This scene was what we commonly saw as we traveled from one place to another last year as we visited with supporting congregations and potential supporters. We are very grateful to God to have loving brothers and sisters who treat us so kindly when we visit them. May God show you the same kindness you displayed to both of us as we lived out of a suitcase for several weeks!
As we do every year, we took some time out of our visits to participate in the Annual Churches of Christ Family Retreat, which took place again in Rothenburg, Germany. Our theme this year was “Discipleship: Change Our Hearts.” Jeremy and Rebecca Korodaj again joined us to form a great team in charge of the teen program. We had a great group of young people. This year, we had more military teens than in the past, which was great to see. Please keep this event in your prayers. Next year, we will celebrate the 50th retreat! If you could join us, we would love to see you there. The dates are November 23-27, 2013. We hope to see you then!
The Church at Linda Vista
This year, we sadly began with a sad story. One of our long-time members, Carlos Ordoñez, was killed in an accident on New Year’s Day. He had been looking for a job for many months and had agonized over not being able to work. He finally secured a job driving a truck. While in El Salvador on his way back to Guatemala, his truck lost its brakes and he crashed into bedrock on the side of road. Please keep his widow, Patricia Ordoñez, and their three daughters, Karla, Julissa, and Paola, in your prayers.
On a positive note, we would like to mention the spiritual growth we have seen in two of our members who are attending our Saturday program at ITL, our Bible school. The first is Enrique Tovar. This past February, he preached his first sermon and did a great job! He has since preached one other time at Linda Vista. We believe that his heart is pulling him toward the ministry, but his biggest challenge is the fact that he married a non-Christian a couple years ago. Please keep him and his wife, Evelyn, in your prayers, especially for her conversion. She attends fairly regularly and has received Bible studies from several people, but has not yet obeyed the Gospel.
The other member who is a student at ITL is Dinora Lopez. Dinora is always willing to serve in whatever way she is needed and has been faithfully assembling with the body, along with her children, Rodrigo, David Jr. and Andrea. Our prayer is that one day this godly example may win her husband, David, to Christ. He, too, has received several studies from several of us, but has yet to commit his life to our Lord Jesus.
Please keep both of these Christians in your prayers, as well as the whole church.
Ramirez - Palacios Wedding
Another bit of good news we have to report is the wedding of our coworker, Anibal Ramirez. Many of you were aware that several years ago, Fanny, Anibal’s first wife, left him for another man. Although the church made numerous efforts to encourage Fanny to repent and to consider her family and her relationship with God, she did not make the right choices. As a result, Anibal and Fanny were divorced. About a year later, Anibal began to date Damaris Palacios, a Christian woman worshiping at the time at the Zone 11 church of Christ. After about a year of dating, Anibal and Damaris decided to get married.
The wedding took place this past February. Hawatthia was asked to perform the wedding. We believe that Damaris will bring a needed woman’s touch to Anibal’s home. He has been doing a good job with raising three girls, one of whom is now 15. A Christian woman’s presence will be a great blessing, we are sure, and the girls really like Damaris ☺.
There are several events that will soon be upon us, so please keep them in your prayers. The first missionary team is scheduled to visit us July 11-20. This team has Christians from various parts of the country and we are excited to have them visit us to serve the people here. Also, we are hoping to continue to host World English Institute teams this summer. If the Lord wills, we will have two teams to come for two weeks each. This would be the fifth year for these teams to work with us. Our prayer is that all the plans will come to fruition, if they are in God’s will.
As we close, we also make the following prayer requests:
• For us so that God will continue to use us in this part of the world. We are thankful to Him because He has granted us good health and many blessings on a daily blessing.
• For the churches in San Cristobal and Coban in the department of Alta Verapaz. A separate report will be sent out soon, Lord willing.
• For the spiritual and numerical growth of the Linda Vista church.
• For Patricia Ordoñez and her daughters.
• For the Ramirez family as they adjust to a new circumstance.
May God grant you the peace that passes all understanding!
Byron E. Benitez
To view their report with pictures, please click here.