The year is moving quickly, March is here, and we are finally done with immigration for a while. This week was our final trip to immigration, at least until November. Our visa applications were accepted several weeks ago but last Wednesday we picked up our green cards or tarjeta verde. So, it is official, we are temporary residents of Mexico. Never in our lives did we ever think that we would hold residency in two countries, but God’s plans are far greater than we could have ever imagine.
Life here still has its challenges, we miss the simple things like tea (you know, good old fashioned sweet tea), Mountain Dew, the feel of a stick-built building, trustworthy hot showers, rolling fields, and other petty things. More importantly, we miss our family and friends, but we do love it here and every day is feeling more and more like home. We are busy every day, but is a different kind of busy than we are used to. Our mornings are filled with school, Brady’s classes are online, so he can work independently and at his own pace. Porter is a no-nonsense kind of guy, he likes to get in and get it done so that he can move on to things he wants to do with his day. Owen on the other hand has proven tricky, he likes to push the limits. The transition from public school to home school isn’t easy for any one, but we are pleased with the their progress and feel that this is a perfect fit for our family—even though all the moments aren’t perfect. After school we have some free time and since it is very hot at that point in the day, we just lounge around, nap, or play something indoors. As evening approaches, we get ready for basketball practice. Mandy and Brady have practice Monday thru Thursday at eight and Owen and Porter have practice Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6 at the Instituto Tecnologico de Mérida.
The ESBA team has been very open to us joining their team. They like for us to help them with their English and they help us with our Spanish. They have also agreed to have bible studies with us. We have a fondness for each one of these young people and pray that through our relationships with them that they will come to know God more. Through this connection we have also had the opportunity to have dinners with the students’ parents, have bible studies with them and answer questions about the bible. For a few years the team has dreamed of going to the United States for a basketball trip. They have been involved with the Sports Crusaders basketball trips to Mérida for several years and have always wanted to do a trip similar to that in the US. They have been working very hard to raise money for this and are planning to go to Missouri this summer! We are very fortunate to be able to join them on this journey! The date we have set is July 24th thru the 31st. We are so excited to show them where we come from and to see some of our friends and family during this time. This trip will be a reverse mission trip of sorts. No matter what kind of missions God has laid on your heart, this will be an opportunity for everyone—foreign missions in your own backyard! There will be men, women, and children with us. We are trying to plan a busy week of basketball, sightseeing, and fellowship. We will need many hands to make this a memorable and life changing experience, so we are asking that you be praying for this trip and that God will provide us with the activities that are not only fun and safe but that will also have the most impact for the kingdom of God. We also need to raise money so that there will be funds available for our family to go, but also to cover any expenses that the team may not be able to cover on their own. Many of them do not have financial support from their families and have been raising money for two years for this trip. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, working with us, or would like to donate, please contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are willing donate, just go to our “donate” link and select ¨Missouri Trip¨ and we will designate the money to go directly to the trip. Donate Here
On Sundays we are still going to the mission in Hunucmá. You can check out more about the mission on Facebook Mision Hunucma. We have seen some amazing growth with the group that joins us on Sunday mornings. We started the first two weeks of January with 2 kids and have grown to 25 children, 2 mothers and 2 young adults. A group from Louisiana came a few weeks ago and had a carnival during our regular Sunday school time. They brought popcorn, balloon animals, face painting, and games. It really helped to spark local interest about what we are doing there. We have been able to develop classes for different age groups and we will begin holding worship services in addition to our regular classes twice a month. We are taking baby steps, but Lord willing the people will continue to absorb the Spirit and continue to invite more people. Also, in recent weeks we have started planning for building projects on the property there. We first had an engineer friend come and look, take measurements, and then design a sketch of what would be possible to do. So, with that we found out that there are several possibilities and that if we take specific steps during the process, because it is a public place, the government will support it and provide much of the material. The down fall that we have come across is that the architect, engineer, and permit fees will take most if not all the money that was donated for building projects. However, we believe that God is working in this area and that he still answers prayers, so after a few small pre-steps that we have to take we will move ahead with the process. We are very excited for this opportunity to invite construction mission teams to join us! And with Tyler’s background in construction mission trips and disaster relief, it really is the perfect fit!
We are in the process of scheduling teams for this summer. Sports Crusaders will have teams here for volleyball June 2nd-9th and basketball June 16th-23rd. We are also scheduling a trip with a team from Kentucky in July. We are excited about the teams coming and the outreach possibilities that we have come across for these groups. We have been working out the schedule for these trips and are amazed at the groups that want us to come in and play. However, there is a separation of church and state here just like in the US. College coaches are more than willing to let us come and play or put on clinics in their facilities but due to their contracts they can’t let us present the gospel. However, they will allow us to give away gift bags with bibles, tracts and gospel bracelets so we trust that even though we might not be able to verbalize the gospel to every group we see, we can still allow the Holy Spirit to work through the materials that we leave with them.
If you are interested in talking to us about bringing a team to Mérida, we would love to talk to you! Your trip doesn’t even have to include sports! We are looking for teams that are interested in construction projects, children’s events and/or sports clinics. Please contact us if you have a team that would be interested. The harvest is plenty, and we need workers!
How Can You Pray:
Continue to pray for the growth and expansion in Hunucmá. What a praise that we are consistently seeing about 25 kids each week now!
Our Family as we are learning Spanish
Our involvement with the ESBA team.
The closing on our house in Missouri.
Iglesia Bautista Eben Ezer and Pastor Gilberto Us–this is our ¨home¨church here in Mérida
Financial Support for our trip back to the United States this summer with the ESBA team. We will need to raise funding for both our trip and to help with their trip as well.