fort myers beach

New People and Summer Fireworks

When we make our plans to stay somewhere, we are purposefully staying for about six weeks. This timeframe has a purpose. The first week is settling into a routine, finding jobs for the teenagers, finding a church, and the local places to shop and frequent. In the second week, we start exploring more because we become more comfortable with our surroundings. During this second week, we begin laying the groundwork for relationships and potential ministry opportunities. By the 3rd week, we begin to see relationships starting, confidence in a new church atmosphere, and a feeling like we belong. We are rapidly approaching our 3-week mark in Fort Myers.

Our 3rd location in our ministry journey follows suit with 3rd-week relationships, church, and belonging. We are falling in love with this place, the people, the atmosphere, the beaches, and even the weather. Here are some of the highlights.

The Summer Weather in Fort Myers, Fl

Before we left Michigan, everyone was teasing us about going to Florida in the hot summer. Let me tell you; it is hot and humid. But not terribly unlike Michigan’s humidity. The heat here feels like a hot July summer day in Michigan, which we entirely love. We daily find ourselves escaping the air conditioning to be on the porch in the heat or joining locals at the pool/splash pads or beaches. If it weren’t for the regular air conditioning at night, I’m sure it would be pretty intense to live here.

With Florida heat comes the rain. Every. Single. Afternoon. This has taken us (specifically me) quite a bit to get used to. Although there aren’t any issues with drought or dryness like in Michigan, we have to plan our days differently to take advantage of the beautiful weather down here. Mornings are for outside time, afternoons for inside time (or going to the gym), and evenings we can go outside again.

The Beaches & Pool in Fort Myers

Ahhh, the beaches here are SOOOO good. Fort Myers Beach is about a 10-minute drive, and although it’s not the most fantastic beach, it is still nice that it’s so close. We have also gone to Bowman beach on Sanibel Island.

WOW, Sanibel is beautiful. The entire island is like a jungle of greenery, flowers, beaches, and everything is lush. The beach was beautiful, but parking was difficult to find. Our favorite beach so far is Lovers Key in Bonita Springs. It’s about a 35-minute drive from where we are staying and worth every second. Easy parking, beautiful beaches, it’s not crowded, and there are shells galore for looking at. Although I’m not a fan of bringing sand home from the beach, I could go here every day without being bored of it.

We’ve been going to the community pool almost every day as well. It’s so fun to spend time with people there and let the kids play with whoever is present. Even some other parents text us to see if we will be at the pool because our kids are so fun!

Look at this. We took a detour by the beach onto one of the boardwalks and the kids were petting a pelican!

The Church in Fort Myers

The church we have been attending was recommended to us twice before we even arrived in Fort Myers. It’s a large and young congregation of active people in the community and who genuinely love Jesus. They preach a solid message, have outstanding leadership, and are incredibly welcoming.

There are three campuses, and their system for pastoring each campus seems pretty solid. We’ve started to become friends with a few people there, and our teens have gone to the youth group. It’s an excellent place for families to plug into a church.

Here’s the link: Http://

The People

So the whole point of our journey is to reach people for Jesus right? Yes! God has some great appointments for us here too! We have been still spending time at the pool, getting to know people and encouraging where we can, but we have begun to invest ourselves into two local families. 

One of these families has made an impression on us and we connect greatly with them. They have a ministry background, but have stepped away to heal. During this healing time they haven’t connected much with other believers and I believe they are lonely. They need encouragement and friendship to stay strong and we love being that family! They are actually leaving Fort Myers in 2 weeks to move to California, so they have a large change coming soon. We hope we can help light the flame of desire again for serving Jesus and being a part of a church family. 

Another family we have connected with is an excellent ministry opportunity that we are asking the Lord for guidance with. They are a young family with 3 children and a baby on the way. We believe they have a desire for life change and they are taking baby steps toward it. There are some marriage struggles and typical worldly issues that plague their family. Our goal is to lift them up in prayer, teach them, become friends when they are friendless, and connect them with other believers who will keep discipling them when we are gone.

To achieve this, we are actively spending time with them and communicating. We truly hope this will be a family with lasting changes that will affect their entire lives.

Fireworks and Honor

Something we are noticing about the people of Florida is a statewide sense of honor and respect that goes deeper than we are used to seeing in Michigan. It’s refreshing. It feels like it’s supposed to.

For instance, yesterday was the 4th of July. There were police officers EVERYWHERE. And they were having a good time. I wish my camera were out when we left because as they were directing traffic after fireworks, they were laughing and genuinely having a great time. It wasn’t just after the fireworks. It was during the entire event… Lots of smiles and laughter. They were pleased to be there, and the city was glad for them to be there.

Why? Because of honor and respect. We have never experienced so much positive attitude toward the police and armed forces as was shown yesterday. We sang the national anthem TWICE before fireworks, said the pledge of allegiance, and listened to a 10-minute song while honoring every armed force branch. The cheering and whistling were overwhelming and literally made me tear up at the honor the people in service received.

I am so thankful for our families who raised us to appreciate and honor those in service of our country. It felt like home in a broad sense to be around so many who ACTED like they respected our authorities put into place around us. 

As for the fireworks, they were beautiful, and we loved seeing them against the backdrop of palm trees. Instead of cold, it was exceedingly warm and not a mosquito bite to be seen or felt.

We went with the families that we are connecting with, so overall it was a marvelous time. Aaron even got the kids GIANT snowcones to occupy their time until the fireworks began. 

Oh yeah, Ps….

I’m a little obsessed with the fruit trees here. When we first arrived we spotted a coconut palm by the pool and I’ve been eyeing it up ever since.

One day, I got the gumption to pull one down…and I did! So we brought it home, watched some videos on coconuts and Aaron wacked it apart for me. It was so much fun and we all tried the milk and meat from the green coconut. It was SO fun!

Another fun thing we did recently was take Sadie out for her BIRTHDAY! She is officially 16!! She’s been applying for jobs and working out at the gym. She’s done with the school year too. She’s killing it down here!


4 thoughts on “New People and Summer Fireworks”

  1. Jamie Fletcher

    Love seeing your family pictures! Happy Birthday Sadie!
    Praying for safe travels and opportunities for your light to shine for Christ!
    Love ya’ll.

    1. Thanks for the happy birthday! I’m sorry I haven’t replied, life has been so busy, and thanks so much for the prayer, we could always use it! Love you too! -Sadie

  2. Rhonda Lynne Payne

    Happy birthday Sadie from the Paynes at Gaylord Family Fellowship! Love reading your blog and all of the connections your family has had sharing God’s word! Take care and can’t wait to read your next blog!

    1. Thanks so much for the birthday wishes! I am so glad you are enjoyed this blog! I hope it gives you some helpful insight and some entertainment to fill your day! You take care as well, and I can’t wait to see you all when we come back! -Love Sadie

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