Partners With The Rickers In Guatemala

Dear Brethren and Ministry Partners,

            Praise the Lord for His guidance and protection, along with your prayers to make this work possible.  God is working in Guatemala and we all are being tested politically and spiritually.

 “The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” Numbers 6:24-26.These words keep us desiring His full blessing and keep our hearts and minds focused on trusting in our Lord for joy and peace as we serve Him.


            Praise the Lord, as I am enjoying the good health He continues to grant me. Stephen and I traveled to the States to see my VA doctor on September 6th and October 7th, and again I will have to travel there on January 23rd. After this upcoming appointment I will be able to give you a more extensive medical report.


            September 15th was Independence Day in Guatemala; the school bands were marching again to celebrate the occasion.  Schools, churches, and different groups, in keeping with tradition, traveled slowly in cars and buses behind runners carrying torches to their various hometowns.  Soon after Independence Day, Guatemala started with problems, not knowing if the new president would take office in January 2024 or not.  The “Ministerio Publico” (like the Justice Department in the US) stated they had evidence of fraud on part of the newly elected president’s party, who had received the majority vote by about 65% to 35%.  The top official said she would further investigate and give the details later on, but never gave them. To force him to take the office in January, the people pulled a general strike by blocking roads, and Guatemala was paralyzed. This started the first week in October. But the people quickly got tired of it because they couldn’t buy or sell or have free movement, so the blockades stopped in the capital more quickly than in the smaller cities and towns. We received liberty again. The newspapers recently said that the president elect, and the current president, met together and talked about the transfer of power ceremony to be held January 14, 2024 – so we must wait to see what will happen.  This could have affected two important activities we had scheduled for the end of October, but praise the Lord we were able to have them.


            The Trinitarian Bible Society of London scheduled an official presentation of the new Spanish Bible in Guatemala for October 26th. Because of the uncertainty and unrest in Guatemala many did not fill out their online registration to meet at the Hotel Barcelo, in the capital, until the last day. Therefore, it took a day or so just to authorize it, and some did not attend. We still have contact with those who missed and they will be able to pick up their new Bible if they come to our Bible bookstore. Praise the Lord we had over 200 people attend the presentation.  Hal was asked to lead in prayer and Stephen gave a short devotional. Rev. Alejandro Riff, from the revision committee, gave the history of all revisions of the Reina-Valera Bible since its inception in 1569.  Dr. Jorge Ruiz, also from the revision committee, spoke on the differences between the Textus Receptus and the critical text. The General Secretary of the TBS-USA, Rev. William Greendyk, gave a good introduction of the Trinitarian Bible Society and stated that with the help of the Lord they were able to finish this revision of the Reina Valera 1909 and present the new Reina Valera TBS 2023. The program gave much information to those that attended, and all received a copy of the new Reina Valera TBS Bible.  It was a good time for information and fellowship with the various denominations that attended.


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            The Reformation program was held on Sunday afternoon, October 29th, at the “5 Streets” Church. CIEF Guatemala was invited by a fundamentalist pastor to this historic faithful church, which is centrally located to have a greater attendance. However, the insecurity of the political situation affected the attendance of this special service. I gave the opening prayer and there were two speakers: Pastors Domingo Orozco and Stephen Ricker.  We sang some wonderful hymns and two scripture readings, one from the Old and one from the New Testaments.  Much information about the 16th century Reformation was given.  Stephen challenged the people to glorify God by having a new reformation in their hearts and lives.


            We cannot forget the children as they need the Word of God. The Los Angeles Church VBS was held from November 27th to December 1st from 2pm to 5pm. This year we had the privilege to have two additional helpers, Isaiah and Josiah Durand, who stopped in Guatemala on their way back to Chile. They were a blessing, and we thank them for their labor of love in serving the Lord in our VBS. The Montserrat church VBS was held December 4th to 8th, from 9:30am to 12:30pm, with December 9th having the closing exercises. Pray for the children, that they may know and learn of Jesus from the Scriptures, and for the dedicated teachers who sacrifice their time to serve the Lord.  Every day they will get the Bible doctrines from the Holy Scriptures and the Westminster Shorter Catechism. We pray the Holy Spirit will lead them to be saved. We also had one-on-one counselling for the older boys and girls, and the young people.


            Thank the Lord that the pickup truck finally arrived in Guatemala and that Pastor Virgilio is putting it to good use. There is one thing I must share with you however; the freight to Guatemala and customs duty on the pickup had a cost overrun of approximately $1,100.00. If some people could help with this cost, we would appreciate it very much. The BP Church in Mazatenango is not able to fully support him and his wife (who has several health issues and continually needs medicine). He will use the pickup to work moving people’s possessions to augment his income.


            Many of you have asked about Hector, the deacon who was accidently shot in a barber shop. He is still not working and his family still needs help. The funds that have come in for him have been given to him, and beyond, have been a blessing. But to support a wife and two sons takes a lot. Please pray for them.

            As I close I want to say that it is that time of year that we rejoice in that our God, as Jesus Christ was made flesh. Our Savior was born in Bethlehem to become the blood sacrifice that would forgive the sins from all who repent and believe in Jesus Christ. We would like to take this time to thank you all for your financial and prayer support, and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year filled with spiritual blessing for you and your family.

                                                                                                        Yours in Christ for missions,

                                                                                                     Hal, Stephen, Juanita, Samuel and Joshua