- Natalie Raynor
A THANKSGIVING FURLOUGH
Updated: Apr 1, 2022
[many video links to click and watch are included]
STOP #1: On November 3, we started our 4-week furlough in South Florida. We were able to stay with some good friends as we no longer have any family down there to stay with. We had a great night with some of our supporters as we ate dinner together and just caught up on life. Through out our time there we got to catch up with some old friends here and there. At Calvary Fort Lauderdale, Noah was able to share in SIX78 at the weekend services while Caleb & Natalie led worship for the children’s ministry. And as always, Noah returned to his kindergarten teacher’s classroom at CCA and shared with the current class about our missionary life. There is a video of his presentation below if you would like to see as well as other video links of our sharing.
STOP #2: We then headed north to have some vacation time with friends at Universal Theme Parks. Noah & Caleb have never been and it has been over 10 years since we (Len & Natalie) have been there. The boys were impressed with the big/fast roller coasters and went on almost all of them. It was a great time of hanging out with friends and enjoying some time off with our family.
STOP #3: The Villages was our next stop. This place is like our home away from home. We always feel so welcomed and loved by the church body. It started to get a bit cool up here especially having a cold front that just came through. During the Sunday church service, Noah & Caleb performed one of the Spanish children’s worship songs that we do here at Calvary Motul. And after the service they had a big lunch for everyone who wanted hear our story and about the ministry in Motul. Everyone stayed! One new game that our boys picked up on and really enjoyed was bocce. They played at least three different times and loved it!
STOP #4: Our dear friends in Daytona let us crash with them at their home; it was good to have a couple days with them as we haven’t seen each other in years. We played some miniature golf, got to go see their church at a Wednesday night service, had some yummy donuts (from their donut truck), and had the best steak dinner, and went on a walk to get some yummy icecream. Such memories!
STOP #5: Now our road trip really began as we drove 10 hours north to a friend’s cabin up in North Carolina where we stayed with some of Natalie’s family. Here it was really cold! The coldest it got was down to 21 degrees. We were hoping for snow, but not a drop. We spent most of the time in the cabin (trying to stay warm) playing board games and just talking. One day we did ride our and spend some time in Dollywood. It was super crowded and a bit chilly, but we had a good time with our family being together.
STOP #6: We started our way back down now with another 10 hours to Len’s family who lives up in northern Florida.This was the first time we were able to celebrate a holiday with one of our families in 8 years.The boys shot bb guns, bottle rockets, drove the golf cart around the property and we all ate some turkey!
STOP #7: We were back in Orlando, but only for 24 hours; this time we were visiting our friends from Calvary Lake Buena Vista. We experienced our first Escape Room, had some serious ping-pong matches at the house and some fun fellowship. On Sunday we were able to share at the church service about our missionary life and Calvary Motul.
STOP #8: We finished our time being back at what was our first stop on our furlough. We had a day and a half to rest and pack up everything before heading back to Mexico. One last chance to hang out with our friends.
Overall we still have some very good friends back in the states. We were so blessed - so much giving going on – it would take a completely different update just to name all of the times God used so many of you to bless our family. Thank you. We had a great time and enjoyed your company. And as you probably figured it out – we got a ride back to the Orlando airport – thank you, Eric & Ruth!
In our absence, Calvary Motul and the café ministry here continued. We will be meeting with the leadership soon to hear their reports. We are so thankful for our church family here in Motul.
One thing we got to share about a bit on our furlough is our next project here at Calvary Motul – a children’s worship center. Currently the children have their worship time outside because that is the only space we have. But in front of the sanctuary we have the floor and four walls – we just need the roof… and then the stuff that goes inside and makes it function and look nice! If you would like to give specifically for this, you can donate through our paypal or through Shepherd’s Staff (with a note saying it’s for the children’s worship center). Please be praying with us for this!