We started January by watching our oldest son, Noah, make it until midnight without falling asleep. The church had a New Year’s Eve service that we attended and then we went home to light up some bottle rockets. Fireworks are big here and when it comes to Christmas and New Year’s Eve, you can pretty much buy any kind you want off the street.
A few days later we were off to Cozumel, the island right across from Playa del Carmen, Mexico. On our way there, we drove on a road in which we saw series of little rope ladders strung from one side of the road to the other. They were connected to a tall poll in the middle of the trees at the edge of the jungle we are assuming that they were for monkeys to cross safely. Very cool. We parked car in Playa and took a 30-minute ferry over to Cozumel to spend a few days. Natalie’s brother and his family were going to be docked there one day on there cruise; this was our opportunity to see them. It was refreshing having a few days off to relax and spend time with our family. It also was such a great blessing to see Natalie’s brother’s family and hang out with them for a day. Time went by too fast.
This month we were given a final answer from the young teenage boy we had invited to live with us for one year. He turned our offer down. Our heart goes out to him as we love him and don’t want to see him fall, but desire to see him grow in his walk with the Lord and get stronger. We pray we still will have opportunities to minister to him. Thank you for your prayers and for those of you that had committed to helping us financially. We await the next open door that the Lord gives us.
We recently ended our Spanish lessons. We feel that we are at a place now where we need to be disciplined with what we know and need to put the time into studying on our own for a while. We will still be in contact with “Bebo’s owners” and will continue to pray for ways to share the Truth with them. Please pray for us to stay diligent in studying and to continue to grow in knowing this language.
One thing we have recently added into our weekly schedule is on our Monday nights. After the kids go to bed, we watch the Sunday service of our home church together. It has been refreshing to hear God’s Word in English on a weekly basis, but also to get to see our home church. It is a blessing to connect in that way.
A funny story that happened to Natalie this month took place when Len was gone on the 10-day mission trip. The kids were in bed sleeping and Natalie was outside in the backyard where the washer and dryer are. As she was unloading the dryer the wind blew the back door shut. The one thing about both of our doors that lead outside are that they have no door knobs. So once they are shut, you are locked out. All of the windows have bars, and Natalie didn’t even have her phone with her to call someone. But since all of our windows are open, she went around to Noah’s side of boys’ room to wake him up. She yelled many times his name, shined a light into his face through the screen he wasn’t responding. The same happened with Caleb. The only thing left was the water gun. After filling it up, she started squirting Noah through the window and he finally woke up. He was completely in a daze and had no idea what was going on, but after much coaching, she was able to talk him through opening the door for her. We have gotten extra keys since then!
On the route back home, Natalie dropped off Len at the Cancun airport for him to pick up the first of set of teams that would be coming in from Calvary Fort Lauderdale. The next 10 days Len would be in charge of overseeing 6 different teams in six different cities. There were about 16 0 people in total – a ton of 11th graders from CCA and their leaders. It was great to see some familiar faces, some friends from home that were a part of the teams. Natalie and the boys were able to get out and travel to some of the cities a few days to join them. In Tabi, the poorest of all of the cities, Noah and Caleb were a blessing to watch. They played with the kids there all day. Noah seemed to really like playing basketball as the hoops were lowered down a bit. Overall, this mission trip was a lot of work, a lot to manage, but praise God for the ministry that took place in so many different places with so many people.
A big change in Influencia happened this past week. We moved to Fridays. Whenever you move a ministry service to a different time and day you always wonder if you will lose people or gain. Well, it was packed! Friday nights at the church are busy with other ministries happening at the same time so now families get to go together and we think many more will be able to come out now. Also, the church has childcare so now Natalie is able to start serving with Len at the service. We are excited about this change and can’t wait to see what the Lord will do in this next year with this ministry with these young people.
Oh, and the cricket plague we mentioned in our last update, those were actualy locust. What do us city people know!