* 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)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Journal, June 6-12, 2009

(Click on any picture to enlarge)

Saturday, June 6, 2009, 8:54 PM

Weekends are made for relaxing so this morning Calin, Fernando, and I went to the Orphanage and relaxed by playing with some of the kids. As expected Calin and Fernando got hungry at around noon so we decided to go to Camperos and have some lunch. Since we had taken no tools along with us today for fixing wheelchairs we decided that we just as well use our hands for something so we each took an orphanage kid along with us to lunch. Now you may think that taking 3 kids that are in wheelchairs out to lunch is no way to relax but don’t knock it until you have tried it. One big advantage of coarse is having 2 kids like Calin and Fernando come along with you to help out. These 2 are so in love with the kids at the orphanage that there is no way that I could convince them that pushing wheelchairs several blocks over cobble stone streets and then trying to feed your self with one hand while feeding some one else with the other is anything but fun. Come to think of it I would be hard to convince that there is any better way to spend your weekend.

We managed to get back home in time for 2 of us to get haircuts and also bought a week’s worth of groceries. Well I thought it was a week’s worth but what is becoming our weekly Saturday night soccer game worked up some appetites and the 12 kids that were at my supper table put a pretty good dent in what I thought was a weeks supply of food.

I told the kids that I needed a bit of quiet time tonight so I actually have the house to my self. I think that it may be short lived though because I told Calin that he could come back at 10. His mom and step dad have been fighting again and mom has been staying with Calin’s grandmother for the past several days. There is not much room at grandmother's house for Calin and he really does not want to stay at his house with his step dad.

Well I still have a half hour, so I think that I will kick back and listen to the silence……whoops there goes the door bell.

Mother Teresa once said,

“Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.” She also said, “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”

Yours in Christ: Dick

Sunday, June 7, 2009, 9:17 PM

Moyses and Byron joined The 10 kids that came along with me from home and myself and the 13 of us went to church and then to Chimaltenango for lunch. I dropped off 8 of the kids before bringing Moises and byron back to the orphanage because I wanted to visit with Jo Jo and figured that 10 unsupervised kids would be pushing it. My kids love going to the orphanage and playing with the kids but 10 of them at one time has proven in the past to be a mistake on my part.

Just 15 days ago, in my May 23 Journal entry I wrote the following.

"Even though they were just reprimanded for it last week the nurse that fed Jo Jo, who has severe breathing problems, managed to squeeze a full bottle of milk into him in approximately 30 seconds. The way that he gagged and coughed during and after the feeding indicated that a lot of the milk went directly into his lungs."

This morning I visited Jo Jo who was in the intensive care unit of Hermano Pedro. Judging by his condition I was not sure weather or not this would possibly be my last visit with him. He was unresponsive and even though his eyes were open his pupils were not visible. When I returned later this afternoon I was happy to see that his condition had improved greatly. Praise God, even though he has a long way to go it looks like he is going to pull through another bout of pneumonia.

Tonight all 10 of the kids that came along to church with me are back plus another half dozen. Those that are not playing a board game in the house are playing a lively game of soccer out in my yard and by the sound of things I better get out there and supervise if I want to save my windows and keep the first aid kit full.

Yours in Christ: Dick

10:24 PM

I just received a phone call from Rolland. He is in a village that is located about an hour out of Huehuetenango. On May 26 Roland and I took Balanca a little girl with club foot from this village to Hermano Pedro to see about the possibility of having a teem of orthopedic specialists that are coming in from the States operate on her in July. Tomorrow at 4:00 AM Roland is taking her and her family in to Guatemala City by buss so she can receive some final tests to determine weather or not she is a candidate for this surgery. Tonight’s phone call was about another little girl that Roland found this evening who is starving to death. Just a few days ago I had to tell Roland that we had nothing left in our medical funds and we would have to stop taking new kids in for medical attention until we received more funds. Roland told me that the little girl that he had met tonight reminded him of Lisvi a little girl that had died just a few months ago. He said that did not look like she would last more than a few days if we did not get her into the malnutrition ward of Hermano Pedro. I have not checked to see if any money came in this week that has been designated for medical expenses but it doesn’t matter. If her family agrees, Tuesday morning Roland and I plan on driving up to her village to pick her up.

Mark 10:14 (New International Version)

When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

... .. . . Lisvi 2003 - 2009

Goodnight again,
Yours in Christ: Dick

Monday, June 8, 2009

Wow! Monday’s are the days that the therapists are supposed to swim with the kids at Hermano Pedro. What is incredible is that today it actually happened. Granted only 6 of the kids got to swim but at least those 6 enjoyed themselves. A few of the therapists got into the pool with full intentions of keeping their hair dry but Byron and I had other plans. Once they found out that there was no way that that was going to happen all but 2 of them joined in on the fun. I still can’t figure out why some people believe that anything that is good for you can’t be fun. Sort of like, Church and school, back when I was a kid. Any way most of us had fun and both the kids and the adults got plenty of exercise.

After swimming I signed Henry out and we went over to Hope haven’s wheelchair factor and picked up 2 brand new wheelchairs. Henry had a great time visiting with some of the workers while I loaded up the chairs. While driving back to the orphanage Henry made it perfectly clear that he was in no hurry to get back there, so he and I stopped of at the Café that our church runs and had some lunch. After lunch I fitted Edwin a new boy at the orphanage into one of the wheelchairs that we had picked up.

I headed for home at around 2 PM because I needed to have some more work done on my car. After all it had been nearly a week since it had been into the shop. If you could spend a week with me and see where this car goes you would understand that this car is not a lemon In fact it has to be nothing short of a Sherman tank to have stood up this good. Just ask anyone who has ridden in it and they will at least tell you that it rides like a Sherman tank. Four hours later my car was once again ready for another week of battle. I figured that was $12 well spent even if $3 per hour is outrageous.

Lots of kids tonight and either they were a lot louder than usual or I am getting my hearing back. I had previously told them that they could all stay until 10 PM but by the time 9 PM rolled around I seriously considered making my home the only one in all of Guatemala that observed daylight savaging time. Even after 12 of them left ant there were only the 4 that I had previously given permission to stay things still stayed a bit on the wild side. Fact is I got a bit frazzled when it waked out of the house and saw water flowing out of the door way to my bathroom. My first thoughts were that a water pipe had broken but I soon discovered that there was a water fight going on. I guess I must have not used my Mr. nice voice when I not so politely asked the kids to stop because with in a matter of seconds the water that was flowing was coming from the eyes of a few of the boys. I instantly apologized for yelling but went on to explain that I did not appreciate seeing nearly every item that was not securely anchored down flowing out of my bathroom door.

It is now close to midnight. The kids have all been reassured that I still love them, even though the water fight had gotten completely out of hand. All of the tears have dried. Now I can only hope that my bathroom floor will do the same.

Yours in Christ: Dick

(Note to self) If you need the bathroom during the night remember to put on your high top shoes.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Funny ting how last week I threatened to cut back on my journal writing but and then discover that so far this week my journal entries are longer than ever. I can’t exactly explain it but some how I seem to be finding more time to write. I guess that is why I find my self sitting here at 3:23 AM writing this entry. I guess this is my hour break from a good night’s sleep.

This morning I met up with Rolland Elf at Hermano Pedro. Yesterday Roland had taken Blanca along with her parents to get some tests done in the capital that would help to determine weather or not she was a candidate for corrective surgery of her two clubfeet. Today she was scheduled to see the neurologist who would make that final decision.

Pat had mentioned in one of the journal entries that she had made for me last week that due to a drained medical fund we were going to have to stop bringing kids in for medical help for a while. Have you ever tried saying no to a six year old girl who has been offered the opportunity to walk though? We couldn’t say no, and I don’t think that God wanted us to. Then a man named Jairus, a synagogue leader, came and fell at Jesus' feet, pleading with him to come to his house because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying. (Luke 8: 41 & 42) I have my doubts that Jesus checked how much money he had in His wallet before heading out to see this girl. Could it be possible that these verses had been placed in the bible so that we could learn something from them?

We were unable to stay with Blanca’s family at the hospital long enough to here what the neurologist’s decision was though because we were on our way to pick up Florinda, another little girl that needed medical attention. I know what we wrote last week but how do you say no? Three and a half hours later when we walked into the mud brick dwelling that Florida’s family called home it was confirmed that we had done the right thing. I feared that this frail little 3 and a half year old may not even survive the car ride to the hospital but we had to let this family know that some one cared.

About a year ago when Florida who up until that point was a healthy happy little girl had developed this mysterious condition her parents had taken her to the national hospital in Mazatenango only to be told by the doctors there that they did not know what was wrong with her but that she would likely dye. Florida’s parents know that their daughter was very ill and that our taking her to Hermano Pedro was no guarantee that she would survive but they also know that if she did not get medical help that she would not last more than a few days. It nearly broke my hart when they told us that they had no money to pay to burry her if she died along the way. As mother and father walked to my car carrying their precious little daughter I looked back to say goodbye to the rest of the family. Several of them were crying. I know that they were wondering if they would ever see Florida again.The trip went well and we got the family settled in to Cassa Defay before dark. Tomorrow morning Florinda and her family will see a doctor who cares. We are praying that something can be done for this little girl. I feel though that just by showing this family that some one cares a lot has already been made it worth it.

Oh by the way when I got home I had an e-mail from some one saying that God had laid it on their harts to send some money to be deposited into our medical fund. This will help take care of the medical expenses of these 2 girls but I can guarantee you that there will be a lot more Florindas and Blancas. Fact is on our way home I received a phone call from someone telling me about Edvin Baudilio Requiac Morales, she asked me if we had a wheelchair for Edvin. She went on to tell me that 9 year old Edvin weighs 23 pounds.

I have just received word from the neurologist that next month Blanca will be able to have corrective surgery on her 2 clubfeet.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fernando and his Mom (actually his aunt) were at my door at 7:00 AM. Fernando’s aunt has been having chest pain and at times almost blacks out, so she had agreed to come along to Hermano Pedro to see a doctor today. When we reached Antigua we stopped of at Cassia Defay and picked up Florinda, her family and Rolland. And then headed to Hermano Pedro. When we got there the hallways were already filled with people that were hoping to see a doctor. Had it not been for the fact that the hospital staff had saved a number for both Florinda and Fernando’s aunt I am not sure that they would have been able to see doctors today. It was still quite a wait but shortly before noon Fernando’s aunt was escorted into the doctors office. After examining her he asked if she could come back tomorrow for more tests. After asking the doctor how much the tests would cost she told the dctor that she would not be able to return. She explained that there was no way that she could come op with the $15 to cover the cost of these 2 tests. I asked her how much money she could get by tomorrow and after she told me I agreed to pay the remaining $ 12.

Roland stayed at the hospital with Florinda and her family while I drove Fernando and his aunt back to their home. When I returned Roland told me that our prayers had been answered because the doctor that examined Florinda had agreed to admit her to the malnutrition ward of the hospital. The doctor said that there were 2 children in the malnutrition ward that had some thing contagious though, so he felt that it would be best if Florinda’s family kept her at home for a few days and then returned with her on Tuesday. Since I plan on being up in Huehuetenango for the next few days we had to arrange for the family to travel by buss.

Florinda’s condition had me puzzled because she had been a healthy little girl until a little over a year ago and then her health had gone down hill rapidly. She now showed all of the symptoms of some one that had severe cerebral palsy. The doctor said that if the doctor that Florinda’s family had taken her to when she first started having these spells had given her something to control what he feels were petty mall seizures, chances are that she would be a fairly healthy little girl. Unfortunately since that doctor didn’t seem to want to give Florinda’s family as much as the time of day each seizure that she had did a little more damage and no there was likely some permanent brain damage. We are praying that once they get her on the right medications and into the malnutrition ward that we will see improvements though.

I got to see Jo jo for a short time today and he is doing well. We can only pray that the care givers have learned from this and that they start taking the necessary time that it taks to feed the kids properly, but so far I have not seen much improvement.

Today I also spent some time with Jose the little boy who was two and a half years old and weighted 8 and a half pounds when he was admitted into the malnutrition ward a few months ago. Jose is now gaining weight quite rapidly and he is dooing well.

After getting Roland, Florinda, and her family on to the buss I headed over to a place called the Jackson house. The Jackson house is a fairly new facility that also works with malnourished kids. I had stopped in there a few days ago after being told about Jose, a little boy that was in need of a wheelchair. Jose who appears to be around 6 years old was brought into Jackson house about 6 months ago. His family had abandoned him because they did not consider him to be perfect. Wow! I am sure glad that my heavenly Father never considered doing that to me. I am quite sure that he could have found plenty of reason to say that I did not meet up to His standards and thrown me out. Since Jackson house works primarily with younger children It is not certain how long Jose who appears to be around 5 or 6 years old will be able to stay there but I am praying that he does not have to be moved too soon. The staff that works at this place are very loving and even though this facility is not set up for some one that is in a wheelchair I am convinced that love is more important than a flight of stares.

Thursday, June 11, 2009, 8:18 PM

Tonight we are in Huehuetenango. My ex-boss John Bosman and an old high school buddy Jerry Zyelstra flew in last night and this morning the 3 of us, plus Howard, Nan, and Benjamin headed up ths way to build a house for Lionel’s family. Presently mom, dad and Lyonel’s 5 brothers and sisters live in a mud brick dirt floor structure that is much smaller than most peoples bedrooms. A good part of our day was spent driving here and then buying some of the supplies that well be needed to add an adjoining room onto their present dwelling. We managed to get up to the job site this afternoon but plan on starting the actual construction tomorrow. Lionel’s entire family is very excited about getting this new room added onto their home.

At around 4 pm we said our goodbyes and drove down off from the mountain where they live. Luis, Lionels father rode along with us to the nearest village. There he introduced us to a man that sold gravel. For less than $100 he said that he would sell us 5 pickup loads of gravel and have it all delivered to Louise’s home by noon tomorrow. Knowing what the road to Louise’s house was like we didn’t even try to barter on the price.

Tomorrow morning we will try to buy all of the remaining supplies here in Huehuetenango and then drive back up to Louise’s house and start building the 12 by 14 foot addition to this family’s house. 12 by 14 may not sound like much but that will nearly double the living space of what this family of 8 is presently living in. The cement floors that we plan to put in should also be a pleasant relief from the damp mud floor that the family has been sleeping on. I don’ think that I will ever again complain about my mattress being too hard.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Friday, June 12, 2009, 8:08 PM

After loading up Howe’s pickup truck and my land Cruiser with lumber. metal siding, and bags of cement we headed up to Lionel’s house. Howie’s pickup truck had the blunt of the load on it but he managed to get the entire load up the steep dirt raod with out loosing anything. The fact that the entire load had shifted back about 8 inches simply made it easier to unload things when he got there. To our surprise all of the gravel that we had ordered last night had been delivered as well so we went straight to work.

There was plenty of work for everyone and it was an extremely warm day so we are all tired tonight. Tomorrow we plan on finishing up the cement floor and then starting on the framework of the house.

This evening we picked up a wood bringing stove that we are planning to install tomorrow. Most of the people in this area cook over open fires but since the fires are usually under a makeshift roof or even inside of an enclosed structure many of women that do the cooking have lung problems. This new stove should also cut the amount of firewood that is consumed down to at least half of what they had been using.

Not unlike the wheelchair ministry from time to time I have to remind myself that as important as it is go get this family into a new house; houses and wheelchairs are not what this ministry is all about. What we are here for is to share the love of Jesus with these people and what a better way is there to to show Christ's love then by helping meet some of their physical needs? But as happy as I am to see this family get a new home, I am even happier to see that they are realizing that we love them with a love that only God can give. The highlights of my day was when a little girl that cried every time that we got near her reached out her tinny hand from around the corner of the doorway where she had been hiding and placed it into mine. This was the same little girl who's 2 uncles along with 39 other villagers had been slaughtered by other strangers that had come into her village not all that many years ago.

Yours in Christ: Dick


Blogger Charissa said...

I hope you don't mind, I blogged about you and your ministry including pictures from your site. Our church has an orphan ministry and our desire is to inspire people with the work that people like yourself are doing for orphans and vulnerable children. Love your blog. Thank you.


Saturday, June 13, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

amazing stuff thanx :)

Monday, December 28, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your help!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009  
Anonymous discount furniture stores said...

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010  

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