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January Cru newsletter – Larry and Betty Barr

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Caroline*,  a retired high school Spanish teacher, speaks both English and Spanish fluently.  On three occasions she has assisted with special weekends of spiritual emphasis and teaching inside the county jail.  She and her husband have contributed money to help purchase Spanish language Bibles for men and women in the jail.

Caroline participated in a special Bible study group in her community which also welcomed women who had been released from jail and were looking for a small group to join.  With her bilingual abilities and her heart for ministry with the incarcerated, Caroline was the logical choice of someone to disciple/mentor Maria*, a young Spanish-speaking woman who has been held in the county jail since February 2020.

Because Covid-19 closed the jail to non-staff, Caroline has never met Maria in person, but each and every Friday they “meet” on a special authorized website.  Caroline explains, I had to set up an account and get approval to call and talk with Maria.  I pay  money into the account, usually $25 plus a $2 fee every two weeks.  I log into the website a little before 1:00 p.m. each Friday afternoon and wait for Maria to call me. 

      We both have our Bible lessons completed.  She reads each question in Spanish and gives me her answer, and we discuss it.  During that hour on the phone we cover two complete lessons.  A jail official is not present, but the conversations are recorded.  We do NOT discuss Maria’s legal issues.  We meet to study the Bible and to pray. 

Caroline has been eager to study two more important topics with Maria – prayer, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  Both studies are part of the Ten Basic Steps Toward Christian Maturity (a Bible Study series written by Dr. Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ).

Through a church Bible study group Caroline completed these studies herself a few years ago.  She still has her copies of the Bible studies in English, but she needed to provide both of the studies in Spanish for Maria’s use.

So just after Christmas, Caroline called our Cru Resources office to order those two Bible study booklets.  Timing was crucial because Maria had just learned that her first court appearance was scheduled for late January, with two follow-up dates in February.  She likely will be moved out of the area, and perhaps out of the country.

Regretfully, Betty had to inform Caroline that we were out of stock on those two particular studies.  There was no way for our office to meet her time-sensitive need.   What a disappointment!

Then Betty had a thought.  Larry has taught those studies in Spanish in the past.  Perhaps we had unused copies of  those studies at home. That night we checked the shelf, and, sure enough, we had one extra copy of each title Caroline needed!  We promptly mailed them to her.  Our gift has arrived, and someone who has clearance to go into the jail will get them to Maria.

Please join us in praying that Caroline and Maria can complete these two important studies together and that they will take Maria deeper in her growing relationship with the Lord.

Before you receive this letter, Maria probably will have been in court. Please pray for the judge to have wisdom and the Lord’s guidance as he/she assesses the case and hands down a ruling sometime next month.  Please pray for the Lord’s protection and provision for Maria, whatever the future may hold.

And please pray for Caroline as she prepares for further ministry with women in the jail.

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* Names have been changed to safeguard the identity of the women involved in this true account.  No pictures have been posted for the same reason.

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