The Ruiz Family
Serving the Lord in Tixtla de Guerrero, Mexico
November December 2023 Update
Dear Praying Friends,
Thank you so much for praying for us and sending us extra funds to help with the hurricane victims in Acapulco. As I look back on the month of November, I am filled with beautiful memories of witnessing to huge groups of kids and smaller groups of ladies as we had the opportunity to distribute fresh meals and dry goods to hundreds of people. Every Tuesday after the hurricane hit, our ladies would cook up a meal to serve around 300 people, and we would drive the hour and a half trip to Acapulco and serve wherever we thought the need was the greatest, focusing on and around our mission in Puerto Marquez, as much as possible.
On my second trip to Acapulco after the hurricane, we were met by small groups of people waving down the cars from the highway that entered Acapulco asking for water and food. We would try to decide where to stop, witness to the people, and then give them something we had brought. I found the ladies SOOOO open to the gospel. Their typical, politely-listening attitude was changed to a “I-need-to-hear-this” attitude. I would just start all my conversations with the questions: “Where were YOU when the hurricane hit? Did you lose your roof? What did you do?” Without fail, each lady would respond that she started to pray or she thought it was the end of the world. Then, I would ask them what would have happened if they had died, as many had, and then be able to give the sweet story of God’s redeeming grace. Most the ladies I witnessed to bowed their heads and received God’s gift of salvation.
Right before the hurricane, I had been asked to teach the ladies in a conference which had the title “Announcing the Gospel.” As I sat down and asked the Lord what to teach, I felt that I had not been fulfilling this command as I should, and asked the Lord to give me more opportunities. Then, God sent hurricane Otis. I knew this was His answer to me. And I am so thankful for His choosing to use me and our church in His work.
On one of our trips, a guy on a motorcycle asked us to follow him down a sandy road to his small town, right outside of Acapulco, which had been flooded by the hurricane. My husband said he felt as if he was Paul receiving the vision from the Macedonian man, “Come and help us.” (Acts 16:9) We followed this guy, and he got the whole town together to hear the gospel, and we shared the meal that we brought. My husband witnessed to the adults as I shared the gospel with a large group of kids in front of the town hall. The kids lined up in the shade of the building to listen, and I taught with my wide brimmed hat on in front of them. (I have never been more thankful for the shower I had later that night at home! All of us were drenched in sweat.) We have been able to return to this town 3 times since then, and have had MANY saved there. They have no other church than a typical Catholic church.
After visiting this small town, we continued our journey to the “normal” mission and had another service there. Praise the Lord, He has added new families since the hurricane. We still meet without a roof. We just bring a large tarp and put it up each Tuesday, although I believe there are plans to get our tin roof back up with a donation that came in this last month. I teach the kids in the street in the shade of a large, uninhabited home. The first few weeks we had crowds come to see what we had brought, but last week, we literally just brought God’s Word, and we still had a faithful groups of believers with some new added ones after the hurricane.
In the immediate aftermath of the hurricane, we were able to help get foam and straw mats for the brothers to sleep on, some screen tents to hang over their beds at night, flip-flops, bottled water and dry goods. The government went to work right away, and now, almost 2 months later, most of the homes have been given money to replace their tin rooves. Other even received stoves, refrigerators, and mattresses.
Brethren in Mexico and the U.S. helped us by sending goods or money for Acapulco. THANK YOU! We asked the Lord to help us distribute it in the best way, always accompanied with the gospel.
We focused on Acapulco all of November, but once we hit December we had to share our time with the other missions in the mountains. And God has been good. Just last Friday, the brothers went to a town where they were able to share the gospel with over 200 kids, plus around 50 mothers, and a handful of men. And the week before that, we went into a primarily Nahuatl-speaking town where a precious older lady in our church translated the gospel for the older ladies to understand, and one of our church’s Nahuatl-speaking young people gave the kids’ class in their own language.
Right now we are enjoying having our older two kids home from college. My sister’s daughter Abigail (17) from Oregon accompanied them on her first Mexican mission experience and visit with her 8 cousins. Life is definitely far from dull around here. The noise level is pretty high with all the laughing, singing, and sometimes shouting that comes with 11 people sharing the same space.
We had beautiful services with many visitors and people saved both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. I particularily enjoying the special music as all my girls were able to sing together again with Samuel at the piano. Today I am enjoying the day at home with my girls catching up on everything, but the guys are at the dam for their yearly Men of Truth camp.
I praise the Lord for His merciful and powerful hand over us all last year protecting us and providing for us, adding souls to the church, and giving us thousands of opportunities to share the gospel. Thank you for investing with us in the eternal. We love you and are sincerely thankful for every prayer and every dollar (peso) you have sent our way. May the Lord find us faithful in 2024!
Laura and Efra Ruiz (plus Samuel, Hannah, Grace, Lydia, Laura, Mark, Ruth, Benji, and Abi [for 2 more weeks])