Monday, 29 April 2013

my take on a Bahamian dish

Food is a large part of life in our church.  Every care group meeting begins with a meal together, provided by the care group members.  Truthfully, there are times when this burdens me because my cooking is SO American and doesn't always get the rave reviews here that it might get back in the U.S. (I'm being sarcastic here...).  But one recipe that I found a few months ago on a blog I follow (by a Texan mom living in Massachusetts of all places) is Coconut Crockpot Chicken Curry.  It is tasty, and I've served it twice now to out Bahamian friends here with much success.  I thought I'd share it with you! is the origin for this.

Coconut Crockpot Chicken Curry

4-6 chicken breasts (I use skinless, boneless) cooked and diced
4-6 red potatoes (I peel mine due to texture issues)
4-6 carrots diced
1/2 to 1 whole onion (I never use more than a 1/2) diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp. salt
1/1 to 1 tsp. pepper
6 tsp. yellow curry
2 cans of coconut milk

Directions: bake chicken for 30 min. at 350 the meantime, prepare all the veggies.
When chicken is cooked, dice and add ingredients to crockpot.  Cook on low 5-6 hours or on high for 3. (I always do the former).
Serve over hot cooked rice (Good with Basmati or Jasmine rice)

Enjoy!  It's easy, healthy, and Bahamian-approved!

off to the races (or, time is flying)

Weeks have passed here at "life on 21/7" and no blogging to speak of.  Well, if you check out Kristin's personal blog, you will find some tidbits.  Ministry life at a small church is running at top-speed, it would seem.  Currently we are involved in planning/attending several things including:

  • Alternatives...every Tuesday morning from 10am---? (Last week the last attendee left at 3pm)  This is an outreach to the community for those who are unemployed and need help with applying for jobs/filling out resumes, advice on how to interview, etc.  Last Tuesday, our first week, we had 15 in attendance...all of whom were complete strangers to Kingdom Life.  We had people who are literally living in their vehicles at the beach (including children) as well as people who were recently laid off from high--paying jobs in the off-shore banking industry.  This week we may have perhaps as many as 25.  Please pray for us as we are seriously outnumbered and want to help each person as much as possible!
  • The Ladies' Brunch ...this is our Mother's Day activity, taking place on Sat. May11th.  Kristin is helping with planning/decorating and a tribute to one specific mother in our church while Keith is rehearsing a group of young ladies to present a song for the mothers.
  • Weekly Care Group at our home...each Wednesday we meet, always beginning with a meal.  We currently have 7 adults and 6 children who attend.
  • Monthly hosting of students from College of the Bahamas...every 4-6 weeks we host the group of college students for a Sunday meal, followed by a care-group-like discussion and prayer, then we transport them back to their dorms.
  • Weekly worship team rehearsals...Thursday nights 7:30-9ish. 
  • Counter-culture meetings each Friday night (Youth Group) 7:30-9:30 ish.
  • Monthly Prayer meeting...First Monday night of the month 7:30-9ish.
  • Sunday mornings...beginning with prayer at 9am, usually home by 1 or 1:30pm. 
  • August VBS/Music Camp...To be held August 5-9th.  Pray that we find the curriculum best suited to the children who will attend.  Pray for hearts to be softened and fertile even now, a few months ahead.  Pray for all the many details, logistics, and necessities of the camp that still need worked out.  Mostly...Pray that Jesus Christ will be Glorified!
So, there are a few tidbits of our current involvement and planning.  This week, Keith will also be preaching as Cedric is away for his daughter's college graduation at Duquense.  We also have friends coming from Frederick, MD, who will be staying with us Friday through Monday! 

Warm Caribbean Greetings coming your way.....

Monday, 8 April 2013

our life enlarges, even as the world shrinks

In our course through life we shall meet the people who are coming to meet us, from many strange places and by many strange roads, and what is set to us to do to them, and what is set to them to do to us, will all be done.”
This somewhat dark quote is said by the character Miss Wade in the novel Little Dorritt by Charles Dickens.  (I highhhhhhly recommend this book and movie!)  This quote has captured my attention several times as I think about the way life seams together over the years.  Now Miss Wade's intention in saying these words was to somewhat strike a chord of fear and threat to her hearers, but I see the truth that Mr. Charles Dickens was aiming is simply full of providential moments where people we never would dream of come across our paths.  In the 9 months of life we've had here in Nassau, the "world" has definitely become smaller.... Let me explain.....

Yesterday, we had the very sweet privilege of meeting Tanya Lester and her daughters Natalie and Christy.  They came for Sunday lunch.  Now who is Tanya Lester?  Well....she is the sister-in-law of Alan Lester, one of the pastors at Heather and Donovan Drew's church in South Africa.  Tanya lives here in Nassau with her two daughters.  Tanya was in South Africa visiting family in August and met Donovan and Heather Drew.  They passed along the word to us that Tanya lived here and would be glad to meet us.  Small world?  I think so.

A month or so ago, I was chatting with Alissa Finley, half of the new Canadian/American couple that are attending our church here.  She mentioned that her sister lived in Culpeper, VA and had recently started attending a good church there.  I said, "Oh, my cousin lives in Culpeper and is very involved in a good church too...What's the name of your sister's church?"  Well, you might guess the rest...not only do her sister and my cousin attend the same church, but they already know one another and have been forming a friendship.  Small world?  I think so.

Also yesterday we had a few more surprises in this small world of ours.  Ian McConnell and Bo Beck were here from Grace Bible Church in Philly.  Ian stood at the pulpit wishing us greetings from none other than SARA RANKIN!!!  and then preached a wonderful sermon on seeking Christ in all of scripture, based on the conversation between Jesus and the two men on the road to Emmaus, found in Luke 24.  Dan and Jodi Birkholz, who were at the PC last year, just had their first Sunday meeting in their new church plant last night, which was birthed out of Ian's church in Philly.  Small World?   Bo Beck shared his passion for coming alongside missions in local churches and around the world.  I told him about the Drews and the orphanage in South Africa.  Smiles!

And finally, another American couple and their sons attended our church yesterday for the first time.  The Seeleys, a family who just relocated here for ministry purposes, run the Adventure Learning Camp, where the mission team coming in August will be predominately staying.  This family hails from Minnesota and, as the Lord would have it, are looking for a reformed church with many of the characteristics they found at Kingdom Life.  Mindy homeschools her sons Logan and Zach (both teens), which is also a great connection for us.  There is nothing necessarily "small world-ish" about the Seeleys coming except that we've been curious about the Adventure Learning Camp for some time now, have driven out to see it...and now BOOM!  Here are the people who run it...from the U.S. who just moved here in January and are looking for a church home.  God is definitely working many things we cannot see.

So continue to pray that God will build Kingdom Life Church.  Pray that the gospel will take shape...with bones, and sinews, and flesh, and the breath of the Spirit of God pouring out of it.  All things are possible for him who believes.  And we say, "I believe, help my unbelief!"

Thursday, 4 April 2013

reflections on Easter and looking forward

Happy reports are coming in from our church here in Nassau.  It seems people, both members and visitors, were greatly blessed in our presentation of "Jesus, Rock of Ages" this past weekend.  I am overwhelmed with gratitude to the Lord for helping us in the writing, arranging, and producing of this piece.  Here are some of the emails we've been getting:

"God surely answered our prayers...Praise Him!"

"My mom, sister, 2 nieces and a friend were in the audience...they said, "Man, that was just excellent!!!"  .....(niece) said her husband had to convince her the music was not a soundtrack...Yay to the band!"

"Keith, they say you are 'turning us into professionals!'....Thanks for patiently serving us."

"Hear, hear!...My family also sang praises of this production.  To God be the glory great things he hath done."

"I praise and thank God for you and your wife, Keith.  You both are allowing Him to use your gift, talents, and abilites mightily in our church.  With his strength continue to do so..."

Overwhelmed!!!  When we first conceived of doing something "in house" (aka, not buying a score from a publishing house), we knew it could be alot of work, or turn out goofy, or simply not be good.  Yet God overcame all those possibilities and answered our prayers far above what we could ask or imagine.  In this little church of under 100 people, many of whom were IN the program, we were able to have a choir, worship band and singers, narrators, and tech crew.  

What's next?  Well next up on our agenda is.....drumroll....a Music Camp/VBS in August.  We are going to host a day camp (very big on this island) where local children must pre-register, but freely come to learn musical skills, hear the gospel, and then perform in concert for their parents and the community at the end of the week (with another gospel message being given).  Currently, Metro Life Church in Orlando is arranging a mission team to come and serve alongside us in this.   How can you be praying?

1) Pray for the children who God will bring.  Most likely, they will come from the immediate community around our church, which is a low-income fairly "at-risk" area.  Pray that their hearts will even now begin to soften toward the things of God and that many would receive Christ.

2)Pray for the parents of the children God will bring.  Pray that they too will hear and receive the gospel through their contact with our church and that many true disciples will be born of this.

3)Pray for funds, strength, creativity, rapport with the incoming kids, ideas, safety, no sickness in the workers, travelling mercies, import/customs issues as the Florida team attempts to bring things into the country for this endeavor. 

4)Pray for long-term fruit from this.  We would love to see a children's community choir develop out of this music camp.  Our heart would be to see at-risk kids given a place to do something worthwhile (singing) that will give them a sense of ownership and productivity, and ultimately to hear the gospel. Along with the children themselves, we pray that parents and families will then be affected too.

None of these requests is beyond our Heavenly Father, who gives generously to all without reproach.  He is the giver of all good things.  He cares for children.  He cares for families.  He cares for His own people who seek to make His name great in all the earth.  Pray with us!