Greetings in the name of Jesus from the church in Mexico. Please accept our apologies for not updating sooner.
Greetings in the name of Jesus from the church in Mexico!
Phillipians 4 verses 6 & 7 tell us, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
January 13 to March 13 were two productive months. We arrived emotionally exhausted but happy. Right away we began to work on our visas, began taking Spanish lessons, set up our banking, bought a used car, and generally got comfortable living in Mexico. Fridays were spent in Chanchen, Thursdays were staff meetings and a one on one discipleship with a young man in Tulum, Sundays Eddie leads worship. God brought two other couples to help Doug & Darla- both felt called recently- and the team building process began. Doug has a vision for reaching & discipling the young Maya kids and every week we brainstorm new ideas about exactly to do that. Another young man Eddie met, Bebe, has allowed Jesus to reform his life after some tough mistakes. He and his wife and son are attending church with us. So life has been good.
Then the virus news really started dominating headlines. By the time we got Grace from the airport on March 13 (she made it!) IU had extended Spring Break and decided that the rest of the semester would be online- so we are once again a family of 5. The news reports became more and more intense and we sensed anxiety from every direction. The situation in Quintana Roo is strange now. Gatherings are limited. The economy is entirely dependent upon tourism and tourists are not coming. Trips are being cancelled, workers are being laid off. Hotels and beaches are empty, the highway is empty. The outlook for the next 3-4 months is dire. We are sensing much more anxiety about the average Mexican's income than fear of getting sick from a virus. Either way, fear is a powerful force and so we are sharing a message of hope. Fear not!
We had planned to begin a small group Bible study in our home on March 25 and had some success telling people in our neighborhood about it. We had about 5 people planning on attending and some folks outside the neighborhood for our English speaking bible study. Now with social distancing we are starting tiny bible studies in our outdoor spaces. We’ve met twice and everyone seems to be happy for the interaction. We have great weather and many outdoor spaces so we can do things and keep our space.
Mexican culture is not built well for a virus. People have very little personal space, they hug and kiss everyone. Most workers get around on crowded buses called "collectivos". Cleanliness is often not to USA standards. The health care system is underequipped. On the other hand, the virus supposedly dies quickly in heat.
Recently we ventured into a nearby slum- an area under power lines where the poorest are living in shacks made of pallets with tarp roofs. There we met a pastor of a tiny church which is running their own food bank and giving aid to everyone in the area. We now collect food from our neighbors and donate it to the church.
We are friends with Jessica, a young doctor sent to Chanchen to run their clinic. Although she is from Mexico City, a city twice the size of NYC, she is now lonely in the tiny Maya village. Although she speaks no Mayan, she's stuck in an ill-equipped clinic with no protective masks. Margaret is working with our friend Todd Durell and his organization (Center for Global Impact) to have masks made in Cambodia shipped to us here in Playa so we can distribute them to the Maya clinics. Please pray that happens!
How will the virus affect our ministry here? Were we called here to help feed the poor in the event of an economic depression? We will continue to pray for guidance and wisdom as we serve. Please continue to pray for our family as we feel we are on the verge of something big, something new.
We thank you for your support, your prayers, your love. We are confident that God is in control of our lives and will turn this horrible situation around- that amazing opportunities are being created right now for His glory.
In Jesus' love,
The Mathews Family
Friends, here's a more in-depth explanation of our finances. Our monthly budget is $2500. We are supplying $500/ mo from our home rental (after mortgage, insurance, etc.). That leaves $2000/ mo to raise over our 2 year stay for a total of $48,000.
We have had approximately $15,000 in one-time donations...amazing, right? Then there's about $500/ month pledged, which equates to $12,000.
GiveSendGo is awesome but they do not compute monthly giving toward the "grand total" so we have to do that manually.
We set a lower goal first and then the full goal and that's what we've done.
If we raise more than $48K we will not shut down fundraising. The money will be used a safety net (in case folks can't follow through on their giving) and then used toward a new Maya outreach project like the proposed Maya youth center in Tulum.