people have neither time, knowhow, nor the finances to pursue all the pieces necessary, so Dave took the project on. It turned out to be a huge commitment, but opened doors on many levels from government and medical offices in Nassau on down, and saved many of our families hundreds of dollars.
Our little Sunday afternoon Bible Study group continued to slowly grow, filling the living room/learning center. Several high school graduates are already enrolled in either the College of the Bahamas or the Bahamas Agricultural and Marine Science Institute, recently established in central Andros and growing. We’re excited to hear all the positive feedback from educational and governmental officials about the impact this ministry is having on the local families–the Lord gets all the glory; we are simply grateful to watch Him at work! Also, Amanda had a great year at college here in Maine, and even though she struggled in Algebra, she was determined to work hard! She is adapting well to life in Maine, and excited to see what this next year produces.
As noted in the last letter, we had planned to bring a couple kids with us to Maine, but the passport process turned out to be much longer than anticipated, and they can’t travel until that vital document is in hand. Several of you have expressed interest in having them visit you, but it appears that’ll have to wait until next summer.
On one of his trips to Nassau, Dave went to the Land Management office, and got an application for the 2-3 acres the little shop is on. He learned on another trip that we had been approved for the “Granting” process, which means that sometime this summer the land will be inspected and surveyed. That’s exciting! Also, since we owe $5500 on the building, its owner asked us if we could find him a Chevy/GMC v6 automatic pickup instead. Once we put it on the boat in Miami, he’ll take over the fees. We have no idea where THAT pickup is, but the Lord does, and we realized that we could drive it from North to South, gathering supplies and making numerous stops. (We are driving a “lent” Ford while here in New England.)
One of the fun events this spring was a short visit from two of our “adopted” grandkids, Kim and Kyle, who decided to celebrate their anniversary getting sunburned at the beach instead of shoveling snow. We thoroughly enjoyed sharing Andros with them!
Speaking of sharing, I used my camera a lot this year, doing passport photos, recording island events such as the Agricultural Trade Show, and advertising some of our Master Carver’s projects for him. Two months ago, the camera images suddenly turned black, so when we came to NH, I had it evaluated, and sent it to MA for repairs. Pray that either it’s not a major repair($), or that I find a capable replacement!
While in Maine this summer, we are putting our house on the market, as it is no longer being rented, and has become a financial burden to us. We have no plans to live there again, and do not have the resources to make mortgage payments. We are working with a great realtor, who is also a Christian friend, and we are praying that the Lord put the people and pieces in place that fit His plan. We are so thankful that the Lord puts our obstacles and trials in perspective! (Proverbs 3:5&6)
Looking ahead: The storage shop needs to be renovated, a septic system and bathroom installed, electricity and water hooked up, and equipment put in place for both Bible Clubs and a Learning Center–our little living room is too cramped for the use it is getting! All that requires money for materials as well as labor, so we are asking for volunteers to help with the project.
Even though the Red Bays big van has been a help to taking people to get tops, get to school, and gather wood for their cooking fires, running, fueling, and repairing the same has been quite costly, and we started asking the Lord if selling it and finding a small pickup somewhere in the Islands might be wiser economically. “Papa George”, our landlord and talented anything-mechanic, was working on it when we left, and we’ve since heard there is someone interested in buying it. We just want selling it to be a God-thing, not an us-thing.
In the few weeks before we left, since the land around the storage shop is both arable and deeply disked, after burning piles of vines and weeds, we worked hard to transplant all sorts of fruit trees, coconut trees, herbs, vegetables, and even grape and kiwi vines. We hired three teen boys to keep it weeded–the grass’ll grow 8-10’ high, and the sheep vines are awful–they’re sending us pictures to show their diligence. They’ve asked for specific items rather than pay, so we are hoping to find them.
Thanks, those of you who have our backs in prayer–it has been a difficult year, and we are fully aware that being God’s Kids also makes us enemies to the Wicked One. We are so glad that our King is in full control and only allows in our path what He deems necessary to kill the flesh/self, mature us, and make us more like Jesus. Thank you for your financial support, too–that puts you in line to be blessed, you know! Thank you for donating supplies, needs, wants, and things we hadn’t thought to pray for yet! Each of you are a gift to us!
We pray that we all watch and prepare to be caught up to meet Jesus in the clouds soon–what a reunion that will be! Everywhere we travel, those who know and love Him are saying the same thing–there’s expectancy and excitement in the midst of increasing darkness and struggles. Lord willing, we hope to have opportunity to fellowship with you one way or another before that great event.
Keep praying for Red Bays and Andros Island in the Bahamas, that lives would be changed forever by coming to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, and for us as we serve Him there. We love you!
In His service,
Dave and Sue
Phone: (MJ) 1.207.956.8164; (cell) 813.713.6224.(USA)
P.O. Box 189
Summerfield, FL 34491
P.O. Box 254
Buckfield, ME 04220