The Raynor family just celebrated a milestone this month - two years on the mission field. Previous to us moving on the mission field, I had an opportunity to be a part of/or lead about 18 short-term trips. I also lead a missions-minded home group. So I thought for us it would be an easy adjustment living on the mission field; after all, I had experience on tons of short-term trips, right?
Click pictures to enlarge and read caption.
Nothing prepared us for living on the field full-time; we were in a new culture, in a place that we didn’t understand the language at all. A simple event would take all day - like getting a copy of a key made or paying the water bill. I’ve explained the language barrier this way: How do you like your hair cut? Try explaining that to the barber that doesn’t speak your language and you don’t speak his. There were some difficult days to say the least. But God is faithful. On the hard days I would know and rest on the fact that I knew we were called.
During this second year, God has called us to plant a church in the city of Motul. We love this city. We love the people God has brought us to minister to. We moved here to bless people; little do they know they bless us so much. When I see them growing in their knowledge of the Bible, when I see them serving, worshiping, investing into their families I am blessed and humbled that God would allow Natalie and I to invest into people.
This month we were invited to a house warming party, where I was asked to pray for the family and the new house as they move forward in this next venture of life. It’s great to be a part of their lives and included in their milestones of life. As I have been praying for God to lead us as to when to start the mid week service, the people in Calvary Motul asked for a mid week service. My socks were blown off! They were asking for a mid week service! So starting the first Wednesday in August, I will be leading a mid-week service in Spanish. Pray for me. Our Spanish has grown greatly, but still needs to improve. We now feel comfortable counseling in Spanish, Natalie leads worship in Spanish as well as leads children’s ministry in Spanish (yes, I am bragging a little). The boys are learning the language in leaps and bounds as well. Noah had a friend sleep over and I overheard typical boy talk of super heroes, Star Wars and video games for over two hours in Spanish.
Children’s ministry is flourishing as we have a normal attendance of 8-10 kids. The kiddos just learned the 10 commandments and recited their memorization in front of the church. Way to go kids! This opened up a great conversation of investing into our children and the importance of raising them in a biblical way.
written by Len Raynor
This last month has been difficult as well; Natalie had been sick for over 5 weeks. Then we all caught a nasty bug all at the same time; we all suffered with each other’s pain, as we all knew what the others were experiencing. We have been battling with the electric company. Here, when you rent a place, it is your responsibility as the new tenant to pay any unpaid balance of the previous tenant. It’s been a stressful and costly season getting this sorted out; although we are closer, we still are not finished yet. Also, I am having difficulty with renewing my visa. The latest problem was that one word wasn’t correct and my papers got kicked out only to start the process again. This was another stressful and costly situation. But God is faithful and these things will not distract us.
So thank you. For every time you read our update, every time you pray for us, every time you write or call, every message, every time you help us or the church financially. Thank you. I want to let you know you are an active part of the great commission. You allow us to minister and share Jesus to the people here in Motul, Mexico. Every time fruit bears in someone’s life, every verse the children learn, every soul that is saved by Jesus. You are a part of that. God moved in your heart and you surrendered. I understand you could do so many other things with your time and gifts, but yet you choose to help and bless us and the church here in Motul. My words fall short - so thank you and God bless.
Long post warning but maybe, just maybe this post is meant for you.
So three years ago Jesus spoke to my heart and challenged me to step out in faith; to leave my country, my family, my language. Natalie and I sold everything we owned: our home, cars, business I built for ten years, toys, clothes, furniture, every thing. We moved to a country that was not our own. Our comfort was gone;
we were living in a culture and a language we did not know. During the difficult days, we knew we were following God's will for our lives. With time, we settled into ministry, made friends, and our sons started to adjust. The Lord helped us with our new language (we didn’t know any Spanish at all).
After a year, God started to challenge our comfort again. HE had put on my heart to plant a church. I replied with, “I'm not ready, my language isn't good enough, we can't afford to cover the cost of living here in Mexico, and the extra expense to plant a church and maintain it.” So I said, "One day when I feel more prepared.”
God challenged me with this verse, (and maybe HE will challenge you) John 4:35 “Do you not say there is
still four months and then comes the harvest? Behold I say lift your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already ready white and ready for harvest!” Jesus was saying, “You’re not ready, I am. Just look at the harvest that waits.” So by faith, we went to Motul, Mexico.
I'm blessed to say the church is growing, people are coming to know what a real relationship in Jesus is.
Lives are being changed. But maybe, just maybe God is speaking to you. Because we have opportunities
for you to join this new church plant and the current ministry God has placed on my heart.
I want to open a youth center - a safe place for youth to find safety, not only in a place, but everlasting peace in Jesus. This will give us an opportunity to meet youth on their level, share the gospel, and start a youth group. I will also use this same location to start an English class; in my heart, I feel this would be the start of an English school - a way to bless the people here with a second language. This, for many, could change their lives, as better employment opportunities are offers to bilingual people here.
But honestly, we need help. We need people. We need English teachers, childcare in our growing children's ministry, people to help and invest into youth. We need help financially to meet the financial needs of a youth center and English classes. Maybe, just maybe, God is speaking to you. And you’re saying, “One day, when I'm better prepared.” But God may be saying to you “Lift your eyes the harvest is ready now.” So if you would like to partner with us as a missionary, English teacher, youth worker, children ministry servant, financially or most importantly - in prayer; please contact me and let's pray how you could be involved.
I posted this (below) earlier this month on facebook. If you haven't read it yet, please read and pray if God would move your heart to be a part in some way.