* 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)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Journal November 1-8

Saturday. November 1 – Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Since I have fallen way behind on my journal entries and have not yet figured out how to get 30 hours out of a 24 hour day I am going to combine 5 days into a single journal entry. Remembering back 4 or 5 days gets a bit difficult at my age, and my typing has not gotten any faster, so I will let my pictures do more of the talking than my writing.

Lots of kids all weekend. .

. . . . . .. .(click on any picture to enlarge)

. .

Birthday Parti


"Go Fly A Kite Day"

quick lunch after church

hanage visits

. . .

Orphanage outings

Medical stuff

Dishes and house work



I even managed to find the time to get a little bit of rest.

A Very little bit of rest.
(Can you imagine what I would look like if I drank?)

Goodnight, (Or is it morning already?)
Yours in Christ: Dick

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tonight I am trying to get back into the swing of journaling but it is not coming ease after taking 5 days off. I think that I will start off slow and keep this fairly short but I will do my best to get back to being long winded within a few days.

Fernando and Marcos accompanied me to the orphanage today. They offered to help me work on wheelchairs but these two are so great with the orphanage kids that I told them that they could just play if they wanted to. Not only was this good for the kids but having them keep all of my little helpers occupied it also gave me a chance to get things done a lot faster.

Today I brought in a wheelchair for Lionel. Had I given him one when we first brought him to the malnutrition ward of Hermano Pedro it would have been a far different wheelchair. At that time there would have been no way to place him in a chair that did not recline. Today however I was able to put him in one that he sits up in, because he has gained a lot of strength and can now hold his head up. Twenty six pounds is still not much for a ten year old but it is far better than the seventeen pounds that he was when we brought him into Hermano Pedro. He still has a lot of congestion in his lungs though, so I hope that his parents do not take him back home to soon.

At noon Carlos, and a man that I met at church last Sunday helped the boys and myself take five of the teen age girls out to lunch. These girls love it when they can get out of the orphanage because they get very few visitors since most of the volunteers that come to the orphanage seem to gravitate towards the younger kids.

After lunch we headed back to Chimaltenango so that I could do some work at the wheelchair shop. Byron was in tears as we left the Orphanage because I had his power chair with me. Usually I can repair it right at the orphanage and have it going in an hour or two but today the computer went out on it so I had to take it back to the shop. I managed to find the parts that I needed at the shop so it is once again running fine so I will do my best to get it back to him tomorrow.

Well most of the thirteen kids that were here for supper have gone home and the four that are still here just told me that this is their home for the night so I guess I better throw some blankets out for them and lay claim to the only bed in the house. At least I have already had my shower so I do not have to stand in line for that.

Wow! I just realized that my slow start tuned into long winded in a few paragraphs instead of a few days like I had originally thought.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Friday, November 7, 2008

This morning it was Marcos and his brother Caser’s turn to come along with me. We stopped of in Antigua and picked up Carlos and also Scott and his wife Linda. Scot and Linda are spending about a month here in Antigua and after spending the day with me at Hermano Pedro on Monday they asked if they could come along when I did some visiting in the villages. Today we drove down towards the coast do see some people.

Our first stop was at the clinic that I have been working with for quite some time now. The Cubin doctor and his Guatemalan staff have been great people to work with and are helping us get food and medicine to some of the families that we are sponsoring. Today I told them that we found a sponsor for Milton, one of the kids that we took to Hermano Pedro a few months ago, because he was starving. Since Milton’s was so sickly and his health did not improve while he was at Hermano Pedro he returned to his home basically to die. A few weeks ago I stopped in at his house to see how he was doing. I had my fears that he would no longer be alive but was greatly surprised to see that he was doing much better. This was impart due to a months worth of medicine that the clinic was able to supply but the people at the clinic and myself believe that it is mainly due to the fact that the attitude of his family as changed. I can remember scarcely being allowed onto their yard by an angry father the first time that we visited this family. I remember him telling us that he was tired of his relatives and neighbors telling him and his wife that it was because of some great sin in their lives that they had a child like this. I also remember laying my hand on father’s shoulder and explaining to him and his wife that the reason that their son had these health problems was due to oxygen starvation at birth, and how this rigid man seemed to melt when he once realized this. Anyway now this family recognizes Milton as a precious gift from God and seems thankful for every day that God allows Milton to be on this earth.

Eliso the mail nurse from the clinic was happy to here that Milton now has a sponsor. He had told us on our last visit that the clinic simply did not have the resources to continue to supply him with the food and medicine that he needed. He also told us told they would be happy to see to it that the needed food and medicine was brought to Milton’s home each month and that each month they would also weigh him and monitor his health.

After brining Eliso back to the clinic we headed Ronny’s home. The half hour drive to Ronny’s home is anything but a paved road so I let the Caesar and Marcos both have turns at steering my car. I was not sure how my adult passengers would feel about this but no one jumped out of the car and I actually heard no screaming. Than again being deaf to high pitch sounds has its advantages.

Before reaching Ronny’s home we stopped off briefly to see how Angela was doing. Angela is the old lady (even older than me) who had the broken Femur that was improperly treated at a national hospital. Even after getting her in to Hermano Pedro and the surgery that she had there she had a rough time getting rid of the infection that she had gotten after her surgery in the National hospital. Today however Angela showed us that her leg is doing well and even showed us that she is now able to walk with the aid of a walker. It was hard for me to believe that this smiling friendly lady was the same person that I met a few months ago. At that time she was in great pain and had told me that she doubted that she would live long enough to see the day that she would walk again. Praise God that Ronny’s mother had brought us to her.

Our next stop was at Ronny’s home. This family has become one that I really love. It is hard to hug nine people at once but the entire family did their best to see to it that it happened. It did not take long for Scot and Linda to get in to it as well. Soon they had kids climbing all over them as well as Papa and Mamma both talking to them at once. Since the two boys that I had taken along with me today know very little English and could not help out with interpreting, Carlos had his job cut out for him. He did a fantastic job though and we all had a good visit. The family was especially excited when I told them that some one had contacted me and wanted to sponsor the three girls as well. On our last visit father had told us that he simply did not have the money to keep the girls in school any longer. After today’s good news Mom said that she is going to go out and buy clothe and start sowing uniforms for the girls right away. She said that by sowing them herself more of the money can be used for textbooks and school supplies. I liked the Idea as well because that way the family is contributing something towards their education as well. Mom and dad figure that they will be able to get bye with out us having to supply a sponsor for Ronny and his brother now that the girls are taken care of.

The next home that we visited was within walking distance. This was the home of Ronny’s uncle, his wife and seven children. I use the term home loosely because it is little more than some rusted pieces of tin nailed together to provide a little protection from the wind and rain. This Family’s living conditions have bothered me for a long time now. Over a year ago we put up a prefabricated house for their grandmother that lives about a hundred feet up the trail from their dwelling and in February we had a teem come in ad build a bloc house for Ronny’s family. Meanwhile all this family could do was stand by and watch. Even though we try to limit the homes that are being built to widows or to a family that has some one in it that is in a wheelchair we feel there are times that rules need to be broken. John Sherrill, from Golf Coast Supply felt the same way a few months ago when I took him in to meet this family. John and his partner Jeff are the ones that supply these houses and it didn’t take any arm twisting to get them to agree that one of their houses should go to this family. Just yesterday Chris brought down the materials to start on the foundation for his home. On Monday he and a few other men will begin putting up this new home. Judging by how excited this generally very shy family was today I think that they are going to get a warm welcome. Mom and dad both had smiles on their faces that could not be erased and the children who are usually tot shy to do much more than peer out from behind mother’s skirts where having the time of their lives laughing and playing with all of us. Having Scot along may have played a bit part in things as well because he loved the kids and the kids can reed that in some one very quickly. All to soon it was time to say goodbye to both of these wonderful families and to Grandma who had started up a long conversation with Carlos. Please remember them in your prayers though because before leaving Ronny’s father told us that Ronny is starting to have seizures every now and then. We made arrangements for him to see the Cuban Doctor at the clinic that is a half hour away on Monday.

I thought that this was going to be our last visit of the day but about a mile down the road I honked and waved as we past Gabriel’s home. Gabriel is a little boy who we just happened to run across one day when I had exchanged the manual wheelchair that Ronny had out grown for a larger one. It just so happened that Gabriel, who had Spinal bifida and hydrocephalus, fit perfectly into Ronny’s old wheelchair so instead of taking it back to our shop I had given it to him. Pretty lucky, right? Gabriel’s father who is a preacher told me that he thought it was a GODINCIDENCE. This evening as we drove by and honked and waived we noticed that instead of waving back at us Gabriel’s mother was motioning for us to come there. It was going to be dark before long and it is best to be out of this area before dark but there was no way that we could not sop and see what she wanted. When we got out of the car Gabriel’s mother told us that he had grown and his chair needed some adjustment but that the main reason that she had stopped us was because she was worried about her son. From what she told us it sounds like at times he does not get enough oxygen and actually turns blue. Soon arrangements were made for her and her son to ride along into the clinic with Ronny’s parents on Monday. If we were hiring a car to bring Ronny there we just as well fill it up. Please pray for Gabriel and his family as well.

We are back at home now and even though the boys and I stopped off at a café in Antigua with Scott and Linda there are more kids to feed so I think that I will say, “Goodnight.”

Yours in Christ: Dick

Saturday, November 8, 2008
Question - What could be more relaxing than taking three of your neighborhood kids and three orphanage kids to the zoo for the day?

- Almost anything, but we sure had a lot of fun.
Yours in Christ: Dick


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