Yesterday’s high: 94˚
Last night’s low: 71˚
Dear Friends and Prayer Partners,
“You crown the year with your goodness, and your paths drip with abundance.” (Psalm 65:11)
As I look back over 2016, it is with a heart of gratitude and praise to the Lord. As I look forward to 2017- which marks 50 years of service in Mexico- I know the Lord who brought me here will continue to be my guide. Although vision and mobility are not what they once were, I still feel blessed to be useful in service to Him.
The changes I have witnessed in 50 years are many. Merida is a sprawling city of over a million people. There are more than 50 Presbyterian congregations in Merida, not to mention many other denominations. Health and education are top government priorities that have opened the doors to better quality of life and employment opportunities. But the greatest changes are what God is doing in individual lives.
Rodolfo, from Yalcoba, has overcome his alcohol dependency, and although he still serves as the town’s Justice of the Peace, he has entered extension seminary and is thinking about serving the Lord full time. A modern day miracle! Martin has returned to his family, purchased a Bible, and is attending church regularly. Walter, who many years ago was reticent to accept the Lord into his life, was ordained an elder in my church on January 8th. All of these are a direct result of Dave’s patient counsel and prayer. He would rejoice to see what God has done in their lives.
The seminary Dave founded in 1982 will celebrate its 35th anniversary this year, and the music school 30 years. Big celebrations are being planned, hoping to encourage prospective students. Perhaps I will be teaching 1st year piano again, if new students enroll for the spring semester in the music school. The economic situation is deteriorating and this will continue affecting the seminary. Political corruption is rampant and the economy in shambles. Everything is going up in price- gas, electricity, food- but the minimum wage is still only $4 dollars a day. There have been many demonstrations against the government throughout the country of Mexico, but thankfully in the state of Yucatan these demonstrations have been peaceful for the most part.
The camp has not escaped these problems either. Property taxes rose 400% as the government wants to develop the Yucatan Gulf coast into a resort area. The camp governing board is considering renting the far end of the property (which spans a distance of just over two miles) to a shrimp hatching industry. This would show it is not being used for tourism and it would avoid being zoned as a tourist resort for tax purposes. The other end of the camp could be an ecological preserve, because sea turtles come up on the beach to lay their eggs each year. Although the government wants to develop the coast, it is also interested in preserving the wildlife and natural resources. Using the property in both these ways would help to avoid the exorbitant tax rates that resort owners are being charged up and down the coast of Yucatan. The camp is also celebrating its 50th anniversary at the present site. Many meaningful decisions have been made in all these years, resulting in the growth of the church in Yucatan. The blessing of the Lord is evident in every area of ministry with which we have been involved because He has been faithful.
On Christmas Eve I accompanied the choir and some soloists, and played for the service at my church where over 400 were in attendance. I have decided to accompany the choir until Easter because they are doing a John Peterson cantata I know well. My vision is deteriorating too much to read notes in music with which I am unfamiliar. I have been learning everything by memory, listening and struggling to clearly read what I can. I will, however, continue to serve as church pianist and accompany soloists as often as possible after Easter.
I spent the Christmas holiday with Mark’s family and the next day the Lord permitted me to travel to the states for a week and celebrate Christmas again (on the 26th) with Daniel and his family as well as Debbie and her family who had been visiting her husband’s relatives in the Chicago area. I enjoyed seeing a little snow and breathing cooler air- Merida has had weather above 90 degrees for many days! Once again, I thank the Lord for the wonderful family he has given me, all serving Him in some way.
On January 4-7 I attended the meeting of the Sac-Be Presbytery in the city of Ticul. I was there selling books, Bibles and hymnbooks for the Christian bookstore and sold almost $1,000 USD worth of materials. Pastors, elders and church leaders attend, getting together for prayer, fasting and taking care of presbytery business. Those days are like a retreat for me, with a joyful time of fellowship with friends I don’t get to see very often. On February 6th, Dr. Will Ackles arrives for his annual teaching in the seminary. He has also graciously volunteered to be my chauffer on the weekends when we have invitations to visit village congregations. It is a blessing for these congregations to have him preach as well as serve communion.
With so much for which to be thankful, I can only praise God for His care for me. He has given me purpose and hope for the future and has supplied all my needs. My prayer for you is that you may also find in Him all you need in 2017.
Your servant for Jesus’ sake,
Jean Legters (for the family)
Any gifts to the seminary, camp or our ministry may be sent to:
Son Raise Missionary Services
P.O. Box 43
Byron Center, MI 49315
Please make your check out to Son Raise Missionary Services (or SRMS) and include a note on the memo section indicating the designation of your gift. Thanks so much!