Hello from Guatemala to all our Partners: We would like to bring you up-to-date with what is happening in the Land of Eternal Spring. Not quite…we have had to double up on clothing to keep warm, but it is getting nice again. We pray the snow wasn’t too hard on you all. That was what we call “cold”! Sit back and relax a minute to see what the Rickers are doing, o.k.?
Visit to Mexico
Hal made a recent trip to a coastal town in Mexico in the state of Veracruz, about four hours from the capital, Veracruz. Our son David was in Guatemala at the time, so he went with him to keep company and watch after his dad. We went by plane instead of car as we did but a few years ago. It was by Aero-Mexico, which gave good service and food that you don’t get on many U.S.A. carriers.
It was a small Presbytery. They needed a third pastor a few years back, and Hal was invited to participate. Now they have four pastors, but still want him in the Presbytery. They meet once a year which makes it easier for us. Remembering a few years back when Hal was pastor of a Mexican Church in Southern Mexico, right on the border with Guatemala, he visited the church every three months, and held Sunday school, worship services, the Lord’s Supper as well as a Monday Women’s Bible Class. Hal was to hold the church together until they got a young pastor from the north.
When the young pastor finally came, the church split because of a cantankerous elder who gave him trouble. He also gave Hal trouble by interrupting him while he was preaching. He would say, “that’s wrong, that’s not certain.” Hal told him that he would explain the subject after the service. Hal was able to take it, but apparently the young pastor couldn’t, and it split the church. The new pastor took almost all the congregation to another town, but after six months he returned to Mexico City. We don’t think the people gave the new pastor enough financial support to live on. We were really concerned about the whole situation.
Getting back to the Bible Presbyterian Presbytery, there were sessions from Friday night through Sunday noon. They gave Hal the privilege of speaking four times, and David gave a report on ALADIC, (Latin American Alliance of Christian Churches). Our son Steve is the ALADIC President, but couldn’t go with us. David spoke in his behalf and exhorted them using 2 Corinthians 6:17.
To prepare them, it was arranged that the Sunday school would memorize 2 Corinthians 6:17. It was interesting to see and hear as everyone present was called on to repeat the verse including the pastors, elders, and deacons. Everyone had to give it, and only one refused. The subject/topic they gave Hal was the “True Gospel Evangelicalism and the Danger of Ecumenism”. Besides this he chose the subjects: “Some Wonderful Desires and Wishes for 2014,” “What is Repentance for the Sinner,” and “What is Repentance for the Christian Believer until the Day of His Death.”
Evangelism With Scriptural Calendars and Tracts
Let’s return to Guatemala where we gave out Scripture Calendars with a gospel tract to the communities of our two churches. We still have two villages to visit up in the mountains on the other side of our Los Angeles Church. Last Sunday we visited one of the villages. From our church in Montserrat I, one of the suburbs of Guatemala, we are planning and preparing to return and knock on the same doors of the people who received the calendars, but with a new tract, asking them if they are using the scripture calendars and hoping to start a conversation to explain the Gospel. The people need to get more than just one calendar a year. They need follow up. We are going to give this suggestion to a missionary in Spain who has distributed 900 scripture calendars. He is praying for us and we are praying for him that the Lord will use this outreach to save souls.
A successful roundtable discussion by the CIEF Churches was held on Saturday January 25th, 2:30- 4:30p.m. at the Bible Baptist Church of Colinas, zone 11 of Mixco. The general theme was “Bible Fundamentalism versus the Apostasy.” The subthemes were “The Sanctified Christian Life” by Elder-Pastor Stephen Ricker, “The False Ecumenical Movement” by Evangelist Carlos Rivera and “The True Biblical Evangelism” by Pastor Hal Ricker. After each Pastor gave his subtheme there were written questions presented. The local Baptist Pastor, Carlos Donate, was the Moderator and very interesting questions were answered by the members of the roundtable. Everyone was edified and showed much interest in having more of the same in the future.
Pray for the CIEF Executive Committee
The CIEF Executive Committee meets the first Friday of every month. Pray for the plans for the year and that various Bible Conferences will be held at various Churches. This is in addition to the two scheduled Christian Conferences that we have every year. The first is on the Roman Catholic Holy Day of Mary’s supposed ascension into heaven on August 15th. The second is the Reformation Sunday program in October. Pray for these two scheduled Conferences, but also others that need to be worked into the yearly schedule.
Pray for the Trinitarian Bible Socitey of Guatemala and its Bookstore Ministry
Concerning the 3,000-5,000 reasonably priced Bibles, we have not heard anything about the publishing of them in Korea. People want a good-looking, medium print Bible to read, but the Christians want to evangelize with them when they go to the prisons, hospitals, orphanages, and children’s schools. We need offerings and donations to help pay to get the Bibles in their hands. The people will pay a reasonable price for them, so most of the money should come back in order to buy more Bibles, or a greater quantity. If you can help in this, please mark your offerings or donations “Bibles for Guatemala.”
Pray for the New Members
A newly-married couple have come to our church, and desire to become members. The man comes from a Christian family and will have to make his profession of faith in order to be a member of the Church. His wife was Roman Catholic, so she has to be baptized and make her profession of faith. Other Christians are attending our church services and want to become members. They have already been baptized so they just have to make their public profession of faith. For some reason they can’t get letters of transfer from their former churches. After instruction classes, which we are having during Sunday school, they will know the doctrine and practice of our church. They will come in with their eyes open.
We started with about 50 students but being practical and knowing what happened last year, we expect around 30 to finish. We have two teachers, and when Evelyn gets back from the States, she might teach intermediates. Pray for the students that they will be receptive as we bring in the gospel singing Bible songs. We are using colored scriptural calendars in English with Bible verses to start off the sessions. We need your prayers.
Evelyn writes: “I started having problems seeing clearly, and one night I covered one eye and it looked good. Then I covered the other eye, and I couldn’t see much because of a dark shadow in the middle of what I was looking at. I went to the doctor and they gave me exams, and finally an ultrasound which was good. I have a ‘freckle’ on the right eye which I believe I had when I was born. This could be the problem, because it impairs my vision for reading and doing close work. I want to go to the States to seek further advice and counsel. The freckle appears to have moved and casts a shadow over the retina. Pray for me as I really don’t want to wear a pirate’s patch….it really bothers me!
“Oh, I forgot the verse that says: ‘I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me!'”
The Brightness of His Coming
Where are we right now? Everyone is talking about the “Rapture.” Are we ready? Many will come in His name and deceive many! There will be wars and rumors of wars, nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places. These are the beginning of sorrows. The love of many shall wax cold, and that has happened on a large scale. It is hard to find churches that have evening services anymore. The news gives us so much prophecy without even knowing it. We know how it will finish, but they don’t! Time is short, and so much more work to do. Come and help us sow the seed so the last one can come to the Lord, and then we will hear Him call from the clouds to “come up hither” and we shall be with Him forever!
Where do we stand? Are we “middle of the roaders” and “fence sitters,” not defined in any way? Be strong and not afraid to take a stand for the One who gave His life for you! Let your yes be yes, and your no, no! Let your Heavenly Father know where your heart is! May our Lord continue to bless you for all you have done and are doing for Him. Dedicate our time, talents and money to Him and his work. We thank you for your faithfulness and we know all blessings are yours in Christ. Be faithful unto death! Amen!
Lovingly in Christ,
Hal and Evelyn