On Friday, November 4th, we flew back to Florida with a one-way ticket, not knowing when we would be able to return to Mexico. In preparation to us leaving, Natalie had to double and triple up on baking for the café and store everything in our personal fridge in order for the missionaries that would be staying behind to run the café while we were gone. As we stated in last month’s update, Len’s visa was denied and we were given 15 days to exit the country. Our plan was to wait in Florida for our new documents to arrive in the mail from the west coast of Mexico, and then go down to the Mexican Consulate in Miami to start the visa application process over again.
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While waiting for our papers to arrive in south Florida, we did have a chance to catch up with some people. We also were able to visit Calvary Chapel Pompano church and were then invited that night to speak on the radio. What a privilege to share our story and about the ministry that God is doing over here in Motul. We were so thankful for the opportunity. If you would like to listen/see it, we posted in below. Our interview starts at at 6:15.
So after receiving the papers in the mail 7 days after returning to Florida, we called the Mexican Consulate to make an appointment. We then found out that they don’t have any available appointments until the middle of December. We knew we couldn’t stay away that long, as we were already gone too long. So we drove down to the Consulate the next day just hoping that maybe we would be able to get something done. They did let us in, but only to speak to the man (who had the power to issue our visas) that would tell us we needed an appointment. After we showed him that our paperwork expired in 30 days, he then scheduled us an appointment for 2 weeks later – November 29. We agreed to it and then left the Consulate and flew back to Motul the next day. After being gone almost 2 weeks, we were glad to be back home in Motul and see the people from the church once again.
Flying back to Mexico, we were blessed to have Silas, 17 years old, join us. We’ve known Silas for many years at Calvary Ft. Laud. and he will be staying with us for a couple months to help serve as a short-term missionary. We were glad that things worked out for him to join us on the flight back from Fort Lauderdale. We look forward to see how God will use him here.
That first day we were back was the first night of our English classes. Mark, one of our missionaries, had 6 people come out. We were pleased with turnout, as we only started announcing it the week prior. The students are now invited to commit to the next 6 Wednesday nights to finish their first basic course in English. We pray that it will not only be beneficial to them with learning the language, but also a great opportunity for us to build friendships and share Jesus with them.
With Thanksgiving being an American holiday, the fourth Thursday of the month here is business as usual. But we decided to invite the church out to celebrate a night of being thankful. Most brought Yucatecan dishes to share, but some did want to try to make a traditional Thanksgiving dish. We were in charge of making the turkeys, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Prior to Thanksgiving Day, all of us got sick with a stomach bug. We were unable to prepare the turkey. But Silas was the only one who didn’t get sick and so he was given the task to cooking 2 turkeys for the church Thanksgiving dinner. He did a great job and they turned out great! We were so thankful to have him be available and serve here with us. We had 30 people total that night that were here for Calvary Chapel Motul’s first Thanksgiving. Len started the night with a devotion and partaking communion together. Then with all of the tables lined up and decorated with décor that Natalie brought back from the states, we sat down and ate and fellowshipped together. It was a great night.
After Thanksgiving weekend, that following Monday we were back on a plane headed to Florida again. This time we booked a round-trip ticket, by faith, for only four days. On Tuesday, November 29, we drove down to the Mexican Consulate once again. We were an hour early for our 12:30pm appointment, but they saw us soon after we arrived. All of the paperwork was in order, and after taking our photo and fingerprints, he told us to come back at 4pm to pick up our visas. We walked around downtown Miami, ate lunch next to the Christmas trees outside of Publix, and at 3pm, returned to the Consulate. By 4pm we were walking outside with our visas complete! We couldn’t believe it, after all the hardship. We were so thankful. For everyone who helped us while we were down in South Florida these two times in November by letting us borrow your car, letting us stay at your place, watching our boys, paying for a meal, gifts, and everything else – thank you. We really appreciate you and the support you’ve shown us.
So the next step is to visit the Immigration Office here in Mexico to obtain our 1-year temporary residency. With our ministry visas approved (that’s what we got in Miami), there should be no denying our temp residency cards. But this time we will be going to a different consulate in another city rather than the one Len went to 14 different times earlier that gave him such a hard time we are hoping for a fresh start in the other city. So please keep this process in prayer. We plan to go on Monday, Dec. 5. After we obtain our temp residency cards, then we will start on the process for our boys to get theirs. We have been told we will not need to exit the country for their process and it should be much easier since we, as parents, will have temporary residence. God is in control, and we will be praying.
Before all of this traveling to the states due to our visas occurred, we were planning to visit the states for a time of furlough in February. After thought and prayer, we still are wanting to come back in February. Some of our time will be to speak at churches and share and update them on what is going on with the ministry. We want to connect with our supporters and see them as it will have been one and a half years since the last time we met with them. And some of our time we plan to have a family vacation at Disney and to take our boys up north in the mountains to see snow for the first time. We do have some needs for our time of furlough; if you feel led to help in any way, please contact us. We have the need for a car, borrowing some winter clothes for all four of us (for our time in the snow – we live in shorts and flip flops here!), and a place to stay while we are in south Florida. As the times we were back in November were short and all about our visas, we are looking forward to a time to connect, share, and some quality family time when we return in February.
We are excited about December as we love this time of year. This weekend we will be decorating the café and buying a Christmas tree. Natalie will be teaching some of the women in the church how to make Christmas sugar cookies from scratch. This Sunday one of the men from the church will be teaching the main service for the first time. Len will be talking to our landlord of the possibility of buying this place, if not, extending the lease for two more years. Please keep all of these things in prayer. May you and your family have a blessed Christmas season this year.