* 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)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Journal November 12-19

Monday, November 12, 2007

Today was our first day of camp. I took 2 of the volunteers and Calin along with me to pick up the 7 teens who were coming from Hermano Pedro. By lunch time there were only 35 campers. That is only half as many as we had last year. One bus load of campers soon changed the numbers to 65. Donya Marie the lady that we work with in Mazatenango had contacted everyone who was come from that area and others along the way and they had rented a buss to bring the entire group down. Since they all chipped in it didn’t cost anyone much money to get here. I think that a few more campers showed up after that so we have to be approaching the 70 mark.

I did not get to spend much time at camp because a family brought a little girl in who needed a wheelchair. Calin and I took them to the wheelchair shop and did the fitting there. Did manage to make it back to camp for supper and helped feed some of the Hermano Pedro Campers. This year we hired one of the workers form Hermano Pedro to come in each night and help our volunteers with getting the teens ready for bed and up again in the morning.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 10:21 PM

Another busy day. After getting last weeks journal ready and sent out Abner, Calin, and I headed down to camp. I had planed on heading to the coast this afternoon to pick up the lady that has a broken Femur and taking her to Hermano Pedro. While at camp I saw that David’s mother who lives only a half hour out of the way from where I was heading. She had come to pick up some medicine and other supplies for David. Since getting to camp requires a truck ride followed by 3 buss rides, David had decided not to come to camp this year. Since David’s other’s ride home required the same I asked her if we could bring her home. Not only was she delighted but so were the 2 volunteers who had asked to come along. They had never been in any of the Aldes and were eager to see more country. When we got to David’s house I looked at his bed sore and after 4 years it appears to be nearly healed. I still worry about it though because he stil runs an occasional fever and has some soreness. He is once again taking some antibiotics to help ward off any infection but unfortunately he had been on so many antibiotics during the past few years that he as built up an imunity to them.

After visiting there we stopped off at the home of Jovone’s parents. His mother was looking very sad and told us that the entire family is still having a hard time dealing with Jovone’s death. We visited a while and I promised that I would be back when I had more time.

Our next stop was at Ronny’s house. Ronny’s father was out working in the sugar cane fields but the rest of his family was at home. The have a new well dug on the property where their house is going to be built at and seem extremely happy that they will soon be getting a new home.

Next we went to the home of the lady that broke her femur a few months ago. At firs her husband and daughter wanted to accompany her to the hospital but we convinced her husband to stay home and her granddaughter came along in his place. I am sure that he is a nice man when he is sober but today he was not sober. It was nearly 7 pm bythe time we got into Antigua but the paper work went smoothly and it was not long before we had her and her grandaughters registered into a Casa Defay. That is where they wil be spending the night.

Am planning on bringing them to se a doctor at Hermano Pedro at 6:30 am. Since there are no appointments and it is first come first serve I want to be standing in line a half hour before they open up.

I guess I beer call it a day.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

This morning I left home at 6 am so that I could pick up Anglia the lady that has the broken femur from where she was staying in Antigua and get Her into Hermano Pedro before the lines got to long. Even though we got there at around 6:30 there were still plenty of people ahead of us in line. By the time the doors opened at 7 am there must have been 100 people waiting to see one of the doctors.

I stayed around until we got her registered but since her daughter had come along to help I left once we were sure that she would be seen by a doctor today.

My next stop was at the wheelchair shop where picked up a power wheelchair for Sergio. He is the boy that lives in Sequential who is going to be going to a school that is about a mile from his home. I am hoping that the power chair that I set up for him will be able to climb the steep holes that he has to go up to get from his house to school. Both he and his mother who has accompanied him to camp were thrilled with the power wheelchair. A lot of our other campers looked a bit envious but we explained to them that the power wheelchairs chairs can only be given out to someone who has little or no hand use.

Shortly before noon I received a phone call saying that Angla was ready to go home. Hank, (one of the volunteers who came from Canada to help out at camp) and Fernando rode along with me to bring this lady and her daughter back to their home. When we got to Hermano Pedro to pick them up Angela looked tired but had a big smile on her face. She was excited because it looks like she will soon be able to walk again. Our suspensions had been confirmed. The plate that the doctors at the national hospital had put into her leg 6 months ago had had broken in 2. Actually the x-rays reveled that on the day of her surgery the hospital must have been short on steal plate. In stead of using one 12 inch solid plate the had taken 2 shorter ones, over lapped them by about an inch and tried to screw them together with 2 small screws. Then they screwed the 2 plates to her femur with about 8 larger bolts. Needless to say the 2 smaller bolts that sandwiched the 2 plates together snapped. On December 7, 3 days before the hospital virtually shuts down until mid January a team of American specialists will remove the old plates and put in a new one. Anglia is delighted and so are we. When we brought her and her daughter home the rest of her family was so grateful that they tried to repay us the only that they could and that was by giving us coconuts. It was hard to convince them not to fill the entire back of the van up with coconuts but we finally convinced them that 20 coconuts were more then enough.

Before heading home we stopped off at Ronny’s house we had been told that he was not going to be able to come to camp because his family did not have the money for buss fair for him and his grandmother to come to camp. We also brought in some groceries because they were out of everything and it would still be a week before Ronny’s father would receive any pay for working in the sugar cane fields.

We made it back to Chemaltenango just before supper time so I at least got to eat with the campers. I have not had a chance to spend much time at camp this week but plan on going on an all day outing with them tomorrow.

Once again the close muscles on my eye lids are overpowering the open muscles so I will say goodnight.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Thursday, November 15, 2007

After loading up 3 busses and one van with campers we headed of to Lake Autilan. Even though this is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world most of our camper had never had the chance to see it yet alone to take a boat ride on it. The price of renting the boat for the 4 hour trip came to just a little over $1 per person. How they can make any money on running a boat that is large enough to hold over 150 people for just over $200 is beyond me but we didn’t complain. It was a pleasant day.

I know that these journals are short but my with camp going on my free time is even shorter.


Friday, November 16, 2007
Camp ended all to soon for most of us. Even though we had fewer volunteers than usual this year things went extremely smooth. We even managed to get the orphanage kids home today with no tears. Well at least there were none from the campers. Some of the volunteers did not practice what they preached. Linda will try to do better next year. So will I. Maria, her grandmother, and 2 cousins were the last ones to leave camp. Since three of the volunteers who been coming to camp for several years now have never been out to a village I had tried to work things out so that we could take Maria and her family home. I am not sure how much opportunity New Yorkers get to ride down dirt roads in the back of a pick up truck but today a few of them did. So did Maria and her family, but to them this was far from a new experience. We had a great time at Maria’s house and Maria’s family mad sure that nearly every picture that we took was taken in front of their new bathroom. Even though those who rode back home in the back of the truck nearly froze to death all three said that visiting this aldea was the highlight of their trip.

Saturday, November 17, 2007, 10:37 PM

This one is also going to be quite short because I have to get up at 4 am to take someone to the airport. I picked up a new group this morning and Bill Vandyken and I were on our way to pick up another group this evening when the Kea van overheated. I quickly phoned Chris who was on his way to bed because he had to get up at 4 am to bring Bill’s daughter to the plane. Chris quickly went and picked up tonight’s group. About an hour ago I gave Chris a call telling him that I had taken care of the overheating problem so I will do the early morning run tomorrow. If you think that this is confusing to you then you ought to imagine how we feel. I have little doubt that before camp is over we will one day find that we have both driven to the airport to pick up the same person. Or worse yet both stay home think that the other one had gone to pick someone up. I mentioned a few days ago that during the 3 weeks of camp we will have to do 13 round trips to and from Guatemala City to either pick up people from the airport or bring them back to the airport. What I failed to mentioned is that 6 round trips will be taken to get Guatemalan volunteers who live in the city and 2 trip for campers from the orphanage in Guatemala city. That is 21 round trips to and from the city in a 2 week span. It has been a long and rather confusing day. I am hoping a few hours of sleep will help relieve some of that confusion.

Oh ya some where it the middle of all of this we managed to get to Antigua and take 7 of the kids from the orphanage out to lunch. I would normally go back and insert this in the right spot but at this point I have no Idea just where in the last paragraph it belongs. Besides that trying to figure it out would rob me of minutes of precious sleep.


Yours in Christ: Dick

Sunday, November 18, 2007, 8:56 AM

You may think that this is a strange time for me to be writing but as busy as it has been lately I find that I have to use any spare minute that I have to write in my journal or it won’t get done. Bill and Chris made to the airport in time to pick up last nights arriving group. Chris was able to sleep in this morning while I took Bill’s daughter to the airport. Bill is the one that didn’t get much sleep though. He not only rode along with Chris to pick up the 3 volunteers that he had personally promised to meet at the airport but came along to see his daughter off at 4:30 am. Guess who is preaching at Chris’s church this morning. Bill is afraid that he may be the first preacher to ever fall asleep during his own sermon.

Well I better close for now. I have to get ready to take a group of people to the airport.

7:47 PM

After making a second trip to the airport this morning I think that I can get there and back with my eyes closed. Thankfully we don’t have any trips scheduled for a few days so I may get a chance to rest.

After the entire group met for lunch at 56 I took a van load of people to Antigua. We spent a good part of the afternoon at the orphanage. This was the first time in Hermano Pedro for some of our group and I could that they were quite nervous at first but it did not take long before they warmed up to the kids. For others of our group it had been a year but it did not take long before old friendships were reestablished. Most of the members of our group had intended on only staying at the orphanage for a short time and then going shopping in Antigua however they found the kids to be more appealing than buying gifts and souvenirs, so by when we finally left the orphanage they only a short time to shop.

Tomorrow will be the first day of kids camp so even though it is early I am going to head of to bed and catch ahead of time on the sleep that I am going to loose this coming week. We have gotten the OK for all of the kids to go except for Moises. We had to tell him yesterday that we have done everything possible to contact and receive permission from his family for him to go to camp but so far we have heard nothing. This week Nearly all of the kids in the orphanage that have families are going home for Christmas break. That is why we need to notify the parents of those coming to camp to pick their children up a week later than usual. If we do not here from Moises’ parents by tomorrow morning it is doubtful that he will be allowed to attend camp. We are all praying for a miricle because we know how devistaded he will be if he can not come to camp.

Yours in Christ; Dick

Monday, November 19, 2007, 3:36 PM

Camp is under way and everyone is settling in. I plan on spending most of my time there this week but managed to sleek away for a few hours to see if I could possibly get this journal out.

This morning Calin, 3 of the USA volunteers, and myself went to Hermano Pedro orphanage. Shortly after I arrived I talked to Jessica. Her and I decided to go in and talk to Social work about the possibility fo taking Moises to cam with out hearing form his parents. We were first going to ask if he could go if we promised that I would be able to gat him back to Hermano Pedro within an hour of a phone call from them if Moises’ parents did show up for him. If they did not go for that Jessica was going to ask them if I could check him out from Hermano Pedro every morning and return him every night is a similar fashion to the way we do it when he comes to my house for the day. “Oh ye of little faith.” After Jessica got into about the first minute of her well rehired speech one of the ladies from social work held up her hand and stopped her. She told us that she had just gotten a phone call from Moises’ father and he had said that it was all right for Moises to come to camp. Soon we had 5 happy kids from Hermano Pedro, 2 families who had arranged to meat us at Hermano Pedro, and the 5 of us who had come to get them stuffed into the Kea van and Carlos’ pickup truck and we were on our way to a fun filled week of camp.

When I left camp at around 1 PM there were over 40 campers there. Many of them were accompanied by more than the suggested one family member or companion. So there are already more than 100 people there. I am sure that more will still be arriving this afternoon.

I am going to close for now so that I can get back to camp.

Yours in Christ: Dick


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