We started off on the first Sunday of this month with another baptism (2nd one for this year). We had many who had expressed their desire to be baptized and since the weather is hot all year round here, we can easily have an outside baptism in October. But with this baptism came many trials. Many experienced disapproval from their family members and co-workers because of their decision to get baptized. It was not easy for them to commit and follow through with this act of obedience in their walk with Jesus. The Catholic religion here is so strong and holds so many people captive to their traditions and beliefs. But yet, many still came that day, despite any persecution they received, and got baptized. It was a glorious day that the church was able to celebrate.
In both August and October we had a pink-eye epidemic. It was so wide-spread that our city ran out of medicine for treatment. For a period of about 6 weeks a family or two was always absent from the services on Sundays due to having pink eye. It seems that since our city now has medicine again, that the epidemic is over. Praise the Lord that our family never got it.
We (Len & Natalie) are now in the middle of re-applying for our visas. The boys got theirs earlier this year, but now for us, we have our 1-year temp residency cards expiring in November. We have hired someone in Merida to assist us this time, as many of you can remember the difficulties we went through last year to get them. We have all ready run into some difficulties that we weren’t expecting. Please keep this process in your prayers; that we would find favor and this process less challenging than last year.
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One of the teenagers in our church body celebrated her 15th birthday this month. Her mom asked earlier if we could host a surprise birthday party for her at the church. We always see parties as an opportunity to be a witness to unsaved family members and friends. But we were so honored to host her “Quince” at our church and be a part of this milestone in her life. In this culture, your 15th birthday is a big deal. Some seem to go all out as much as a wedding sometimes with the planning, the apparel, and the celebration. The surprise birthday party was a success with hosting over 50 people and a great chance to meet her extended family friends who normally would never step foot in a Christian church. How wonderful the Lord works and blesses us with chances like these to share His love to not only His children, but to the lost at something like a birthday party.
Calvary Motul had their second annual Festival Of Life. As everyone here celebrates the dead during the holiday of Day of The Dead, we host a night celebrating life. With the church passing out fliers the week before and advertising this event on Facebook, we had a great number of teens and families come into our church. One of the biggest blessings was seeing our church get involved. We had a training prior that helped our church prepare for this night. We had some on the street making animal balloons; this helped bring people closer to the event and they were able to show them where to go for more activities. In the café area we had face painting and snowman sugar cookie decorating. Out back in the church patio, we set up Fifa soccer on Xbox on the big screen and hosted a tournament for the teenagers. The winner was announced and awarded with a trophie. At the end of the event, we shared the gospel and made sure they knew they were welcome to come back on Sunday for church. Many of us also had chances to share with parents individually about the Lord. Every kid left with a candy bag not only full of candy, but a gospel message and a church service invitation.
We have noticed that our church is growing again. During the month of March of this year, that is when our family moved out from living in the back of the church in order to give more room for the Sunday school ministry. Now we are making another change to move things around to give more space. Last Sunday we had 21 kids total and 17 of them were in the older class – ages 5-12. We are so excited for the work that the Lord is doing and so blessed to be a part of it. For these families to be able to come to a church and hear the truth of God’s Word, to experience His love, and to have their lives changed is simply amazing.