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

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

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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, August 17, 2007

Journal August 8-17

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

This morning we took the team that is here to see the school that Judy Kushner and Amy Deyong have in Santa Maria Dejesus. The entire group was impressed with the school and how it is run. The kids there all seem so happy. Judy and Amy credit that to the fact that their entire school is Christ centered. Today it was once again a difficult transition going from there to Antigua where we found that even though it was a little before 11 AM most of the younger kids had already been put back in bed for the day.

We at least eliminated that problem for 8 of the kids by taking them out to lunch but could not help think about those who would not be taken back out of their beds until tomorrow morning. I am not sure that we set the best examples for the kids that we took to lunch but they sure had a great time. They don’t often get treated like kids but totally enjoy it when we clown around with them. Edgar one of the older boys could not stop laughing when we acted like we were going to throw him into the fountain in the park and also got a big kick out of it when I removed the detachable wheels from his wheelchair and acted like I was going to leave him stranded in the park. Everything went quite smoothly at Camperos. Estardo, one of the boys who usually enjoys getting out seemed to be exceptionally sleepy and we never did manage to keep him awake long enough to feed him any lunch. I have my suspicions that they have him heavily medicated and intend to find out why. So many of the kids seem to be overly medicated and I don’t understand why. We also discovered that it is not a good idea to give Minor ice-cream especially after feeding him a big meal. This being the second time in a row we now know that his first bite of ice cream sets of a vomit reaction. He is such a sweet kid though He just sat there and smiled as we cleaned him and ourselves up and then asked for more food. After returning the kids to the orphanage the team went shopping. Fortunately they had enough transportation available that I was able to go home.

I am several days behind on getting my journal out and figured that this afternoon would be a great time to work on it. I guess that I figured wrong though because my door bell and my phone have not stopped ringing since I got home. I guess that I should have known better. Last night I told the kids that we were going to have a big pizza feed here tonight and even though I told them that it was going to be at 6:30 several of them started checking at around 3:00. Chris and the group from the USA are bringing 12 pizzas and 2 buckets of chicken. I hope that will be enough.

9:45 PM

We made it. No broken windows, (deflated the soccer ball), No coke spilled on my floor, (served the drinks out side), No fights, (Threatened the kids), No Band-Aids,(ran out last night), and everyone got plenty of pizza and chicken (served Calin last). Old age brings wisdom. I won’t say what it does to the memory though. We didn’t take a head count but I have little doubt that there were 35 to 40 people here tonight. Even though no drinks were spilled Kimberly will have her work cut out for her when she sweeps my house out in the morning.

Well even though I got out of making dinner tonight I think a bit of sleep is in order so I will once again say goodnight.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Thursday, August 9, 2007, 6:44 PM

This morning the 11 people that have been here from the States for the past week went home. I took Mark Richard and Joseph to the airport since their flight was 2 hours earlier than the other 9. Chris took the others in a few hours later. Since we had to leave at 8:00 AM we knew that the traffic into Guatemala City would be awful. Thanks to my GPS and a few back roads that my friend Mario has shown me I took some back roads in to the city. Most of them are not on any maps but they only took an hour and a half to get into the city. Granted on a good day a person can make it in under an hour but judging by the construction going on and the traffic that was coming into the city when I was on my way out I think that we cut off a good hour.

I got back home by about 11:00 AM and have not set foot out of the house all day. I take that back. I went out side to see what happened when I heard a loud shriek and then a thud on my roof. Another cat got too close to the electric razor wire that surrounds the place next to mine. The person the rents the place has told me that there is no electricity hooked up to the razor wire but judging by the cats that have made contact with it I don’t believe it. Talking about loud noises and lighting up the sky. One of the near by volcanoes put on a great fire works display last night. I slept through it but on their way from my house to the motel Chris and the group that was here saw it. In fact Chris drove a few of them to the south side of Antigua where they got a closer look at it. Chris told me that it was spewing out Lava and shooting boulders hundreds of feet into the air. It was cloudy this morning so I am not sure what it is doing now. I have not heard weather or not they had to evacuate any nearby towns or villages.

Today I finally got my journal sent out and my web page up to date. Yesterday’s and today’s journal will be sent out in a few days because I figured that 10 days worth of reading would be more than enough to put any one to sleep. At least I am finally caught up and Today’s journal is being written today.

The kids are pounding at the gate and another cat just imagined that he was electrocuted so I guess I will go out and see if this was life number nine or if he is still alive.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Friday, August 10, 2007

Today I once again went to Hermano Pedro where I met with Lori and Robby Wheeler. They have been here in Guatemala for several week adopting a little boy. A few weeks ago they joined me and we took some of the kids from Hermano Pedro out for lunch. Today we did a repeat. The kids that we took today were 4 that are more severe who can only drink from bottles.

Never the less Melvin (27) Luis Andrais (7) and Jo Jo (5) all had a wonderful time. Lunch took a long time since these 3 can only take in a few drops of food at a time. Even though Melvin can not talk and can only lye flat on his back with his legs permanently crossed and sticking out in opposite directions he seems to be what the teens refer to as a chick magnet. He loves smiling at all of the women who walk by and most of them respond by returning the smile and patting him on the head. I guess that I will have to give his technique a try.

On our way home I met Karla Hendricks and her boyfriend who are here from the Lynden area. They came along with Lori and Robby and myself to Hermano Pedro and later the 5 of us went to the HIV orphanage that is near Chemaltenango. I had to finish adjusting Ingrid’s wheelchair, and this gave us a good excuse to visit the orphanage. All of the workers at the HIV orphanage seem to be upbeat and happy. All of the kids are happy as well. With in minutes we all had at least 2 or 3 kids hanging on to us. I asked Lori and Robby that since they are adopting 1 child why not take a half dozen home with them? By the way they were responding to the kids that were hanging on to them I have little doubt that they will one day be back for more. After visiting the HIV orphanage I took them to see my place and then to see the wheelchair shop. Calin mysteriously managed to join us and he and I stopped off for supper after returning our group to Antigua. I knew that the kids at home would be hungry so we also stopped off and stocked up on groceries.

Tonight there were 9 kids at the supper table. 10 if you count Calin who even though he had eaten an hour earlier was once again hungry.

Well that’s about it for now so as soon as I make a place on the floor for Abner and Fernando to sleep I am going to head off to bed.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Saturday, August 11, 2007, 11:30 PM

A few people wrote me to say that taking 9 kids swimming was not exactly what they would consider taking a day off. I thought it over and they were right so today I really took a day off. Instead of going swimming I went to the water slides, and I didn’t take 9 kids along, this time I only took 6 kids.

Actually there were suppose to be 7 but Danial who’s birthday we were celebrating was unable to come along. We had a great party for him though, and had he been able to attend I am sure that he would have enjoyed it. It is Alex’s birthday next week so I promised Daniel that I will include him in what ever we do for Alex’s birthday. We may have to use him as a substitute for Alex anyway because he got into some trouble this evening and I am not sure that he will be allowed to his own birthdayparty next Saturday.

The water slides are located just over an hours drive from here. Since they are near the coast and we live at 6000 feet the weather is usually about 20 degrees warmer there. Today it was not as hot as usual but I would guess that it still got up near 90. This was a first time experience for all but 2 of the kids and they had a great time. It is a very nice place and they only charge 20 Q ($2.65) per kid. I don’t know how they stay in operation. Even though it was the week end there were very few people there. Even though I had 6 kids with me it still seemed like a restful day.

The only stressfull part was at the end of the day when I tried to gather up 6 kids that had no desire to leave. I know that they got their exercise though because we were not 5 minutes down the road before all 6 of them were fast asleep.

It is nearly midnight and talking about fast asleep gives me a great Idea. I am especially looking forward to bed tonight because when I got home this evening I went to the Maxi store and bought a new mattress. My old one was warn out. This one should hopefully last longer because I told the kids that any of them that I catch using it for a trampoline is likely to have a shortened life span. Don’t worry though my bark is far worse than my bite.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Sunday, August 12, 2007, 11:00 PM

I had 5 kids for breakfast this morning but only 3 of them made it along to church with me. Lady stayed behind so that she could go to church with her grandmother and I accidentally forgot to take Daniel. Actually I didn’t realize that he was coming along. He is a very quiet boy and after breakfast when he headed out of the door without saying a word I figured that he was not coming along to church today. It was not until we were nearly in Antigua that we received a phone call from him asking why we had left without him. He said that he had only left to get some clean clothing and when he got back to my house we were gone. Poor kid, yesterday he misses his own birthday party and today he misses church. We are going to try and celebrate his birthday along with Alex’s this week end though. The 3 new kids that had been coming over on a daily bases have not been around in nearly a week. I have heard by the grapevine that they are no longer allowed to come over because their parents don’t want them walking home after dark. I am not sure that is the reason but have to be careful in a culture that still thinks that Americans are here to kidnap their children. Rudy, a yong man who sometimes comes along to church has a grandmother and 2 sisters who are living in the USA visiting here for a few weeks. The 4 of them along with Rudy’s mother followed us to church in Rudy’s car. After church I took them all to the orphanage for about an hour. They kept asking me why most of the kids were in bed. I told them that I have been asking that same question for nearly 7 years now but still don’t know the answer.

After we got home all of the kids wanted paying jobs. They had so much fun at the waterslides yesterday that they have been begging me to take Daniel and Alex there to calibrate their birthdays. I reminded them that yesterdays outing was in celibration of Dandles birthday. They said that the knew that but they thought that perhaps Daniel would enjoy it more if he could come along. Anyway I half way would consider it providing all except the 2 birthday people pay their own way into the water slides. The bottoms line is the kids will pay but the only way that they can get the money is for me to pay them to do some work.

Tonight I have the cleanest floors, dishes, and car in the neighborhood and the kids are about a quarter of the way into having enough money to go to the water slides. None of them have asked for any of their money so that they can buy food either. That adds up to them being extra hungry at meal time so what ever money I save in not having to pay their way into the waterslides will be eaten up in groceries.

Calin is bunked down for the night. Before falling off to sleep he told me that things are not going at all well at home. His step dad and his mother are doing a lot of fighting. I guess that he has not been able to pay any rent ever since he got kicked off from the police force and is now threatening to move back to the town where his parents live. Calin is hoping that he does but if this happens his mom will have to find somewhere to live as well. She is talking of renting a room in Guatemala city and finding work there. If she does only Calin’s sister Lady go with her. This means that Daniel and Calin will have to go and live with their grandmother. She is a good lady but does not have much room left in her house because one of her kids are already living with her. Calin has asked if he can live with me but I told him that since I was gone from home so much it would be better if he lived with his grandmother and perhaps stay here from time to time. That of course sums up to him being here 90% of the time. Oh well that isn’t much different than the 93% that it has always been.

Well it is nearly mid night so I am going ot head off to bed. By the way that new mattress is wonderful.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Monday, August 13, 2007, 9:51 PM

I have great news. Nanette, our teacher at Hermano Pedro has agreed to work a few more hours each day.

This means that Roberto (Bobby) and Minor are now in school and getting some one on one time with the teacher. As they progress they can perhaps join the morning class that Nanette is teaching to Moyses, Sonia, Byron, Fidel, and Carlos. For the time being though Nanette will mainly be working with them one on one. Even though Minor has been in Hermano Pedro less than 2 months he is picking up a lot of Spanish. I am confident that now that he is in school he will excel rapidly. We are not going to put his younger brother Elmer in school right now but he is certainly a future candidate.

Most of my morning was spent at the shop fixing a cantankerous power wheelchair that some one had brought in for repair. I finally managed to make it to Hermano Pedro but it was to late to take any of the kids to lunch. Moyses whom I had promised to take along to church yesterday was particularly upset. Yesterday after church I stopped in at the orphanage to explain to him that I had been unable to pick him up for church because I had not gotten the proper paper work done on Friday and there is no way to do it on Sunday. I told him though that I would make it up to him by taking him out to lunch today. That was before I knew about the cantankerous power wheelchair at the shop. They say that the third time is a charm but not today. After doing some needed repairs on a few of the chairs I got special permission to take him and Byron out to supper. The rules are that the kids can not be taken out of the orphanage after 4 PM but after being there as long as I have they are willing to bend a few of the rules. During this time of year there is another rule that I forgot about though. Even if the sun is shining at 3:30 pm chances are there will be a thunder storm by 4:00. That rule didn’t bend by even a second. Moises and Byron both felt badly but seemed to understand that I was not responsible for this one. It looks like tomorrow we will give it try # 4.

Only 5 kids at my house tonight. I think that the rain had a lot to do with it.

That won’t cut down on my grocery bill though because it only means that the kids will be twice as hungry tomorrow.

Well everyone is gone so I am going to take advantage of it while I can. I think that instead of going to bed I may stay up for an hour or so and enjoy the quiet.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Tuesday, August 14, 2007, 9:36 PM

This morning started out a bit rough and then slowly spiraled down hill from there. I stayed home and got caught up on some book work. Every now and then it is good to look at your bank statements. Funny thing I don’t feel that much more feeble after turning 60 last January, but according to my health insurance I am twice as likely to get sick or to need an operation. Any way that is how I think they must figure it otherwise I don’t know why they doubbled my rates. I called them to complain but they told me that I was getting a good deal. I guess that explains why my coo pay when and if I ever go to a doctor in the USA is higher than open hart surgery here in Guatemala. I wanted to tell the insurance gent that I was getting a bit upset but figured that if I did she would classify me as a likely stroke victim and double my premium again. I calmly said goody then went out side and kick a few rocks.

My next adventure of the day was trying to buy a camera over the internet. This process took me longer than it would have takeen to walk to Guatemala City and buy one there.

Next I dealt with a few issues concerning my web page. After eating a little humble pie I headed of to the orphanage.

Ever since Sunday I had promised Moises and Byron that I would take them out to lunch. Even though it was a bit past 12 when I reached Hermano Pedro I quickly went in and signed the 2 of them out. Fortunately there was a man and his son volunteering there and they offered to come along with us. Wouldn’t you know it when it rains it pours. Anyway that is exactly what happened the second we set foot outside of the building. Fortunately my car was parked across the street so we loaded the 2 kids into it and the 5 off us headed of to Piccadilly’s for some food. We managed to get into the restaurant with out getting soaked. Unfortunately I did not stay that way for long. Byron has C P and his arms occasionally go a bit out of control. I had thought about asking the waitress to put his orange pop into a paper cup that had a lid but he seemed happy with the tall glass one that she gave him. Remember that law about any spilled liquid gravitating towards the larges object. Well, I was, and it did. Fortunately only a little was spilled onto the floor. My clothing absorbed the rest. I couldn’t wait until I could get back out into the rain and get washed off.

When we got back to the orphanage I met with Jessica to look at a few of the new kids that need wheelchairs. Our firs stop was at the bed of Jennifer a 5 year old girl who’s body is twisted backwards to the point that she forms a half circle. I carefully lifted her out of her bed and held her. Suddenly all of my little problems seem to be exactly that, Little problems. This precious little girl has to be in excruciating pain but she still managed to look at me and give me a smile. She was grateful to simply be held. She didn’t even seem to mind the sticky orange pop that I had all over me. You know what? Neither did I. It’s funny how wrapped up we can get in our own little world and how much we can dwell on what we think are catastrophes in our life. Often times we get so involve in what we think is important that we seem to forget that it isn’t all about us and some of the things that we are going through are nothing compared to what some of our brothers and sisters must endure. Tomorrow I am going to try to make some kind of a cradle that will help hold Jennifer in a more comfortable position. It will be good for her but it will also be good for me because when I am doing something for these kids any little problems that I may have seem to disappear.

Today was a wonderful day.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Wednesday, August 15, 2007, 9:47 PM

My intended 15 minute stop at the shop was extended for a few hours because a man and his wife brought their daughter who had outgrown her wheelchair into the shop. At first I was going to give her a different wheelchair but since the family lives in Chimaltenango and the chair could be resized to her size I decided to grow it to the maximum and have them return when she once again outgrows it. We are receiving so many applications for wheelchairs that we have to be careful on giving out new ones if we can keep the person comfortable in what they have.

Next I headed to Camperos in Antigua. The waitresses who are used to seeing me with all kinds of kids kept coming up to me and asking me where the kids were. I explained to them that there were 11 people coming so we would need to pull some tables together but also told them that none of them would bee in wheelchairs. They quickly put a few tables in a row but no matter how many times I repeated that there would be 12 of us they kept pointing to the 6 chairs that were set up and asking me why I needed more. I guess after 7 years they had it in their minds that when ever they see me half the people that are with me are in wheelchairs. Hanna, Saul, and a group from the states showed up a few minutes later and the waitresses quickly scurried to get more chairs. After having lunch together we all headed to the orphanage. Hanna and Saul were the only ones other than myself who had ever been in an orphanage so I gave the group the grand tour. To say the least the were a bit taken back. When we went into the rooms where the kids were it was a bit to much for some of the members of the group. I had told them in advance that if they could not handle it they could walk out for a bit. A few of them had to do just that. Soon even those who had to leave the room returned and in no time nearly everyone was holding or playing with one of the kids. Even though we had gotten into Antigua to late to take the kids out to lunch we considered taking a few of them out to the park but the sky looked threatening so we decided to stay at the orphanages and play there with the kids. In the next few hours a lot of friends were made. And by the time that we had to leave no one wanted to say good bye. Some of the teens that had come to the orphanage were really stretching their comfort zones in doing so. I think that after only a few hours all of them were wishing that they could come back and spend more time with the kids.

I walked from the orphanage to my car feeling great. Not only did the kids enjoy someone taking them from their beds and playing with them for most of the afternoon but those that came to visit left the orphanage with memories that hopefully will last a life time. As I was backing out of my parking spot I heard a loud thud. I had seen nothing behind my car when I got into it. I had also checked my rearview mirror before backing up. Unfortunately the spare tire on the back of my land cruiser was a few inches higher than the motor scooter that was parked about 2 inches from the back of my car. The owners of the motor scooter came out of the store just as I was picking up the motor scooter. I had hit it just enough to lay it over on it’s side. Now I use to do a lot of bike riding and even laid a few of them on their sides but back then they were not made out of plastic. $130 worth of plastic to be exact. Oh well at least no one was hurt and the people that owned the motor scooter stayed very calm. Fortunately the lady that worked at the store that they were in knew English and offered to rid along with us to a nearby motor cycle shop to get an estimate. A half hour later we all shook hands and I was heading for home. I had intended on stopping of for supper before getting home but didn’t have enough money left in my wallet.

When I got home there were only 2 kids there. I suggested that we walk to camperos and get their special. Two pieces of pizza and a coke for about a buck 30 isn’t to bad even multiplied by 3 it is under $4. Cheaper yet if you compare it to a $130 piece of plastic. Only problem was by the time the pizza was ordered there were 7 of us not 3, and by the time we left Camperos there were 9. I told the 2 late comers that I would feed them at home. When I got to my house I told the 3 that were waiting out side of the gate that I would feed them as well. By the time dinner was served there were 6. Add to that 3 of the 6 that had eaten pizza told me that they were still hungry and you end up with ….. Now even though I could never spell I could do algebra in my head but this was getting mind boggling. The 3 new kids that started coming to my house a few weeks ago had even managed to join the group before, during, or after the pizza. I had not seen them an about a week. I had been told by a few of my regulars that they were no longer allowed to come over but no one knew exactly why. Tonight I found out why. A few of my kids were getting worried that if to many kids started coming to eat I would put a stop to it and they didn’t want that to happen, so they had told the new ones that I did not want them in my house any more. I had a good talk with the kids that had told them this and asked them how they would have felt if someone told them this. They apologized and even fessed up to telling Jason who suddenly stopped coming along to church the same thing. Tomorrow the are going over to where Jason lives and telling him the truth. Once the 3 new kids heard that they are always welcome here, all 3 came and gave me a big hug.

Calin called me aside tonight and told me that his step dad has moved out. I asked him if he thought that was a good thing or a bad thing. He told me that even though they had to move out of the house that they were living in he considered it a good thing. For now they are staying with his grandmother.

Well it is 11:00 and bed looks pretty inviting so I am once again going to say goodnight.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Thursday, August 16, 2007, 9:10:17 PM

I got home at about 7:30 PM and was greeted by a bunch of happy kids. A half hour later several of them began arguing about things. At 8:02 I told them that if they wanted to stay here they would have to stop arguing. At 8:09 they started up again. For the past hour things have been extremely peaceful. That may have something to do with the fact that I told them to leave and not to come back any more tonight. I miss them. Sometimes it is tough to be tough.

At least the rest of the day went a bit better. Surprise, there was no school today and there is not going to be any tomorrow. Why? Good question. It was Fernando’s turn to come along today. First we went to the shop and picked out some of our best used batteries.

Our battery supply is running low but Ronny had once again called saying that he could not use his power chair to get to school because of bad batteries. After leaving the shop Fernando and I headed to Antigua and picked up Carlos. We then drove to where Ronny lives.

Ronny and his family were glad to see us. We stayed and visited for several hours. They are getting very excited about the house that the team from Washington State is planning on building for them in February. I had some more good news for them. We have 2 smaller prefab homes in our shop that are perfect for one or 2 people to live in and we have decided to give one of them to Ronny’s grandmother and an uncle that lives with her. As we were walking to the tin and black plastic shack that she lives in Ronnie’s dad confided in us that this otherwise sweet lady had come to the conclusion we were not for real and were never going to come and build a house for Ronny and his family. He warned us that she may not be too friendly to us today and doubted that she would ever believe us if we told her that we were going to give her a house. We soon found out that this man knew his mother well. In fact when we told her of our plans to give her a house she snapped at us saying that she did not want a house from us. She told us that at 80 years old she had learned that no one give some one something for nothing. Carlos looked at me and said lets get out of here. I was not about to leave. For the next half hour I explained that we were Christians and wanted her to have this house just to help express God’s love to her. It took some talking to convince her that there were no strings attached and that we were for real. I am not yet 100% convinced that she still believes us but at least she gained enough hope to finally say that she wanted it. I gave her a hug as we left and promised that in just over 2 weeks we will be back with some friends from Florida who are supplying and setting up the house. Much like Tomas this lady won’t fully believe until she sees. We can only pray that she not only sees a house but the love of Christ shine through when she meats those that came so far to give it to her.

Well it is nearly 10 Pm. I must have really sounded stern when I sent the kids home because not one of them has been back since I told them to leave. I hope that this is not quite as hard on them as it is on me.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Friday, August 17, 2007, 2:38 PM.

Calin was at my gate before 7 AM. I had told him that we needed help at the wheelchair distribution that we were having in Chimaltenango today. The group of 16 students that are here from the USA joined us in what turned out to be a wonderful distribution, (but then aren’t they all?)

We had a lot of kid to seat today but we also had a lot of people, both trained and willing to be trained, that helped with the wheelchair seating. Half of the group from the USA had been with me at Hermano Pedro last Wednesday so they were old hands at working with handicapped kids. The half that have not yet been to Hermano Pedro adapted quickly and all went well.

We had a service before the actual distribution and the students shared the love of Christ with the people that had come in for wheelchairs by both talking and praying with them and also by doing some pantomime type dramas that went over very well.

I had arrived a bit early so that I could get a chance to look over those that came in for wheelchairs. I like doing this because this gives me the opertunity to see if there are any people that will take most of the day to fit due to any severe conditions they may have.

Today one girl of about 12 particularly caught my eye. Something drew me immediately to her. The right side of her face had a large scare on it. Due to the long sleeve shirt that she had on it was not until I sat down next to her that I realized that she was missing one of her arms. I also noticed that her left leg was missing from just below the knee. It was not until the people that were with her removed the blanket that was on her lap that I realized that her right leg was completely gone. I looked into her eyes and saw some one that had been through a lot but still had a glimmer of hope. She returned my smile and gave me a big hug when I asked her if she wanted a wheelchair. What a silly question. Of cores she wanted a wheelchair. The people that were with her explained that when she was an infant the small house that her and her family lived in caught fire. An older brother heroically rescued another child and then went back in to rescue her. She ended up loosing all except her left arm but was at least alive. Calin and I headed over to the shop to see if we had any one arm drive wheelchairs but found nothing. “What a bout a power wheelchair?” I thought to myself. We returned to the church next door to ask some more questions. I called Donna over and filled her in on the story. We did not want to get this little girls hopes up by mentioning anything about a powered wheelchair until we know for certain that one would work for her. Did she live in an area that was some what level? Did she have electricity? Did she have good use of her remaining hand? The people that had brought her in were very patient in answering those and what must have seemed like a thousand other questions. Donna and I smiled at each other. This girl who lived on level ground in Guatemala city and was daily being carried 4 blocks each way so that she could go to school was a defiant canidate. It was now time for silly question # 2. Answer = Of coarse she would like a power chair. Five minutes later Calin was driving a power chair that we had picked out in the shop over to the church next door.

20 minutes later a little girl who had spent a good part of that 20 minutes giving me hugs and kisses was driving her new power wheelchair all around the church.

Not only did we get the opertunity to give her the first opertunity of her life to move around on her own but while we were working we were able to share with her and her family about the love of Jesus. Was it a good day today? Yes! Even if my house burns down by this evening it was a perfect day.

Even though it is only 3:20 PM I am going to wrap up on my journal for today. I want to see if I can get it sent out yet today but must spell check everything. Contrary to popular belief I have spell check on my computer but due to over load by having to correct every other word I think it just gives up on trying to figure some of them out. Any way I hope you get the drift on what is going on down here. God is very much alive and we are seeing Him do great things.

Yours in Christ: Dick


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