As soon as we got back from Florida at the end of last month, we were excited to get the team together to start getting things out to decorate for Christmas. As hot as it may be outside here, it’s nice to transform the café to at least pretend that it’s cold outside. We all walked to the store one night to buy a Christmas tree. There were four trees to choose from. And once they’re gone, they’re gone. So we chose our tree and two of the guys carried it as we all walked back to the church café. We put up the lights, hung the ornaments, and set out all of our Christmas mugs. Then we decorated all of the homemade Christmas sugar cookies that we would sell in the café and had our annual cookie-decorating contest. We also had a couple other nights this month to travel to Merida together; one night we all enjoyed the Christmas fair and another night we got to see Star Wars on opening weekend at the movie theater in English. What fun making memories with our mission team!
Click pictures to enlarge and read caption.
One thing we did in our café this month was that every Thursday night be cookie night. Friends and families could come and buy homemade Christmas sugar cookies that were all in different shapes and pick different icing colors and toppings to make their own. It was a hit! And some of the church body used it as an opportunity to invite their unsaved friends to come and do it with them. Maybe it will become a new Christmas tradition for some families here in Motul for next year!
There is a family that attends our church that shared with us that in the church they attended prior to ours, they were told that Christmas decorations were sinful, including Christmas trees. They expressed how nice it was to come into our church/café and enjoy all of the Christmas decorations again. So we were able get a tree, some lights and ornaments and surprise them with it before Christmas. It is definitely more blessed to give than to receive.
Our Christmas morning started just with our family + Silas in a time of opening up presents, reading the Christmas story, and singing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. Then the rest of our mission team joined us later that morning for a yummy breakfast and we had a time of exchanging presents and eating Christmas cookies with some real whole milk we had brought back from Costco in Merida. Our family Christmas church service was held that Christmas night. We had many families who regularly attend out church bring some of their family members with them for the first time. We held the service outside in the back. We, as a family, sat on a couch in front of everyone as Len read some of the Christmas story with pictures on the screen for al the kids to see. People from the church brought desserts to share afterwards and we had a great long time of fellowship.
One family here that attends our church has known the Lord for some time, long before they came to our church. The dad was given the privilege to teach one of the Sunday services here at Calvary Motul. We are blessed to see the growth in the believers here and see God moving in their lives. Natalie also has been meeting with his wife for months giving her guitar lessons. This Sunday will be her first time closing out the service with a song. What joy!
“I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:4-9
We have a new mission team member here. Her name is Gosia. She is originally from Poland, but her second language is English, and third is Spanish. She has been a great help to have as she has already learned her way around serving in the café, started helping Natalie in the Children’s ministry, and currently is learning how to bake some of the baked goodies that Natalie makes every week. Our boys love her, especially Caleb. Welcome to the team, Gosia!
As we stated in our last update, we were worried about Leche with her paralysis due to the tick prevention medicine we gave her in November. Natalie read online about giving the dog a few baths in dish detergent like Dawn. After prayer and a few baths, Leche no longer showed any symptoms of paralysis and was back to her normal self.
Lately there have been a few church services in which we almost ran out of room with the area we set up in. So we knew it was time for a layout change for the café. With some of the donations that have been given, we shut down the café during Christmas break in the afternoons and remodeled the café and placed the main serving station and counter toward the back of the room. This opens up the long room and gives us twice the space we had before for church services. This Sunday will be our first service with the new setup. We are also able to use the café tv now to show worship song lyrics, teaching powerpoints, and announcements during the service.
On January 8, we will be changing our service time on Sundays to the morning at 10am. We have been meeting at 7pm due to Len’s involvement as a youth pastor at Robert’s church in Merida on Sunday mornings. But in January he will be transitioning out and we will solely be focusing on the ministry here at Calvary Motul.
Please keep us in your prayers this upcoming week and especially Monday. We will go back to the immigration office in Merida as we have received notice to return to continue our process of receiving our cards for temporary residency. Later that afternoon, we will pick up the CCA mission team of 11th graders from our home church to take them back to Motul. They will be serving with us all this week with various events, work projects, and outreaches.
As we reflect on this past year on what the Lord has done, we look forward to this next year with all that He will do. We pray our faith will grow as we continue to follow where only the Lord can take us. We hope to return in February to the states for our time of furlough. We will write again soon with an update on some of our needs after our visa situation is completed and we can know our dates for our furlough. Until then, have a blessed new year!