* 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, March 3, 2009

Journal February 26 - March 3, 2009

Thursday, February 26, 2009

After another exciting dentist appointment I headed to Hermano Pedro orphanage in Antigua. Since Cesar had no school he came along with me. We met up with Ben and his friend Scott and took 4 of the kids out to lunch. Since I had been gone for 6 days it was especially difficult deciding which three kids to take with us but the list narrowed down a bit since some were still getting over being sick.

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

They have had quite a bout with the diarrhea and other flew like symptoms the past few weeks, especially in the malnutrition ward. Most of the kids are better now but they are still taking precautions. One little boy passed away but from what I am being told it had nothing to do with this. He had come in to malnutrition a few weeks ago with a lot of complications and even though they kept him isolated from the others he was simply to week to make it. Since he was kept in isolation I never got to know him but still morn the loss.

I managed to spend some time with Lionel today and although he still has some diarrhea (I won't go into detail on how I discovered that) his fever is gone and he is once again laughing and smiling.

Helen and her family got to see the doctor today and they now have an appointment to see a specialist next Thursday. This afternoon I took her and her family over to Hope Haven’s wheelchair factory and we fit her into a new wheelchair. Judging by the smile on her and her parent’s faces I think that she likes it a lot better than the Bicycle that they use to push her around on at school. She was especially tickled with the tray that attaches to the chair.

Helen with two of the ladies that work at
Hope Haven's wheelchair factory

After leaving the wheelchair shop we took Rolando and her family out to Burger King and bought them some food. Helen was all smiles as we wheeled her into the restaurant. We then went and picked up Fernando who had called and asked if he could join us. After that we stopped of at the drug store and bought Helen some medicine that the doctor had prescribed, then dropped Rolland off so that he could catch a buss back to Xela. I had originally intended on putting Helen and her family on a buss as well but since it was getting late and they had the new wheelchair and other luggage with them I decided to drive them to their home in Comolapa which is about 45 minutes from Chimaltenango. When we arrived at their home mother tried to thank us but got choked up and started to cry. The entire family was overwhelmed by the love that they received from so many people during the past few days.

On the way home Cesar, Fernando, and I stopped off and got a snack. We hadn’t had too much healthy food today so I figured it was time for some fruit. The strawberry Sundays were great! The kids that are at my house tonight did not receive any fruit but they got their vegetables and dairy products. That reminds me since there were so many kids tonight; I have to pick up more corn flakes in the morning.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Friday, February 27, 2009

This morning I went to Hermano Pedro. Before taking five of the kids out to lunch I managed to repair a few wheelchairs. Ben, Andy, Dave, Nancy, and myself took 5 of the kids out to lunch. Lionel who is now felling better was finally able to come along with us. He had the time of his life and was once again all smiles. Moises and Ervin were unable to come along yesterday because they each had to see the doctor about something. Moises is usually always in a good mood but today he was a grump. I think that it had to do with the fact that I had been gone for six days and when I did return yesterday he was unable to come along to lunch. He cheered up a bit later when I asked him if he wanted me to pick him up and take him along to church and then to my house for the day on Sunday. Ervin once again failed to live up to his old nickname of monster, as he was a perfect little gentleman while we were at Camperos. He had one screaming incident just before we left the orphanage though. For some unknown reason just as we were leaving for lunch one of the caregivers suddenly decided that he was not allowed to come along with us. Just as we were about to leave she changed her mind though and Ervin was once again all smiles. When I was a kid I was always told that stomping your feet and screaming would never do any good but today Ervin proved me wrong. I know! I know! Doctor Spock or perhaps even Doctor Dobson would say that we only reinforced bad behavior by allowing him to come along with us but today I felt that the caregiver who didn’t want us to take him was the one that was behaving badly so I didn’t take her along. We rounded off our group of five kids with Hiler and Saul. Both of these two kids seem to live in their own little world but I am finding that the more they get out the better they do. Unlike Hiler, Saul is usually smiling and talking up a storm even though what he says makes little or no sense but today near the end of our stay at Camperos he sort of lost it for a while. About ten minutes later he was fine again. We didn’t get too many smiles out of Hiler today but he is definitely becoming more alert and seemed to enjoy getting out of the orphanage for a while.

Ben and Andy are heading back home to Canada on Sunday so the three of us did not eat anything at Camperos today. Instead after bringing the kids back to the orphanage the three of us headed to Chimaltenango and had barbecued ribs at 56. After lunch we met up with my kids at the soccer field. Ben and Andy had promised the boys that they would rent it for an hour so that they could have one last soccer game with them. These two young men have been awesome with the kids at the orphanage and with my kids at home as well.
I didn’t stay for the game because I wanted to go up to Tecpan and say goodbye the group that has been here all week building houses. Would you believe ten houses in five and a half days? These guys are workers. Chris, Saul, Hanna, Howie, and Pastor Juan have been with them all week. I had been on the road for most of their stay so I did not get into the house building. Perhaps that was for the best because when I help build houses, it is much like Ervin helping me work on wheelchairs. Had I helped I doubt that they would have gotten all ten houses built.

I didn’t get back home until around 9:30 so only a few kids showed up. They have now all headed for home so I guess I will call it a day.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Saturday, February 28, 2009, 3:50 PM

I promised four of the kids that I would take them swimming if they helped me clean up around the house this morning. Some how we managed to have nine of us in the car when we left for swimming though. I thought that those that did all of the work would complain but the didn’t. I hope the four that did no work and are now swimming don’t complain either when I find work for them after returning home from the hot springs. I swam for a while but my stomach has been bothering me today so I got out early. My kids protested a bit because they love to have an audience when they are swimming and jumping from the rocks.

Well it is Saturday so I will keep this one short. Guess I will go and see how many Band-Aids need to be handed out.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Sunday, March 1, 2009




Soccer game

Lionel's father came to visit him today.

Took a group through Hermano Pedro Orphanage.

Spent some much needed one on one time with Moises.

Spent some much needed one on one time with Calin.

Monday, March 2, 2009

I always enjoy the groups of people that I take through Hermano Pedro orphanage, but being human I can not help but enjoy some more than others. Today I had the privilege of taking a teem of people through the orphanage that I wish could stay there for ever. They came bringing gifts to the kids that will never be forgotten. No the kids were not given any dolls or teddy bears like many people bring them. Nothing wrong with dolls and teddy bears other than the fact that most of them are gathered up by nightfall never to be seen again by any of the children. This group didn't even hand out candy or toothbrushes. (I have yet to figure out the reasoning in that combination of gifts.) This group dug a lot deeper than that, they gave of themselves. Even though it was difficult for some of them they gave. That is not as easy as it sounds because when you are willing to do that you can leave yourself very vulnerable. You can find yourself laughing hysterically one minute and crying uncontrollably the next. Your emotions can be so stretched that you don't know weather this is one of the best experiences of your life or one of the worst. How can holding a starving child in your arms and giving hem or her the unconditional love that only Christ can give you be so wonderful when you are at the same time crying your eyes out over the suffering that this child is going through? I am not sure that I have the answer to that but I am learning more and more that being willing to feel and to weep is not necessarily something that should be avoided. The group that I spent the day with today seemed to know that as well. Were there any tears? Lots of them! Were there times when it would have been easier to run. I am quite sure that some of the members of the group wanted to at times. I know that I did. It would have been so easy for any of these nine people to have found something else more exciting to do here in Guatemala than to spend their day in an orphanage. After all Antigua is becoming a favorite vacation spot for more and more people. There are all kinds of exciting things to do. You can go zip lining or climb a volcano you can even go shopping. Although for me that ranks right up there with having a guided tour of the local cemetery. Why then did these nine individuals choose to spend the day at the orphanage? Was it curiosity? Trust me I have seen that. I will never forget one group of people that I saw in the orphanage that wore long green rubber gloves and face masks. I was later accused of telling them that if they had something that dreadfully wrong with them that they should leave because we did not want any of the kids catching what ever they had. I honestly don't think that I actually said it. I think that I just thought it, but I wish that I had been bold enough to verbalize my emotions. At any rate today's group was not at all like that. They had come to love and to serve. They also brought the perfect gift for each and every child, teen, and adult that they came in contact with. They gave of themselves. Not 25% or even 50% but 110%. Was it hard for them? It might have been, I didn't ask them. Do you know what the neatest thing is. I don't think that they stopped to ask either. They had come to serve and to love and that is exactly what they did. One little secret though is they were not doing this on there own. I know for a fact that each one of them had spent a lot of time on their knees preparing for this day. Did they personally share this with me? They didn't have to, nor did they have to tell the children. The love of Jesus was simply oozing out of them. Thanks teem for making one of the hardest places to be one of the best.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

This morning I was once again privileged to spend my day with the same eight people from the USA that I spent it with yesterday. I know I said that there were nine of them yesterday but Matizomas revenge calmed one of them last night and still another later today. Nothing serious but I don't think that either of them wnat to venture to far from a rest room for a day or two.

Since my kids had no school today (Why? Good question) three of them accompanied me to Hermano Pedro. Yesterday we took a bunch of the younger kids out to Camperos. Lionel and his father also accompanied us. Lionel's dad is here visiting him for a few days and seeing the bond of love that these two have for each other is fantastic. Anyway today we decided to take several of the teen age boys out to lunch. If I had thought that nothing could have been more fun than taking yesterday's group out I was wrong because the seven young men that accompanied us to lunch today were delightful. I don't think that having a few younger girls from the USA in our group dampened their spirits any either. I think that each of the girls had their hands kissed so often that they are going to be chapped for a week.

I would have loved to have been able to spend the entire day with the group but at around 2 PM I had to say goodbye to them because I didn't want to miss out on the good time that I know I was going to have at the dentist. I am finally finished up unless I decided to have the $75 crown that another dentist put on a few years ago replaced by an expensive $200 one but the quarter inch gap around the gum line is not bothering me that badly so I may let it go for a while. I have sort of gotten attached to it because it provides a good place to store a midnight snack.

After the dentist I snuk away to the restaurant that is located in an old plantation near here and got caught up on some computer work. Well actually I did not get fully caught up that is why after leaving there I stopped off at the shop and am still there trying to get caught up. I always feel a bit mean doing this but if I go home and do not let the kids in they feel that I am really mean.

Tomorrow I plan on going back to the orphanage. The group that I was with for the past few days will not be there. Both the kids and myself will miss them.

Yours in Christ: Dick


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