Saturday, March 20, 2010

March 2010

Friends and family,

Thank you for your continued prayers and financial support. God has truly blessed us through you! In the past several months many things have happened; here are a few of them.

Earl started December with a writing streak. In 21 days he wrote the first drafts of 34 Advent devotionals with prayers based on scripture readings and representative symbols that we as a family have selected, designed, and revised over the past several years. He condensed each thought into 130 words to allow each devotional to be read in approximately one minute. Enjoy them on Thoughts and Reflections, starting at New Life with Advent. Earl plans to revise, rewrite, translate, and record them for a Christmas radio emphasis this year.

In December we also visited a local coffee farm and taught on family unity and the value of the man and the woman. God’s love was proclaimed to more than 50 adults plus numerous children through teachings and interactive dynamics; the day ended by eating a meal with the plantation owner, Veronica. We are planning a follow-up teaching soon.

John arrived December 18th, the same day Cheree finished her university classes in Managua. We were able to enjoy Christmas vacations as family in Jinotega. Part of our Christmas celebration included sharing the Advent tree and wreath with our English students. In a new, unique and fun way, the gospel of Jesus was presented. Christmas family time also included visits to Selva Negra and San Juan del Sur. While in San Juan del Sur Earl ministered to a man experiencing many personal struggles, as his visit there was during the last days of his brother’s life. He needed encouragement and a reminder that the only true God sent the Savior whose name is Jesus… Pray for Alberto to continue his search and that he may find the true peace only Jesus Christ can give.

clip_image004The second weekend of January started a busy ten days; we divided our family into different ministry groups for various activities. Cheree and John translated for a PRMI seminar at La Fuente while Earl taught and translated at two Young Life Leadership Camps. John returned to JBU and Cheree and Judah participated in Bethel Church’s Supernatural Ministry School in Managua. In Jinotega, Bev, Lance and Luke united with Young Life to distribute Christmas toys and clothes in a poor barrio. All groups experienced awesome ministry testimonies of God’s healing love touching many lives.

We continue to provide counsel and spiritual oversight for the pastors and leaders at Iglesia La Fuente. In November, after nine years in the same location, they had to change buildings. The new location is 45 percent smaller, but much nicer in appearance. We continue praying that God would provide them their own property and building, and for understanding of God’s ways as they continue forward.

English classes resumed the 17th of January. Six to twelve students come three days a week for an hour of class. Some students are expressing interest in our Sunday morning English Bible study. One day Connie, a young lady who travels to Jinotega four hours on the bus for Saturday classes at the university, passed by to inquire about a chance to practice her English; she now stays for our English worship time on Sunday mornings. We are praying for more students to participate in that time or join our Spanish Bible study on Sunday evenings.clip_image006

Seven couples attended our first Valentine’s Day activity in Jinotega. Of those couples, three of them are not practicing Christians and two of them want to participate in a marriage study group. We are excited about this new opportunity.

We recently moved to a larger house that will be much better for Earl’s mom’s comfort, health, and mobilization (no steps and we now have a yard). It will also allow a front room to be dedicated to prayer, counseling and ministry. We are thankful for the provision to pay the increased rent, but continue praying for even more income for other new activities.

After an extended courtship, Cheree will marry Vicente Diaz on June 5, so wedding plans and preparations are also part of our current activities. Vicente is a civil engineer and a fine Christian man. He works in Esteli, another one of our target cities.

Prayer requests:
· Continued provision and protection – we are thankful for the blessing God always provides. We never want to take it for granted.
· Health – especially Earl’s mom, Barbara. She has had frequent bladder infections that have affected her kidneys.
· New ministry in Jinotega as we relate with our English students and develop new relationships with married couples. We are also increasing our ministry in counseling, inner healing and prayer for the sick.
· Maintaining links with people with our change of houses to a new location in the city.
· Continued forward movement and growth at Iglesia La Fuente, encouragement and patience for Pastors Raul and Olivia Castro, and the ability to obtain their own church building.
· Our children as they continue growing in independence and life purpose.

Thank you very much for your prayer and financial support. God has been very good to us.

Grace and Peace,

Earl and Beverly Rutledge