[Short note/disclaimer: yes, I know it’s March. Our home internet connection has been down for more than a week, so even though this was actually written in February, it’s not being sent until March. Once again, we’re late, but at least we have some sort of plausible excuse! :^) Blessings to you all! Thank you for your continued prayers of support for our family and ministry here in Mexico!]
Where did February go? I stand amazed at how quickly the days pass! The past month has been a full one, with a birthday, a “short” trip to Tucson, visitors from Washington State and California, a women’s ministry event, a youth conference and day-to-day life. We find ourselves looking at only a few more days till March and only a few weeks till spring! Wow!
God has proven Himself faithful over and over this month! On the 8th, Evie celebrated her 9th birthday. She invited a couple of friends to share in cake and Jell-O. Mexican culture lesson for February: The traditional birthday food in the States is “cake-and-ice-cream”. In this part of Mexico, we celebrate with cake and Jell-O. Could be because ice cream melts too fast…I dunno…at any rate, Evie opted to have Jell-O at her party and then have ice cream when we went to the States. Good choice. She celebrated with the standard piñata which we filled with balloons. Andrew attached it to the roof, and the kids attacked it con gozo! Check out Rebecca's Blog for more photos.
The next day, REALLY early, we headed north for our bi-annual trip to the States to renew paperwork. We had no car trouble in Mexico this time, praise God, but when we arrived at the hotel where we would stay the night, we discovered a big puddle of transmission fluid under the van. Sigh. We had planned to have the problem fixed by a mechanic here next week; and we thought it would hold together long enough to get back home. Guess not. Well, God, as He always does, had everything in His hand.
Saguaro Canyon Evangelical Free Church in Tucson had agreed to be a “drop-off point” for some packages we needed to have shipped. Since they were so gracious about being our state-side contact, we wanted to visit them on Sunday to say, “Hello” and “Thank you!” When we stepped inside the church, we instantly felt at home. They welcomed us, prayed for us, invited us for lunch (and then for supper, too!), Pastor Neil and his wife invited us to stay extra days, and the whole church body (at least it felt like it!) blessed us over and above what we could ever have imagined. It felt like we’d stepped into our home church in Oregon! In fact, Doug and a couple of guys from the church spent all of Sunday afternoon doing “shade-tree-mechanic-ministry” and got the broken transmission hose fixed up to get us home (which explains the staying for supper – “no such thing as a 10 minute job” when it comes to auto repair!)
During the entire 5 day trip, I pulled my camera out twice: once to ask the guys at Best Buy’s geek squad if they could fix it (it’s having issues), and once to take a picture. This is very strange for me. But I did get a good shot which is pretty representative of how we travel while on furlough.
Behind the van, you can barely see a blue, tarp-covered mound. That would be Doug’s little red trailer loaded with chairs, tables, bookshelves and “miscellany” for our home and for the church of Boca. It was a relatively small load this time and we passed through customs with very little trouble (and a lot of prayer).
The church in Boca sent us with the assignment of finding for them a few hard-to-get-in-Mexico items: child-sized tables and chairs, materials to build a small podium, and Spanish Bibles in a modern translation. Amazingly enough, the Bibles were the hardest to find! We checked two different Christian bookstores and couldn’t find what we were looking for. Remember that this is Tucson, Arizona. The city is almost 50% Hispanic. Incredible. Doug was expressing his frustration and our need during the men’s prayer breakfast, when one of the brothers, who just happens to lead the Hispanic ministry at Saguaro Canyon, mentioned that he had a source for Spanish Bibles and would sell them to us at cost! Wow!!! What a blessing!!! In a similar way, God provided the tables and chairs.
When we unpacked them at CC Boca, the pastor’s wife ooh-ed and aah-ed over the darling chairs (which look like small versions of the big ones we have in the sanctuary) and the adorable tables (which also are miniature replicas of the adult ones) and then called everyone else to come look. I’ll take a picture for next month’s letter! :^)
The podium Doug was asked to build was to be used at the 7th Annual Youth Conference of Boca del Rio – February 15-17. We arrived home at 8 a.m. on Thursday, February 14, took a short nap and then Doug started building a podium.
Thursday was Valentine’s Day. In Mexico, this holiday is known as dia de amistad y amór. Literally translated, it is “Day of Friendship and Love”. The church had two parties planned: one for the men and one for the women. The men’s Bible study group invited the men from the other area churches in Alomito and Tamazula for a time of food and fellowship. The women’s group did the same. So, while Doug built a podium, I made a cake – what’s a party without a cake? Since the camera could only be in one place, we’ll share photos of the women’s celebration. You can read more about the party and women’s ministry at our new ministry blog. [Ministry blog address: http://www.thecoultfamily.blogspot.com/ This one is actually up and running. Pray that our internet is restored to our house soon!]
Friday, February 15th, over 100 youth descended upon Boca del Rio for the Septimo Congreso de Jovenes: lo mejor es el amór. (Seventh Annual Youth Conference: the greatest of these is love). This year’s theme was “With God, All Things Are Possible!” Various pastors from the area shared messages to encourage the youth to stand up for Christ in their schools and in their every-day walk. As with any good youth conference, there was an abundance of worship music, junk food and crazy games to go along with solid Bible teaching.
The youth camped out at the church and the church provided 3 meals a day for the 150+ people who attended. On Saturday night, Sister Maria (left side of the picture) tripped and fell on the concrete sidewalk and was rushed to the hospital with a possibly broken hand. The hand ended up not being broken, but the thumb was dislocated. Praise God that it wasn’t a more serious injury!!! To read more about mealtimes at the youth conference (which is more interesting than it sounds…really!), click here.
Doug and Diego, a second-year student at the School of Ministry, were in charge of games and the Saturday night movie. Saturday afternoon’s activity was “Water Balloon Volleyball”. Click to see some great pictures of the tournament and to read more about the youth conference . Saturday and Sunday, kids tried their luck at the torro mechanico(mechanical bull), and during every session break groups of kids got together to play music and hang out.
And for our last photo...a little gift from our Creator God.
My whole life, I’ve loved sunsets. Their uniqueness speaks to me of how God made each of us individuals. When we sit quietly and watch the sun sink below the horizon, or lie on our backs and gaze up at the stars, or walk along the beach and listen to the ocean waves crashing or just curl up by the fire and watch the snow fall outside, we need to remember that God made these things especially for us! He’s a creative God who could have put all the stars in a checker-board pattern across the sky or made all the snowflakes the same, but He didn’t. I think that Larry the Cucumber (from Veggie Tales) said it best, “Remember: God made you special; and He loves you very much!”
Blessings to you all!!!
-- Doug and Rebecca Coult
Prayers and Praises:
- Pray for wisdom, insight and resources as we look into changing our visas from tourist to a more permanent type. This is an involved process (from what we’ve heard). We also need to get passports for all six kids in the next year.
- Pray that God would provide resources to get Spanish Bibles (regular and large-print) for the church members, youth group members and new believers.
- Pray that God would continue to protect our computers and other electronic equipment. Humid, sandy places are not necessarily kind to electronics. And that the internet for the city of Las Glorias would be reconnected very soon!
- Pray for Sister Maria who fell during the youth conference and dislocated her thumb. Her cottage industry is bread-baking – pray for quick healing and that God would meet the daily needs of her family.
- Praise God for supplying the chairs and tables for the children’s ministry at exactly the budgeted amount!!!
- Praise God that our van is still running smoothly – pray that it continues to do so!!! :^)
- We continue to pray for wisdom and direction concerning a youth center in Las Glorias. God is giving confirmation in many ways and we are praying that He would continue to guide us in His plans.
- Praise God for the families in Las Glorias who attend the weekly Bible studies.
- Pray that the students in the English language class will not become frustrated as they learn!
- Praise God that He has provided a way for Sarah to learn French – at a very low cost!
- Continue to pray for the youth of Boca del Rio.
- Pray for the upcoming celebration of semana santa (holy week) here in Las Glorias and Boca del Rio. This is a great time of ministry, but also a very difficult and tiring time – physically and spiritually. Pray for direction as we prepare for this special time.
- Praise God again and again for the web site He provided for us. Pray that we’d finish it!!! :^)