We didn’t have anything special planned on New Year’s Eve; just to have a day off and family time. As iguanas used to live in our backyard before it was redone, it’s not uncommon to see them come back to revisit or sunning up high lying on our rock walls. Before, when our backyard was just filled with a bunch of garbage and rocks, the dogs use to run out every day trying to chase and catch one of the iguanas. But the iguanas would always scale up the wall and escape. This day it finally happened – Dakota, one of our three dogs, chased an iguana and was right behind its tail that it wasn’t able to jump up the wall and escape. As she had it cornered, I called the rest of the family to come check it out. This was not one of the regular iguanas that used to live in our backyard. Dakota had it cornered behind one of our gas tanks. Soon it started to get annoyed and opened its mouth. We then started to round up our dogs and kids to go inside and leave it alone. But Roxy, our oldest dog, walked past it to go inside and the iguana lunged forward and bit her. We didn’t notice at first that she actually got bit, but when we turned around, we saw she was covered with blood all over her face. Natalie picked her up and ran out front carrying her through the streets to the closest vet she knew. We weren’t sure if the iguana had damaged her eye – the blood was pretty bad. But because it was New Years Eve, everything was closed. So Len went to someone’s house from our church to ask them for their help and they came right away. They knew where all of the veterinarians lived so we went straight to their house. The second vet we were able to get a hold of by phone and so she came to her clinic within 15 minutes. Roxy had lost a lot of blood and we were so thankful that she could be taken care of the same day. Her eye was okay, but the 2 deep cuts were very close just above eye. Seven stitches and 10 days of the cone of shame, medicine, and drops later she is all better. We are grateful for the people that helped us that day and for her wounds not being worse. The vet since then has visited the church café and really enjoyed it.
About ten days later, we were getting ready to sit down and have a family movie night. Noah comes in from the backyard screaming that Caleb got hurt. Natalie ran outside and brought Caleb in with his face and hands covered in blood. At first, we couldn’t tell where the blood was coming from – it was so close to his eye. Caleb had fallen and hit one of the big rocks in the backyard. We cleaned him up a bit and because our car was broken and in the shop, we took a taxi to the hospital. He didn’t need stitches, but he got a butterfly bandage. Again, we are thankful that it was not worse, as his cut was also so very close to his eye.
He is completely fine now.
We knew to expect attacks as the new church has begun and God is doing such a great work. With the injuries that have taken place and our car also being in the shop twice for repairs, and Natalie’s wallet being stolen, we guess we were more on the lookout for spiritual attacks than the physical. But we are rejoicing and so grateful that we get to be a part of this ministry that the Lord is doing in Motul. We have three families that come regularly to church and we have seen the changes on a weekly basis of those that have been saved. Please continue to pray for their growth and that their foundation would be firm.
One of the families that come to church, the daughter who was pregnant, she had her baby. We were able to throw her a surprise baby shower when the CCA team was here in the first week of January. She was very blessed as were her family. The team had brought many gifts for the baby and we played games and had a great spread of snacks and goodies. Natalie has been able to visit their family since the baby has been born. We pray for them during this time as they all have been staying home and probably will be for the next month as it is custom here to not take the baby outside until they are 40 days old. We pray that their faith would not waver as they have not been able to come to service and that the enemy would not steal the joy of their salvation as they all just received Christ into their lives in December.
In the beginning of the month we hosted our first mission team here in Motul. They were the 11th graders from CCA from Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. The team was 24 people total and some of the ministry we were able to do with them that week was - the baby shower, a couple hours one morning of working in the backyard, door to door evangelism, and an outreach in the centro park in front of a thousand people on Three Kings Day. We had planned to just have a section of the park that night to do animal balloons and face painting, but when we saw the city had a stage and program set up for that night – we asked if we could have a slot. After receiving permission, the team performed one of their dramas and one of the believers from Calvary Centro shared the gospel through a magic show. It was a great, unexpected opportunity. At the end of their week, we had planned a movie outreach at the church. It was our first event in the backyard. We had rented a hundred chairs and projected the movie, “To Save A Life” on the wall. We had about 25 people come out and at the end, when the invitation was given, some did raise their hands to receive the Lord, including the boyfriend of the new teenage mom that we have been praying for.
At Calvary Centro in Merida (Robert’s church), we have made a change in the youth group. Before, we held the youth services on Saturday nights. After 2 months of seeing not much participation or growth, we understood that this was a difficult time for the youth to be able to get out to the church in downtown as no other church activity was taking place. So this month we changed the youth services to take place during the second Sunday service. We currently meet upstairs in the children’s ministry area. Please pray that we will be able to get our own space fixed up soon, as we have already filled up the room that we have in only two weeks. Last Sunday we had 35 teenagers and young adults. Len is blessed to lead this ministry and the youth that the Lord has given him to teach on a weekly basis.
We were all excited to have Natalie’s mom come again to visit for 10 days. She had not yet been here since we all moved to Motul, so this trip was completely different than the year before when we used to live in Merida. The boys so enjoyed getting to see their grandma every day and had some great memories made. We don’t know how many books she read to them during her stay, the boys never got tired of it! We also had our first cold front, which was so nice to enjoy. We even had some nights with roasting marshmallows in the fire pit out back!
We’ve had some special moments in ministry here at Calvary Motul this past month with some of the families that come here to the church. One night, after finding out that she can’t read the words in the paperback Bible we first gave her when she got saved (because she needs glasses), we were able to give her a large-print leather Bible. This Bible we were blessed to get when we were in the states; so we just held onto it for one day when the Lord would show us who to give it to. She was in tears as she just held the Bible in her arms. She was so grateful to have such a gift. There is another person from our church – an 11-year-old boy who comes with his sister’s family every week. He is a part of the Sunday school class, but has not said a word, as he is very timid. He wouldn’t even say his name if you asked him. One week, Natalie decided to move the class to the back room and have their first time of kids worship outside. He just opened up and smiled as he sung loud and danced around. Ever since then he has been different. He even came over one day last week to play with Noah after school. They both enjoyed that very much.
We pray for him to understand the gospel message, for the moment he will be presented with an opportunity to give his life to Jesus.