* GUATEMALA * * * * * * * * Dick Rutgers *

An ongoing journal of life as a Missionary in Guatemala. It will make you laugh and cry at the same time.

My Photo
Location: Chimaltenango, Guatemala

I work in Guatemala with Hope Haven international and Bethel Ministries. Along with my friends Chris and Donna Mooney and their family, we share the love of Jesus in various ways. Although giving out and maintaining wheelchairs is our primary ministry, we are involved in many other things as well. Building houses, feeding the hungry, providing education to handicapped children in orphanages and villages, and hosting a camp for the handicapped are just a small part of the things that God has given us the privilege of getting involved in. For several years now I have been keeping daily journals. Once a week I try to post new journals and pictures. My e-mail is dick@dickrutgers.com Guatemala Cell Phone # 502 5379 9451 USA Phone # 360 312 7720(Relays free to Guatemala)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Rudy's Reflections

This past month I have had the privilege of spending a lot of time on the the road with some of my boys and Rudy Van Ry.   I asked Rudy if he would be willing to write some of his thoughts in my journal and the following is what he came up with.

My name is Rudy Van Ry, and I've been on the road with Dick here in Guatemala for approx. 10 days. I remembered hearing Dick talk about this place at my church, Nooksack Valley Reformed, about 2 years ago and it stuck with me. I was able to get his email and I just sent him a random email asking if he could use a hand down in Guatemala. Well, one email led to another which led to another, tell finally I was in contact with him and many others who could use a hand.

I came here with my wife, Anna Van Ry. She would come for 10 days and I would stay for the remainder of the month. We didn't really know what to expect coming down here. All we knew was that we would keep an open mind and trust in the path that God has set for us.

If I could describe my experience here in one word, I would use: Heavy. I've traveled throughout some third world countries before and “seen” poverty, but never really close up and certainly not interacted with it. To be honest, I was a little apprehensive at first, and a little uncomfortable. I've never done anything like this before. I've always just been a tourist and a simple bystander. I have to hand it to Dick here. The relationships that he has been able to build here, especially as a non spanish speaking gringo, is an absolute wonder to behold.

While on the road, Dick and I got into a conversation about his ministry here. He told me that he often asks himself the question, “what is my ministry here?” I couldn't really give him and answer at first. I had only been here about three weeks to his thirteen years. I was a noob with no real input and insight. However, it only took a few house visits for me to revisit this topic with him. I told him, which he agreed with, was, for a person like him to go out into this country, where many Guatemalans are skeptical of gringos, and deliver help, compassion, and the good word is priceless to the God's work.

The wheelchair distributions are wonderful, and heavily needed. But there are so many families and people out here without the means to leave their house to get a chair. They have no money, barley any food, and are struggling just to survive the day. I've been blown away by all of the many relationships that have been built between Dick and the people of Guatemala. Showing them that someone actually cares about them has given hope to many.

I didn't want to talk about each and every family or child that we visited together. I could write pages and pages of sad stories, each one more sad than the previous. All I can say is that the children we visited are beautiful. But they hurt, their families hurt, and life is hard. Yet the look on their faces when Dick arrives is that of hope, excitement, and benevolence. The humanity of it all has been imbedded in my mind. The simple gesture of giving food, vitamins, and fixing chairs means the world to these people.

Again, my experience with Dick has been heavy. My personal output on life, humanity, charity, and spirituality have been renewed. The work that Dick and accompanying organizations have been doing here has been crucial to the survival of many people. Its been an experience I wont soon forget.

Rudy Van Ry

Thank you Rudy,  I hope that we will see both you and Anna back here soon.  May God continue to use you in ways that glorifies Him.  My prayer is that you will continue to let Him have full control of your life.  "A life in Him is a life fulfilled." 

<>< Yours in Christ: Dick ><>

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Few Changes

I know that there are still  few of you that refuse to go onto FaceBook.  I can not say that I blame you because it can be both time consuming and some of the posts are utterly ridicules.  Personally I do not care to know what you had for breakfast,  how to make hot dogs that look like they are growing hair, wether or not you passed gas today or any thing that I can look up in the encyclopedia all by myself.  However I have found it a valuable tool for sharing information with family and friends in a quick and easy manner.  Just last night I posted something about a little girl that we know who is starving and within minutes I had people in the USA contacting me and asking how they could help.  Quite a difference from not that many years ago when missionaries had to wait months to receive an answer.

Anyway as much as I hate some of the things about FaceBook I have found it a necessary evil and will be doing more and more of my writing there.

Below are some of the Face Book posts that I have managed to post here on my journal page.

Post by Dick Rutgers.

<>< Yours in Christ: Dick ><>

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Way To Make Everyone Happy.

Two weeks ago at the end of my post I stated that at least for a while I was going to post less journal entries and do more posts on Face Book I have come to realize though that some of you dislike Facebook as much as I did until I started using it.   What I have decided to do is copy and paste some of my Face book entries here on my Journal page about once a week.   That way you Face Book haters can read my posts without actually going to Face Book.  Note though that there will not be as many fancy framed pictures and there were. (Well at least while I take a break from journaling.)

Post by Dick Rutgers.

<>< Yours in Christ: Dick  ><>

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


I do not like to talk about percentages especially when it comes to children because it can soon turn a child into a statistic rather than a real person, but this does make one think. Especially if that person considers his or her self to be a Christ follower.

147,000,000 Orphans in this world.
11,000,000 Children starve to death or die of preventable deceases every year.
8,500,000 Children are sold into slavery or prostitution.
2,500,000 Have H.I.V.
     That is a total of 
169,000.000 Suffering children.


2,500,000,000 people in this world profess to be Christians.

If my math is correct if 8% of those of us that profess to be Christians would reach out to just one 1 of these hurting children all 169,000,000 of these children would be taken care of.


"I have often though about asking God why he allows so much pain and suffering in this world, but I don't dare to because I am afraid that He might ask me the same question."

<> Yours in Christ: Dick  ><>

Lately I have been  posting less often on this journal page and more on Face Book so if you would like to keep up with what has been going on look me up here Dick Rutgers

Saturday, June 21, 2014

The boys are taking over. . .the ministry, that is

Pat wrote this one.  (Thanks Pat !)

A few weeks ago I went with Dick, Fernando and Brian to visit Tecpan where Bethel ministries sponsors a number of widows who all live together in a small aldea.  Fernando and Brian had a school project in which they were to do an activity to benefit others, and Fernando wanted to provide a party for the children in the aldea.

To make it a bit more manageable, Dick suggested that they work with the teacher who tutors the children who have sponsors from Bethel.  There are dozens of children in this aldea, and it seems each time we go, we find more and more as they get to know who we are.  Handling all of these kids would be too much for one group to manage.  So we went up to meet with the teacher.

Almost as soon as we got there, the rain began pouring down.  The teacher was on her way, but we had no idea when she would arrive.  We decided to take the time to visit some of the families.

Maria is a young widow with four children who brought us to the in about 2007 when her husband was killed when he was hit by a truck while crossing the highway.  Bethel wanted to help out this single mother and began providing food for the family and eventually built them a house.  Maria has become a good friend over the years, and has done weaving for me and for friends who I have taken to meet her.  She is quite skilled. 

This is a guipil (a traditional Mayan blouse) which Maria is currently making for me. It takes her about 6 weeks to make, and she sells them for about 800 quetzales (a bit more than $100).While I don't necessarily need another blouse, I realize this is her only income, and am happy to help her.

Our next stop was to visit Samuel and his family.  Dick met Samuel a number of years ago when Dick discovered he was not attending school, but working in the fields to help support his family.  His mother, too, is a widow.  Dick helped him find a sponsor, and he went to school for a few years. Now Samuel, about age 12, is once again out of school and along with his younger sister working in the fields to bring home what little money they make, and making it possible for their younger brothers to go to school.

The kids in this family always seem to need shoes. . .and this is not an exaggeration.  Often they have nothing more than rubber boots to wear, and many of these have seen better days.

It seemed incredible how many of us fit into the small overhang outside of Maria's house as we waited for the teacher.  This is when Fernando truly began to shine.  Kids have always been drawn to him, and as he has gotten older, he continues to use this gift.  When they became tired of just visting with him, he spontaneously organized some games with the older kids while Dick entertained many of the younger ones with his slight of hand.

The girls wanted their turns trying to push each other out of the circle.

And Dick managed to find someone evenly matched in strength to go up against.

Finally the teacher arrived, after traveling in a chicken bus and then walking down the long lane from the road to the house in the pouring rain.  This is dedication!  

Fernando did all the discussion and planning with the teacher for a party to be held the following Saturday.  He really impressed both Dick and me with his "professionalism" and competence doing this.  He is no longer the little boy I first met when we traveled to Huehuetenango many years ago.  He has grown into a young man who cares deeply about his people and has developed the skills to help them.

While this may be expected of a young man who is about to turn 17, it is more remarkable when you know a bit about his living situation.  His mother left for the US when he was three years old, leaving him with family members.  Last year, Fernando lived with us in Antigua, but found it difficult to adjust to the differences between here and his home in Chimaltenango, and struggled all year to keep up in school, passing Segundo Basico (eighth grade) by the skin of his teeth.  He decided to go back to school in Chimal this year, and, while living in his grandmother's house, basically is on his own.  His mother no longer sends him money, saying he is old enough to work now.  An aunt gives him food, but he receives little else in terms of love, affection or supervision, except from Dick.  Both Dick and I had great concerns that he would flunk out this year left on his own.

I have never been so happy to be wrong!  He passed all his classes first quarter, and only has one nearly failing grade this quarter, which he is determined to improve.  He is getting his work done on time, and is often at Dick's house just to visit.  He doesn't get into Antigua much, but when he does it is a joy to visit with him. Nothing makes us prouder than watching him work with the families in Tecpan, or translate in the villages for Dick.  He has become a fine young man, who frequently is moved to pray with those he is talking with as they freely share their problems and concerns with him.

Please keep Fernando in your prayers.  Rumor has it that his mom is encouraging him to come to the US in a way that is less than legal.  He says he's going to finish school first, but, we all know a ninth grade education doesn't get you very far in the US, and I'm sure he would be immediately put to work if he got there.  I know we can't control his decisions, but he has so much potential, and would actually have more opportunities here than he would living with a mother he hasn't seen in 14 years.  I trust God wants the best for him, and I pray he listens for His voice.

To find out how the rest of our guys (yep, sorry Dick, they're no longer just yours!) are doing, you can click here to read Dick's journal about their current activities. Yep, he even wrote it himself!


Glad to share them Pat.  I thought about sending you half of this months grocery bill but then I remembered how often we drop in at your house for something to eat.   Thanks for writing this Journal.  

I also want to thank those of you who helped out with getting the family that I talked about in my last journal entry back on to their feet after loosing 2 of their children, having 2 more seriously injured and loosing their home and all but the close that they were wearing.  So far we have $1750 to help get them back on their feet.   If any of you still wish to help out please contact me at dick@dickrutgers.com  

I have also broken down and started a Facebook page.  Click here for that.

<>< Yours in Christ: Dick ><>

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Two children die and two are seriously injured when a car demolishes their home.

(I finally opened a Facebook account.)  Link to Facebook
Today Alex (one of my boys), Grant (a friend from the USA) and I visited these 2 boys that up until a few days ago lived in the house pictured above with their parents and 4 siblings. A few nights ago a drunk missed a corner with his speeding van and leveled half of the house killing a younger brother and sister and leaving another brother and sister in serous condition. The 4 children that were killed or injured were all sleeping on the bed that you can see lying in the middle of the rubble. While the family was on their way to the hospital with the 2 children that were seriously injured bandits took everything from the house. The family was left with nothing. The 2 youngest children are still in the hospital and the rest of the family is temporarily staying with relatives who are living in an already overcrowded one room house. From what I witnessed today these relatives have a struggle putting enough food on the table to feed their own family. 

Today we brought them some food clothing and vitamins but so much more is needed. Sugarcane season has just ended so it is doubtful that father will have any work for the next 6 months. Then if the family survives that long father can once again look forward to making $5 to $7 per day. 

If you could skip a latte or espresso for one day you could give the equivalent of father's daily income or actually double it since he only has work 6 months of the year. Please pray for this family and please consider helping this family stay alive. 

"I thought about asking God how He can allow people to suffer and go to bed hungry every night, but I don't dare to because I am afraid that He might ask me the same question."

<>< Yours in Christ: Dick  ><>