* 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, March 28, 2008

Journal March 23-28

(Click on any photo to enlarge)
Sunday, March 23, 2008

This morning 6 of the kids came along to church. After church 3 of the kids came along to lunch. The 3 kids that did not come along to lunch were brought back home by choice, not theirs but mine. Hopefully missing a meal will teach them that they have to behave in Sunday school. It seems that they have targeted one kid out to give a hard time to. Why? He reacts, and they love it. Right now there is no regular teacher in Sunday school. About 3 or 4 people trade off each Sunday and that is no good, especially when you are teaching a rather large group of boys. Please pray that they can find someone who is willing to teach this class on a full time bases. Please pray that it is not me. I really value this one hour spot each week where I can be in church and not be the one that is fully responsible for these kids.

When we returned home from lunch 2 of the kids that were returned home early came to the house and asked if they could come in. I told them that was no problem. Shortly after coming in they told me that they would like something to eat. I told them that was a problem. I explained that they had missed out on lunch because of what they had done and since I was not a short order cook they would now have to wait until supper, which by the way was going to be a much smaller meal than the big meal that the other boys and myself had just eaten. A short time later Jason, who had been the biggest problem at Sunday school came to the house. He told me that he was sorry for the way that he had acted and wanted to know if he could come in. I gave him a hug but no food. As I have mentioned before, had I known that raising kids was so much work I would have gotten married and had only a few to raise. The rest of the day was spent at home. Some of the kids played. A few of them helped clean the house and wash my car. Three of them spent a lot of time watching the clock and wondering what time we were going to have supper.

Calin has decided to spent the nigh. Abner was going to but has not returned from asking permission from his uncle and aunt. It may have something to do with my telling his aunt why he was brought home right after church today. She is a fair lady and I know that he will be back soon.


Yours in Christ: Dick

Monday, March 24, 2008

Today John Ferral, who is here from Florida, and Benjamin, came along with me to see several people. Our first stop was at Ronny’s new home. Ronny has been feeling a lot better since he started taking the antibiotics that the doctor prescribed for him. He, his younger brother, and 3 of his sisters are once again back in school following a one week Easter vacation. I have promised that I will take each of them that has a good report card to the beach in a week or 2. I think that the word has gotten out to a few of their cousins as well because there are a lot of kids asking about it. I don’t think that I will take any more people than last time though because over 21 people in one car may be a little crowded. I guess that I could use our 15-passenger van because if my car can hold 21 there should be no problem getting 35 or 40 into the van. Our next stop was only a few hundred feet away. This was at the home of Ronny’s uncle and aunt. They and their 6 children live in a rusted out tin building that had it been in the USA and not here in Guatemala, it would have been condemned even if it were being used as a pig sty. We talked at length with Ronny’s uncle about the prospect of attaching 2 of the prefabricated houses that John supplies. Since the family is one of those rare ones that has both parents living at home it does not fall into our normal category of people that we furnish homes to in the respect that it has no one who is handicapped nor is the mother a widow. Much like Ronny’s father, this father also works in the sugar cane fields. During the 6 or 7 months of harvest he works 12 hours a day 7 days a week. Unfortunately his wages are so low that there seems to be no way for him and his family to ever live in anything other than the tin shack that thy call home. When we talked today we told him that we would look into supplying the house if he could put in the cement floor. It is always healthy to have the people that we are helping out to do as much as possible in helping out both financially and physically but we never want to make it impossible for them or have them go hungry just to hold up their end of the bargain.

I have been asked on several occasions weather or not there is ever jealousy between neighbors or relatives when one of them gets a house and the other one doesn’t. I have heard that in places like Africa that all of the villagers are happy and celebrate if some one in the village gets a new home. All I can say is, “This is certainly not Africa.” I know that it would be nice to help everyone but that is impossible so that leaves us with 2 choices. We can turn our back and help no one, or we can pray that God clearly shows us who to reach out to. Please pray that God gives us wisdom concerning this.

Our next stop was at the clinic that had told me about Julio and Milton. We only stopped off long enough to tell the director of the Clinic and the Doctor that we would be coming back that way in a few hours and were wondering if they could inform Milton’s mom so that she and Milton would be ready to go back to Hermano Pedro with us. I wanted to have them stay in Antigua tonight so that they could be at the door of the orphanage by 6:30 AM. tomorrow.

Next we went to visit with Julio’s parents. We were hoping that we could find someone who lived in Julio’s village who could put in the cement pad at the house will be built soon. Although after talking with Julio’s mom it was decided that we would wait until Chris has the opportunity to come down and talk to Julio’s dad. It sounds like there may be another one of those jealousy things going on between brothers.

Milton's mom was standing in front of her house waiting for us when we got there. She had Julio all cleaned up and wearing his best clothing. He was not feeling well though and cried the entire 2 hours while we drove to Antigua. After getting them settled in to Cassia Defay John, Ben, and myself went and had some supper. Yes I still had to cook dinner for the troops when I got home but I got to do it on a full stomach.

Well all those that are going home have gone so I am going to say goodnight to the 2 that are here and then head off to bed.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 9:43 PM

I had Milton at the front door of the hospital at 6:30 this morning. Even though we were there a half hour before they opened we were far from the first ones there. A long line of people had already gathered. I am not usually a line crasher but compared to where Milton and his mother are from, the air was very cold and Milton felt like he had a fever. No one said a word as I carried Milton to the head of the line with his mother following close behind. I told Milton mom to stay right there while I went and found a blanket to put Milton into. By the time I got back a few people had crowded in front of her but she was still near the head of the line. By the way it looked I honestly think that several of the people who were standing in line would have given Milton their place in line if need be. A few ladies who were standing near by even stroked his head and spoke to his mother. It wasn’t all that long ago that here in Guatemala, only rarely would some one strike up a conversation with the parent of a handicapped child. Milton’s mom also shows a lot of love for her son. I have a feeling that if we can get Milton healthy again his parents may very well decide that they do not want him to stay in an orphanage the rest of his life but only time will tell.After about an hour wait we go to see the doctor. After talking with Milton’s mother and examining Milton he told us that he agreed that Milton should be admitted into the malnutrition ward but told us that he was running a fever and it was hospital policy that no one with a fever can be admitted into the malnutrition ward until they no longer have a fever. This may sound like a strange rule but there are many kids there that are very fragile and exposing them to something that could possibly be contagious could be a death sentence to them. The doctor firs suggested that I take Milton over to the National hospital for some tests to determine what was causing Milton’s fever but then agreed that we could have the tests done at Hermano Pedro. He told me that once the tests had been made I would have to take Milton back home until all of the results were in though. He promised me that when he got the results in a few days that we could bring Milton in to malnutrition provided he no longer had a fever or that he had nothing contagious.

I have not been taking many of the orphanage kids out to Camperos lately because I have been busy with other things, so today I decided to take advantage of the fact that I was there. I could not find any other volunteers to help me out but decided that one kid was better than none. Gaspar has been asking me for a long time to take him to lunch so I decided that I would take him. He was thrilled but I can’t say the same for several of the kids that watched us leave. Moises who has just returned from home took it especially hard that I had not invited him. He was already having a bit of a hard time since his family just returned him to the orphanage this morning and watching me go out of the door with Gaspar was almost more than he could handle. It was little consolation to him when I promised that I would do my best to take him tomorrow. He would have much preferred going today. What kid wouldn’t?

By the time we returned Milton’s mom told me that he had finished with all of the lab work. So we were soon once again on our way towards the coast. On our ride home Milton was much less vocal than he had been the day before. He spent most of his time sleeping and even when he was awake he did not cry. Milton’s mother also seemed to be a lot more relaxed. I think that just knowing that her son is finally getting some help has been a big relief for her. In her eyes I could see that she had a lot of love for her son although 3 years of not being able to do anything for him had taken it’s toll on both her and her husband.

Four hours later I was home to more kids. I was tiered but knew that they needed a bit of my time as well. Even though I had a lot of work to do I put it on the back burner for about an hour and played soccer with the kids. An American adult against Guatemalan kids is far from a fare game but the kids took it easy on me and even allowed me to score 1 or 2 goals to each of their 10.

Most of the kids are gone now. There are still a few asleep on the floor. I am to tired to wake them or to even figure out who they are so I guess that I will leave them stay there until morning.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Today we received the first container of supplies at Hope Haven’s where house in Antigua. Lord willing before to long they will start manufacturing children’s wheelchairs there. Hopefully they will be able to manufacture not only enough wheelchairs to supply Bethel Ministries need of children’s wheelchairs here in Guatemala but they will also be able to ship them to other countries in central and south America. Today’ container not only contained wheelchair supplies but also several more house kits for needy families here in Guatemala. There were also materials that a California Rotary club had provided for collecting rain water. About 10 of their members showed up to help us unload the container. Golf Coast supply, who provides the houses had also sent us 80 water filters. These are an answer to prayer. Back in October after a several hour hike into the mountainous area where Antonio, a 10 year old boy that had returned home after spending several months in the malnutrition ward of Hermano Pedro Lived, I had mentioned in my Journal the need that hundreds of people in that Area have for clean water. Antonio who weight only 21 pounds when we brought him in to Hermano Pedro had returned home because he had gained a lot of weight and although his health was not perfect the doctors felt at that time that it was good enough that he could be reunited with his family. Unfortunately when Carlos and I visited his home back in October we discovered that poor living conditions and bad water had taken its tool and Antonio was once again doing poorly. Chris and I are making plans to contact the leaders of Antonio’s aldea so that we can arrange a day that that several of the villagers can meet us at the trail head so that we can carry in 40 to 50 water filters. It is to late to help Antonio because he died a few months ago but perhaps these water filters will keep Antonio’s brothers and sisters and other children in his village from dying needlessly. Thank you John, Jeff, and the rest of the Florida crew for responding to a need that you recognized.

I helped unload the container for about a half hour but then realized that there were so many willing and younger hands that wanted to help that these older hands were only getting in the way. That is when I asked some of the people from the group if they wanted to see the orphanage while the others sweated and got sore muscles. It did not take a lot of coaxing to come up with 5 volunteers who were willing to let the others tire themselves out while we went and visited the kids. Actually this being the first time in an orphanage for most of those that came along may have been harder on them than unloading the truck single handedly because emotionally the orphanage is not always the easiest place to be. All of them handled it well though and even though it was hard for them they were all glad that they had come along.

Our timing was perfect because we arrived back at the where house as the others were just finishing up. It was about 3 PM and none of us had eaten any lunch so it was decided that everyone would meet at the Camperos that is located on the west side of Antigua. As I got into my car to drive to Camperos I remembered the promise that I had made to Moises yesterday as I was taking Gaspar to lunch. I knew that there was a rule that any kids that were checked out of Hermano Pedro had to be back in by 4 PM but in the 8 years that I have been there they have allowed me to fudge on that rule from time to time. After explaining over the phone to the group that was on the other side of town why I was not going to be able to join them for lunch, Moises, Byron, and I were on way to a different Camperos that is located about 4 blocks for the orphanage.

Even though I had already eaten the kids at my house reminded me that they had not. With everyone’s help it was not long before the table was set and they were all wolfing down on ham and cheese sandwiches. This was followed by a soccer game in the front yard than some homework and then goodbyes. Every time I tell the kids that I am going to be gone for even one night they act like it is going to be for a year. After reassuring all of them that I would indeed be back because this was my home they were finally willing to go. A few of them asked to stay the night but I told them that it would be hard enough for me to get just myself out of bed at 1:30 AM.

Chris and John are stopping by at 2 AM so that we can drive to Cobon and meet up with the group that helped us unload the truck today. They didn’t leave for Cobon until about 5 this evening but should be there before 11 PM. I guess that I better close for now because by what the clock is saying they have already been to bed for about an hour.

Good Night:

Yours in Christ: Dick

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Well I made it to bed just before midnight. My head cold is still bothering me so I spent about an hour and a half trying to get to sleep. After that I no longer tried to sleep because my alarm clock was ringing. Chris and I had to take turns driving to Cobon but neither of us fell to sleep behind the wheel.
The trip was well worth it though because the California Rotary club that helped us unload the container yesterday had taken on a massive project in 3 aldeas that were located about an hour and a half out side of Cobon. They had gathered enough money to supply over 2 hundred homes with water. Up until now all of the villagers have had to walk any where from a half hour to more than an hour to the nearest river to get their water. Not only was this a lot of work but also the river water was making a lot of them sick. Today 4 large trucks carried in enough 450 gallon water tanks and steal roofing to provide each and every family with a rain collecting water system. The road was not exactly designed for semi trucks so one of them gut stuck for a few hours but eventually we all made it into the first village. Even though we arrived much later than expected the villagers were still waiting for us. The dirt road was lined up with all of the people that lived there. All of them were dressed up in their best close and many of them had signs that were welcoming us to their village. After being introduced to the village leaders we were taken to one of a few houses that had been given one of these water systems about a year ago. They had built these as an experiment to see if a 12 foot by 12 foot slightly pitched roof could collect enough rain water to supply a family with enough water all year around. The family that we met quickly had us convinced that this was a wonderful idea and that it indeed worked well in this region of Guatemala. Here near Cobon they get a lot of rain and even see rain about once every 4 or 5 days during what we consider the dry season. The family that we visited told us that they had never run out of water since the system was built about a year ago. The father then took us inside of the house to show us the new water filters that that each family who gets a water system receives. He went on to tell us that up until they started using the water filter the family continually had health problems. He told us that now they were all healthy. Although many of the people, especially the kids, dress less traditional than many of the villages that I have been in they are still very Mayan in their life stile. There is no electricity in the village and up until now there was no water. Hardly anyone knows Spanish, even the children that attend school speak their native tong.

The next several hours were spent unloading trucks demonstrating how to set up the rane collectors and eating a big lunch that the villagers had prepared for us.

We got back to Cobon at 4 PM by 4:15 I was asleep. We set our alarms for 7 so that we could go and get something to eat than headed straight to the motel. I did a few paragraphs of my journal when we got back to the motel but I got to sleepy to finish up on it. That is why today’s journal is being written tomorrow.

I can not say good night because it is actually tomorrow afternoon. Wow it sounds like something from Time Machine. Anyway that’s all for now.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Friday, March 28, 2008, 3:12 PM

It really is Friday. I just now finished up on yesterday’s journal so it is now today.

By 5:30 AM I was pretty much rested up although had my alarm not gone off who knows how much longer I could have slept. Today’s drive was quite uneventful but John, Chris, and I had a great time of fellowship together. On our way through Guatemala City we dropped John off at the airport. We know that he will be back soon but we will miss him. He is a true brother in Christ.

I made it into the house before the kids got out of school so I am trying to finish up on my journal before they realize that I am here. I am not sure that it is working though because some one has been knocking on the gate or ringing the bell every 5 minutes. Perhaps they are just checking to see if I have gotten back home yet, but judging by how much they are knocking I am afraid that they may have had a well hidden spy somewhere out side of my gate

I guess I still did not get enough sleep because as I was writing the last paragraph my eyes got to heavy to stay awake. I figured that a short nap wouldn’t hurt so I laid down on bed for a few minutes. Next thing I knew it was 6:00. What woke me up was a phone call from Chris. He told me that he had just been awaken from a 3 hour nap by a phone call from the doctor at the clinic that is near Milton’s house. The doctor had called to say that Milton is now over his fever. I had spoken with Hermano Pedro earlier today and they told me that the results of Milton’s test had indicated that he had a noncontagious infection and that the medication that they gave him should take care of it so it looks like we can go there and pick him up and get him admitted into malnutrition on Monday.It has been another busy week but we have met a lot of interisting people and have seen a lot of positive things happening. God is so good.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Journal March 15-22

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Today journal is going to be one of my shorter ones. I am sick so I am going to rest.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Sunday, March 16, 2008, 6:27 PM

I am feeling a bit better and even went out to eat with the group that came in from Canada last night but since I am not 100% I am going to use it as an excuse to take just one more day off from writing. I will try to do better tomorrow.

8:20 PM

Calin just came over and told me that his sister Lady had to run for cover as she was walking by a small store that is about a block from here. A drunk man who had bought some moonshine there got into an argument with a tuke-tuke driver and as she was walking by he took out a gun and started shooting. It sounds like he killed the tuke-tuke driver and injured one or to bystanders fortunately Lady was not hurt. The drunk then got into his car and drove away. Even though there were a number of witnesses I doubt that anyone will come forward and tell the police anything. I guess this is another reminder as to why we covet your prayers.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Monday, March 17, 2007

It was Calin’s turn to join us today. After breakfast we all loaded up the van and the Toyota pick up with parts for a prefabricated house and headed up to where Maria-Isabel, Fidel and their grandmother live. This was the day that Maria-Isabel was finally going to receive her new house. She had been staying in the small adobe structure that her brother Fedel and her grandmother live in ever since her old house, which was no longer safe to live in had been demolished. Some of her relatives pitched in and helped and others watched in amazement as the new house was being built. Most of the Adobe houses that are in their area take several months to build so it was hard for them to believe us when we told them that we would have this house finished the same day.

About half way through building the house I traded vocations from being a carpenter to being a doctor. The last time that I had visited I had promised that I would treat Fidel’s bedsores the next time that I came there. For the sake of those of you who have week stomachs I will not go into a lot of detail other than to say that if you are ever given a choice of working on bedsores to building a house, choose the house. Since they will have to be treated daily I showed Grandmother and an aunt how to do the daily treatment but promised that when ever it was necessary to cut away dead flesh I would come in and do that. (Like I said, choose building houses if given a choice.)

Since this house was an older stile than the last half dozen or so houses that we have put up it took us a bit longer than normal to put up, although building a prefabricated house in roughly 4 hours is still a bit faster than the several months that it takes to construct an adobe home. After we had finished the team asked Maria and relatives to come inside. We than once again reminded them that this house was a gift from God and that we had been privileged enough to be allowed to be the delivery boys. We then had prayer with the family thanking God for what He had provided.

Please pray for this family. Grandmother is getting older and is finding it more and more painfull to walk. Although there are other relatives that live near by and they are good about helping care for Fidel who is completely bed ridden the main responsibility still falls on grandmother’s shoulders. Not only is caring for Fidel physically demanding for grandmother but watching him die after loosing her granddaughter only a few months prior is emotionally hard on her. Although she tries not to, I have seen her break down and cry on several occasions.

When I got home this evening it was not long before it was wall-to-wall kids. They knew that it had been a busy day for me so they all pitched in an helped with supper. Since Abner is planning on going along with us tomorrow, I told him that he can spend the night. Calin is working hard on convincing me that since the electricity has been shut off in his house, he should also be allowed to stay. I am too tired to try to figure out the logic in that one so I guess that I will have 2 guests tonight.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Since we have another teem in this week and seem to be on the go from sunrise to sun set I have been falling behind on my journals a bit so in an attempt to catch up I may have to keep some of my daily entries a bit shorter than usual.
Today we spent the day bringing in food and clothing to needy families. Many of them were ones that we have given houses to during the past few months. It was neat to see how happy they all are with their new homes and even though many of these families are still struggling financially having a comfortable place to call home has at least taken care of one of their biggest problems. I wish that I had time to go into a bit more detail about each of the half dozen families that we visited with today but all I can say is we really saw god at work. Many of the families had just run out of food and had no idea where their next meal was coming from.
In one case a single mother of 5 told us that even though she was out of food her oldest son, who is around 13 years old, had left home earlier that day to see if he could find some fire wood for coking. She also told us that he had left home wearing no shoes because he had none. I would have liked to see his face when he came home with the wood and found out that it could be used for some of the food that we had brought the family. It just so HAPPENED that we had a pair of new shoes with us that were just his size. I hope that some of these pictures will help tell what I do not have the time to write.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Wednesday, March 19, 2008, 9:17 PM

Tonight we are in San Lucas. Fernando is delighted that it was his turn to come along because the motel that we are in has a swimming pool.
This morning after breakfast we went to the wheelchair shop and loaded up George’s truck with wheelchairs and supplies that will be needed for a wheelchair distribution that we plan to have out near Santa Lucia on Thursday. After that we headed to Hermano Pedro where I introduced our friends from Canada to the kids at the orphanage. Leslie told us about an Easter display that was in Antigua and offered to get several of the kids ready while I gave our friends a quick tour of the orphanage. We managed to take about 10 of the kids out to see the display and even though the side walks and roads that we had to go on were anything but smooth everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. After leaving the orphanage we went to lunch and then the group (lacking me) went souvenir shopping. I always admire US and Canadian visitors who help rid Guatemalan of unwanted clothing and junk by buying it and taking it home to loved ones who open these so called gifts and can think of nothing else to say except, you shouldn’t have. From there we headed down towards Santa Lucia but took a bit of a detour to stop off and see Ronny and his family. We were glad to here that Ronny quit running fevers shortly after starting on the antibiotics that we bought for him last week. After showing our friends their new house the ladies handed out clothing to Ronny’s family and several of the neighboring families. We couldn’t stay long because we still wanted to make one more stop so that we could give a wheelchair to a man who was in a borrowed one. He and his wife were very grateful because the owner of the wheelchair that he was using was demanding to have it back.

Thursday, March 20, 2008, 8:52 PM

After breakfast we drove to a small town that lies only a few miles off from the Pan American Highway. There we met Axle, a man that has been in a wheelchair for several years. He and some friends who also lived in his town had found nearly 60 people who were in need of wheelchairs so today we were going to do a distribution of around 40 chairs. We would have liked to been able to seat all 60 of the people who were in need of wheelchairs but we simply did not have enough wheelchairs that were not already earmarked for other distributions.

Since the kids have no school this week Fernando has come along with us on this trip. Several of the other kids would have gladly come along but this time it was his turn. It worked out great because Chris had taken Benjamin along and there were also 3 kids in the group of Canadians that were with us. Fernando pitched right in with working on the wheelchairs and did an excellent job of interpreting for me.

Most of the people that received wheelchairs today were adults but we had a few kids. One of the kids that I had was a little girl who screamed in fear every time that I got near her. Try as I may there was no way that I could get near her without her curling up in a ball and crying. Using Fernando as an interpreter I tried to gain as much information as possible from the little girl’s mother with out having to measure her or even touch her. By what I saw and by the information that we could we could gather from her mother it appeared that there was no way that this little girl could propel here self with her hands. So I figured that she would be better off in a wheelchair that tilted and gave her good support than in a wheelchair that we had hat had big back wheels but gave little support. As I returned with the wheelchair I saw Chris standing near by. Since I was still not sure that I had made the right decision I asked him if he would come over and talk with the mother. After talking with her and finding that he to was unable to get any where near the child with out her totally loosing it he agreed that the little girl would not be able to use her hands well enough to propel her self and that I had indeed picked out the right wheelchair for her. I don’t know why but I still did not feel good about our unanimous decision so decided to try something before seating her into the wheelchair that I had brought over to her. I told her mother that I was going to go over to the other side of the small church that we were all working in and look at another child who needed a wheelchair and that I wanted the mother to place her little girl in a manual wheelchair that had large wheels on it, once the little girl calmed down. As I measured another child for a wheelchair I almost forgot about the little girl who was so frightened and seemed to be unable to sit up straight until Fernando came over and tapped me on the shoulder. When I looked up I could not believe my eyes. Not only was she sitting up straight and tall without any special support but she was wheeling herself all over the church with out any one helping her. I didn’t want to frighten her but I could not help but walk over to her. I could not believe it when she looked up at me with a great big smile. Usually I hate to be wrong. Today I was Glad that I had been. Judging by the look on Chris’s face he was equally as happy.

The last person that I worked with today was a 15 year old boy who had cerebral palsy. Is family told me that he had a wheelchair at home but it was warn out. It was also evident that his back was starting to go very crooked. I asked if the chair that he had at home had any type of special support in it and was told that it did not. The young man also had great difficulty using his right hand and I was told that because of this he could do little more than go in a circle with his old wheelchair. We had brought along a wheelchair that had special knobs that protruded from the push ring that was connected to the rear wheels but when I went to look for it I realized that it had already been given out to someone else. Perhaps it didn’t matter because I had my doubts that he had enough movement in his right hand to propel with it anyway. I looked over at Axle and then back over at the young man that needed the wheelchair. Not an hour earlier Axle commented to me on how much he loved his power wheelchair and how much independence it had given him. Granted if I put this young man into a regular wheelchair he would be a lot better off than he was when he came in, especially if I gave him a wheelchair that had more support than the old one that he had left at home, but I was looking at a 15 year old kid that had a whole life ahead of him. I thought to myself how much richer his life could be if he could get around on hid own. I walked over to where axle was and told him what I had in mind. I also told him that I did not want to dissipoint the boy and his family if they happened to live on a hillside or somewhere that a power chair could be of no use to them. I wasn’t even sure if they had electricity. Axle agreed to go over and talk with the family. He promised that he would not say anything about a power wheelchair but would find out if they lived in an area that would be suitable for one. Since Axle is in a power wheelchair himself he know just the right questions to ask. Yes there was electricity, The entrance to the house was wheelchair accessible, and the house even had a cement floor. Not only that but they lived in an extremely flat part of the country. Axle and I looked over at each other in agreement. Then I told the boy and his family that we were not going to give them a wheelchair today we were only going to lone them one for a few weeks. The boys parents looked at me in astonishment so I quickly went on to tell them that I wanted to put their son in a wheelchair that had a special seating system in it so that he would be a lot more comfortable and so that his back would not become more deformed. I went on to explain that we didn’t have anything with us that was like that so I would have to find or make something up at the shop. I then went on to explain that I wanted their son to have a power wheelchair. I think that they understood that he needed something with better support but when I mentioned the power chair it didn’t seem to sink in. Axle tried ot help me out by explaining that it would be a chair that ran on electricity just like his did. There still seemed to be a sense of wonderment on the faces of the young man and his family. That is when Axle reached out and took the boys hand and placed it on the joystick of axle’s own wheelchair. “Push the stick back” Axle told him. He did and axle’s wheelchair started creeping backwards. “Let go.” Axle said. When he did axle’s wheelchair stopped. “Now pull the joy stick towards you.” He did, and axles chair came towards him. “How would you like to have a wheelchair that does that?” Axle asked. The light came on, and all of their faces lit up. Mother got tears in her eyes and a younger brother let out a yell. We had soon writen down all of the needed measurements and dozens of necessary photos this young man can soon be driving around on his own. I gave the family a manual wheelchair that they can use until the power chair is finished but told them that we would come back and take it away when we delivered a power wheelchair to him in a week or 2. You know what? I really enjoy doing this.

Axle and his family had us allover for lunch after the distribution and then he took us to see a family that lived about an hours drive from there. On our way in to see the family we received a bit of a scare when some men with guns jumped out of the brush in front of our car. For a minute there we thought we were being robbed but right before Easter a lot of people dress up in costumes and try to collect money for what they say is charity although I have been told that the money usually goes for partying. Even though they generally do not rob you they can at time get a bit persuasive in the way the try to collect this money. After a minute or 2 of pounding on the windows of our cars they began to realize that we were not about to role down the windows and give them anything so they backed off and we drove on through. I don’t think that the guns that they had were real but am glad that we did not have to find out.

About another 20 minutes up the road we arrived at the house where the family that we wanted to visit lived. I use the word house in a loose sense because this family dwelling was noting more than a wooden framework with black plastic pulled over it for a roof. In it lived a man his pregnant wife and 2 little girls. The man was using a pare of crutches because he was missing one leg. Axle explained to us that the 160 people that lived in this small village had declared war on a military post that was just across the road. It was then that we noticed soldiers standing in the woods not 100 feet from us on the opposite side of the road that we were on. The guns that they were holding were defiantly not toys. Axle went on to explain that the small war had been settled and the villagers actually once again had possession of the land that they were living on but there was no love loss between them and the soldiers that were located just across the road. We were also told that several villagers died or disappeared during this time and that the man that we were visiting lost his leg when he was intentionally run over by a tractor that belonged to the military. There was very little discussion necessary to decide that this family would be on our list of people that were going to receive a new house. On our way back to Axle’s home we were all relieved to see that the group that we encountered earlier was no longer out trying to scilicet funds.

We reached our motel at around 5 and almost everyone raced for the swimming pool. As we swam and relaxed I could not help but feel a bit selfish being in such a nice motel compared to the families that we had visited just a few hours earlier.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Friday, March 21, 2008

We pulled in to Chemaltenango at around 10 AM but did not stay at home for long. We quickly loaded up the vehicles with tools and the parts for one more prefabricated house. The road to the place where we were building this house were all paved but unfortunately they didn’t exactly go right past where the house that was to be built would be located. All that led there was a steep narrow trail. Fortunately there were several of us and the trail was only a few hundred feet long. After about 5 or 6 trips each we had all of the materials at the job site. This home was going to be given to an elderly couple that lived in a small wooden house. The elderly lady had to do all of her cooking out side over an open fire. This is not so bad this time of year but once the rainy season comes it is a different story. Once the new house is finished the old one will be used as a cookhouse. We didn’t quite finish this house today because the batteries on our cordless drills wend dead. Perhaps some time next week a few of us will go there and finish up.

The team from Canada wanted to meet my kids so I got the word out that we were having pizza. All I can say is that they met most everyone that lives within a quarter mile. We had a fun time though and now a few more people sympathize with me when I say, “God put Etiline on earth to teach me patience, but so far it isn’t working.” She is a nice kid but any time you give her the least bit of attention she demands 10 times more. Never the less very little coke got spilled and no windows were broken so I think that the night was a success.

Calin and Abner are planning on going with me to the airport tomorrow so they decided that it would be best to stay the night. Besides that there is still a bit of pizza left and there is no way to get Calin to go home when there is food left in my house.

Saturday, March 22, 2008, 9:23 PM

This is going to be another short one because I am still going to try to get this journal posted tonight. Calin, Abner and I brought the Canadians to the airport this morning. Since we were that close to the zoo and the bumper cars I decided to stop off and brush up on my Guatemalan driving skills. When we got home some of the kids helped me get my house back into living condition. I think that most of the spilled pizza is swept up because I just saw a mouse head out of the house. I guess he figures that the chances of finding food are better over at a neighbor’s house. The kids have also left. Perhaps for the same reason because the cook is on strike tonight. I had fallen several days behind on my journal and about the only way that I can get caught up is to have the house to my self for a few hours. Writhing short journal entries also helps, so I am going to say goodnight.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Journal March 8-14

(Click on any photo to enlarge)
Saturday, March 8, 2008

I received a phone call earlier in the week from some people that wanted to go to the orphanage today and then take some of the kids out for lunch so I told them to give me a call Friday night so that we could set up a time to meet. I am not sure what happened but I never herd back from them. I told the kids that I would wait around until 11 this morning just in case they still called but if we did not here from them by then we were heading to the zoo. After saying that I had to periodically check to see if one of the kids disconnected my phone because they were all worried that I would receive a phone call and not take them to the zoo. As it turned out I never got the phone call so 9 of my kids and myself headed for the city. I usually watch my budget when I have this many kids with me but today we simply had fun with out worrying to much about what things cost. As soon as we got to the zoo we got some pizza because the kids were hungry. Then again when are kids not hungry. Then we spent the rest of the day looking some animals, riding the bumper cars, looking at more animals. Riding more bumper cars, and then buying ice cream cones for everyone.

When we got home I told the kids that I needed a bit of time to myself to get a little bit of work done. I also planned to sneak away by myself and get some supper. Silly me, I should have known that if I went to eat anywhere less than a mile from my home I would be discovered. I was. Now all of the kids are telling me that since I took Calin out to eat I should have taken them as well. I was going to explain to them that Calin found me at the restaurant but then I reconsidered telling them that for fear that they would scout out all of the eating places any time that I was gone.

Fernando, Abner, and Calin seem to have pretty much taken up residence here as they are once again beading down for the nigh. I think that I will look into getting a set of bunk beds so that they at least have beds to sleep in when they are over. Speaking of beds, mine looks mighty inviting so I think that I will go try it out.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Sunday, March 9, 2008, 10:10 PM

Six of the kids came along with me to church today. It took us nearly an hour to get there because of all of the Easter festivities that are going on in Antigua. I know that Easter is still 2 weeks away but in Antigua it is celebrated for nearly a month. There seem to be continual processions of some type going on and most of the streets that don’t have a parade going down them are usually blocked off because someone is doing some type of floral design on them. Add to that the fact that more tourists are in Antigua during this time of year than at any other time and it makes driving a real nightmare. To make things even worse they stop each car that goes into Antigua during the weekends and charge them Q20 each. Often times the traffic is backed up for nearly a mile as the person giving out the tickets slowly counts out the change.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Today I went in to Hermano Pedro early enough that I could swim with some of the kids. Unfortunately when I got there I discovered that they had once again canceled the Monday morning pool therapy with the kids. Why? Good question. Sam Sam had not yet been taken out of his crib. Nor was he taken out the entire day. Why? Another good question. Ervin had at least been taken out of his crib but was tied in his wheelchair and the sheet that was used to tie him into his chair had been run through the wheels of his chair so that he could not move around in it. Why? Another good question, so I started asking the care givers. The first few that I talked to gave me no reason. Finally I found someone who told me that Ervin and Juan Carlos had both been found in the hallway outside of the gate that goes into the area where they stay. Someone had left the gate open. I have been talking with the powers that be about instaling a spring and a latch that automatically close and latche the gate but have been told that these things take time. That was 4 years ago. I went streight to the head office and put in a requisition for some old IV poles that I could attach to the back of Ervin and Juan Carlos’s wheelchairs so that they could be extended so that the wheelchairs can not make it under the entrance to the gate. I was told that it sounded like a good idea and they would consider it. I think that they put it in a file right next to the request for a new gate latch. With in 15 minutes I had improvised a bamboo poll that I found onto the back of Ervin’s wheelchair. Some times it is easier to say I am sorry than to ask for permission. I have been told that it is far better to focus on the positive than on the negative but I am positive that if we all gave up and quit fighting for these kids little would get done for them.

Today I also met with a group of people who have been doing mission work all over the world for the past year. It did not take much time for them to get to know the kids and soon they were fully involved in playing and visiting with them. We didn’t take any of the kids to lunch but we took 7 of them out to the park this afternoon. Judging by their enthusiasm I think that we will be seeing a lot more of this group at Hermano Pedro.

On the way home I nearly got ran into by a truck that ran a stop sign in front of me. A passenger in the truck motioned out of the window for me to stop as they ran the stop sign and seemed rather upset with me for not stopping when their truck nearly ran over my car. I guess a hand out of the window means more than a stop sign here in Guatemala.

I did not let the kids stay around to long this evening because I found out that the new computer that I ordered this morning was on back order and would not be in Lynden in time for my friend Ralph to pick it up before coming down on Saturday. It took me several hours to get my order canceled and to reorder from another company. It seems that the bank that issues my credit card can not get it into their computers memory that I can be in Guatemala and still spend money in the USA when ordering something. Their wanting to call my home phone number in the USA to confirm that it was really me that was calling them to get my credit card reinstated added to the confusion.

In spite of a few bumps in the road today has been a great day. I saw a lot of smiles on a lot of faces and that made the entire day worth it. It is so amazing how just a little bit of attention can bring such joy to so many of these kids. A special thanks to the group that accompanied me today. You gave your all to the kids and they loved it.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Tuesday, March 11, 2008, 10:08 PM

Another full day at the orphanage today. When I arrived at the orphanage I was told that one of the care givers that works in the ward where the children are, had just received a phone call from her son. The police had phoned him telling him that his father, who is a buss driver had just been shot to death by some one who was robbing his bus. It seems that violent crime here in Guatemala is on a steady increase.

A group that is staying at the YWAM base in Antigua joined me for a good part of the day. Since there were around 15 of them I introduced the entire group to the younger kids than split the group and showed half of them around the orphanage while the other half played with the kids. After that the second group was shown around while group one played with the kids. Once again there was not time to take anyone to lunch but a lot of friendships were established.

This afternoon I repaired some wheelchairs and set Julio (the 17 ½ pound 9 year old) into his new stroller type wheelchair. The improvement in this child from 4 weeks ago is amazing. After that I Spent about an hour holding some of the kids that are up in malnutrition. Easter is usually a time when there are more volunteers at Hermano Pedro than usual but there are still a lot of children who never get held. I think that a lot of it has to do with a fear that the volunteers have that they may hurt the child. That is why I try to take time each day to hold some of the kids that look as though they could break in 2 of you held them incorrectly.

Before leaving I took Moises across the street for a coke. When ever he helps me work on the wheelchairs I try to do this. I always tell him that this is his payment for helping me but he knows that I would do it anyway, and I know that he would help me anyway.

Tonight’s supper crew consisted of 10 of us. I will not tell you what we had for dinner or you will get the idea that all I feed the kids are hot dogs. A few more kids showed up after we had finished eating so they had to settle for something that was not as nutritious.

Everyone that is going home has now left. Only 2 kids, Abner and Fernando are staying tonight. They are both becoming quite self sufficient so if I don’t want to get up at 6 and feed them they will do just fine at fixing their own breakfast. They are already asleep and even though I am still sitting at the computer I am nearly asleep myself, so I will say goodnight.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Wednesday, March 12, 2008, 9:53 PM

Yesterday I was invited to be part of a team of people that were going to get together and speak with the caregivers in several of the sections of the orphanage. Jessica, a physical therapist, a feeding specialist, and myself had talked it over and felt that the care givers would possibly do a better job of caring for the kids if they better understood why some of their ways of feeding, handling, and treating the children should be changed. I think that all of us were wondering how well excepted any of our comments would be but both of the 2 hour sessions went well. We tried to do more listening than talking and let the care givers know that we were there to work with them and not against them. I could tell that most of the care givers really do care about the kids and were egger to learn anything that they could that would make caring for and feeding the children easier and more pleasurable to all. I think that the meeting helped the care givers realize that we all want what is best for the children and that what seemed like more work for them was more like an investment that would reap a lot of benefits for both them and the children in a verry short time. All of us went away with a better understanding of why things are being done the way that they are and also why we need to see some changes. Please pray that we can all work together to make the environment a better one for all.

It was past noon when we finished up but since most of the care givers were at the meeting some of the kids still had to be fed. I had not eaten much all day so I quickly signed out Minor and took him to lunch with me. Since Minor only knows one of the Mayan dialects when he came to the orphanage about a year ago he and I are on about the same level when it comes to knowing Spanish. Fortunately we both have a fairly good understanding of Spanish when it comes to food though so we had no problem communicating with the waitress at Camperos. When we were about half way finished with our meal we were joined by my friend Carlos.

Carlos has been doing a lot of traveling with Faith in Practice lately. They are the volunteer origination that sends a lot of doctors to Hermano Pedro throughout the year. Lately they have been sending teems of doctors into some of the villages as well and Carlos has been joining them as an interpreter. Carlos seems to be enjoying it verry much even though it is hard work.

This after noon I got together with a man that I met at church last Sunday. I think that he and his wife are at a point where they are considering making some changes in their lives, one of those changes could involve moving here to Guatemala. I tried to answer as many of his questions as possible but I am not sure that I told him exactly what he wanted to here.

I just erased close to a page that I wrote because I figured that you are not reading my journals to hear a sermon. Perhaps some day I will use it if I am asked to speak about total surrender, in a church somewhere.

This evening we sort of started eating dinner at around 5 PM and finished up at around 9 PM. It wasn’t that the kids trickled in one at a time. Most of them were here right from the start. It was more like they just could not get enough to eat tonight and even after the 3rd attempt to fill them up some were still asking for more. All I can figure out is that they are trying to fill up because word got out that we have a group coming in this week end and I won’t be home to cook for them for a few days. Actually the head cook (me) didn’t do all that much tonight. Fernando pretty much took over for me while I did some work on my car.

Well it is now down to only Calin and myself hear and he is already fast asleep. I think that the others would have stayed longer but at around 9 I asked them to leave. Then at 9:15 I told them to leave.

As soon as I sweep up the broken glass from tonight’s soccer game I am going to head off to bed. Alex promised to pay for this one by washing my car. The only problem is the list of kids that owe me a car wash because they broke one of my windows is getting so big that I am going to have to have it washed at least twice a day for the next week.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Thursday, March 13, 2008, 6:49 PM

I made up my mind that I was going to spend the entire day working on wheelchairs at Hermano Pedro today so that I could get caught up. How was I to know until I got there that so many of the kids would want to help. Between that and showing a few volunteers around the day went by much too fast. Some of the kids will be going to their homes during Easter vacation in fact Moises and a few of the others already left today.

It seems that the meeting that we had with the nurses yesterday has helped a bit because Ervin was up the entire day. Well almost the entire day. I actually put him in bed for an hour as punishment for trying to get my attention while I was trying to carry on a conversation with one of the volunteers. I didn’t really punish him for interrupting me but for the way he interrupted me. When I went to get him out of his crib an hour later he gave me a big hug and then pulled up the sleeve of my shurt to survey the damage that his teeth had done to my arm.

Before Heading for home Byron, Fidel, and I snuck out for a coke. When ever I think that that giving out power wheelchairs is a mistake because of the endless maintenance I take a look at one of the people that have received one over the past few years. It wasn’t that long ago that both Byron, who is now in a head controlled wheelchair, and Fidel, who operates his power wheelchair with his foot, had little more to do than sit in a wheelchair all day and hope that perhaps someone would come along that would at least move them to a different part of the room so that they would have a change of scenery.

I let the kids in for about an hour when I got home but then told them that I needed a couple of hours to do some writing. At around 8 I will let them back in. While they were here the first time Abner called his mother who is in the USA. The conversation was short and when he hung up Abner looked at me rather sheepishly. I asked him what was up. He told me that his mother wanted to know if I could help her out by sending her some money. I thought about going into detail about how she was there making money and I was ….. but instead I kept my conversaton short as well, I smiled at Abner and said. “No”. Some day I will get use to the boldness in which many of the Guatemalan people ask American’s for money. I use to be offended by it but have come to realize every culture has it’s own thing. Most Guatemalans look at Americans as being verry bossy and pushy and compared to most cultures we are.

Well I still have time for a quick nap before the troops storm the place so I will close for now. I won’t say goodnight because once I open the gate the evening will just begin.

9:28 PM

The soccer game is still going strong. I am surprised that the kids have not tired out yet because they are all playing on full stomachs. Once again I parked the car sideways in front of the house to protect the windows but I am not so sure that is a good idea. Granted car window do not break as easily as house windows but they cost a lot more if they need to be replaced. I think that I will tell the teems that they have 60 seconds left in the game though because I am sure that my neighbors are getting tired of my car alarm going off. I remember back to the days when I took pride in my well kept yard. Funny how I thought back then that a neat yard was more important than a happy kid. Well I am going to close for now so that I can watch the final few seconds of the game.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Friday, March 14, 2008

Today I felt drawn to go and visit the people at the clinic that had introduced me to Julio and his family. I was not sure just why, because I had just been there about 2 weeks ago. At that time the doctor there told me that if I could bring them some crutches and canes the next time that I visited he would appreciate it so I stopped off at the wheelchair shop and got some before heading out. Before heading out I also called Carlos to see if he wanted to come along. He had not yet seen Ronny’s new house so I told him that since it was only about 45 minutes from the clinic we could stop in and pay them a visit as well. We arranged to meet at Hermano Pedro and then head out from there. When I got to Hermano Pedro I saw that Juan Carlos the little boy who often tries to sneak out of the gate was once again tied into his wheelchair and his chair was tied up so that he could not go anywhere in it. I quickly connected a telescoping pool to his wheelchair and untied the wheels. Now much like Ervin Juan Carlos can go all over the court yard of the orphanage but the height of the pool prohibits him from getting out into the hall ways.

Another volunteer got talking to Carlos and myself and when we told her where we were going she asked if she could join us. Soon the 3 of us were on our way to the coast. The 6000 foot difference in elevation made a big diffrance in temperature. I would have guessed the temperature back in Chemaltenango to have been in the high 70s but out near the coast it was down right hot.

Our first stop was at the clinic where we were greeted by the Cubin doctor, the man that directs the clinic and later the mayor’s wife. They were happy with the half dozen canes and crutches that we brought them, and were absolutely delighted with the 2 walkers that we gave them. The doctor told us that just yesterday he had a lady come in that needed a walker so he was going to get word out to her that he could now give her one.

As we visited the director of the clinic told us that just a few days ago he had happened to find another little boy who much like Julio was also starving to death. The mayors wife said that she had also heard of another child who much like these 2 was starving to death. They asked if we had time to go and see them. I told them that even though we didn’t know it when we left home I was sure that was a big part of the reason that we had come today.
Soon we were at the first home. The father greeted us at the gate. Through the open gate we could see 2 children sitting in a hammock and a mother that was holding a child that appeared to be strving. At first the father seemed a bit apprehensive about letting us in but after a while he motioned for us to follow him to the house. As we visited we were told that the family had taken 3 year old Milton to doctors shortly after he was born but they had been told that there was nothing much that could be done for him. The father told us that a few other doctors looked at him as well but as soon as any money that the family had was used up the doctors would no longer help them.

Milton’s father told us that he was giving up and later confided in us that he wished that his son was dead so that the family could go on with their lives. He explained that they had no money for a wheelchair and some one had to always be holding Milton. He asked if we knew of any orphanages that would take his child because he was at the end of his rope. As we talked I realized why this father had such bitterness in his hart. He told us that neighbors and friends were continually reminding him and his wife that it was their fault that they had a child like this. They were continually being told that Milton was a curse from God because they had done some great sin. I handed Milton back to his mother and walked over to the father and put my hand on his sholder. I had been studding Milton as I was holding him and was convinced that Milton had cerebral palsy. With the help of Carlos interpreting I explained to the parents that I had been watching Milton’s eyes and he had been taking everything in. Yes it was true that Milton had many physical limitations but he was verry bright. I also told them about Stephen who is backi in the States and about several of the kids at the orphanage who have CP. I told thim about what they were able to do and about what a blessing they were to all of us who knew them. I then told Milton’s parents that some times God puts things into our lives for reasons that we do not fully understand but that the reason that Milton had CP was not a result of something terrible that they had done but caused by a lock of oxygen at birth. When I said that I could feel father let out a sigh of relief and the stern look on his face disappeared as his eyes filled up with tears. Mother who had been staring at the ground looked up and said “That is exactly what happened!” She went on to tell us that Milton had indeed suffered oxygen starvation at birth but she had never been told by any one that the lack of oxygen was the likely cause of Milton’s problems. Both parents looked like the weight of the world had been lifted off from their shoulders.

We visited for quite some time and discussed what options were available. It was decided that since all of the doctors at Hermano Pedro are off until after Easter, that we would wait until then to do anything. The week after Easter I am planning on coming back and picking up Milton and his father or mother and bringing them to Antigua. The following morning we will see the pediatrician that works at Hermano Pedro. I have little doubt that once he sees Milton he will place him in the malnutrition ward where he can receive proper food and medications. I told Milton’s Parents that usually the kids are kept in malnutrition for around 3 to 4 months and that after that time they can make the decision on weather or not they want to pursue keeping him in the orphanage full time or take him back home. I have a good feeling that after his stay in the malnutrition ward, their decision will be to take their son back home to live with them. Please remember to keep Milton and his family in your prayers.

We had been told that much like Milton the second family that we were going to visit lived only a short distance from the clinic as well. I guess here in Guatemala a short distance is anything under an hours drive. When we got to where this family once lived we were told that they had moved. The director of the clinic told us that the directions that he ad been given to where they now lived were sketchy and since it was not a short distance like this 1 hour drive was suppose to have been he felt that it would be better to wait until I returned to pick up Milton before attempting to visit this family.

After bringing the director back to the Clinic we headed to where Angelica lives. Angelica told us that the antibiotics that we had bought for her the last time that we visited had done the job and that there was no longer any infection in her leg. She even showed us that she is now able to put weight on her leg and hopes to be walking soon. While we were there 1 of her grandaughters that we have helped put into school came out and showed us some of her school work. When I asked her if she liked school she beamed from ear to ear.

Next stop, Ronny’s house. The new house is getting that lived in look and even though it is not yet complete the family is loving it. When we got out of the car Ronny’s dad asked Carlos and Jerry if they wanted to see his families new palace. I know that we are not suppose to rely on material tings for happiness but this new home has certainly brought a lot of joy to this family. Ronny has been feeling a bit better but his parents told us that they simply did not have the money to buy the medicine that the doctor at Hermano Pedro had prescribed for Ronny. I told them that if some one would ride out with me to the nearest drug store we would get some when we left.

Before heading out we went over to see grandma. We had hoped to put a cement floor and windows into her house when the teem was here building Ronny’s house but never had the time. I told her that we would do our best to get it done before rainy season but that I could make no promises. We then visited a bit with her daughter in law that lives with her husband and 6 children in the rusted out tin building next door. I told her that we were still praying but so far could make no promises as to when if ever we could help them out with at least getting a roof over there heads that didn’t leek like a sieve. Today all I could offer were a few misquito nets to put over the families 2 beds. I wish so that we could give her and her family more hope but the prefabricated houses that we get in are designated for widows or families with handicapped children.

When we left Ronny’s mom, one brother, and one sister rode along to a small village that has a drug store. While we were there bartering on a price for Ronny’s medicine, the lady that ran the drug store asked if we could possibly take the time to look at her 10 year old niece who had been severely burned in an accident a few years ago. She told us that scar tissue had built up on her hands and feet to the point that the child could scarcely use her hands and could no longer walk. Since it would be dark soon I promised that I would stop by the next time that I came through and that at that time I would see if she needed a wheelchair and I would also take some pictures and show them to the doctors at Hermano Pedro. Not a quarter mile down the road we drove by a boy who had also been the victim of a fire. One of his hands and his entire face were totally black and looked like charcoal. Ronny’s mom seemed to know him so perhaps next time we will see if there is any thing that can be done for him.

I just received an e-mail in which I was reminded that we can not help the entire world but that God will likely put those that we should help in our path. It seems like today that path had an exceptional amount of hurting people on it. Please pray that God will give us wisdom in know who to help and how to help them.

John 4:35 You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.

Yours in Christ: Dick