We started the month of April with hosting a good friend of ours, Alex, who came to visit us for 10 days. The boys had a great time with him as well and probably drained him daily of any energy he had left in this heat with them playing rough Alex seemed to crash with ease every night in the hammock. Yes, the heat has been something. It didn’t get below 100 degrees all month, and the highest temperature reached 106. We finally broke down and started running the boys’ AC in their room at night. So when it comes to sleeping arrangements, it is all 7 of us in the boys’ bedroom: the boys in their bedrooms, Len and Natalie on hammocks, and our three dogs. It’s definitely a nice break from sweating and seems like a luxury to be able to relax and sleep in AC! We are blessed for sure.
In Influencia, Len just started a new teaching series on worship. The room was almost packed out last night at the service. We see a lot of fruit in this ministry and from the discipleship that is taking place. Afterward, we had the worship and sound team over for dinner and a time of worship and Bible study as we usually do on the first Friday of every month. Natalie made chocolate-chip Belgian waffles with topping choices of whipped cream, strawberries, butter, maple syrup, and nutella. They all enjoyed eating such a treat and it’s been such a blessing to see this core group grow both spiritually and in numbers. We had started with just 4 people and now we have 13 that are faithfully committed and we are still growing!
Good Friday was a great service. We had our youth/young adult service set up on the rooftop of the church building four stories up high. Most buildings are not taller than 2 stories in the whole city, so you are able to see a great view from here. The night was packed as we not only had our normal group (ages 15-25), but also the middle school kids joined us as well. Everything was beautiful as we worshiped, shared communion, and listened to the message of the cross. That Sunday we celebrated Easter. The sunrise service was being held at the Bible college campus. We needed to be there at 5am. But this was also the night they changed the clocks so it was like we were waking up at 3am to get ready and be there on time. We had folding chairs all set up outside on the unfinished ground portion of the campus and so many came out. Many of our kids from the Influencia ministry came early to serve as they greeted and ushered people to their seats. They had a time of food and fellowship afterwards. When we came home we cooked a special breakfast of eggs, pancakes and bacon yeah, we splurged. It was well worth it. And then we all took a nap!
Len took a trip to Florida for one week with the 6th graders from the school here. Everyone was hosted in different homes as he was greatly hosted by some of our supporters and family as they helped him get around each day and fed him yummy food and listened to his stories about the ministry here. He also had the privilege of teaching at all of the middle school services at church that weekend at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. He only had 4 days in the Fort Lauderdale area, but was blessed to reconnect with many friends and family. The second half of their trip they visited the Orlando area. They had the opportunity to go visit Wycliffe Bible Translators, Campus Crusade, eat dinner at Medieval Times, and spend a day in Magic Kingdom at Disney. Len had four boys who were in his group and didn’t speak a lick of English, so even while back in the states; he was able to continue to practice his Spanish. The whole group had a great time, but at the end of their time, Len was ready to come back home to his family here in Merida. When he got back he had a suitcase full of goodies for the boys that our friends and family blessed us with. Noah said it was like Christmas!
As we have prayed much and sought advice from other seasoned missionaries, we came to the decision of homeschooling both of the boys next year. We see this is needed for Noah especially to not fall behind, as these early years are so important to learn the fundamentals in education. When we told Noah he did seem excited about it. He will continue to play flag football and have interaction with his friends both there and at church. This decision is a huge step of faith for us. Not only is it a huge change for Noah & Caleb in their schooling environment and learning, but a great change for us financially. Natalie gets paid $250 dollars a month from teaching English at the school in both a preschool class and an 11th grade class that helps us take care of monthly expenses. She will be stepping down from that job to now be a stay-at-home mom to teach our boys home school. We are praying that the Lord would put it on the hearts of others to commit to supporting us monthly, as we will not have that income anymore.
In June all four of us will be flying over to Idaho to attend a missions conference. Great missionary friends of ours had invited us and we will be staying with them. We are greatly looking forward to the time to reunite and be refreshed. Please continue to keep our visas in prayer. They are submitted to the state of Mexico here and we are still waiting for them to be renewed. We hope that we get them in time before our trip so we won’t be penalized. We heard that there is a charge of $1 per day per visa that is expired. The visas of Natalie and the boys expired in December of last year! Because Len has gone to the states a couple times, he has had his 6-month visa renewed each time.