In Natalie’s family growing up, her family always had a tradition of Cookie Night. All of her family would sit at the dining table with a spread of different colored icings, sprinkles, red hots, and many kinds of shapes of homemade sugar cookies. And of course, they would have a competition of who could decorate the best looking cookie. This year the tradition lived on in our family over here in Mexico and we shared many nights with inviting others from the church to be a part. One of the highlights was the night we had the Mathetas boys. One of them asked if he could take pictures of the cookies we decorated while another said that this was their first real cookie (homemade) that they ever had. Another family came over two different nights. The first time they all decorated cookies with us; their three girls really enjoyed it, almost as much as their mom did! Then, wanting to learn how to make them from scratch, they all came back the next week so I could teach the mom how to make the dough and bake the sugar cookies. When it came around to Christmastime, we were able to make plates and bless different people in the church as well as some of our neighbors and even the guys that deliver our water. This tradition definitely went a long way this year and we have reaped many blessings from it.
The boys get a long Christmas break – 18 days!!! The first week of Christmas break we enjoyed having some family visit us. Len’s mom and sister flew in and stayed with us 9 days. We got to travel a bit in Yucatan showing them around. The boys were certainly excited to see them. Noah made the 8-hr. round trip to Cancun and back both times: to pick them up and then to drop them off. Noah finished this last season of football and has had some time off with Christmas break. When he returns in January he might take the position of quarterback since some of the older kids will have graduated to the next older team.
Some Christmas traditions remained the same, but of course, some were different. We were able to buy a Christmas tree, get some lights, and the malls here decorate well and play Christmas carols in English. Grandma even helped us splurge on buying a Christmas ham from Costco. It was delicious. No eggnog to be found here – they never heard of it. The church does shoeboxes here, but not through Operation Christmas Child. The shoeboxes here are only filled with toys and then distributed out to the different village Calvary Chapels in the Yucatan. Fireworks are big on Christmas Eve. They started around 10:30pm and ended about 4 in the morning. It was a long night for Dakota, one of our dogs, as she is scared of fireworks and these ones were loud!
To keep you updated on the teenage boy that we were praying about having live with us for a year, here is what has happened in the last month. After much praying and fasting, we believe the Lord wanted us to commit and give our official offer. So we talked with the pastor here and the Lord opened his heart for him to give the ok for us to move forward. Then we talked with the boy and he had asked to have some time to pray and talk with his grandma about it. We just talked with him again a couple days ago to see what he’s been thinking and it sounded like he and his grandma are all for it. He now wants to talk with his mom, who he doesn’t see very often, to see if she approves it. He will give us his final answer on January 10. Please continue to pray for him and his family as they make this decision. If anyone feels led to give one-time to help out with some of the buying costs to set everything up for him to live with us, or maybe commit to giving monthly for one year to help us with expenses, please let us know. We trust that God will provide what we need if He is leading us to have this boy live with us.
Just this last week we have seen something that we might only see once in a lifetime. Some have called it a plague. There have been millions of crickets flying in the air. They would cover the roofs, park grounds, and could eat all of the leaves off of a tree in 30 minutes. It was quite something to see. It kind of helped us imagine what the plagues in Egypt could have been like. To see a video of it, click here:
This next month we will be hosting 160 people! Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale’s school sends their 11th graders over every year in January for a mission trip. They are broken into 6 different teams and spread out to minister in 6 different cities. Please pray for Len, as this is his responsibility. Pray for his health, as he will be doing a lot of traveling and for the teams to have a great impact on the cities and to be an encouragement to the churches here.
All month Caleb’s pre-k class at school had been practicing 2 different songs for their special Christmas presentation. Because Natalie is their English teacher, she was in charge of teaching them one Christmas song in English. During rehearsals, seeing Mommy would always distract Caleb. But when it came time to the live performance, he did great! We have also seen great improvements in his speech when it comes to English. Thank you for your prayers in this. We are so proud of him. To see the performance on youtube, click the link here: