Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Update, July 2009

Dear Friends,
God is so good! He is faithful and true, and we thank you for being like Him, faithful in your gifts,support, and prayers although we haven’t gotten out a newsletter for months and we know that some of you have been affected by the economic crisis. We pray that each of you will continue to experience His faithfulness and provision when all around seems to be crumbling, for He is our Rock, our Anchor in the storm,and an ever present Help in time of trouble. So much has been happening here, but we will only touch the highlights.

La Fuente Celebrates their First Nicaraguan Pastor - In May we welcomed the visit of Russell Craft and Murrey Rabenhorst from our Stateside covering church. They came specifically to join us in the joyful ordination our new pastor of La Fuente, Raul Castro. It was especially exciting for us. Raul and his wife, Olivia, were our first acquaintances when we moved to Matagalpa eleven years ago, and were the 2nd and 3rd people we were privileged to lead to Christ. The transition of leadership has taken longer than we had envisioned, but all is going well; the church has even added several families during this time. Earl continues in a strong mentoring relationship with Raul, and teaching the School of Ministry classes one night a week, but other than that, our involvement is down to sporadic visits once or twice a month.

Misión para Alcanzar el Mundo (our registered mission name in Nicaragua) - We also sent out our first family as missionaries. Armin and Helen Santamaria, one of our elder couples, have moved to Chile to finish raising support and to prepare for ministering in the Ukraine. We are excited that Nicaraguans are capturing the vision of the Great Commission to reach the world with the Good News of salvation.

Judah and Lance visit the Miskito Indians - Judah (17) and Lance (15) had a spontaneous opportunity to join a team from Mexico on a trip to the Coco River on the border of Nicaragua and Honduras. After a 15 minute scramble to gather their stuff for a 4 day foray into the jungle, they piled onto a heap of supplies and equipment in the back of a pickup and headed out into the drizzling night. The long and arduous journey to the Miskito villages included 6 hours on pothole roads and 12 hours of travel by motorized dugout canoe (each way). The team was able to share the gospel message along with giving food and supplies to the people.

Impact Week/Pastor’s Wives Retreat - In addition to the Mexican “Coco River” team, there were also visiting Nicaragua a ladies ministry team, a youth team, and a men’s team making a total of 60 people from Mexico, the U.S., and England, each impacting lives in different events in various cities. Bev participated in a 3 day Pastor’s wives’ retreat, taking 14 ladies from Jinotega, Matagalpa, and San Isidrio. She was also involved in city events in Matagalpa and Esteli. Lance translated for the youth team who worked a baseball clinic, visited schools, and participated in events in the Masatepe area. We praise God for the many lives that were touched by this great team.

John, ministering in China - Our son John left for China on June 19. He spent 2 weeks working with a local church in Hong Kong, and is now part of a team teaching English to a Muslim people group in western China. He will return to the YWAM Puerto Rico base in August long enough to gather his things and then travel to Arkansas to start a degree in Marketing and International Business at John Brown University. We praise God for scholarships for his studies and we continue to trust Him for complete provision for John’s four years of university studies.

Jucuapa Min
istry to Elementary schools - After months of preparation and fund raising, Cheree and the youth of La Fuente, led by youth leaders Vicente Diaz and Melba Gamez, realized a 2 day outreach to Jucuapa, a rural community south of Matagalpa. Due to the gifts of many people, principally Nicaraguans, they were able to distribute a packet of school supplies, including a Spanish textbook, to 190 children in 6 different schools. They were also able to pray for each of the students and teachers, and others that were around. Thanks to all those who were involved in this project. The next follow-up visit to these schools is programmed for the end of August.

Jinotega Ministry - We have finally been able to focus more on our new city these past two months. We have a small English group meeting on Sunday mornings and a study group in Spanish on Sunday evenings. Three of those coming have been away from the Lord for a time and now desire to get their lives back on the right path, so it is a good beginning.

English Classes, Friendship Evangelism - Actually our first thrust in Jinotega began in January with Earl teaching English classes. We have 8-10 steady students who come 3 times a week. When they surprised us with a small celebration on our 27th wedding anniversary, we felt our purpose was being accomplished, that of establishing friendships while helping them in a practical area in their lives. We believe more doors of opportunity and influence are being opened in this area.

Home School Help - We welcome the help of 2 college-age girls this summer. Since we got so far behind on our home schooling schedule, Jessica and Cherith have been extremely helpful in overseeing most of the children’s studies, freeing me up to write letters, organize items still in boxes, and start a ladies’ Bible study. They are also connecting with our English students, learning Spanish, being involved in our meetings, and seeing what missionary life really entails. Anybody interested in coming next summer?

We Appreciate You - Thanks again for your prayers and support, co-laboring with us for the harvest in Nicaragua.

Earl and Bev Rutledge