* GUATEMALA * * * * * * * * Dick Rutgers *
An ongoing journal of life as a Missionary in Guatemala. It will make you laugh and cry at the same time.
- Name: Dick
- 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 email@example.com Guatemala Cell Phone # 502 5379 9451 USA Phone # 360 312 7720(Relays free to Guatemala)
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Friday, April 26, 2013
What We've Been Up To
A few days ago Pat and I headed out towards the coast to pick up Gravy, and his family so that we could take them to San Lucas to see Doctor Will. Gravy is a 4 year old boy that I found a few weeks ago when I was with a Bethel ministries teem that was building a house for a family that lived next door to him. He is very bright but has a bone deformity that has stunted his growth and deformed his legs, making it difficult for him to walk.
Patty's wheelchair was in reasonably good shape so after doing a few minor repairs we said our goodbyes and started to head to my car. I was starting to think to myself that this was going to be a rather easy day. It was then that at Father told us that Yelson who lived about a quarter mile further down the road was having problems with the power chair that we gave to him the same day that Patty had received hers. We had already talked about visiting Yelson but I was hoping that his wheelchair was not in need of repair.
When we arrived at Yelson's home we discovered that his wheelchair had not been running for the past 6 months and that his mother had lost the phone numbers that I had given her. Since Yelson who has muscular dystrophy relies on his wheelchair for school I promised that I would bring him a loaner wheelchair and take his wheelchair to the shop to have it repaired. This meant another day on the road later in the week but I knew how much Yelson needed his wheelchair.
Although both boys are smiling in these pictures their life and that of their mother is not an easy one. During the past year the younger of the two has totally lost the ability to walk and the older one can only take a few steps before falling to the ground. Mom now carries them one at a time to and from their school. I promised that I would do my best to get them power wheelchairs since they are too week to propel manual wheelchairs. Problem is we are out of Batteries for power chairs and they run us from $110 to just over $200 per wheelchair. we are very selective in who we give power wheelchairs to. Only kids that do not have enough hand use to propel themselves are given power chairs rather than manual wheelchairs. Right now I know of nearly a dozen kids that can not go to school because they do not have batteries for their power wheelchairs. If you would like to help out with this need please let me know.
(Click here for Dick's E-mail)
This is all that stands between several kids being
able to go to school and sitting at home all day.
I know how much Diago needed a power chair so I did a lot of praying. As I prayed for batteries my mind wondered a bit. I hate to admit it but it does that a lot lately, not only while praying but as you can see by today's journal ............ . Anyway where was I? Oh ya, Here I was in a factory full of completed and partly completed children's wheelchairs, next to a warehouse that had some Extra Lardo Plus power chairs. "What if?" "Naw!" "that would never work." "Or would it?"
Anyway here is a copy of the letter that I wrote to Mark Richard the following day.
I hope that you don't mind but I made a few small modifications to the undercarriage of one of your Hope Haven Kid's Chairs.
I figured that I would put some smaller tires on it since the Diago, the boy that was getting it could not self propel anyway.
The frame just so happened to have motors connected to it and since I was to lazy to remove the motors I figured I would just leave them there.
I wasn't sure how to disconnect the controller so I made a bracket and put it on the Hope Haven chair.
Once Ilse and I got to the orphanage where Diago lives,
my new friend Diago and I adjusted the chair so that it would fit him.
It took a while but under Diego's supervision we got everything together.
Diago loved the way the Chair fit but seemed a little concerned that this chair would be a bit heavy for someone to push.
Next thing I know he started pushing on some buttons on the controller.
Wow !! It looks like we now have a Hope Haven Power Chair !!
Diago will still need a few driving lessons but this project worked out so well that we are considering putting Hope Haven seating systems on a few more of the large power chairs that were sent down to Guatemala so that some of the kids that are waiting for power chairs can have the best of both worlds.
Yours in Christ: Dick
Don't hold you breath for mass production of this new chair but it could give MacGyver a run for the money.
Alex went with me into the City to deliver a few walkers the other day. Not exactly a neighborhood that you want to be in after dark but the families that we visited were very nice to us.
Well that is about it for now.
Please pray for my Boys there is a lot of temptation here in Guatemala.
<>< Yours in Christ: Dick ><>
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Joni and Friends Guatemala Family Retreat
Below is a short video of some of the things that took place during that retreat.
Yours in Christ: Dick
Friday, March 29, 2013
A Very Special Delivery To El Salvador
Last December a few of the workers from Hope Haven Guatemala, a small teem from the States and myself headed to El Salvador to do a wheelchair distribution. While we were there we teemed up with an organization from El Salvador called Fundacion and gave out well over 100 wheelchairs in 3 days. Several of the people that were brought in for wheelchairs were very severe but the young man pictured here had to be one of the most difficult cases that I have ever worked on. As you can see we had to build and almost crescent shape wheelchair for him but I am happy to say when we were done it fit him perfectly. Fact is nearly everyone whet home with a wheelchair that fit them perfectly. There were 3 kids that I worked with that needed something that we had not brought along though, and that was 3 power wheelchairs.
The first day I worked with a 12 year old girl named Gimena. Four years ago Gimena was in a car accident that paralyzed her for life. We were able to put her into a manual wheelchair but Gemena has very limited hand use so there was no way that she could propel it on her own. Gemena told me that she was going to school but even though the school was not far from her home she had to rely on some one to get her there and back home again. She said that she also had to rely on others to get her from class to class. That day I made her a promise that I knew I would have to keep. I told her that I would make sure that we would get her a power wheelchair within 6 months. Getting wheelchairs into El Salvador is not an easy task and I knew that some one would have to come down and fit her even if we could get one shipped to her. But I also know that Gimena was a determined young lady and that a power wheelchair could change this girl's life.
The next day I met a 11 year old boy who had to be one of the saddest people that I have ever run across. He had Muscular Dystrophy and ever since he became to week to walk he seemed to have lost interest in life. Even after we gave him a manual wheelchair he just sat there expressionless. Not having the strength in his arms to move around on his own he showed little interest in this wheelchair. I then asked him if he had ever seen a power wheelchair but got no response. Never the less I went on to explain what a power wheelchair was and how it operated. There was still not much response but I could tell that he was listening to me. The more that I explained the more he listened, and by the end of our rather one sided conversation I had promised Joel that I would see to it that he would also be receiving a power wheelchair within a few months.
When Mom went to thank us, Cessar explained to the family that this chair was a gift from God and that He was to receive all of the praise.
A bit further down the road we saw a sign that said motel. When we drove into the entrance all we saw was what appeared to be a junk yard with a bunch of old trucks in it but sure enough over to one side was a restaurant and hotel. It was nothing to write home about but we were able to walk to our beds and the bathroom had a wall between it and the beds. There was an old swimming pool out back but I think that they used it to drain the oil from the trucks that they worked on. Fact is Cessar refused to swim in it. I hate swimming by myself but it was hot out. Don't worry I showered afterwords. I am not sure where the water for the shower came from though.
The next morning we went to the beach and then headed back to the border. Not too much problem at the border.
Note to self Next time remember that you are suppose to stop and check in at the El Salvador side of the border as well as the Guatemala side.
Rule # 282 Making a U-turn in the middle of a narrow bridge over the river that separates El Salvador and Guatemala can be a real chore.
Rule # 283 Making a U-turn in the middle of the narrow bridge over the river that separates El Salvador and Guatemala is a good idea when told to do so by 5 armed poliece even if it is a real chore.
Wilmer's younger brother Walter seem to have the same thing as Wilmer because he can not walk either. I have a feeling it is something genetic because both boys have the same elongated heads.
A promise is a promise though but we did compromise and settle for a small restaurant that was located in the nearest town which was less than 15 minutes from where they lived. Walter is getting so week that he can no longer hold his head up when he sits and is only comfortable when he is lying on a table with his knees down on a chair. I do not know how long he will live but did promise him that I would do my best to get him a power wheelchair. Walter actually looked like he was a bit healthier than he did when I saw him a year ago. Two years ago Pat and I brought him to a specialist and we were told that there was not much that could be done for him.
After we brought Wilmer, Walter and their mom back home we headed back to where Bryan, Edgar and Oliver lived. They were now at home and were happy to see us. They quickly reminded us that I had promised to take them to Camperos if they had done well in school. At this point I was getting tired enough that I was almost wishing that they had not done well in school so that we could call it a night and head to our motel (Just kidding). Fifteen minutes later the six of us were at Camperos. How three kids plus Cessar and myself ended up being six people I will never understand but that is how many there were and our extra kid seemed to enjoy the pizza as much as the rest of the crew. After bringing the 4 of them home Cessar and I headed to our motel and crashed.
The next morning we headed for home making just one more stop before getting there. We stopped off to see Pat and most of my boys. A good number of the my kids have been spending the past few days with Pat. Normally just Cessar and Fernando live there during the week because they now go to school in Antigua. However this week Pat is making a test run by having three of the people that normally live at Hermano Pedro stay with her and a number of my boys are helping out. Calin and Miguel are actually working for her, but Alex and Esben went to her place a few days ago to do some cleaning and painting and were enjoying them selves so much that they asked if they could stay for a few days. Fernando had gone back to Chimaltenango for a few days but must have heard about how much fun they were all having because he had found his way back to Pat's as well.
When Cessar and I walked into the house the entire crew was baking cookies. I think that this group home is going to be a real success. I asked Pat if she was being over worked but she told me that the boys were helping out so well that she was actually enjoying herself. I did take some of them home with me though and within an hour I once again had about 10 kids in my house. I though about calling her and asking if she wanted a few of them back but for the most part enjoyed seeing them all again.
When I started writing about this week's activities I fully intended on following up by sharing what went on this entire month but can now see that that this has become a novel. I think that I will simply post some pictures and let you fill in most of the words. I will say one thing though. We have really been seeing God at work here in Guatemala. In just two Bethel distributions alone we have seen 40 people come to know the Lord.
Yours in Christ: Dick