The Ruiz Family
Serving the Lord in Tixtla de Guerrero, Mexico
September-December 2022 Update
Dear Praying Friends,
Work and blessings. Planting and harvesting. We have had the privilege of serving our Lord in so many ways and seeing so much fruit these last few months. And as many of you realized, I did not get my last prayer letter out. I’m so sorry! We were so busy that I didn’t even realize that I had not written my September October letter until a dear friend was concerned that her family was not on our list anymore.
Starting with the month of October we traveled somewhere every other week to teach for a few days making our time at home very busy, attempting to keep up on homeschool, laundry, and the normal church activities.
My older girls attended a camp for pastors’ kids in Morelia, Michoacán (about 8 hours from us) in October. They came back so excited, challenged, and concerned. Excited from getting to meet about 150 other pastors’ kids with whom they can identify 100%. Challenged by the great preaching. But concerned to see so many pastors’ kids struggling with bitterness. It made Efra and I praise the Lord that our kids serve the Lord with honest, happy hearts. It’s not our heavy duty. It’s our biggest blessing! And I think our kids have caught on to that. Samuel is studying to be a pastor. Hannah wants to be a missionary. Grace wants to serve the Lord, but isn’t quite sure how yet. The younger ones are still in prayerful preparation although they all serve with us singing, teaching, and helping in so many unseen ways. Their simple obedience makes Efra’s preaching have credibility. Praise the Lord for His work in my kids’ hearts. I thank each one of you who prays for my children. Please continue to do so. It is God’s grace that has them where they are today, and His grace alone will keep them serving with joy.
At the end of October, we attended a pastors’ families’ missionary conference. It was very unique in that almost every single session was on our need to give extravagantly to the Lord’s work. Efra came back very challenged and has been giving our church the opportunity to give more. We started a new “secret” offering for the needy, which is converted into dry goods and given away each week to a needy church family or visitors. We have also increased our giving to missionary families here in Mexico and in other parts of the world, without leaving out our normal giving toward the ministry here and construction. God is so faithful!
After that conference, my husband and I taught in three different conferences: one in Cuernavaca, one in Iguala, and the last in Toluca. Each conference was about 3 hours from our home in different directions, and each lasted about 3 to 4 days. My heart was very burdened to teach on the need for more missionaries, especially in unreached parts of the world. The Lord answered my prayers with over 10 ladies surrendering their lives to serve the Lord as a missionary. My desire is to pray them onto the field. Each church blessed our family as we were able to be blessing to them.
In the middle of December, Brother Dani organized a special evangelistic activity in Atliaca, the neighboring town from which about 40 of our church members are from. The goal was to for 400 people to attend the activity held in the town’s main square. Over 500 adults and children showed up! Many were saved, and all heard the gospel clearly. The following Saturday, the young people held a special Christmas youth group event. Our normal group of 20-30 young people worked super hard and ended up with 80 young people in attendance, almost 50 first time visitors!
Then, we celebrated Christmas day with a special service at our new church’s property. I taught in my new classroom with our typical brick walls, dirt floor, and tarp to keep the sun off our heads. My daughter Grace had the same style classroom for her preschool class. The adults were outside under tarps. The Lord blessed us with over 200 in attendance and 35 first time visitors. Many accepted the Lord as their personal Savior that day. We finished the day with a huge, picnic-style pot luck and outdoor games. It was exhausting and beautiful.
Since we had moved all the benches, chairs, tables, tarps, etc. from our church over to the new property, everything had to come back home later that evening. Once I finally got to the kitchen to start unpacking all the cups and bowls we had used that day, I decided to check my long-forgotten cell phone. There was a most encouraging message from my dad telling us that he was going to donate a large sum of money to get the roof on stage one of our building project. My husband and I were already rejoicing from all the visitors that day and our first service out at the property. This news made us break into tears of joy. God is so faithful! The more we give, the more He gives to us.
So as I write, the wooden frames are being put up to support the cement roof that will be poured probably toward the end of this month. From there, we will work as hard as we can to get our church to the new property as soon as we can. We have outgrown our present space. If any of you would like to help toward our building project, we would be so grateful. Our people are giving and working, and we are so thankful to see others helping us reach our goal a little bit faster.
The work in the mountains continues. As I write, about 30 teens and adults packed into two vans this morning to share the gospel in two different mountain villages. They left at 7 AM and will probably be back around 11 PM. I’m eager to hear of the outcome. Our church has witnessed in over 200 mountain villages since COVID started in March 2020. We have seen hundreds saved and given out thousands of tracts. I wish you could be with them today to get a taste of what it is like. There’s just no way to explain the need and the receptivity of the gospel in these towns with no gospel witness at all. There are no Jehovah Witnesses, no Mormons, no Pentecostals, no competition in these towns. Just a Catholic church. Most people are very open to the gospel. But very few are willing to stay and work in these forgotten villages. Most of us are too comfortable to want to live with less and suffer a bit. Pray that the Lord would give us permanent workers for these villages.
We held a special Christmas service in my husband’s home town of San Isidro December 28th. I had over 100 kids come to the class I gave in the town basketball court. My husband was able to teach around 50 adults up above us in the town’s kiosk. We brought another 15 brothers from Tixtla to help us witness one-on-one to each of the adults, and many were saved. Others said that they would start going to the little church in this town. It was a long, curve-filled trip (14 hours total driving time there and back), but it was worth it!
Samuel just got home Sunday morning to spend 2 weeks with us before heading back to his second semester of his sophomore year. He is enjoying being smothered by hugs and kisses from all of his family. It’s so good to have the whole family together again!
Thank you so much for praying for us. You have fruit in eternity on our account. And thank you for supporting us economically.
Love in Christ,
Laura for the whole family (Efra, Samuel, Hannah, Grace, Lydia, Laura, Mark, Ruth, and Benji)