* 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, June 19, 2009

Journal, June 13-19, 2009

This week I have not had much time to write, so my journal entries will consist of a lot more pictures than writing.

Sunday, June 13, 2009 -

On Saturday we manged to get the Lionel's house nearly completed.

All of Lionel's family were excited when they saw us unload a wood burning cook stove from the back of my car. Mom and oldest sister were the most though because they are the ones that spend countless hours cooking over an open fire.

On Sunday morning Howie and Nan headed back to Antigua while Ben, John, Jerry ,and I returned to Lionel's home to put some final touches on the addition to his families home.

While John, Jerry, and Ben installed the chimney I took out my computer and showed the family some of the photos that we had taken during the past few days.

The family liked seeing the photos of themselves and of their house being built but when I told them that I had pictures of Lionel they really got excited. Since most of the family was standing behind me I could not see their faces but Jerry told me that there was not a dry eye in the house. Just 2 days ago, after having prayer with the family and dedicating the house I had talked with them about taking Lionel back home. I explained to them that even though he was getting physically healthier at Hermano Pedro, that he was very homesick and that he spent a lot of his time crying. Mom and dad told me that they knew that he was close to death when we had taken him there and were afraid that the same thing might happen if he were to return to his home. They promised that they would think it over. They said now that they are getting some monthly help with food and 2 of there children's school needs are being taken care of that they were doing a lot better but that they were still worried that they could not properly care for him. They did promise that they would talk it over though.

The remainder of Sunday and all of Monday was spent visitig peole in various villages.

One of our first visits was to a boy that lives only a short distance from Lionells family. I had met this boy several months ago. His 82 year old grandmother takes extremely good care of him but she is very poor ,so up until today he has never owned a wheelchair.


We were also taken to a home of a neighbor who has been bed ridden for several years now. I told the family that the 3 wheelchairs that I had in my car were already spoken for but promised them that I would get one for them as soon as possible. It is hard to make these families wait but we always have far more people needing wheelchairs than we can supply.

One of our visits was to Rolando,
a young man for whom we are providing a teacher.

Another visit was at the home of Rudy. Rudy needed some adjusting on the artificial leg that we gave him a few months ago.

Rudy is now walking well but he is growing fast so I am afraid that he will soon outgrow this leg.

Ben did an excellent job of interpreting for us and he was a big hit with the kids.

On Monday we made the 3 1/2 hour drive from Huehuetennago to the area where Lisvi use to live. The trip there can usually be done in 2 hours but when we were 45 minutes out of Huehue we realized that we had left the 3 wheelchairs that we were planning on giving away back at our motel. We all blamed Benjamin for that one. After all he was the only one of the 4 of us who was not over 60 years old. How on earth could any of us old codgers been expected to remember something like that? Never the less we finally made it up to this aldea that is located up a dirt road that takes you from 3800 feet above see level to 8200 feet above see level in the shortest distance humanly possible.

A few months ago Lisvi's family had asked me to take her back home with them instead of allowing her stay in the malnutrition ward of Hermano Pedro. I must admit that I had a rather sleepless night the night before taking them back to their home. During the trip back and the following day I got to know this family a lot better though and God gave me peace about this little girl going back to the loving arms of her Father. He even gave me peace when her father phoned me only 2 weeks later tell me that she was now in the arms of her Heavenly Father. Today I was able to see even a little more why knowing Lisvi for even a few days was so important. God had used Lisvi to help the people where she lived see that we were there because we cared, because God cares. I am quite sure that we will be seeing these people on regular basis.

John 4:34-36

"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don't you have a saying, 'It's still four months until harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now those who reap draw their wages, even now they harvest the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together."

We had planned on taking a northern rout back to Chimaltenango on Tuesday but on Monday night I received a phone call from Ronny's mother saying that Ronny has steadily been getting worse. She wanted to know if I could get him into Hermano Pedro to see a doctor there. I told the group that it would not be as scenic but explained the situation and asked if it would be OK if we took a bit of a southern detour home so that we could pick Ronny up and take him to Hermano Pedro. They unanimously agreed. The following morning we were on our way to the coast.

While on our way to Ronny's I received a phone call from Vicky, a friend that lives near the lake. She wondered if I could come and take a look at a little girl that had been coming in to a feeding center that Vicky and her husband operate. I told her that I would not be able to for at least a few days but suggested that she have someone bring the little girl in to Hermano Pedro and meet me there that evening. Roland Elf was also scheduled to meet us there with Florinda, the little girl that he and I had met last week.
It is now Thursday after noon. I brought Ronny back home yesterday. The doctor gave his mother some medicine but explained to her that Ronny is loosing strength and there is not a lot that can be done. Ronny’s mom broke into tears when she got home and tried to explain things to Ronny’s father. I have met several kids that have the same disease. None of them have lived to see their 18th birthday. Ronny is 15.

The little girl that Vicky sent in has also returned to her home. Even though she is blind and is hydrocephalic I think that she is going to be all right.

Florinda is not looking well but at least they have admitted her into the malnutrition ward of Hermano Pedro. Thank you Roland for being every bit as persistent as I can be.

A few hours ago I went over to Alex's house. Yesterday I found out that he had spent the weekend at the hospital. 13 year old Alex has always been one of my healthiest and most athletic kids. On Saturday night he woke up with severe chest pains. He is still quite week and cannot eat anything. The doctors at the national hospital are saying that it is his hart but tomorrow I will take him in to Hermano Pedro to get a more qualified doctor to look at him. Please pray for this family. In the last several months 3 of the children have been hospitalized. Pray also that Alex's father who has been in the USA for the past 6 years returns home soon. His family needs him here.

I wish to thank those of you who responded to Pat's journal a few weeks ago. Had it not been for that response I am not sure that any of the kids that I just wrote about would have gotten any medical help.

One more thing that I would like you to pray about concerns a phone call that I got last night. Chris Called telling me that a container of specialty children’s chairs that has been sent from the States is being held at customs. We are not sure but is sounds like any charitable goods that come into Guatemala can only come in through the first lady. I don't exactly know what that means or just how it is going to get resolved but there is a fee for every day that the container sits at port and around 200 children have to go that much longer with out wheelchairs.

Matthew 19:26

Jesus looked at them and said, "With human beings this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

Thursday night, and things are pretty much back to normal, or at least as normal as things get around here. I just said goodbye to 16 American visitors who brought in pizza for the 20 or more kids that were here for supper. Since I had not been at home for several days to cook for the kids everyone was hungry and the 12 pizzas disappeared fast. Everyone had a good time though but the floors that Fernando had swept for me this morning looked more like normal. Before supper he had offered to sweep them again after dinner but after taking one look at them he mysteriously disappeared for the rest of the night.

Well I am now down to just 2 kids and myself so I guess I well call it a day. Before I do though I would like to speak out in defense of the food that I feed my kids and my personal eating habits.

A few of you have been writing to me stating your concerns about the type of food that I feed the kids and myself. I want you to know that I do not take your comments lightly even when you are wrong so I asked my Guatemalan Doctor if there was a slight possibility that I was wrong and that you were right. Here it is straight from my doctors mouth. Now remember though that I am fairly deaf and my Spanish leaves a bit to be desired so there is a chance that a little bit got lost in the translation. Any way this is what I think I heard.

Q: Doctor, I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?
A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good!

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?
A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!! ..... Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
A: Are you crazy? HELLO! Cocoa beans ! Another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?

A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?
A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape!

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.


For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

5. The Germans eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you..

I think that I'll go and have bowl of ice cream and a Pepsi and then head off to bed.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Friday, June 19, 2009, 2:31 PM

I just returned for Hermano Pedro with Alex, his mother, and older sister. Not only was Alex able to see a regular doctor today but he also saw a hart specialist. It appears that there is a slight problem with one of the valves of his hart so the specialist prescribed some medicine that he is to take for a month and then the doctor wants to see him again. Meanwhile no running or any other strenuous activity. This is not going to be easy for Alex because he loves to play soccer.

While I was at Hermano Pedro I went up into the malnutrition ward to see Florinda. They have inserted a feeding tube so hopefully she will gain back some much needed weight. To my knowledge the doctors have not yet determined what she has. Roland and I had thought that a medical student had pinpointed it when he said that she had all of the symptoms of tetanus but her doctor told us that there is no way that she could have stayed alive this long if she had tetanus. Pleas pray that they can figure out what she has before it is to late.

I also spent a bit of time with Jose. Jose who is now nearly 3 years old is no longer 8 pounds but he still looks like a baby. People are really shocked when they see that he can walk.

7:23 PM

I just got back from Antigua. Chris, Donna, Benjamin, and Cindy picked me up and we then went to Hermano Pedro and picked up Fidel. It was his 24th birthday this week and we had promised him that we would take him out for supper. We have been celebrating birthdays with him for several years now. Fidel has no living relatives so he sort of considers us family. Fidel gets pretty lonely at times and this outing meant a lot to him.

Well it is Friday night and my house is rapidly filling up with other kids that are begging for some attention, so I will say, “Goodnight”

Yours in Christ: Dick

"Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.

Mother Teresa

Yours in Christ: Dick


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