* 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)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Saying Good-bye To Lusbin

Another one written by Pat. Thank you Pat! I thought about writing about Lusbin myself but just could not bring myself to do it.

Pat writes,

A little more than a week ago, Dick showed up at school while I was in a meeting. When I received word he needed to talk to me, my heart started pounding. It's not like him to interrupt my school day, so I knew something was up.
He told me that one of the former Hermano Pedro patients had passed away that morning. He needed someone to go with him to Salamá for the funeral. Could I get away?
It turned out that the next day we were having a program to welcome the Bush's, a couple from Illinois (Go Ilini!) who had just moved down to work at the school. There would be no classes, so after a brief conversation with Judy, I decided to go.
Lusbin had originally come to Hermano Pedro through the malnutrition project. After a time there, he put on weight and returned home, but not before becoming best buddies with Dick. Though I had never met him, I felt like I knew him from Dick's stories.

The red line roughly traces our rout,  though I'm sure Dick would have some corrections. 

(No Pat that is pretty much the rout we took. I do have another way that I go when the quarter mile wide river is not to deep but if My Land Cruiser ever got stuck or quit I did not know how much you enjoyed swimming.)
Much of the way was up and down mountain sides,which also adds to the mileage.
While it feels like I have traveled all over the country, in truth I have not visited most of the departments in Guatemala. This trip would take me to a whole new area--Baja Vera Paz. Though Dick said it was only about 45 km. "as the crow flies" unfortunately we were land bound and the trip was more like 230 km since we stayed on the good roads. This is true of many of the places we go--it feels like you can't get there from here, which is somewhat true, since you have to go through many out of the way places to finally reach your destination.
We got into town about 4:30, found hotel rooms, and went to see Lusbin's family. They were so very grateful Dick had come, and though I had not met them before, I was immediately brought into their confidence. Once again it was helpful to be a woman in this situation. Both Lusbin's mama and sister poured out their hearts to me like we were old friends. This was a traumatic time for them both, but especially hard on his sister, who was his constant companion and care giver.

Dick Rutgers's photo.
On their last visit, Dick and the boys spent the whole day with Lusbin,
even taking him and his sister out to eat at Pollo Campero 

Dick had visited Lusbin only a few weeks earlier with three of the boys to repair his power chair. At that time he could see that Lusbin, who had muscular dystrophy, was declining. It was a surprise, however, for him to pass on so quickly.
Mama explained that Tuesday morning he had gone to the park in his power chair to visit friends. When he got home he began having chest pains, and they took him to the national hospital. He died Wednesday morning, we are told from heart problems. I wish we could have been there with him to help him. His sister showed us a picture of him she took in the hospital, and he looked absolutely terrified.

Dick Rutgers's photo.

We visited with the family, and were given a "refaccion" of coffee and sweet bread. It was very strange to be seated next to a casket, eating a snack, but this is how it is done here. Another sample of the hospitality that is so much a part of the character of the Guatemalan people. It actually reminded me of wakes I had been to years earlier when I worked on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota.
The funeral would not be to 3 pm the following afternoon, so we went back to the hotel and got a good nights rest.
In the morning we went to Rabinal, a nearby town, so I could meet Julia, the director of a local school for preschoolers. She and her husband are very involved in advocating for the rights of the disabled in Guatemala, and I had heard stories about her for years. She was not there, but I did get to see the beautiful school, and meet some of the staff. We then called Julia, who was actually in Salama, the town where we were staying, and arranged to meet her for lunch.
She is a delightful and amazing woman; a wonderful and committed educator. As we visited in Spanish (poor Dick; I only remembered to translate for him once in a while) I learned that many of the ideas I wanted to implement in Santa Maria were the same ones Julia was using in her school in Rabinal. I was refreshed and encouraged to see this. I don't want to turn New Life into an American School, It was good to find out that well trained Guatemalan teachers also thought as I do, and were trying to train local teachers to use the same techniques I was encouraging at the school.
Julia had been Lusbin's first teacher, and had fought hard to get him into public school. She was pleased to accompany us to the funeral. Her presence was a great blessing to me. I was unfamiliar with the local customs of funerals and grieving and it was a great benefit to be able to follow her lead through the different aspects of the funeral.
We arrived at Lusbin's house just a a great downpour began. We were served large servings of Pozole, a rich chicken soup dish traditional in this part of the country. I regretted eating pizza just an hour earlier but ate as much as I could. It was important to mama to feed us well, even though I explained we had just eaten!
Dick Rutgers's photo.
We waited out the worst part of the rain, and the long walk to the church began. Dick served as a pallbearer, which was quite a challenge. These men carried the casket to the church on their shoulders, and Dick, being almost a foot taller than some of them, was at a distinct disadvantage. We were both very relieved to see that after the church service the casket would be taken to the cemetery in the back of a pick-up truck.
Here people who can afford it are often buried in a tower of cement boxes, each cast taking one space (a Guatemalan mausoleum?) After the casket is placed in its space, the front of the opening is closed with bricks and mortar while the family watches. This is difficult to watch, but was especially painful for Lusbin's sister who became more frantic as each brick was added, screaming, "mi nene, mi nene" ("my baby boy, my baby boy). This was one of the hardest things I have experienced in Guatemala.
(It's not unusual for mourners to climb on top of other tombs adjacent to where thedeceased will be buried, to get a better view of the interment.)

Dick Rutgers's photo.

This young lady of sixteen has limited cognitive skills, though her social and daily living skills are excellent. It broke my heart to watch her grieve for her brother. I occurred to me that she only partially understood what was going on, and I longed to help her somehow.
I went over and prayed silently over her, and as I did, it seemed God told me to tell her, "Lusbin's not in there." Not knowing what would be her reaction, I reluctantly obeyed. She heard me, and clung to me. I went on to explain that only his body was being buried; that the person she loved (his soul) was now with Jesus. I told her I believed he was not healthy and whole, and knew that his suffering was over. I don't know how much of this she really understood, but she calmed substantially.

While intellectually limited, she obviously has a great love of Jesus, and I think the idea that Lusbin was with Him comforted her.
We returned to the home after the service for a can of pop and to visit. We were not sure where the rest of this family was spiritually, and didn't want to miss an opportunity to share with them the good news of life in Jesus. This time was a blessing for both them and us.
They shared with us that Lusbin often said Dick was like his papa. This was a beautiful tribute to the relationship Dick had with him, but also was very sad. Lusbin's own father is alive, but does not live with the family. He was at the funeral, but was distant from the other family members. The saddest thing was that he, himself, share that Lusbin thought of Dick as his father, without any resentment or remorse.
It made both Dick and me realize how what we do often seems little to us, but is huge to those we love here. Dick would see Lusbin once or twice a year after he left Hermano Pedro, but these visits mattered so much to him and his family.
(We had seen another example of this the night before. When we came to the house unexpectedly, we found four of Lusbin's wheelchair sitting in a row, next to the coffin, along with other favorite possessions of him. Two of these wheelchair were no longer used, Because they Lusbin had outgrown them but even though they had years of of use they were clean and well cared for; greatly valued by him and his family.)
We were comforted to discover, too, that Jesus was walking with Lusbin during his last days. About two weeks before he died, he had told his mother and sister that he was going to pass on. He told them that they could cry for two days, but then needed to get on with their lives. Dick said this sounded so much like Lusbin, who loved life to the fullest, despite is declining health. Dick was also honored to hear that Lusbin had left him a message, too. He was not to be sad at Lusbin's death, because one day they will see each other in heaven.
Please pray for us as we continue to share Jesus with and encourage this family. His mom asked to keep the wheelchairs for 40 days, at which time they would like them to be given to others who need them. We will be going back to pick them up, and are praying for openings to share more of the gospel with them.

            Thank you Pat
<><  Yours in Christ : Dick  ><>

Friday, May 8, 2015

More from Gutemala


Offer to take 4 children to the doctor for a 2 month checkup after having foot surgery. Tell each family that only one adult and the child that had the surgery can come along with you. Granted the math classes that I took were 60 years ago, but I'm still trying to figure out how I ended up with 13 people in my car today.
Actually everything went well today. all four of the children are doing well and will not have to return to the doctor. To celebrate we all went down to the lake and played for about an hour before heading home.
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Fernando And His Class Take First Place 
At English Festival 

This was no small achievement. Fernando Velasquez not only wrote the song but also choreographed and was lead singer in the competition. This competition originally started with every class in a large school participating. last night the top six classes competed and Fernando and his class took first place. I am very proud of him.

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Cessar's soccer game was cut short today when both teems ejected the referee from the game for being drunk.
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I have once again been on the road for the past two days. This time it has been a little bit different because I don't have any of the boys or anyone else with me to interpret. Somehow I have been managing though. I have been able to give out quite a bit of dehydrated food and vitamins to individuals and organizations that I work with. The highlights though he have been able to get 3 power wheelchairs running without having to take them back to Bethel's wheelchair shop. Without them none of these three kids can attend school. This morning I spend most of my time with Steven and little Sebastian who are uncle and nephew. Both of these young men have muscular dystrophy. About a year ago Steven lost his brother big Sebastian to the same disease. Little Sebastian was still walking about a year ago but now has to use a power wheelchair because his health is deteriorating rapidly.
He was in great spirits today though as he thoroughly enjoyed helping me work on his power wheelchair.
I managed to get to my hotel by about 3 o'clock this afternoon. I soon discovered though that my room would not be cleaned and ready for me for at least 2 hours. Knowing a family that lives about a half hour from here that also has the boy in a power wheelchair I decided to make one more visit. Edgar's father deserted his mother him and three siblings about 4 years ago. Mom has to work long hours each day just to put food on the table and the children end up staying home by themselves when they are not in school. The family has very little money and the house is basically a bare shell. thanks to a good friend of mine they will soon have beds though. Several months ago I had promised the kids that if they did well in school I would take them out to Camperos for lunch. I was pretty tired this evening but a promise is a promise, and I was soon rejuvenated by simply watching four of the happiest kids that you have ever seen. This was the first time ever going out to eat for any of them. I only wished that their mother could have come along enjoy a time of fun with her children. We did take a chicken dinner back home for her though. After a lot of hugs and thank yous I headed back to my hotel. Tomorrow I plan on driving back home so that I can spoil my kids this weekend. Water slides here we come!

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Today 4 of my boys and myself had to work just a little bit harder than yesterday on taking someone to lunch. After having church at home we headed off to visit two families that live down near the coast hat have children that are being sponsored for school. I had promised the kids of both families that if they got good marks on their report cards that we would take them out for a day of lunch and swimming. Little did I realize what an incentive this would be. All for the kids have done really great so the 9 of us made the two hour drive down to the coast to pick them up and then drove another hour to the nearest town where we can go swimming and have lunch. We all had a great time. But a13 hour day was a bit much for this 68 year old. Looking into the back seat I realize but it tired out my boys as well.

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3 of my boys & I took Ambrocio to lunch today. Nothing that special to most people but this was this 12 year old's first time ever to go to a restaurant, and his first time out of his house since attending camp last December. It was well worth packing him down the mountain side on our backs. We are still having a hard time finding a teacher that is willing to go to his home a few times a week.
Sitting here studying thinking about how much I cannot wait for this semester to be over and trying to figure out a way to cram a 68 page study guide into my brain by Tuesday. Decide to get on facebook and see this...brings tears to my eyes...a 12 year old who hasn't left his home since December who would probably give anything to attend school. Can you imagine? Definitely puts things into perspective. Thank you Dick Rutgers for the amazing work you do!!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

The Month Of March

We have just returned from spending 8 days in Huehuetenango. 

It has been a good trip as we were able to visit with a lot of families.   We tried to help them out by giving out food, vitamins, Water filters, and wheelchairs where needed.  We also  shared with them that Christ loves them even when things look very bleak, as they do for so many of these families.   Imagine if you could having absolutely nothing to feed your family and all of your neighbors are in the same predicament.  Or imagine having 2 children that are in need of medicine so that they do not have continual seizures, and having to decide on which one get the medicine since there is not enough money to purchases it for both of them.  Perhaps you would like to trade places with the parents of a 15 year old girl who for no apparent reason started having such muscle spasms that for the past 3 years she has been unable to get out of bed.  Oh yes this young ladies parents were finally able to take her to a local doctor, only to be  told that it was some sort of sickness that she got from a frog.  The doctor's reasoning for this was because her twitching resembled that of a frog.  We came upon this family strictly by God-incidence.  This was on lyr way back home.  We only had one wheelchair left and that was a specialty chair that I had gotten from Bethel Ministries.   It had been intended for someone else but we could not locate that person.  While we were stopped at a small store stalking up on nutritious junk food ( actually our intentions were good as we had intended to buy fruit and dairy products, but they had no Strawberry cheese cake ice-cream) we asked the young lady at the store if she know where we could find the person that we had intended to give this wheelchair to.  She told us that she thought that see did and that the girl's father was working nearby.  In a hart beet the excited father was in the car with us and we were on our way to their house which was several miles away.  While talking to dad we began to realize that this was not the girl that we had been looking for so I told father that even though we had not been able to locate the other girl we would not be able to give the chair that was tied on the top of our car to his daughter because it was a highly specialized chair that would only fit and be useful to a very limited number of people.  

When we got to the house we went into the room where this young lady was.  She was very twisted and her patents assured us that there was no way that she could be go into a seated position.  At first I was convinced that they were absolutely right but after getting her confidence and then working with her for about a half hour she began to relax and go into position. At first she wold spring back to her contorted position at the slightest noise but longer we worked together the more she relaxed and I began to realize that perhaps we would not have to leave her in a lying position and put her into a gurney like chair as I had first suspected. A bit later we tired ot get out of the house to get the specialty chair that was on top of  my car.   I say tried to get out of the house because by now there were about 30 people in the room observing what we were doing.  I can not say enough good things about Fernando and Marcos who were with me.  Fernando is a great interpreter and ever since deciding to study medicine has taken an even  greater interest in doing anything he can to help anyone who is sick or hurting.  Marcos is not as fluent in English but is studying to be a mechanic and these skills were needed as well.  Have I ever mentioned that I am very proud of my boys?  It took a few hours butby the time that we left this young lady was sitting straight and tall.  Not to mention the fact that she was relaxed and said that the chair felt great.   I just love these Godincidences.

By the way don't worry we intend on going back to this area to see if we can get a real doctor to look at his girl and we will surch until we find and get a wheelchiar to the other young lady as well.

Yours in Christ; Dick

Wow I did it an actual journal entry.  I do have some Face book posts as well so I am going to add them below.  Come to think of it I think that I will paste the journal entry into Facebook.  Hope that this does not make you face book haters to mad.  To be perfectly honest there are a lot of things about Facebook that I do not like either.

We Stopped By To Visit Jema Yesterday.

She is a little girl who was born without both arms and one leg. We have already given her the foot control power chair that she loves and uses at school. Even though this determined young lady refuses to be looked at as disabled or handicapped her one wish has been to someday be able to walk. Thanks to my friend Marvin and a generous sponsor that dream has become a reality. Jema's family takes her
to therapy once a week and she continues to improve in her walking. She is a determined young lady and with or without her artificial leg or her power wheelchair this young lady it's always going to be a winner.

Video of Jema using her new Prosthesis



We're having a great time up here in Way-way-tin-ango 
(actually spelled Huehuetenango but pronounced the way I spelled it)

We certainly need your prayers though. David Black, Moisés Guerra, Fernando Velasquez, Marcos Ovalle, and I arrived here on Friday evening.yesterday was mostly spent visiting Family that are sponsored through Bethel Ministries. Voice is one of Bethel's new social workers, he had never met most of the families up in this area so I offered to take him along with us and introduce them to these families. how are visits have been great and thanks to some wonderful organizations we have been able to hand out vitamins dried food the water filter and we will be giving out some wheelchairs. More important than this we are able to visit and share the love of Christ with people who have become good friends over the years. our visits have been great so far. but some of our drives between Family and villages have been a little more exciting than we had cared for. yesterday while trying to make a right turn onto a small road a bus that was parked on the shoulder decided to pull out at the same time. the bus imprint in the side of my car but very very close.five minutes later as I was attempting to drive through a small village we came to a halt as we encountered traffic that was going in the opposite direction on what was meant to be a one way road. even though the road was meant to be only direction that we were going today it was a free for all.I had a bus behind me (fortunately not the one that had just tried to run over me) so there is no way that I could back up. the traffic going in the other direction also consisted of cars trucks and buses so we were at a gridlock. To make matters worse we're stopped right in front of a bar that had to have over a hundred drunks standing outside. we could not see who was inside except for the times that two or three of them would come tumbling out bringing their fist fights out onto the streets with them. at times there were three or four fights going on at the same time and all we could do was watch from inside of the car. being the only two gringos in the entire town Dave and I were exceptionally happy but the windows on my car are quite tinted. I am not real sure exactly how long we sat there but it felt like an eternity. things escalated to bed when a couple of people got hit over the head with their bottles then one retaliated but shooting a rock into the middle of the crowd with a slingshot but it did clear the crowd up a bit as half the crowd went running after him.after a while the traffic started moving again and we were quite relieved to be leaving this town but kept thinking about the fact that we would have to drive back through it on our way out. .the rest trip went well though and the town was quite a bit quieter when we drove back through just before dark.
Today David plans on driving the hope Haven van that we used to transport her chairs back home. Voice plans on staying with us Intel either this evening or tomorrow morning while we visit more sponsored families. the boys and I plan on staying here for another 45 days as we have several wheelchairs to give out and lots of food and vitamins. please keep the families that we visit and us in your prayers.

Were Still Here
Fernando Velasquez, Marcos Ovalle and I are still up in Huehuetenango. Things have been going well. We have been giving out food, vitamins, wheelchairs and sharing the love of Christ with many families. Marcose and Fernando have been a lot of fun to travel with and a real blessing. Not only do they help with interpreting for me, seating the wheelchairs and getting the food and vitamins down from the top of the car, but they have also taken their turns praying for the families. There is so much physical and spiritual need here that sometimes we get overwhelmed. It is difficult to walk by 5 or 6 homes where there is just as much need as a family that we are going in to visit. Praise God for those that we can reach out to but I can't help but get a lump in my throat when I think of those we can not help.
Then the righteous will reply" Lord when did we ever see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you something to drink?"
Matthew 25 : 37


Today I told Lionel who is in the Hermano Pedro Orphanage that I was going to see his parents this week and that I would try to bring him some pictures back. Don't tell me this kid doesn't understand English

One Day Later


Today I went back to the orphanage and spent a little more time with Lionel. While I was holding him he got rid of some unnecessary air from his stomach. (No, he did not burp.) I quickly grabbed my nose and said "PU". I have not seen Lionel laugh like that in years. It was well worth the irritated sinuses and the watery eyes. Next time I go and visit him I'm going to ask that the nurses feed him plenty of frijoles first.

"More Beans Please."

Dick Rutgers's photo.......................................................................................................................
 Short Term Mission Trips

 I have had quite a few comments about the post below.  Most of them have been positive but a few people were not all that fond of it.   When I wrote it  I was not targeting any particulate people or organizations.  If you think that I am pointing a finger at you remember when I point at some one 3 fingers are aiming back at me.  I see much of myself back when I started coming on mission trips so this is as much a reminder to me as it is to anyone else.  If you offend easily please do not read this post.  If you are considering a mission trip and feel that you have all of the answers perhaps you should skip it as well.  I in no ways want it to discourage you from coming on a short term mission trip.  It is on such a trip that God changed my life. He could very well have something similar in mind for you.  If you are open minded and perhaps ready to consider a few things before going on a mission trip please continue reading.


Several missionaries have been posting their views on sort term mission teems lately. I am one of them. I do not want to be taken wrong. I think that short term mission trip can be a real blessing not only to the teem that comes down but if done correctly it can even be a blessing to the people that they come to serve.  Who should we come to serve? The elderly, the hungry, the sick, the disabled? Yes and even those cute little kids with there mouths full of the candy that we gave them! I guess my question should be more how can we best serve. Did you ever think of asking God? and then ask the organization, the church or missionaries that you should be coming down to work with? After all could it be possible that those of us who have been doing this for several years may have some idea of what is needed and of what works best for a people and culture that most people from the USA, Canada and other countries do not have a clue about? After all there is a lot of experience here and most of us have learned by making some pretty big mistakes that you could possibly learn from and avoid. I say most of us because as I mentioned ask God first because he don't make mistakes, but remember God often uses his servants to advise and mentor others who have less experience in a cretin aria.
I repeat Did you ever think about asking the missionary that your team is coming down to work with how they can best be helped? Or do you send him or her an agenda of what you want to do? Sorry but God did not put most missionaries here to be tour guides. Granted there are mission organizations who spend most of their time hosting short term mission teems. I am connected with some that do a down right good job of it, but even if you do come down to work with one of these missions or organizations please remember these are people that have made a commitment to serve God, They are not tour guides. Please ask them how you can help rather then let them know your agenda why not ask them how you can come along side and help.
You would not believe some of the requests that I have personally gotten over the 14 years that I have ben here. Here are just a few. granted some of them have been exaggerated a bit and the answers that follow most of these requests were not the answers that I sent back to the people that wrote them but perhaps thy should have been.

"Hi Dick"
Perhaps I should have written you sooner but tomorrow I am coming in with a group of 15 people. We would like you to take us through the orphanage and then take 15 of the orphanage kids out to lunch. We are a little short on funds but most of us can pick up the bill for our own food. Oh by the way can you pick us up from the airport tonight at 10;20 PM?
My Reply (Not) "No problem! I wasn't doing anything anyway. Well to be honest I did plan on taking a little girl who has leprosy in to the city but that can wait after all she still has 3 toes left. I am sure that your needs are more important. Besides that now that I will be paying for lunch for 15 kids and myself and will likely not be reimbursed for the fuel of picking you up from the airport I won't have enough cash to help this little girl anyway."
Signed Dick the tour guide.

"Hi Missionaries that we are coming to Serve"
We will be arriving on Friday the 23rd at 10:20 PM there will be 11 of us one of our teem members can't catch that flight because her dog is having a birthday party. You will have to pick her up the following morning at 3:20 AM. Hope that this does not innocence you in any way. Oh by the way we have our own personal luggage of 2 bags each plus 6 suit cases of used tooth brushes that that my boy Preston and his first grade class have been collecting for the past 3 years. (Why has Preston been in the first grade for 3 years?) We also have 5 suit cases of used bars of soap that my husband has collected while away from home. (Should I ask why he is away from home so much?) 2 large trunks of hand sanitizer. Can we buy more there if we run out?
Here is what we want to do for the 10 days that we are here.
Day 1 rest, some of us may be tired from our long trip.
Day 2 climb a volcano.
Day 3 Rest up from climbing the volcano.
Day 4 We are ready work. We would like to visit some poor but sanitary homes. (none of us want to get sick while on this mission trip) please bear in mind that 3 of our people get car sick, especially Mrs. Dyeeasy who is 98 and has a serious hart condition so please no curvy roads and noting that is more than a mile or 2 out of Antigua. We would like to return to Antigua by 11;00 AM so that we can sower before lunch. Please remember only 5 star restaurants. We would not want any of our teem members to get sick so that we could not be a blessing to everyone that we minister to. If we have time after lunch and none of are too tired perhaps we could visit a few more homes. Of corse that would mean that we got back to our 5 star hotel in time to shower and rest up befor supper.
Day 6 shopping
Day 7 We would like to do a wheelchair distribution. Please don't invite any people that have anything contagious or any one who has a deformity as several of us have sensitive stomachs. We know that the wheelchairs cost money to repair or build but since we are making this great sacrifice to come down and serve, is there some one else who would be willing to sponsor the wheelchairs? if not we may have to skip the distribution. Actually that may be best as I am quite sure that we will not be abel to get all of our shopping done in one day.
Day 8 and 9 I understand that Lake Atitlan is one of the pretest places around. I think that this would be a good place for us to debrief for a few days."
We will be looking forward to coming along side and helping you.
Here to serve ;;;;;;;;;;;

You no doubt know that the letter above is fictitious but most of the requests are not. 
"No Reply ( If I had one you would not want to read it.) Dick
Then there are the requests that are even worse than the one above. They go something like this.

"Dear ministry that is going to be blessed with our presence."
We are a hard working overly skilled mission teem that any one would give their eye tooth to have help them. You have been randomly selected to be blessed with our presence for 3 days. We know that 3 days is not a long time but we promise to do what no other mission teem has ever done for you in such a short period of time. We will be arriving at 10;20 PM on Monday the 14th. (What is it about that 10:20 flight?) We figure that if you have the van warmed up and running we can get out of the airport by no later that 10: 22 PM. We know that you said that it is a 10 hour drive to the job sight but we figure that there will be less traffic at night and if we take turns Driving your Van we should cut off several hours and be to the job site by daylight. We heard about a teem that put up a house in 4 hours we have been practicing at home and have it down to 3. so if we work from 6 AM to 9 PM we should be able to do 5 houses per day. Do not worry about food we are all bringing power bars. Please make sure that none of the people that we are coming to serve get in our way by trying to help though. We have this down to a science and don't want them to get in the way. Perhaps we can set up a rope barrier and even have a few armed police around to make sure that the people that we have come to serve by building the houses for do not get in our way. This would also keep them from steeling our tools. I hear that most foreigners can't be trusted. If we have any time left after building the 15 houses perhaps we could build a church or a school. We hope to set a record that will stand for years to come.
Glad that we can bless you with our presence."
Dick's reply (If you go home feeling good about yourself or about how much you accomplished, you more than likely missed the point. )
How about asking the local missionary what you can do instead of dictating what you are going to do?
I hope that I still have a few friends left but it needed to be said.
<>< Yours in Christ: Dick ><>
By the way this is a teem that came to serve, and like most they were great to work with.

 Took Marcos out for his18th birthday today.



Oliver & his mom Heather. Oliver is one over several kids that I took to San Lucas Telemann last week for foot surgery. they are back home now and doing well.

Both of the boys picture below has a foot that aims completely backwards. Hopefully by the end of this week that situation will be rectified. There is a team of highly skilled American doctors that is here at Lake Atitlan for the entire week. Not only do they plan to operate on 6 children that I brought to them, but about 20 other people will be operated on as well. Please pray for the 26 or so patients that will have operations on their legs and feet this week. For many of them it is the first time that they have ever been to a doctor so needless to say they are quite nervous. Also pray for the doctors and medical staff that will be treating them. While you're at it say a prayer for me. I will be here the entire week and away from my home and my kids.

Dick Rutgers's photo.
Dick Rutgers's photo.
My friend David Black and I have been on the road for the past several days.. We managed to get 5 or 6 kids back into school simply by repairing their power wheelchairs. We also gave out a few manual wheelchairs. The scenery on this trip has been spectacular, but what we both enjoy the most is visiting with these wonderful people.