THE RAYNOR FAMILY

By the raynors, Nov 30 2014 08:24PM

We have hit the 6-month mark. Wow. Looking back at all that God has done in these past 6 months in us and through us – it is truly amazing. We are blessed with the time that we have had here so far, thankful for the relationships that have been made, and are excited for the work the Lord will continue to do in this next year.


In the beginning of November, Len had the opportunity to travel to Houston, Texas, for a pastor’s conference. With the 8 days he was there he was very blessed by the church there – Calvary Chapel Houston. He had the chance to reunite with many of the team members that came here this past summer. He had a bit of reverse culture shock: seeing water fountains that you could actually drink free water, stores that had sales, and everyone spoke English. He also picked up a few things we could get only in the states like a 4 lb. back of candy corn!!!! We just now finished it. Mmmmm… so good.


While Len was away, Natalie came across a lost puppy. She was cleaning out the car on the street and looked down the block and saw this little puppy eating out of the garbage. She went to go look at him and noticed he was very sick. He has a blown-up tummy, an infected cut on his head, and was full of ticks. She took it to the vet and was able to get it looked at and got the medicine it needed to get better. We kept it until it was all better and then started to look for a home for it. We ended up finding the owner and she was happy to see her puppy again. The boys had a great time while it lasted, but we are glad to be back to only 2 dogs now. Puppies are a lot of work!


Noah had two different trips to Cancun this month for football. Cancun is a 4-hr. drive from where we live in Merida. The team met at the church at 5am to go all together in the church bus and didn’t come back until after dark. The first trip Natalie and Caleb went along with the team as Len was in Houston at that time. They won that game and Noah had a great time with his friends on the way home on the bus. The last trip was just this past Saturday and Len was able to go with him this time. They played 2 games – won one and lost one. It was their last Cancun trip of the season.


The boys received their first report cards in school for the first semester. They did pretty well. Noah also received a Student of the Week award for his participation in his Spanish class. We are so very proud of them both.


Len went with the high schoolers on a 3-day mission trip to Chetamul, a city 6 hours south of here. There worked with a Calvary Chapel there and the team did a lot of outreach. Len was glad he brought his hammock to sleep on, as there were many bugs that would’ve joined him if he slept on the floor!


Natalie was thrilled to have the opportunity to lead worship for Influencia that same weekend, as the worship leader was away on that mission trip. She had another girl from the worship team sing with her. Natalie is even more involved now in the worship team for this ministry with being there for their weekly practices and helping them with improvements. She will be teaching the next Bible study for the Influencia worship team on Dec. 6. Exciting!


One thing that is very heavy on our hearts is a teenage boy that is here. Currently he is a part of discipleship program at church. He has a difficult home life. We are praying that God would open the door for him to come live with us for a year. We would need an extra $400-$500 of monthly support to be able to support a teenager living with us. We want to love on him, invest and help him grow in his relationship with Jesus. We want him to experience what a godly family life is like: family dinners, devotion time, praying together, etc. He hasn’t had much normality in his life. We can share more details with you privately if God puts it on your heart to pray or help by giving financial support. We are waiting until December 15 to give our final answer to the pastor here. If enough people commit to a year of giving extra support to have him live with us, we would be very grateful for the opportunity to give this boy a home. If God puts it on your heart to help support us financially for one year so we can have him live with us, please let us know.


Thanksgiving day here was certainly different. Having the kids go to school on Thanksgiving was the first thing. But even though Thanksgiving is an American holiday, they still celebrated it in school due to the American influence. The boys were assigned different foods to bring and share and all of the kids at school had a feast when it came to lunchtime. Turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie… Noah had so much fun. And Caleb’s class dressed up like little Indians and pilgrims to put on a little presentation for the parents. That night we were invited to eat Thanksgiving dinner with some other families from the church that had once lived in the states. Close to 30 people there in total, we all sat at a long row of tables with red tablecloths on top. Yummy food, great people, fun time.


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas now. We are excited for the season of this upcoming month and the ministry that is planned. The boys are happy that we now get to watch Christmas movies and Noah even made a to-do list of things we need to get done in time for Christmas. We hope to have some great fruitful times of ministry as well as some time off with our own family to enjoy. And may we always put Christ first this season as we celebrate Him above all.

By the raynors, Nov 3 2014 02:46PM

This month has been so wonderful with the change of weather. We have been trying to cut back on our electricity; so we no longer run the air conditioning at night in the bedrooms. But it’s been great timing since it is now cool at night. We both have had a lot of nights sleeping in the boy’s room in our hammocks. The boys like it cause we are all in one room together and we like it cause it is a lot cooler. Natalie says almost every day how nice the weather is. We are sure enjoying it. Football games are much more enjoyable with it being cooler. Noah had his first game with the older team and the Eagles are doing well. This coming weekend his team will be playing in Cancun. He is very excited!


Another amazing thing is that the ticks are finally gone! Thank You, Lord! Our dogs and boys have been enjoying a lot of time out in the backyard. Noah is into collecting bugs and finding cool sticks. Caleb tries to help him to by finding centipedes.


Earlier in October we believe a spider bit Noah as he had three abnormal bites on his body that had bad reactions. We kept him in prayer and a week later they were all healed up. Then later he got sick and had a high fever for 5 days. We know a lot of you were praying for him as you saw our prayer request from facebook. We got to experience the healthcare over here by taking two medical clinic visits. After our whole family experienced various kinds of sickness, we are all better and glad to have it behind us. Thank you for your prayers.


As part of Len overseeing all of the church plants called “missions” here in the Yucatan, we have been going to a different one as a family every Sunday. We get to connect with the people and see how the churches are doing. One Sunday we visited the Calvary in a city called Progresso. It is just 30 minutes north of us and is close to the beach. Afterward we enjoyed some family time in the sand and feeding the seagulls. As we were leaving Len saw a man in a wheelchair that had his face painted like a clown. He would use his feet to drag his wheelchair up and down the road with a bucket hanging for people to give him money. By the time Len went to get some money from the car and go to give it to him, he couldn’t find him. After we got the boys all cleaned up and everything packed in the car to leave, we saw this man in the wheelchair again. Natalie hopped out of the car to go talk to him. After she asked him if he was hungry and if we could treat him to lunch he struggled to get out this piece of cardboard. He couldn’t talk, but he started pointing to letters to spell words to communicate. A man who worked at a restaurant right where we were came over to help as he has seen him before. We found out he did want to eat, but he would need us to feed him as he couldn’t feed himself. Natalie told him we’d be right back, as we had to go find a place to park the car. As she hopped back in the card to tell Len everything, she broke into tears. This man’s name was Jose and he reminded Natalie of a boy that she had in her Kids Live worship team back when she led kids worship at Calvary. That boy and Jose were very similar, but yet so different. Jose seemed to be alone, he only had a backpack with a few things in it including a sippy cup, and he didn’t have Jesus. That day our boys got to witness how to share the God’s love.


We have started our Spanish lessons with Bebo’s owners. They have been really great. We are excited to be building our vocabulary as well as learning the grammar to go with it. We were not able to invite them to the night of Nick Vujicic speaking. It landed on the same night as an outreach Len was overseeing. But we are continuing to pray for their salvation. We have been able to talk a bit during our lessons about Jesus and what we are doing here. They even asked Len to prepare a small sermon to share for us to work on translating. Noah had his classes changed around in school; he no longer participates in his class for English but goes to another class for Spanish.


Natalie gave her first big exam to her 11th grade advanced English class as it was the end of the first period. She also got invited to teach at a young women’s home Bible study. We started having a once-a-month study for the Influencia worship team (who play on Saturday nights at the young adults service). We’re excited to be investing in this next generation as we see God using them big time already. Natalie has been training a 15 yr. old boy how to run Pro Presenter for the Saturday night services and now he sets everything up, runs it, and packs it all up every week. We are in need again for a babysitter for this night, so please add that to your prayers.


We have been looking for a while to bless Carlitos, the 17 yr. old young man who leads worship for Influencia, with his own guitar. For the past 4 months he has been borrowing Natalie’s guitar every Saturday to plug up and play. One team that was over here in the summer gave some money to help pay for one. So we were able to find a decent Fender acoustic and were able to give it to him this past week. He was very blessed.


Our big event, Festival Of Life, took place on October 31st. The church opened their gates to host a time of games for the kids, food, and a presentation for all. Len was in charge of all of the elements for the Gospel presentation. We had two different showings that night. We started with 2 songs of music, a drama performed by our youth group, a video, and then the gospel was given. There were close to maybe 800 that came out that night. The boys had a lot of fun and were well behaved during the time both of us needed to serve.

By the raynors, Oct 3 2014 01:15PM

With no teams in September, we had a false expectation that things would slow down a little; but our schedule of school + ministry is booming! Everyone in the family is keeping busy. We celebrated our first Mexican holiday on Sept 16 – Independence Day. There were decorations and Mexican flags everywhere. The boys got to dress up for school and had a lot of fun.


There is a discipleship group of teenagers at the church called, Mathetas. We mentioned them earlier in one of our July updates. Last week we just started having them over to our house on Tuesday nights. We have a time of devotions, fellowship, and them practicing English by watching movies. ☺ We are going through the book “Spiritual Leadership” with them. We are excited to get to know them even better and help equip them for ministry.


Another Bible study we will start having in our home is for the worship team that serves on Saturday nights for the young adult ministry, “Influencia.” We will have them over once a month on Saturday afternoons. Carlitos, the worship leader, will be leading a short Bible study with them and we use this time to be accountable, sharpen music skills, and stay connected. Being very grateful for these opportunities, we know that God has opened these doors for discipleship on a more personal level.


Some of you have asked how our tick situation has been going. After trying just about everything, we do still have ticks, but not as many. We no longer let our dogs go out in the backyard; but Len installed chicken-wire all along the frontyard gate so they can go out there. Apparently, the ticks are only in the backyard! So the last thing we tried was torching our grass, well… it’s really just weeds. It seemed to help a lot. We are very thankful that we don’t see them inside our house anymore and that we never had any stuck on us!


We celebrated two birthdays in September. For Caleb’s birthday we took him out to Burger King. Natalie made him a minion cake and we came back after dinner to have cake and ice cream and open up presents. Len celebrated his birthday 2 weeks later with some brownie cupcakes and presents from our family. Caleb turned 3 years old and Len, well, we just won’t say. ☺ Noah had been asked to join the older flag football team of 7 and 8 year olds because he is playing so well. He decided to join them and is excited to play with the older boys. He will even have a couple games to play in Cancun! He asks every week if he’s going there to play football!


We ask for your prayers for our boys in their education. For Noah, it’s learning Spanish. We are currently waiting to find out if the school can provide a tutor for him to have a separate class to learn Spanish while the rest of his class learns English. Caleb, on the other hand, is a bit slow on picking up English! We just ask that with this big change of moving to a Spanish-speaking country that Caleb would still excel in learning English and being able to communicate well. Natalie just recently went from teaching 5 days a week to 3 days a week at the pre-kindergarten class. She wants to focus more on working with Caleb at learning in English and keeping him home 2 days a week instead of him going to school every day.


We are continuing to keep in prayer the opportunity to ask Bebo’s owners to come with us to the event of Nick Vujicic this month. Hopefully we will be starting Spanish lessons with them soon and will have more of a chance to talk with them. October 24 is the night of the event. Please keep this in your prayers as well.


The church will be hosting the event, “Festival of Life” on October 31st. It will be both a fundraiser and an outreach. Len is in charge of the outreach side of it and using the young adult ministry to run it. We are making t-shirts to represent this ministry and Carlitos is leading with the worship team to play a couple songs that night before the gospel message is given.


We are still always learning something new; the weather, how to pay your electric bill, how long uncooked meat lasts in your fridge, what’s the best grocery store to find imported food that you miss from the states… we have learned a lot these past four months. We also learned that the closest Krispy Kreme is 3 ½ hrs. away! That’s the same amount of time it took our family, when we lived in Pompano Beach, Fl. to drive to Disney for vacation! There are some ladies from the church that are going on the mission trip to Uganda next month and for their fundraiser they offered Krispy Kreme donuts if pre-purchased. We were one of the many who placed an order; and then they drove all the way to Cancun and picked up the donuts and came back. I think it was worth it; I know it was for our family – mmmm, delicious!

By the raynors, Sep 9 2014 01:49PM

Monday, August 25, Noah and Caleb went to school for their first day. Noah is in 1st grade and Caleb is going to pre-kindergarten. We didn’t know too much before dropping them off on what to expect. But after 2 weeks of school, we have learned that Noah has 3 different teachers throughout his day and two of them know English! That’s what Noah prayed for! He has had a good attitude with going to school here and we are grateful for your prayers with this transition. He has teachers that are very nice and he seems to like going to school and is always excited every morning to get ready and go. Caleb will be turning 3 years old this Thursday. Noah has lost three teeth in the past 2 weeks and used his “tooth” money to buy his brother his birthday present.


With the school schedule being added to our week, we are certainly keeping busy. Noah goes to school Mon-Fri from 7:30am-1:45pm and has football practice on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Caleb goes to school from 8:00am-1:15pm every day. Len teaches a Bible class in CCA highschool Monday-Wednesday at 7:30am, and then teaches a Bible class at the Bible college on Friday mornings. Natalie now has started teaching an English class to Caleb’s pre-k class at 11am Monday though Friday, and also leads an advanced English class of 4 juniors two times a week.


The breakfast that we had with the family we invited over (mentioned in last month’s update) went great. They’re really fun to be with and they have three girls that adore our boys. The girls are ages: 4, 7, and 12. We took them out to the beach that is about a half hour drive from here the next week and had a great time getting to know them more. They recently moved closer to the church to a smaller 1-bedroom house because they couldn’t afford to pay the bus fees (because they don’t own a car) to come to church all the time and now school. So one day Natalie picked up their three girls so they could prepare their new home and get everything in place. We also were invited to their 7 yr. old’s birthday party. We are very honored to be a part of their lives. The dad is going to Calvary Chapel Bible College full time. Len is praying about how God may use him in the near future in ministry.


We had our movie night with the young adult ministry at our house. Twenty came out as we showed “God’s Not Dead.” We had told them to bring a snack to share as we would provide the drinks, but we got a few snacks just in case… like popcorn, marshmallows, and peanuts. Well, as you may not know, the typical snacks and food that the Yucatans eat here are hot. They sell hot chips in every way. So that’s what they all brought. You can’t even find regular cheese Doritos or Cheetos over here, they are all only hot and spicy flavors! The movie night was good, great time of fellowship. Bring on the hotsauce!


As some of you might know from Facebook, we have been battling a long time with ticks. We have been picking 10-15 off of our dogs daily for a while now after they come back inside the house. But last week we found a lot of them on our outside wall in our backyard. Within 3 days we picked off over 100 ticks! So Len went to the local hardware store and bought some poison to spray outside. It seems to have helped a lot, but it has not completely eliminated them. We were blessed with some dog preventative Advantage as well from the States, but the ticks still seem to get on our dogs daily. We have not found any latching onto us, but we can only pray they don’t as we have found a few inside our house as well.


Recently we had a team come from Calvary Chapel Melbourne, Florida. This was their first time coming to Mexico. Len hosted them for 9 days as they served in the other cities here in the Yucatan. Len said that in one particular city they went witnessing door to door. They came to a house in which they noticed a shed on the side that seemed like someone was living in it. They walked over to it and found a man, age 92, living in this little shack with only a hammock, a little sink, and a fire. They shared the gospel with him and he prayed to follow Jesus! This team was a blessing to have and we hope they return next year.


On our way to walk to the church, Natalie and the boys always say hi to this dog that is kept outside the house in the gated yard. He is a boxer, so he reminded the boys of their grandpa’s dog back in Florida that is also a boxer. One morning, on the way to school, the owners were outside and introduced themselves. They spoke English very well and were very nice to us. We found out that the dog’s name was “Bebo.” So every day on the way to school, the boys would go say hi to Bebo. A few more times we had the chance to talk with the owners and found out that they teach English and other languages as a living to kids at their house. We now have been praying for opportunities to share Jesus with them. Just this past Saturday, Natalie was walking home from worship practice and noticed that they were having one of their language classes outside with about 10 kids. She said hi to them as she was walking by, but then they invited her to come join them. Natalie stayed for an hour talking with their English class about all different things as she asked them questions and they asked her questions. They also asked her about her God and religion. Juan, the owner, even invited her to come back and share about God in English as an opportunity for the students to hear. He also has invited Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons in the past to do the same thing, so we are praying that the truth will set them free! We are excited that God has opened this door for us to be a light to them. Nick Vujicic (Life Without Limbs) is coming to speak at a stadium here in Merida in late October. We are praying about buying tickets for this couple and inviting them to come with us to the event. God is so creative… he opened this door all through a dog!


The young adult ministry seems to be growing. This past Saturday we had almost 50 in attendance! We are excited with what the Lord is doing in and through this group of youth. Right now the pastor’s son, Sammy, is interpreting for Len’s teachings. It seems to be going well. We want to start doing more outreach in our own city here with this group. Please keep in your prayers for God to give us wisdom and creativity to lead these guys in a way that will challenge them and grow their faith.


By the raynors, Aug 16 2014 01:31AM

Being over here now for over 2 months, one would think we would know exactly what ministries we need to be involved in. But to be honest, there is so much need, it’s difficult to choose just exactly what to help with. We are currently praying through some decisions, but as of now, this is what we have been up to:

Len – oversees all incoming missions teams from the states when it comes to communication, planning their trips, and hosting when they are here. He oversees the young adult ministry and teaches almost weekly for their Saturday night service; through this ministry he has the opportunity to invest into some young adults for them to grow in leadership. Len will soon be teaching an 11th grade Bible class at CCA once school starts.

Natalie – runs sound at the Wednesday, Sunday 7am & 10:30pm services. She goes to worship practice on Saturday mornings and plays drums in worship at the Sunday night service. She oversees all powerpoint and video that is shown in the main sanctuary; she has worked with a group of three techs and has them on a rotation to create the teaching powerpoint designs for the Sunday services as she creates the powerpoints for the Wednesday night service. She is currently working with the new worship leader for young adult ministry and supports Len with all technical aspects of the service. Natalie will soon be teaching English to the pre-k class ay CCA once school starts.

And of course, there are a bunch of other projects and needs that come up weekly that keep us busy. We are just asking the Lord for direction to lead us to the ministries and people that He wants us to invest in, for our time not to be spent just with busy work.


One of the things we are trying to create in this culture Is an open house. As we did in the states, we would open our house always for fellowship, ministry, and when someone was in need. Now that our house is more inviting with furniture and things, we hope to have people over more often and use our personal lives to connect and invest into the people. Right now we are planning to announce at the young adult ministry to have a movie night at our home. We will keep you posted as to how that goes; it’s just one step closer to building friendships to go deeper with discipleship.


Some prayers have been answered since our last update. One of our requests was for a babysitter on Saturdays so Natalie could join Len in serving at the service for young adults. We did find someone for three out of the four Saturdays and we are grateful. It has been a joy to serve together again. And we also were praying for someone to be the next worship leader. Len talked to a young man, Carlitos, and he started leading worship 2 weeks ago. He comes to our house once a week and we are able to work with him on his skills for becoming a worship leader. Natalie works with him on the guitar and vocals as Len mentors him in how be a leader in ministry. We still are in need for an interpreter - so please keep praying for that.


On Sunday of last week, Aug. 3, two mission teams came in. Len hosted the team from Houston and traveled all to the different cities in the Yucatan ministering. The Houston team was a young college-aged group and many had musical talents. There was also a group of teenagers and young adults from Calvary Merida that went along to translate and serve with them. Valeria (one of the sound techs, also our new Spanish teacher) was one of them. Before the trip I saw her counting bills and coins in the sound booth after a service. She explained that it was all the money she had saved up to pay for the mission trip. She had made cupcakes and would go down the streets in her neighborhood selling them to raise money for her to go on this mission trip with the team. So one day in one of the cities, Panaba, the mission team advertised all day that there would be a concert at night. Well, the time came for the concert to start and there were only a few that showed up. Then after 30 minutes of still waiting to start, the group gathered together to pray. Within 10 minutes there was a group of about 50 people. I guess God was just waiting for them to ask in prayer! In another city, Tizimin, the local newspaper took their picture and printed an article on the team that was serving there.


Meanwhile, the Downey team was here in Merida. One of the ladies from the team has been living in our house with us as the whole team was spread out into homes during their time here. Their first week here they have been serving alongside the children’s ministry volunteers putting on a 5-day VBS. Noah & Caleb both attended and had a great time! You can see a video of it by clicking the link posted below the pics. Natalie had a great time filming it and was able meet a lot of great people in the church. On the last day of VBS, she was invited by some of the children’s ministry volunteers to come to a party at a ranch the next day on Saturday. This was the first time our family was invited to another home. Len was still out of town with the team, but Natalie and the boys went the next day. We met some at the church and followed them driving about 45 minutes out of the city. The ranch property was beautiful. The group of Christians that came were warm and inviting. We ate together, laughed together, and prayed together. Noah and Caleb had a great time playing with all of their kids – hiding go seek, on the trampoline, in the ‘pool’, feeding the peacock, snacking on some popcorn! It was a great day to connect and build relationships. In fact, we are having one of the families over to our house this Saturday for breakfast!


This next week is the last week of summer break. On Monday, August 25, Noah and Caleb will have their first day of school. This will also be the same time that the mission team from Melbourne is here for 9 days (Aug. 23-31). This same week Noah will start playing flag football again. It will be a crazy week, please keep us all in your prayers. Especially pray for Noah with his adjustment in going to school here and learning Spanish. We pray that he finds a good friend. We are hoping that with seeing the same kids his age in school every day he will begin to build friendships.

By the raynors, Jul 23 2014 03:33AM

It seems that during these last 2 ½ weeks there has been a lot going on. We can now say that it feels like we have settled in and our house feels like home. Our house is such a blessing and the location, so close to the church, is great cause we can just walk to church… or soon school!


The medical team from Calvary Chapel Alpine was here from July 15 – 18. Len drove them to the different cities and villages that are in the Yucatan every day in which there are Calvary Chapels. They would set up a clinic in which the people would first sit in a waiting area and hear the gospel message before being seen by a doctor or dentist. The team was a blessing to have and minister alongside. They served with humility as they saw patient after patient all day long.


The boys are doing great. Noah finished his flag football season a week ago. Now he has about one more month of summer time before starting school. Both he and Caleb will be attending the CCA (the church bilingual school) here. Noah will be entering 1st grade and Caleb will be attending part-time pre-school as Natalie will be teaching English at the school to the pre-kindergarteners. We received the school supply list and found some supplies interesting. Each student buys 12 rolls of toilet paper… which seems to end up providing the whole year’s worth for themselves. Caleb is in the process of potty-training. It’s been a week now and he seems to be doing well, but not catching on completely yet. Thank God for pull-ups! Both of the boys are looking forward to the VBS camp that Calvary Chapel Downey will be putting on in a couple weeks.


Natalie has continued to be a part of the sound booth in the main sanctuary and is working alongside the team there. The past two weeks she has invited the three of them over to the house to train how to design the powerpoints for the pastor’s teachings for service. The first week all three of them came, but this past weekend only one was able to come, her name is Valeria. She is 20 years old and has a brother a year younger than she and he is not saved. Alan does come to church though because his parents make him. But since their parents have been out of town, he has only been coming to the Saturday night young adult ministry service – the one that Len oversees and teaches. So Natalie asked Valeria if her brother would want to come over as well to hang out as they create powerpoints. He did come over and seemed comfortable in our house. He did ask Len some questions about the Bible and about what it means to be a Christian. We were excited to connect with him and be able to share God’s love. We hope to continue to build our friendship and pray that he will come to know Jesus and decide to follow Him.


Many changes are going on in this ministry called “Influence,” that Len oversees. This is the young adult ministry that has service every Saturday night from 6pm-7:30pm. Kids from late teens to about 25 yrs. old come out every week. The senior pastor’s son just came back to Mexico after being in Texas and he is now serving and teaching as well under Len’s leadership. Also, the main worship leader who also interprets for Len is moving away this weekend. There is a great need for someone to lead worship for this ministry and also to translate for Len. Please keep these needs in your prayers.


There is a young group of five guys that are part of a discipleship program at the church. They actually live at the church and serve there daily. We have had it on our hearts to invest into them on a personal level. So this past Sunday we invited them over to our home for dinner. Three of them were able to come and we had a good time getting to know them more and sharing some of our stories with them. We pray that we can be a part of their lives and help equip them in ministry.


Today we went to the zoo here in Merida. It’s free to get in. Some animals we have never seen before like white reindeer, a hairless dog and some different kinds of monkeys and birds. The largest animals that were there were probably a camel, giraffe, and hippos. They had lions all together in one encloser, but all of the tigers were separated into separate caged areas. They even had the white Bengal tigers. But it was sad to see many of the habitats for the larger animals. They would be enclosed in very small areas, not enough land for them to roam around. They did have a lot of shade from the trees, but some with no water pools to drink from. After you exit the part where the animals are, there is another part of the zoo with little rides and bounce houses. Our boys went into a two-story trampoline ‘bounce house.’ Very cool, nothing you would ever see in the states.


Right now it is raining. Every time there is a thunderstorm and it rains, we lose power. Just the norm here. We have about two more weeks before the August teams start coming. Please keep that time in your prayers as Len will be traveling with them and away for 3 weeks as Natalie will be staying back at home with the boys and getting ready for the school year. We really appreciate your prayers and any notes or letters you send us. Please don’t be shy to connect with us on Facebook or write us an e-mail!


Medical Clinic with the Calvary Chapel Alpine Team
Medical Clinic with the Calvary Chapel Alpine Team
Noah receiving a medal at after his championship game.
Noah receiving a medal at after his championship game.
Noah & Caleb in the church parking lot.
Noah & Caleb in the church parking lot.
Natalie's birthday celebration at the church.
Natalie's birthday celebration at the church.
Selfie.
Selfie.
Zoo - giraffe
Zoo - giraffe
Zoo - jaguar
Zoo - jaguar
Zoo - White Tiger
Zoo - White Tiger
zoo - railing.  You can get pretty close to the animals!
zoo - railing. You can get pretty close to the animals!
zoo - white reindeer
zoo - white reindeer
zoo - 2-story trampoline "bounce house"
zoo - 2-story trampoline "bounce house"

By the raynors, Jul 4 2014 02:37AM

One month. Today we have been here 31 days. It didn’t seem to take too long to jump into ministry. These last two weeks have been super busy with Len hosting teams. This week we have had the chance to rest, catch up doing some things around the house, and focus on the ministry that is yet to come.


On June 16 an adult team from Calvary Chapel Boca came. Len among other leaders from the church here went along with them doing ministry in various cities where there are other Calvary Chapels. And while that team was still here, another two teams came in on the 20th. There was a youth team from Calvary Fort Lauderdale and another from Boca. Len helped drive/host the Boca youth team. Natalie and the boys joined them every other day and took day trips to where they were ministering. The furthest city they served at was in San Felipe, about 2 ½ hours away from Merida. There is a small Calvary Chapel there in that little fishing town. It was a great blessing to see so many familiar faces and to serve alongside them in the country we now call home. The boys certainly had fun with the youth from the team as well.


Len is continuing to teach and lead the young adult ministry. This is a great opportunity to invest in the next generation of leaders. Please pray that we can get a babysitter for the boys on a regular basis so Natalie and Len can both serve together in this particular ministry on Saturday nights.


Natalie is now involved in helping with the production side of the main services. This past Wednesday she was able to assist by creating all of the powerpoints for the service for both the teaching and the announcements. There are few sound techs that are interested in learning how to do this as well. She also will begin practicing with the worship band this weekend. She will need to practice for four weeks until she plays for any of the services. She is totally excited to get involved in worship once again.


The boys seem to have adjusted so well. Not once have they said that they miss anything or want to go back home to Florida. They have a great time in Sunday school during the church services and every time we say we got to go out somewhere Caleb asks, “To church?” Noah continues to practice with flag football team twice a week. This past weekend he had 2 games and was able to score a touchdown!


Some culture tips we have learned since being here is that you tip a lot of people. It is normal to tip the waiters if you eat out. But like when you go to get groceries, the people that bag your groceries work for free. The store doesn’t pay them to be there so they completely work off of tips. Also, there are men that stand out in all of the parking lots that help you find a spot and then back out when you leave. They completely work off of tips too. And then when you get gas, there are guys at the pump that fill up your gas and clean your windshield. So you just make sure you always have pesos coins in your car for tips.


This month we have a medical team coming and then in August we have three teams coming; from Houston, Downey, and Melbourne. The Downey team will be running a VBS program for 3-9 yr. olds. That will be a great blessing for our boys because it will be in English!


We are well and healthy. The boys did go through a couple days of having a high fever, but recovered fast. We are enjoying getting to know the culture, serving in ministry, and learning the language. Until next time, please keep us in your prayers!

Spiderman ride
Spiderman ride
A family of 8 were in this little car!
A family of 8 were in this little car!
Getting ready to score a touchdown!
Getting ready to score a touchdown!
Breaking free for the touchtown!
Breaking free for the touchtown!
Latest find in our bathroom
Latest find in our bathroom
Giddy up!
Giddy up!
Island beach in San Felipe
Island beach in San Felipe
Crab shell
Crab shell
If you haven't watched the video of COCONUTS posted on Natalie's FB, go now
If you haven't watched the video of COCONUTS posted on Natalie's FB, go now
Noah was so excited to spend time with Spencer from the 678 team!
Noah was so excited to spend time with Spencer from the 678 team!
Horse ride in downtown Merida.
Horse ride in downtown Merida.
Mayapan Ruins
Mayapan Ruins

By the raynors, Jun 15 2014 02:19AM

It is our 12th day here and it seems that we have seen somewhat normal again, and yet some things are still in the process of settling. We have been living out of suitcases for about 6 weeks now and are itching to get some furniture to finally unpack. Len and I finally purchased a real mattress to sleep on, but a queen bed frame is hard to find. We have a craftsman custom building us one to fit that is said to be finished this Monday. We are excited!!!


This past week we have had a lot of things accomplished on our list. We received wifi in our house! Hello world! That was the best ever. And also we got a couch that we can now sit in our house and relax a bit. And we bought a car! We were blessed to work with two guys from the church that have a car lot that helped us buy a Volkswagen Gol. Cute little thing.


Since getting our own car, we have been venturing out each day to discover new stores and find our way around. While driving the other day, we saw a sign for paintball. We drove down the dirt and rocky road through the tall grass to find a small field with big tires as bunkers. Only two guys were playing out there – one on one.


Today Noah was invited to play with the little CCA flag football team for one of their games. He has never played before, so every thing was new to him. But the kids on the team we so nice to him, and the coach spoke English and patiently explained the rules to him. The kids were ages 3-6 yrs. old, most of them on the CCA team being 5-6 yrs. old. Noah was very hesitant to want to play at first, but in the end he had a good time. He even scored two touchdowns! We are planning on taking him to the practices during the week for him to be a part for the rest of the season.


Many of the roads here are one way. You’ll have to make a right, then another right, and one more right to make a left. For drinking water they use the big 5-gallon jugs. The water truck drives down your street every day and you need to flag him down to give him your empty jug for a new one. A 5-gallon jug costs 23 pesos, about 2 dollars. Shake out your shoes before you put them on. It’s very common to have ants, cockroaches, snails, and lizards in your home. We don’t expect them to be completely gone yet – it is still the rainy season. We did see one scorpion in our backyard. It’s just the safe thing to do to make sure your shoes are all clear!!!


This weekend Len has the opportunity to teach two times. Tonight he taught the young adults at Calvary Chapel Merida. This is a ministry he has been invited to be a part of. Tomorrow we are all traveling to Calvary Chapel Hocaba. Len will be teaching the service there as well.


Natalie’s first project is to build an English website that will feature the mission side of the Calvary Chapels here in the Yucatan. Its purpose will be for teams that come over to connect to the ministry here; there will be info on the missionaries, upcoming trips, churches, and contact info. She also is in the process of finding out how to be a part of the worship team at CC Merida.


This Monday starts the schedule of the teams coming. First we have an adult team from Calvary Chapel Boca. Their trip overlaps with the two SIX78 teams that arrive on June 20 and stay through the 28th. Len will be hosting and driving the teams around as Natalie stays home with the boys; but they will join the team in their daily ministry when they can, depending on their location.


We really are enjoying being here and being with the people. We are grateful that the Lord called us to be a part of what’s going on here and are looking forward to knowing more Spanish, learning more of the culture, building friendships, and making disciples.

Noah had some pesos and treated his brother and himself to some icecream.
Noah had some pesos and treated his brother and himself to some icecream.
Nap time.  Thankful for airconditioning in the bedrooms!!!
Nap time. Thankful for airconditioning in the bedrooms!!!
She's not dead, she's sunning in our backyard.
She's not dead, she's sunning in our backyard.
We are only five blocks from the church.  We walk there all the time.
We are only five blocks from the church. We walk there all the time.
Fixing the powerlines by hand, literally.
Fixing the powerlines by hand, literally.
Our car!  Volkswagen Gol.
Our car! Volkswagen Gol.
New sound booth being built for the main sanctuary in CC Merida.
New sound booth being built for the main sanctuary in CC Merida.
Noah playing flag football with the CCA team today.
Noah playing flag football with the CCA team today.
Ants got to him first.  Found in our backyard.
Ants got to him first. Found in our backyard.
Paintball field we discovered.
Paintball field we discovered.
Brother snuggle time.
Brother snuggle time.

By guest, Jun 6 2014 02:54PM

Sorry for the delay in getting our first update out since we have been here. It will still be about a week before we have internet service at our new home, but we are able to send this off at the church.


Our departure day went great. We had a group of family and friends see us off at the Fort Lauderdale airport. All 8 suitcases, some being a pound or two overweight, and both dogs were checked in with no questions asked. We had enough time after saying goodbye and going through security to grab lunch before boarding the plane. Caleb was so excited to go on the plane. He loved every part of it. The dogs did good on the plane too. Our plane landed on time and then it was time for customs. The Lord had placed a nice couple that set next to Len on the flight that offered to help us carry the dogs all the way through the 1 ½ hr. wait of customs. When it was time to get our luggage, we walked over and saw that someone had already stacked up all of our suitcases on carts. It pays to have matching bright green tags! And what a blessing. The guy that worked there walked us right over to the office where we needed to show our paperwork for the dogs to be cleared. It took another 30 minutes, but they got through and now we were out the door!


We were greeted by a couple from Merida Calvary that picked us up in the church van. The weather was a bit overcast, high 80’s. We had a 3 hr. drive to get to Merida, but we stopped in Tizimin, which was on the way because the Calvary there was celebrating their 3 yr. anniversary that night and Pastor Sam was there and wanted to see us. We stayed there for a couple hours and ate some yummy food and then were on our way to our new house in Merida. By the time we got here it was about 10:30pm. Noah had fallen asleep on the way and the boys were a bit cranky from such a long day. Our goal was to just get a place for them to sleep for the night. Robert greeted us and they had some little gifts waiting for us on the table as we walked in. They has a Mexico World Cup soccer ball, some candies and a balloon. The fridge and cabinet also was a bit stocked with some food that would get us through the next couple days before we could get a chance to go shopping on our own.


The house is great; very Mexican, but perfect for us. Len says it’s about 600 sq. feet. It has two bedrooms, 1 bath, and a kitchen and living/dining room. There is tile throughout the whole house, and there is an AC in each bedroom. The AC wasn’t hooked up the first night, but last night it was fixed and we really enjoyed it. There are single beds here already for the boys, and a borrowed table and chairs to eat on, but other than that we have to go shopping. The backyard is big. It is basically covered with cement and rocks. There is a cement wall all around so our dogs can’t get out. ☺


Now in the past couple days we have been able to go shopping to make our house a little bit more like a home. Everyone is adjusting great. When we were shopping at Walmart yesterday they had a fire drill. Everyone, workers and customers, had to leave the building and go stand outside by a green square. They say they do those fire drills about once a month in big stores like that.

We wish we could write more details now, but our time is short here at the church and we need to go shopping to continue to buy the things we need. At this point we have no phone, no car, and no internet and are living out of our suitcases so we are trying day by day to accomplish these things. It’s been great here and the kids are doing great. We are all healthy, praise God! Keep us in your prayers as we now have only 1 week left before Len leaves for a bit of the summer to be with teams. We hope to have knocked off our list by then!


If you want to be added to our e-mail list, please just email us. You can find our info on our CONTACT page.

Friends and family that saw us off at the airport
Friends and family that saw us off at the airport
The boys on the airplane
The boys on the airplane
Scorpion spider found in our kitchen
Scorpion spider found in our kitchen
Caleb's first shower
Caleb's first shower
Our new home
Our new home
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