This has been a cooler month with all the cold fronts that came through. It’s been nice to get a break from the heat. I think we even wore long-sleeves one day! But with the cold, and the city events, we haven’t had as many customers as usual visit throughout the week. There was a 4-day carnival celebration in which there was a parade every day, entertainment on an outdoor stage in the centro at night, and food vendors on every corner of the park.
On the first Sunday of February, Len & Natalie had the opportunity to lead both services at Calvary Centro in Merida. Natalie lead worship in both English and Spanish, and Len taught for both services. As many of those that serve were gone on the Cuba mission trip we also “played tag” with running sound, depending who was on stage. It was challenging, but fun doing it together.
On Valentine Sunday, we had our regular service at 7pm, but afterwards had our Valentines dinner for married couples. Natalie had appetizers, a main dish, and homemade dessert for the three couples that participated. We set up tables in the backyard of the church and showed the movie “Fireproof” in Spanish. A family that comes here regularly to church invited one of the couples. We are praying that they come back for a church service. A few single guys showed up as well and were welcomed to hang out in the café and eat as well. All in all, we had 13 people come for this event.
Ernesto, the boy from Merida that was living with us to help us out with both the church and café, has now moved out and returned to live with his family in Merida. We sure miss him. He was a big help. But the Lord put it on both of our hearts to take in another boy, an orphan, from Merida. He needed a home, a family, and God had already prepared our hearts to take him in. Angel is 18 years old, in the 11th grade, and has been attending Calvary Merida for about 2 years. He moved in with us now, but takes the multiple buses to continue to go to CCA in Merida for school Monday through Friday. When we were all sitting down eating at Burger King in Merida one day, he asked us if he could call us mom and dad. Natalie’s heart broke as she thought to herself how he has longed to call someone that since his parents died. We pray that the love of Jesus and our family will change his life and we can help prepare him for adulthood. Noah & Caleb love having him here and Noah says that he is Angel’s English teacher.
As Easter is coming up, we are planning an Easter morning service at the beach that is 20 minutes away from here. We will also be having our first baptism that morning at the service. One of the couples that come to church and got saved in December asked us if they could be baptized before we even announced it. We are excited to witness their walk with the Lord day by day. Please keep the other family in your prayers that we have written about – the new teenage mom & her family. They haven’t been back to church service yet since the baby has been born. It’s been almost 2 months now and they rarely even come to the café to visit. We pray that they will return and that the enemy will not snatch the seed that has been planted.
Octavio, the boy we wrote about last month that was shy but has changed so much, he comes every Friday now to play with Noah. One Friday this month he stayed the night. It was his first sleepover ever. He and Noah are good friends and play together so well. Noah’s Spanish is continuing to get better. We still aren’t encouraging Caleb too much with learning Spanish as he still struggles with speaking English. We have seen improvements, as we continue to work with him and pray that the Lord would help him communicate.
As we have the café open four days a week, our church service another night of the week, and serving at Calvary Centro on Sunday mornings for two services our family is limited to what more we can do. We have desires for the ministry here in Motul, but we know that we cannot do it alone. We see the great opportunity to have English classes here at the church. So many people here want to learn English, they ask us all the time; it would be such an open door to start friendships and share the gospel. Also, as we have always had a heart for the youth, we would love to start youth nights to bring in youth to hear the truth of Jesus Christ. There is also the need in the Sunday school of having more help. Natalie is the Sunday school teacher by herself and teaches both in English (for our boys) and in Spanish. There is a 1 yr. old and kids ages 4-11 yr. old. It gets challenging for lesson time, worship, craft with such a variety of ages with different needs. We need help. We see God doing the work, and we want to do so much more, but we can’t do it alone. Please pray that God would send other missionaries here to serve alongside us that would fit these needs and more! It couldn’t be a more exciting time!
We apologize for the lack of pics on this update. Natalie's phone has been in the shop for over a week and she takes most of the pics for the updates. When we get it back, we'll upload them here. Click pictures to enlarge and read caption.