Friday, February 8, 2008

Newsletter - February, 2008

Dear Friends,

This started as a Happy New Year's letter. How quickly pass the days and weeks! I greatly underestimate the time necessary to do things these days. It might be more accurate to multiply my estimate by three. Added to the daily schedule of home making, home school, hospitality, Ladies studies and church activities, office duties, etc. are now Esperanza's 2 year old antics, complete with mischief-making time-consuming interruptions, and of course the potty training, which is always an urgent NOW even though you never know for sure. But based on the reflection, "How quickly pass the years," I wouldn't trade these precious days for anything because the time to impact our children's lives is indeed short. We are so thankful for the goodness of the Lord working in and through each of our family members.

After a year's absence which Cheree thoroughly enjoyed with YWAM Puerto Rico including trips to China and to the Dominican Republic, she received a miraculous favor to be able to jump right back into her studies in Managua. Instead of having to repeat part of her 2nd year, she is finishing it, and in February she will begin her 3rd year in Graphic Design.

John, 17, is finishing his senior year of high school with a very sharp and quick mind. He's praying for wisdom and direction for the upcoming year, if he should participate with us as we move north to Jinotega to start a new work, or start the pursuit of a business degree (when, where, how?) He helps with the youth at church and continues doing the sound. He enjoys indoor soccer and basketball.

Judah, 15, is the drummer on the worship team and in a youth band. He is excelling in both chemistry and physics this year, has advanced rapidly in Tae Kwan Do, and also does well in a drawing class taught by a local but well-known artist.

Lance, 13, plays congas and guitar. He keeps up in school and enjoys scooter riding, reading, and making things out of clay, which he does so well that we would like to find him some sculpting classes. He's got a great attitude about life and gets along with everyone.

Luke, 11, is energy personified. He is also playing guitar and excelling because he enjoys it so much we never have to tell him to practice. Instead we have to tell him to stop playing and do his chores, stop playing and do his schoolwork, stop playing and finish the dishes, etc. His favorite past-time is to copy whatever new thing his brothers are doing.

Kelsy Joy, just turned 8, is a fine princess. She does well in school in third grade and is a constant help, especially by playing with Esperanza when Mom needs to get something done. Her name shows in her song and dance, and she is a joy to have around.

Esperanza, 2, is just beginning to talk, but that is the only thing she is slow in—she definitely moves quickly. She understands everything one says, and responds well too. Her favorite past-time is playing with our black Labrador. She will sit on him, lay on him, and also share her cookie or whatever with him, so he is quite tolerant and curbs his rambunctious activeness with her.

Grandma, Earl's mom, is a great help with the home schooling of Luke and Kelsy. She is faithful to help in so many ways when we get over loaded or have to be away from the house a day or two. She's a real blessing to us. She is recovering from some health problems, so we would appreciate your prayers for her quick and complete healing and recovery.

We thank God for His continued goodness and blessing. Our church leaders have matured greatly this year, and we are preparing them as well as new leaders, especially with the goal of expanding our ministry north to the city of Jinotega this year. Earl continues as pastor of La Fuente, but has slowly moved into the role of overseer, observing and mentoring those he has delegated responsibilities to: the every so often. He plays with the worship team, but not every Sunday. He works with the radio program, but has an assistant that does the majority of the work. We have a couple trained in to teach the marriage course which will begin in Feb. Our leaders are teaching all 4 of the class levels in the Discipleship School this trimester. Earl will be teaching the Ministry School classes, which is open to those who have finished the year of Discipleship School. We are in transition mode, and are praying for the exact time table for how things should progress so that it will be a smooth transfer.

Our desire as a family is that before we whole-heartedly launch a new work, we would first be able to make an extended 2-3 month visit to the States for our children to have a chance to experience part of their heritage and have something to relate to when they hear the words, "United States." We've only made two family trips to the States since moving to Nicaragua in 1993. Our last visit was in 2002 and was for 3 weeks; the visit before that was in 1995 for 5 months. Please pray with us for a mighty provision for us to be able to make this trip as well as the many details that will have to fall in place. We don't regret for a moment our call to Nicaragua or that we've not had frequent trips in the past, but feel it is time in our children's lives for such an event. Thank you for your prayers.

Some words we felt that God wanted us to take hold of as we started our new year was, "Behold, I will do a new thing," (Isaiah 43:19), "Behold I make all things new" (Rev. 21:5) and that to receive the blessing of new wine, we must first have new wine-skins. So on January 1st we started meeting for prayer every morning from 6 to 7 at church, inviting all who wanted God to do something new in their lives. The first day only 4 came, but within a few days we were up to 10. Each week our group has grown steadily in number to where we now have 24-28 present regularly and up to 34 twice. Some come every day, while others come twice a week. God is doing something new in us and in our people, bringing a stronger unity, increasing faith, creating expectancy, and bringing alertness for opportunities to share His Word with others during the day. Like the dew of early morning, God is giving us freshness for each day. We obviously are not in the dead of winter here, but even for those in the physical cold and those in barren and cold circumstances, we pray for God's blanket of freshness to grace your lives each and every morning. May a song of praise be in your heart, and may His Words of life be in your mouth so that you are ready at all times to minister grace and encouragement to those to whom you speak.

Thank you for participating with us in our work. May the fruit of your labors be abundantly blessed.

Co-laborers for the harvest,
Earl and Beverly Rutledge

February Update

Here is a recent family picture taken just this last Sunday.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and now coming up on Feb. 14th... the year is again flying by.

January 1 we started morning prayer scheduled to take place for 21 days focusing on preparing for new wine. We started with 4-8 the first week, moved up to 12-18 the second and finished with 30 the third and therefore decided to extend to the end of the month of January. The last week we were consitantly seeing 30 people show up.

School officially started the 4th of Feb and attendance has gone down to an average of 15+, but there are those faithfuls that have hardly missed. It's been exciting and we are extending the time form one more week to end the 15th of Feb. God has been good... we're expecting big things from Him.