There are so many things to be thankful for.
So living in a different country with a different culture, we want to observe the traditions we have always had as a family. We also want to observe local customs and traditions and we never want to push our American traditions. But there are times we want to share. And we have brought Thanksgiving Day to Calvary Motul. Now our Thanksgiving Day may look different than yours, but it was a great time. It’s a day everyone in the church relates as a day to give thanks for Jesus and what He has done. Of course, there was food to be shared. Our family prepares traditional turkey and stuffing. Our American dishes are joined with all sorts of local Yucatecan dishes. We were blessed to have about 50 feet of table and chairs set up and have 60 people of all ages join us to share in Thanksgiving.
Click pictures to enlarge and read caption.
As we said in last month’s update – our church is growing. We saw the need for another change in the Sunday school rooms. The babies needed more room, and the older kids’ classroom needed more space to put out more tables for them to sit at. So we changed the rooms around again and were able to obtain the space needed for both age groups. With this change, we were able to convert the old nursery room into a storage room for both the café and church. It was a blessing to have the funds available from a donation to do this makeover for the kids. Since then, we have consistently been having 20-25 kids every Sunday. Our church kids have all enjoyed their time in their new rooms at Sunday school.
We, as a family, are so thankful to live and do ministry in this city. We do everything possible to be a part of the community. We walk or ride bikes everywhere we go. And it is a blessing to get into several conversations every time we go from place to place. Every place is an opportunity to build relationships, and share the love of Jesus when the door opens; and doors open often.
One of those open doors was an invite to a birthday party. At the birthday party I had an opportunity to sit and have a good conversation with one family. At the end, I invited them to come visit the church; they agreed to come like most do. But most say they will come, and do not. But this family did. I was blessed to see them come through the door. They have two sons about the same age as our own sons. I connected with the dad. In many ways he reminds me of myself many years ago. So after a few weeks of them attending church, God placed it on my heart to share the gospel. And on that day their eternities was changed as they prayed to accept and follow Jesus. Since that time I have seen so many positive changes in their family. Words can’t describe how much God is doing in families here.
When we lived in Merida two and a half years ago. Noah played American football. He practiced a lot and became the quarterback after a couple seasons of hard work. Well, now in Motul we have been so busy with ministry I have not been able to commit to getting the boys back into sports. Ministry is still growing, (we need missionaries) my schedule is still crazy, but my sons are only going to be young once. So they have started to play soccer (football to the rest of the world). It’s difficult for them at times. They are still learning Spanish, and neither has played soccer. But they are adapting well and having fun. The skill level of the local kids is crazy. I listened to Caleb’s coach as he spoke to his team of 6 year olds going over defensive formations! I am a proud dad seeing my boys play, making friends and speaking Spanish.
Natalie is very involved with the women in the church. We have a young girl that attends church here. Always with a sweet smile, she walks to and from church and is always early. She often serves in the café ministry before and after service. And she is 8 months pregnant. Her mom does not come to church here and is a bit standoffish. So Natalie, along with one of the moms from the church, filled with the Holy Spirit, marched over to the mother’s work and asked if they could throw a baby shower for the daughter. And just like that the walls lowered a bit, just a bit. The church, along with many of the women from the church, threw a baby shower. The mom, along with many of the young girl’s family members, attended and saw what love looks like.
Just this week a good friend of mine was rushed to the hospital. He has been coming to the church since the beginning of Calvary Motul. He is the first person I baptized out of Calvary Motul. I have seen God do so much in his life and in his family. So when I heard he was rushed to the hospital our family went into “GO” mode. Whatever had to happen to help, it was time to do it. I was off to the hospital to pray for him and Natalie and the boys cleared their schedules and watched their oldest son, Robbie. What a cute, cool little kid he is. Our boys love him and were happy to have him. The dad is still in the hospital now, prayer is still needed, but he is showing signs of improving.
Next to be thankful for is.
Our visas got accepted again. Renewing visas for any missionary is stressful, but for us the battle always seems to be a bit harder than it should be. This year we had some ups and downs. But the Lord led me to a sweet lady that helps people get their visas. This is her business and she is good at it. She has made the process so much smoother. Now we actually have ministry visas. This is a good thing; it is difficult to obtain and is necessary to legally do ministry in the country. But with this type of visa, it has to be renewed every year. So until the laws change, this will be part of what we do and it will be a continued prayer request every year.
written by Len