Every July, the center of Motul transforms. School is almost out and everyone lives for the nightlife at the fair.
Merch tents, carnival food, and rides are all set up and stay for 3 weeks here in the center of the city. Big stage, loud music, performances, alcohol, drinking the fair starts about 7:30pm and goes until the early morning hours. Some nights were loud, very loud. We ventured out one early night to let the boys go on some of the rides. There was a 2-story trampoline,
a Sponge-Bob inflated slide, and battery-powered 4-wheelers. Noah begged Natalie on a different night to go on the “spinning plate” ride. Last time she went with him on this ride was over a year ago in a city named Panaba. She remembers that ride being 8 minutes long! Noah persisted and so she and he went on it together. Six minutes later, they got off the ride and survived. Although we did get a couple nights to enjoy the rides with the kids, the fair being here for almost the whole month of July became weary. Different streets were always shut down, parking and unloading for our café was challenging, and our café business was down about 75%. Not only did we lose all of the school kids that come during our afternoon shift since school let out mid July, but the night shift was slow and empty due to the fair. We decided that for the rest of the summer to only open at night. We will open our afternoon shift back up when school starts back up at the end of August. The fair ended only a week ago, we pray that our business picks back up.
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With us not having any summer travel plans, we still wanted to get a little break and time off. So we took a 48-hr. staycation. We stayed at a hotel in Merida and got to eat at some of our favorite restaurants there, spend time in the pool, and go to an outdoor Actix Park we had always seen but never been to. It was a great time for us to enjoy as a family and just relax.
Len’s paperwork for his visa is still ongoing. He has been to the Mexican Embassy seven times in Merida and every time they say he needs something different. It has been both frustrating and costly. We continue to pray that for his next visit he will find favor and they will approve his papers. Natalie and the boys will be next once Len’s visa is finished. Natalie had to go to the U.S. Embassy in Merida to renew her U.S. passport. Her experience went well. We are now waiting for her new passport to come in the mail to our address here in Motul. Oh, we pray that it does!
Natalie started guitar lessons with one of the ladies in the church. She already plays the guitar a bit, but now Natalie is working with her and teaching her the worship songs that we sing here in church. It’s been a blessing to see the different moms want to help and get involved. After announcing the need for Natalie to have an assistant in the children’s ministry for each service, Natalie has a rotating list of 4 different moms to help out. We now have an 8-month old baby so the Sunday School classroom needed to add a port-a-crib. It’s great having another helping hand and seeing the church body help serve a need. All the kids, including our own, can’t wait for church night!
We have had some new people visit our services this month. We always pray for them to feel welcome and experience the love of Jesus that would change their lives. We served communion for the first time in the church during the service. These beginnings are so special. We will be starting our first Wednesday night services this coming Wednesday. Len will be going through with them the foundations of faith. We have seen so much growth in some of the believers here throughout these past few months. We pray their seed is planted in the good soil and will continue to deepen.
We had a few birthday celebrations this month. First it was one of Noah’s good friends from Merida – Poly. Her birthday was a combo of celebrating her birthday and also the 4th of July since it was close enough. It was a fun time of fellowship and food. We ourselves, as a family, celebrated the 4th of July. Len had been working on converting a charcoal grill over to be a gas grill. He completed it just before a late lunch BBQ was grilled. And of course, it rained. But the food was good! Then later this month it was Natalie’s birthday. The church body planned on their own and brought a couple dinner dishes and a cake. We all ate together after the church service ended. They lit the candle and sang “Happy Birthday” in English. What a special church family we share life with here in Motul. The last birthday we shared was Octavio’s. He turned 12 and is probably Noah’s best friend and Caleb says Octavio is his best friend too! Octavio comes to church with his older sister who is married and has one boy and another baby on the way. Octavio’s parents divorced when he was a baby. Neither of them come to church. We’ve seen him open up so much since we first met him. We love to have him come over and play with the boys. For his birthday he got to spend the night. Natalie made him his favorite cake and we gave him some gifts, one of them – his own story Bible. The next day we took him to a waterpark outside of Merida. The boys all had such a good time and we continue to pray for Octavio that he sees and experience the goodness of the Lord in His life and knows that he is never alone.
There are a lot of things on our prayer list. We have people that are praying to come here as missionaries and serve with us. We have our home school that started yesterday, Aug.1. This is the first year Caleb will be home schooling too. We are starting our mid-week services this week. With us beginning our second year on our 2-year lease on our church building, we are praying for the Lord to show us what’s next. Renew the lease and stay in the same building, rent somewhere else, buy property and build? We pray for others to join and help support the financial needs of the ministry here. We are praying for a church van. Only one family that comes to our church has a car. Many times others cannot make it just because of transportation. We would love to have a church van in which we could drive around picking up people before service! We would love to host mission teams, start offering English classes, and have a youth ministry. Prayer is where it all starts and continues.