The Ruiz Family
Serving the Lord in Tixtla de Guerrero, Mexico
July – August 2022 Update
Dear Praying Friends,
Wow! So much can happen in two months that it feels as if it were much longer! As I sit here at the computer, my emotions come quickly to the surface and want to spill over into my letter. Our whole family drove Samuel to the bus station today to say “goodbye” as he heads back to college for his sophomore year. I did much better saying goodbye this year, then I did last year, but we all had a good cry behind our closed gate upon arriving home. As I write this, Samuel is the air.
If I am going to write in chronological order, I better back up though to before Samuel even came home. At the beginning of July, we had the most beautiful, unusual wedding at our church. In February, the Lord added a new older couple to our church. They were both saved and baptized right away and started accompanying us evangelizing both in the mountain villages and Tixtla. Since they were just living together, the Lord put it on their hearts to marry. The bride, Sister Alva, invited all her unsaved family members and friends to her evangelistic wedding. The service started with two congregational hymns: No One Ever Cared for Me Like Jesus and Bow the Knee, not your typical wedding songs. My husband preached a clear salvation message mixed with a short charge to the bride and groom. After the meal that followed, both the bride and groom gave a long, salvation testimony to God’s glory. I had never been to such a different, beautiful wedding. The Lord granted this couple the desire of their heart: souls saved at the wedding and many open doors for us to witness to now.
After the wedding, we flew straight into preparation for VBS, which really paid off. (Samuel got home just a few days before VBS.) We didn’t invite preschoolers this year, which made the preparation much easier for me, and in the end, VBS went MUCH smoother. We invited kids from 6 to 13 years old. We didn’t meet our goal of 500, but we did have around 350 kids the last day. The kids were so attentive in the stories each day that I had to marvel at God’s grace. I taught them altogether using my flannelgraph on a small, wooden platform in a huge, covered, outdoor court. We were able to break into small groups for salvation decisions the first days, but the last day there were too many kids and too few personal workers, so I simply finished the story of Christ’s death and resurrection with an invitation to pray the sinner’s prayer. It was beautiful to see adult visitors bowing their heads right along with the children.
We kept the kids together in one group for the songs, verses, stories, cheers, and skits, but then divided them up into 3 main age groups for the games, food, and a few other activities (soccer for the boys, and English and sign language for the girls). Praise the Lord, He allowed us to use the school again, after 2 years of COVID restrictions! Our church worked so hard inviting kids, picking them up, bringing them to the school, teaching them, feeding them, loving them, taking them home after VBS, and then cleaning the school in preparation for the next day. Everyone ended the week exhausted and very thankful.
Since VBS, we have had a great increase in the kids’ class on Sunday mornings. About 20 new kids have been faithfully coming from three different bus routes, and a few moms as well. I was able to lead three moms of VBS kids to the Lord about three weeks ago, and my husband lead a VBS kid’s dad to the Lord last Saturday. A few new teenagers are coming to the youth group as well, also VBS kids. Praise the Lord! Church has been filled to overflowing every Sunday morning. One brother donated 10 new benches, and you can’t even tell because they are all already filled. God has been good!
Although we paused the church buildings new construction in Tixtla for the month of July, some brothers in the mountains started digging away at the mountain side of another small church building site in Puente de Ixtla . This little mountain village will have a stone or adobe church as the Lord provides. We are still praying and saving to get the roof on our new building in Tixtla. The economic situation has been tight, but God can do anything!
We enjoyed Samuel’s piano playing and singing very much while he was home, taking advantage of him in almost every service. Sometimes, he sang with my girls. Sometimes, he accompanied my husband singing. This last Sunday, all my kids sang together May the Lord Find Us Faithful. My husband and I rejoiced to see our kids singing what we sang at our wedding 20 years earlier. That continues to be our desire: May the Lord find us faithful.
Four of our young people took off for Bible college this month, but thankfully another four have enrolled in our small, practical Bible Institute. Summer has gone, and homeschool is back. We had our first day today, trying to get everyone’s computers and TVs and DVDs working. It’s a bit challenging with 6 kids watching and trying to take turns on our 4 options. Pray that the Lord would provide another computer for Hannah to work on. She’s in 12th grade this year and is sharing a computer with Lydia (7th grade). And pray for me to have wisdom is just how much to expect from my kids and how to balance ministry and academics.
I feel that I have forgotten to write a million things. I wish I could take the time to just have a cup of coffee with each of you and share in detail all the beautiful blessings like God giving us 4 days in Acapulco as a family before Samuel left, little Laura (11)’s initiative in starting a class for preschoolers behind our house on Sunday mornings, or simply the beauty of our green mountains in rainy season. But, I must go. Thank you so much for praying for us and giving. I know that times are tough in the states too. Thank you for not forgetting us. Please keep us in your prayers.
(By the way, Samuel just landed in California.)
A happy, missionary wife and mother of 4 teens, 2 grammar school kids, and 2 preschoolers!
Laura and family (Pastor Efra, Samuel, Hannah, Grace, Lydia, Laura, Mark, Ruth, and Benji)