* 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)
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Friday, October 24, 2014
Today when I first met Daniel I suggested getting him in to the malnutrition center at Hermano Pedro for a few months but I soon became aware that neither Daniel nor his loving mother would survive even a few days with out each other.
Monday, October 13, 2014
Thursday, October 2, 2014
The Battle with Want
Daryl writes the following.
The Battle With Want
<>< Yours in Christ: Dick ><>
Monday, September 8, 2014
A Last Hurrah
A Last Hurrah Before Leaving—to VISIT the USPat wrote this one.
No, I’m not leaving Guatemala for good. Only to come and see my kids/grandkids/brother/sister and visit with those of you who so graciously support us through your prayers and donations.
But this trip will be different. Dick Rutgers is going to the States this Thursday and will be joining me in Omaha from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1, to help fill you all in on the work God is doing in Guatemala.
(For those of you who like to jump to conclusions, no big announcements are planned—except those that pertain to our common ministry. Sorry to disappoint you romantic hearts among our readers!)
Dick had a few chairs which needed to go to the Escuintla region, and since there are no regular classes at the school this week, I decided to go with so he had an interpreter. I’d not seen these families in quite some time. Since teaching in Santa Maria, I don’t get to travel near as often as I used to, so the timing was perfect.
Our first stop was to see Paty, a 31 year old woman with cerebral palsy who I have known for three years. Paty was laying in a beat up lounge chair when we found her, and Dick fitted her with a therapeutic chair which will recline to help position her properly when she is fed. (Click here to read about our first meeting.)
A few weeks ago, Dick had visited and discovered that the cylinders which allowed the chair to recline had rusted up, not surprising in this area of high heat and humidity. We brought new ones with us today to replace them.
When we arrived, we found Paty in her hammock, where she has spent most of her time since her chair has been out of commission. It sounds pretty comfortable when you first think about it. . .lying in a hammock all day. But imagine that the only thing you can look at for 12+ hours daily is the rusted metal ceiling above you. Not so much fun. . .
Paty, who cannot move much on her own, was so excited to see us that she started bouncing up and down (as much as she could) in the hammock. She has missed her chair greatly.
We faced a few challenges, as one of the new cylinders had frozen up, too. But, with some machine oil the family had on hand to maintain her chair and some great team work on the part of the guys, coupled with a little bit of brute force on Dick’s part, they were able to get the cylinder moving once again.
The smile on her face and in her eyes confirmed for us that this trip had been a good idea. Another month in her hammock would have been a strain on both Paty and her loving family.
We invited Leonel to come with us to help with the other chairs we needed to take care of in Texcuaco, and he jumped at the chance to earn 10 quetzales.
Our next stop was to visit two brothers with Muscular Dystrophy who live in Paty’s community. One is in a powerchair, and the other is using an electric scooter, since he refuses to even consider a chair. His scooter had been in the shop for a couple of weeks, and out of commission for more weeks than that, so Dick wanted to get it to him before leaving for a month.
This young man (whose name I can’t remember for the life of me!) was beyond excited to get his chair back. This is one of the few times Dick has ever seen him smile, and man was he! He took off visiting neighbors as soon as he got in the scooter. He had not really been able to leave his house for many weeks, and was so thrilled to do so.
We left shortly, but not before promising to return in October to bring a new controller for his brother’s chair, since his had been malfunctioning intermittently.
We went on to visit their cousin Yelsin, who had been in a loaner chair for a few weeks, since his chair also had been in the shop. He, too, has Muscular Dystrophy. The mothers of all three of these young men are sister, and, as is so typical with MD, their sons have been affected by the gene they carry for the disease.
Yelsin was happy to keep the loaner chair, and Dick was happy not to have to switch out the batteries in the heat and the humidity, so we left him with the chair he had, and took the other back with us to give to someone else, probably another young man with MD.
We see too many of these cases here in Guatemala, often clustered in families and small communities, and I have to admit it is pretty heartbreaking. The power chairs, however, give them their last bit of mobility as their condition worsens. Though none of these three guys are in school (the school won’t let them go anymore since they can no longer hold a pencil or write), the fact that they can get out of their homes and move about their small community independently means the world to them. This freedom greatly enhances their quality of life for how many more years each of them will live (most boys with MD die before their early 20’s), and the effort it takes to get and maintain these chairs is well worth it.
Our last stop of the day I think was my favorite. While I loved seeing Paty, she was pretty much the same as always.
Marvin, however, was a joy to behold, seeing him active and thoroughly engaged in our conversations! Each time we see him he has made so much progress, with only the “therapy” of the love and attention of his family. They are very special to us.
We met Marvin a about three years ago, when we were giving a chair to a girl in his community, and his mother came and asked if we had one for her son. Crossing the road, we found a family which was literally starving, and a young boy with cerebral palsy. Marvin was so scared of us, Dick could hardly measure him for a chair, and even when we brought one to him a few weeks later, he screamed the whole time we were seating him.
In the intervening years, we have helped find sponsors for the boys to continue their schooling, and Hope for Home Ministries has been providing monthly food baskets which Dick takes down when he visits them.
The health of this very poor family has substantially improved, though we still have some concerns about how skinny the middle son is. We will probably take parasite medications to them again the next time we visit.
Marvin’s Hope Haven chair had been broken, and once again he was confined to sitting on someone’s lap or lying in a hammock. When he saw us coming, Marvin just about jumped out of his mother’s arms with excitement. He knew our presence meant a new wheelchair.
Marvin is no longer afraid of us, now smiling and blowing us kisses. He reaches out to us spontaneously, and is making more and more effort to communicate verbally. He understands everything that is said around him, as evidenced by his strong “yah” when I asked his mom if he could see well enough to do some simple activities. (He has one severely crossed eye. I talked with Dad about the availability of surgery at Hermano Pedro in Antigua which could correct this, and he is considering it.) This little guy has truly become our friend, and we stand amazed at how is is progressing, with only the therapy of a loving family.
His three brothers continue their schooling, though each is struggling in some subject areas. It is amazing, given the poverty in which they live, how important their education is to them and their family.
They would not still be in school, if not for their sponsors. Your donations are making a huge difference, not just in their lives today, but in their futures. In a country where most young men go after whatever jobs are available, these three have goals, and a plan for pursuing them.
Carlos, the eldest, will finish Third Basico next month, and wants to continue his education in agronomy—a very marketable skill in this area which grows sugar cane. José, the middle son, would like to be a mechanic. Antonio, the youngest, just wants to make it through school at this point, but his pretty young yet—only in fifth grade. These are great kids, and they and their family wanted to make sure their sponsors knew how grateful they are for your help.
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Chicos de Chimal
I am in the States for a month but Pat has been doing a lot of journaling. Here is one of her recent posts. DickPat writes the following.
A lot has been going on with the kids up in Chimaltenango who have made Dick's home their second home. I don't get to see them all that often, but they hold a special place in my heart. I have had a chance to watch a couple of the games which the team Cesar is coaching has played, and have to admit I love watching Elder especially. He's always held his own playing with the big guys and shines now that he's on a team with younger kids.
School this year has been difficult for a lot of the guys. Looking at their textbooks, I can understand why, especially in math and science. What they are studying is more complicated than what I can understand or help them with, but they are plugging away for the most part.
Tony has accepted a job working at an orphanage in Parramos, so we are having a few staff adjustments. Marcos and Ebner David are filling in on weekends, and are a great help.
He is really coming into his own. He is completing his career education in teaching PE, and will be, God willing, going on to the University in January. He will be the first of "our" kids to do so. I admire his determination and his commitment to his education. School is not easy for him, but he makes up for it in diligence and hard work.
Just yesterday he completed one of his final requirements for promotion, and it was a tough one. To pass his swimming requirement, he had to swim across Lake Atitlan! Swimming is not his strong suit, and both Dick and I were very concerned that he would not be able to make it the whole way. We were more concerned that he would push himself too far, and would have problems before one of the kayaks accompanying the swimmers could get to him. We've been doing a lot of praying about this one.
I am happy to say that we worried for nothing. While I'm sure it was very hard for him, he succeeded without incident. He's really proud of this accomplishment, and we are too. What I am most proud of, however, is his conviction of where he received the power to do this. He posted on his facebook page:
I thank God for giving me this experience and the ability to do what I set out to do. Thank God for giving me the opportunity to cross the lake. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!"