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

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

My Photo
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)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Journal January 30 - February 3

(click on any picture to enlarge)

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, January 30 – February 1, 2009The past three days have been so event filled that I scarcely know where to start. Roland, Pat, Fernando, and myself have been in villages that defy description. We have seen some of the most beautiful scenery and met some of the most beautiful people that anyone could imagine, but mixed with the beauty of it all, there is poverty and suffering to a level that is hard to describe. The needs are endless. Most of these people have never seen a doctor and many suffer from things that people in the USA would easily have taken care of, things like unmended broken bones, birth defects that could be fixed with simple surgery, and other ailments that could easily be taken care of if only they had access to good doctors and proper medicines. Others have diseases that have never been diagnosed.

Just this morning we visited with the young man that is pictured here. His kidneys are falling and his family has spent everything that they have on treatment for him. With out a kidney transplant he will likely die soon. Since his family has no money it looks like they will have to watch their son die.

On Friday we looked at eight people that needed wheelchairs. Although some were adults that have never walked none of the people that we saw have ever owned a wheelchair. Most have never seen a doctor. That same day I held Lisvi, a six year old girl in my arms she could not have weighed more than fifteen pounds. We are trying to talk her parents into letting us take them and her back to Hermano Pedro with us on Sunday and admitting her into the malnutrition ward, but since this is our first time into this area there is still a lot of mistrust so it will take nothing less than a miracle for them to say yes. This family has already lost two other children.

Even though we had planned on only seeing what the needs were in the village that we visited on Friday I gave out one wheelchair to a little boy who was so severe that I felt that he may not live if he did not receive a wheelchair before we got back into his village. Now that his body is held in a better possession he has a much better chance of staying alive. I wish that we could have given a wheelchair to each one of the people that needed one but since we have over 400 people on file who have been waiting for wheelchairs for several months it is only fair that they receive wheelchairs before we can do anything for those that we met today.

On Saturday we gave out four more wheelchairs to some kids in a village that I have been in several times now. These were kids that have been waiting for quite some time and thankfully we finally had wheelchairs for them. One child that really stands out in my mind is Arnoldo. Arnoldo would likely be normal had it not been for the fact that his father brutally attacked Arnoldo’s mother when she was pregnant with her son. After beating and stabbing her, he left her for dead. She survived the brutal attack and although her physical injuries have hilled she still carries a lot of emotional scars and because she was punched and kicked in the stomach Arlando suffers from daily seizures and will likely never walk. Arlando’s father and mother are no longer living together but he still lives in the same village and she lives with the constant fear that he may return and try to kill her.

The highlight of my day was going to the home of Rudy and his family. Rudy is a delightful little four year old that was born without his left foot and the lower part of his leg. Several months ago I took measurements and made a plaster cast of his leg and sent it to the USA. When Pat came from the USA a few days ago she brought the artificial leg that a specialist in the USA had made for Rudy. Today after Rudy’s parents had served us lunch I fit Rudy with his new leg.

Since he has never walked it will take some practice but the leg fits him perfectly and I have little doubt that he will soon be running round like the other kids in his family.

Thanks Loren!

Today we also visited with three of the families that we have sponsors for. All three families have kids that will be getting schooling either in their homes or in regular classroom situations, thanks to generous sponsors. Two of these families will also be getting some help with much needed food and medicines. I wish that you all could have been there to see what this means to them.

On Sunday morning we received word that Lisvi’s mother and father have decided not to come with us to Hermano Pedro. We were told that they were simply too frightened. This is a real let down because on Saturday her father told us that they had decided to come with us. It was still our prayer that they would change their minds but I felt that pressuring them was not the right thing to do. Most Guatemalans consider Americans as being quite pushy so once they say no it is best to leave things alone. After spending some time in prayer I felt led to make one more phone call though. I asked Roland and Pat what they thought and even though they knew that in most cases this would not be a good idea they were both in agreement that we should give it a try. Since Roland is fluent at Spanish he made the call and five minutes later he hung up the phone with a grin on his face. Father and mother had once again changed their minds so we arraigned to pick them up later this after noon. This means that we will be heading for home on Monday instead of today but I am sure that this little girl cannot hold on much longer unless she is hospitalized.The drive up to where they live has to be the steepest curviest drives that I have ever made. Nothing but a four wheel drive with the best of tires could possible make it and if it ever rained while you were there it would be impossible to make the 4500 foot decent back to the civilization with out loosing control of you car. Today the weather stayed good and even though my Land Cruiser got a real work out we made it safely.Tonight we are back in Huehuetenango and for the first time in their lives Lisvi, her mother, and father are staying in a motel room. As frightened as mother looks I still have fears that she could change her mind by morning but think that she knows that her daughter will not make it without medical treatment. There is always a risk involved with taking a starving child out of his or her village because even though we told everyone that there is still a chance that the child could die, even with hospitalization, we will be the bad guys if she does not make it. Why then are we willing to take that chance? If you need to ask that question come along on one of these trips some time and hold one of these precious little children in your arms.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Monday, February 2, 2009

Lisvi and her parents did not leave during the night but I think that they are still having a hard time with thinking about leaving their daughter so far from home. I have told them that if they do not feel comfortable with her staying once they have seen Hermano Pedro that they could take her back home. I am praying that this does not happen but at least the doctor there should be able to prescribe any needed medications and also give them some advice on what to feed her so that she can gain more weight.

This morning Pat and Lisvi’s family stayed at the motel while Fernando and I headed into the nearby hills to pick up Silsi and her mother. Silsi is the thirteen year old girl that lost use of her legs and also started having severe seizures about six months ago. After her family spent everything that they had on a doctor the doctor refused to see Lisvi anymore. I am not sure that this was even a real doctor that they saw as a lot of people in this area see witch doctors instead. We are hoping that the doctors at Hermano Pedro can figure out what Lisvi’s problem is.

We got into Antigua at around five PM and after bringing Pat to where she was staying and the two families that came along with us to Cassia Defay for the night Fernando and I headed for home. It was good to get back home and soon my house filled up with kids.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Tuesday, February 3, 2009, 9:30 PM
I left home just a little before 7 AM. Thankfully one of the staff people at Hermano Pedro had told me that we did not have to come at 6:30 AM and stand in line to receive a number in order to see a doctor, so once we got there it was not long before doctors were seeing both of the girls that I had brought in. Silsi’s doctor wanted her to get a cat scan so we had to take her to a hospital on the other side of town to do that. While we were getting that done a pediatrician examined Lisvi. Not to my surprise he said that she should be instantly admitted into the malnutrition ward. Lisvi’s parents told the doctor that they appreciated the fact that he had looked at her and told him that they would give her the medicine that he had prescribed but that they simply could not bare to leave their daughter in a hospital so far from home. The doctor and some of the staff from Hermano Pedro tried everything that they could to convince father to admit his daughter into the malnutrition ward but he would not change his mind. Lisvi’s mom never did say how she felt but I sensed that she would have left her daughter stay if her husband agreed to it. Even though I did not agree with his decision I told Lisvi’s father that I would respect his decision and see to it that they got back home tomorrow. I had originally planned on sending Lisvi’s parents back to Huehuetenango by buss but now that Lisvi is going back with them I am seriously thinking of driving them back home. Either way they have agreed to stay until we get the results of Silsi’s cat scan so that I know weather or not her and her mother will be heading back home. I could tell that the doctor was as disappointed as we were but he took the time to carefully make out a list of food and medicines that would help Lisvi put on some weight. It is my prayer that this little girl makes it. I know that we have to leave this in God’s hands but that isn’t always that easy. It is hard enough to see children die when help is not available. If Lisvi dies it will be much harder just knowing that help was available but refused. Unfortunately I have seen this happen with other children. I can still remember trying to convince Antonio’s mother to allow him to return to Hermano Pedro after finding him half starved. Mother told us that she would talk it over with her husband so I told her that I would check back in two weeks, but a week later I was told that Antonio had died.

John 4:35

Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.

Yours in Christ: Dick


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home