Rush Family Update (with more pictures)

July 30 , 2007

The Church in Jocotan
Yesterday was a great day in Jocotan. They invited more of their family to come be with us and to share a big meal together. (Omar is pictured to the right with his mother, Lucia, and his sister, Flor) They even invited Tim’s friend Felipe, whom they’ve met once or twice, to join us.
Because of a huge rain storm, most of the family wasn’t able to arrive until after the study time. (None have cars so they had to wait for the rain to let up before they could take public transportation.) But after we ate together, Omar took the lead in sharing communion. It was very encouraging to see him take the initiative to draw the family together, even those that might mock him for it, and tell them why we were about to share the bread and juice. Felipe really enjoyed the experience and commented how he’d like to be a part of the church in the future. Please keep praying for Felipe. He continues to study with Tim and loves spending time with our family, but drags his feet when the conversation turns to discipleship and commitment to Jesus.
Summer Interns
This summer, our team welcomed two interns from ACU. Carissa and Marcela (with our teammate, Toni, and Kim) spent two months living with the sisters in Mariano Otero. They were full-time Spanish students while involving themselves with various ministry opportunities. They spent time with each of the missionary families and most of the churches at least once. They came with great attitudes and willingness to do anything they could think of or that we could ask of them. They were especially helpful to our family as we hosted a campaign group from Alaska. As Tim was on bed rest after his surgery just before the group arrived, the interns helped Kim with some of the leg work needed to organize a couple of the days’ events and joined us during all of their free time.
Campaign Group
A group from Juneau, Alaska came to work with us for a week in July. They were led by Bruce Baird who was Tim’s roommate when they were AIM students 15 years ago in Lisbon, Portugal. The group consisted of 3 adults, 4 high school students and one very cute baby.
As none spoke Spanish, it was a new experience for all of us. Our past groups have been mainly Spanish-speaking.

We put them to work painting a house for our sister Adriana, as well as painting and cleaning in parks, serving food to the poor and visiting a children’s home. They also brought clothes they had collected to give away.
Though they couldn’t speak with those they were sharing with, it was fun seeing how communication was taking place. We gave the majority of the clothing away while we were in Mariano Otero.

The church there is well known in the neighborhood and everyone also knows that the “gringos” who come through are friends with the Christians. So even though we didn’t pass out literature or invitations to a specific event, they knew he clothing was a gift from the church.
On Sunday they joined us in Jocotan where we had somewhat of a bilingual worship time. It went surprisingly well going back and forth from Spanish to English. Both Lilian and Omar were excited to share their stories with the youth. They said that the young people impressed them and taught them a lot about being faithful, since most have known God from their childhood. But, I think the youth were more impressed by hearing from Lilian and Omar about how their lives are being radically changed by God.

Connecting With Other Churches
Though the churches each meet in their own neighborhoods, all who lead in the different groups desire to foster a greater sense of community between the churches. Through monthly leaders meetings as well as all-Church assemblies, training times and other occasions, even the more recent members of our family are feeling united to the brothers and sisters from across Guadalajara and La Piedad (3 hours away). Being a part of a larger family helps when a particular church goes through a period of crisis, such as what the church in Jardines del Valle experienced when several had serious health problems at the same time.
As with any family, when one member is hurting or struggling, the whole family is affected. This last month our brother Martin Camarena, from La Piedad, began drinking and using drugs again. This breaks our hearts as he is such a wonderful man who God uses mightily to advance his kingdom. We hate to see Satan gain ground in Martin’s life. But we’ve also been given reason to praise God as His church has reached out to Martin and his wife Rosa. We were especially grateful that Omar also offered to call Martin and give support as a Christian brother who understands because of a similar past. We see this as a growth step, as he used his unique past struggles to minister within the body. Our teammate Nancy was saying that Rosa and her kids seem more peace-filled during this crisis than in times past and it appears to be largely due to feeling connected and supported by other Christians. Please keep the Camarena family in your prayers.
Quincy’s Graduation
On the 5th of July, Quincy graduated from Kindergarten. God provided for Quincy (and our family) a great beginning to his educational experience and we do not take this for granted. He really answered all of our prayers in this area. We are curious to see how things change and how God will work as Quincy moves to a new school in September.


Almost Like New

Well, I went to the doctor yesterday and I’m almost done with the whole healing process. He told me I could begin being more active, but couldn’t do anything strenuous or lift anything heavy. Nor could I bend over. (That one is still weird to me.)

That is good and bad news as we have a campaign group arriving today from Alaska. It is good that I can drive them places and hang out with them, but bad that I can’t really be involved in the work part of it. And though I can speak more, my throat still gets sore after talking. And the leader of the group is my old friend Bruce. (We were AIMers together in Portugal over 15 years ago.) I’m sure there will be many stories that will need to be relived. Thankfully, Kim is on top of things as she’s done most of the prep work while I’ve been laid up the past two weeks. (I nominate Kim for mom and wife and missionary of the year. She’s been incredible.)

I can’t remember if I mentioned this in the comment section of the last post, but the original surgery went well (2 weeks ago). But last Monday I started coughing up blood and they ended up having to go back in and redo some stitches as well as cauterize a vein. Fun stuff.

Funny Side Note:
When we went to the doctor’s office yesterday, we parked in the parking garage and took the elevator two flights up. (Mom, if you’re reading this… go ahead and turn away now.) When we got in the elevator and the doors closed Kim was feeling silly, and lunged at me as if we were going to make out in the elevator. However, there was someone trying to catch the elevator that we were unaware of and he hit the button to open the door and ride up with us. Kim was in mid-lunge as the doors suddenly opened. PRICELESS! Kim could not stop laughing and apologizing to the guy who couldn’t stop giggling to himself and looking away.