What kid doesn't want to ride one last roller coaster before the end of summer? Remember craving the thrill of the ups and downs, rapid turns and loop-de-loops? While those cravings died in me many years ago, it does feel like life has been a roller coaster lately. (This should explain the tardiness of this newsletter: it is impossible to type while riding a roller coaster!) Whether hanging on for dear life or raising our hands through easy parts, we know that God is fully in control of every lull and every thrill. He is faithful and He can be trusted.

Today, we invite you to ride along with us. We'll start at home and then take you on a ministry tour. Be sure to lower the safety bar!
The Gomez' Slow Uphill Climb and Rapid Drop
The tracks we are using begin where the last newsletter left off...facing the reality of our robbery. The timing of the missionary retreat was perfect because it helped lower our anxiety levels and upon return, we found ourselves much more comfortable in our own home. As of 10 days ago, we were able to replace the computers that we lost. Thank you to those who gave to the robbery recovery request to help make that possible...and thank you our dear friend, Sonia, who gave us a computer to use in the in-between time. Since last writing, we have installed several new security measures in our home (alarms, bars on the windows, etc.) in the hopes of avoiding a future invasion. Thank you also for paying us through!
June and July felt like a long climb as we prepared for the BIG drop-off, Jonathan's move to the USA. During those months we were able to make memories as a family of four (celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary - picture above) as well as spending a week of vacation with Ricardo's parents and other family members. Then on July 12, Beth and Jonathan went north. In the past month, Jonathan moved in with a new family (his cousins/new siblings are pictured here in age order), made the high school soccer team, got a Kentucky driver's license and a car, started attending a new church, and had his first day of school on Wednesday. He has been warmly received but we are all facing the emotional lows that distance and change bring. We are convinced that this is part of God's plan for Jonathan so we hold on and trust. We invite you pray specifically for Jonathan as he makes this transition...since he tends to be shy at the beginning, please pray for one or two good friends to ride along with him!
Juliana began semester two of college in Colombia. She translated a sermon from English to Spanish and she has even braved a few nights alone while we were out of the country. As shown here, she is really coming out of her turtle shell and it is fun to watch her grow in independence and new skills...but we are thankful to have her here at home with us! We would also appreciate your prayers for that her best friend is in the USA with the cousins...she really does need a good Christian friend to help her face the secular environment of the university!
The Latin American Missionary Retreat Switch-back
Because we had to change venues due to lingering covid concerns and because neither the Bishop nor one of the missionary families were able to attend due to health concerns, and because all of our prepared presentations flew out the window (literally) when our computers were stollen, the Missionary Retreat felt a bit like riding on a track full of switch-backs. BUT it was fabulous! What an incredible group of people we serve along-side...and God was present in every conversation, every presentation, every game the kids played, etc. In fact, the highlight came on the last night when three of our missionary kids were baptized! As you pray for the missionary family, please pray especially for Shane & Katie Jewell's family. They are just beginning their missionary service and arrived in Bogota early Thursday morning. Pray for smooth transitions and relatively easy language acquisition!
Ministry Loop-de-Loops
Loop-de-loops aren't always scary, they can also be challenging and exciting and full of movement. Ricardo's trip to Venezuela with 4 other team members proved to be the latter! And there was A LOT going 10 days they held 2 annual meetings one for the annual conference and one for the mission district, ordained 8 people, led various Community Church planting seminars, 2 training sessions on the Roots Children's curriculum, provided training for the communication team, attended houses of peace, visited several transformational ministries (2 medical/dental clinics and 1 addiction recovery center), and played soccer several times with the kids in the soccer ministry which is reaching over 500 kids in the city of Maturin and has resulted in opening 20 Houses of Peace where the kids and their families come to know the love of Christ! Despite the difficult social and economic challenges faced in that country and even though over 15% of its citizens have fled the country, the FM church in Venezuela is the fastest growing church in all of Latin America. Over 1,000 people attended the ordination service in Maturin and another 350 participated in the one in Caracas! Please pray that God will continue to transform lives and families in Venezuela. Also pray for Superintendent Pr. Casto and Mission District Leader Pr. Hector Simon to be filled with the Holy Spirit as they seek God's wisdom as they leader their respective ministries. There is so much to celebrate in Venezuela that the pages of a thick book couldn't contain it!
Annual Meeting in Maturin
Children's Worship Presentation
1 of 8 ordinations (this one in Caracas)
Soccer Ministry
United Service
Refuge of Peace Recovery Ministry
The Continuing Track
The fact is, the roller coaster is just picking up speed as there are still 10 more annual meetings to preside over between now and year's end. This month Ricardo will travel with another team to Guatemala (August 19-21) to welcome the churches there as a Mission District. Then our smaller family of 3 will attend the Colombian Annual Meetings (August 26-29) in Bogota and meet with the two missionary families there. In September he will preside over the Annual Meeting in Nicaragua (2-4) and participate in the General Conference in Mexico (22-25). We will also attend Asbury Seminary Board Meetings (which means we'll get to spend the weekend with Jonathan). Please pray for traveling mercies, for those who stay behind, and especially that God will be glorified in each and every meeting!
One Last Bump
There is one last bump in the roller-coaster that we are riding...the bump of reduced financial support. To date, we have only received about 55% of our annual support but, we should be at almost 66%. We understand this is a two-way street and we are seeking better ways to keep you informed and serve you/your church. For this reason, we would like your feedback so that we can develop a communication plan based upon your needs/desires. Would you mind taking a few minutes to complete the survey found in the link below?

Also, if you would like to make a new or increased donation to help us finish the year strong, please do so using the give link below. Soon we will ask you to consider making a commitment for next year so please prayerfully be considering that.
Our hope is placed not on the track ahead or the bumps behind but rather on Creator of the roller-coaster, God. We know that He is faithful and can be trusted no matter how crazy, exciting or difficult life can be at times!

Many blessing to all of you. Thanks for joining us on this roller-coaster ride!

Ricardo, Beth, Juliana and Jonathan (from a greater distance)