* 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, July 17, 2009

Journal, July 12-17, 2009

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:"

. . ."To look after orphans and widows in . . . their.distress,"

"And to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

James 1:27

Saturday night a teem of 14 teens and their leaders from my home church in Lynden Washington arrived here in Guatemala. I am not sure what took place during the past few months while they were preparing for this visit but I dare to say a lot of there time was spent in prayer in allowing God to give them a servant's hart. Yesterday after church I had the privilege of taking them and some of my boys through the orphanage at Hermano Pedro and seeing love put into action. Today several of them returned there with me and I once again witnessed Christ's love in action. Rather than ramble on about what took place I will let the pictures do the talking.


Blake who is the youth leader of this group from Faith Community Church, has been doing some journaling. The following is some of what Blake wrote.

If you would like to read Blake's total account of their mission trip and see more photos,

Sunday, July 12, 2009

After lunch we headed to the orphanage for the rest of the day. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE! For those who have not heard, seen pictures, or been there yourself, it is a hospital where individuals with disabilities (mental and physical) stay. There are different wings for the adults, teens, and younger. Dick Rutgers took us through each area during our mini tour of the place, and then we ended up with the younger kids at the end for about 2 1/2 hours of just loving up on them. Many of the young kids-teens who stay at this hospital are left in bed for over 20 hours a day, and the only time they really get much attention is either when they are fed, or when groups like ours come in. Words do not describe what this was like, and I only hope that the pictures will give you even half a feel for the emotion of spending time with these kids. As Mike warned, some of us got peed on (I know Jill got peed on again, Jenny did, as well as myself three times!) but the joy/hurt/sorrow/excitment/anxiety/contemptment and any other emotion you can think of was just phenominal. I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story b/c words really can not describe the experience. All I can say is that each member of our group was AWESOME. Within the first 15 minutes, each person had pulled a kid out of a crib and was just loving up on them … very incredible to see.

Monday, July 13, 2009

...........we split up into three groups; one went to the orphanage, one went to a wheel chair distribution, and one went on a truck delivering/picking up wheel chair parts.

The group that went with Jenny back to the orphanage consisted of Austin, Maddy, Jill, Krista, Josh, and Seth. Monday’s are swim therapy day for a lot of the kids at the orphanage, so they all got the chance to take a handful of the kids into the pool for a couple of hours. This may seem so very little, but from everything Jenny told me, our students where just incredible, even to the extreme that a group of physical therapists that were there at the same time ended up just watching our students as they played with the kids … watching what they did, how they did it, and the pure joy that the children were having. It sounded like the pool became the grand central of the entire complex b/c the children were having so much fun and were just yelling and screaming in delight. Even the nuns who work there flocked to the pool to watch and experience it (a couple of them even got in a water fight with Austin and Josh!!!)

Next that group took a few of the younger adult men out for lunch to Pollo Compero in order to get them out of the hospital for a little while. This was not a simple job either as a majority can not feed themselves, but was still and incredible blessing to both our students and the individuals from the hospital. Once lunch was done it was off to the park to hang out there. Some even had some wheel chair races with our students doing the leg work for those!!

From everything Jenny told me … she as well as Mike and I are SOOO proud of the way this group handled themselves in what is a very difficult ministry. It was awesome lsitting around a circle and hearing each of those students talk about their experience. The students were blessed, and I know the individuals from the hospital had a tremendous day filled with joy and excitement from having our group in there shining the love of Christ!!


"Thanks Gang!"


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More from Blake.

Today was yet another tremendous day. As I mentioned we split into two groups with one going to begin building a house which our group is going to produce, and the other went out on a food distribution.

The first group, the housing project group, all came back from their day pretty much exhausted! From what I hear they worked VERY hard mixing and pouring the concrete for the foundation of the new house. During the day while they were working, many said the people who the home is being built for were just standing, watching, and SMILING the entire time! Like Jenny Scotter said last night in our debriefing time, God’s work does not always mean speaking words, sometimes it just means doing the work … and that is what they did.

The other group came with me as we went out on food distributions. Night before last we put together food gifts containing big bags of rice, beans, sugar, veggie oil, amongst other things. Then we went with Saul and Hannah (the Mooney’s daughter), and Pastor Tino (the Mooney’s pastor) to six different homes to bless these people, to encourage them, and to pray over them. I know for me personally it was probably the most powerful day yet. It was incredible to see the living conditions of some of these people, but even more incredible to see the hand of God as we went from house to house. At one stop, the mother who was home began to cry as she explained that her husband had no job b/c of the economy, and just the night before they used up the last of their food for them and their daughters. She had to call her mother to get a little bit for breakfast but a small pot of black beans was all her mother could spare. Then we walk through the door with a huge bag of food for them. IT WAS AN INCREDIBLE MOMENT!!! PRAISE GOD!!!!


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

By Blake

For me, each day seems to go by faster and faster, and I think I'm starting to feel a bit at home here with the crazy busy streets, the bikers going everywhere, and the speed bumps every 50 feet ….

As we were finishing with dinner and beginning our debrief/devotion time (as we do every night) we were talking about this blog, and the students were talking about things they think I should write on here …. or more specifically things I SHOULD NOT write on here. I wanted to give you a couple of examples as we had some good laughs …


I don’t want anyone getting any wrong ideas ha ha ha ….


*Prayer request: Praise God that things have gone well so far, but be praying that we find the 7 who never made it back to the house yesterday evening.

*Be in prayer for Brycen and Austin as they minister in the federal Prison after being arrested.

*Things are going really well, except for the fact that the local gurillas have taken over the government, and we are not allowed to leave the house … hopefully we can find a way home within the next year.

*Be in prayer while we travel, to Honduras, as the gurillas and rebels of the Guatemalan government have taken control, and we are fleeing before we are found and executed.

*Everyone is doing really well … but be in prayer for Chealsea as she had a little accident out in the cornfield with a machete. Good news is, we found her foot and even though it is on ice, she says she still has the sensation it is connected to her leg. Bad news … the doctors here have never seen something like this, but are simply going to “give it a shot” … we will keep you updated.

*PRAISE FOR THE DAY!!!: Five members from our group got married yesterday … to locals!!! Don’t worry though, we took lots of videos and lots of pictures. I’ve looked through all of them, and when you see them, you will feel like you were there. And Dan and Shelba, Dana and her husband are going to be honeymooning up to Alaska, as soon as he is finished with his duty in the Guatemalan military in three years. Dana says they look forward to coming up and saying hi!!

*We had a rough couple of days after we ran out of clean drinking water. Don’t worry though, we got all the drinking water we need after we sold our souls to the local mayan witchdoctor. (RUTH AND DARREN, THIS ONE IS THANKS TO YOUR SON JOSH … ISN'T IT A GOOD ONE?!)

OK … back to reality … there were many more, but I didn’t want to write all of them out and bore you, maybe more tomorrow ha ha ha ha.

So our group yesterday that headed out on food distribution were TOTALLY blessed as they blessed other families. One story that really jumped out to me was a mother who’s son was in an accident and really destroyed his foot and leg. Because she has had to spend more time caring for him, she was fired from her job and now can not find one that allows her to also care for her son. It has also been incredible to see that I think all of the houses we have gone to bless, the focus of almost all of the problems have been a husband/father who is a drunk and physically harms the wife. Just so sad to see such a WIDESPREAD epidemic of this.

One aawesome thing to report (for real): When we went to the houses on the food distribution, Pastor Tino would just point to one of our students and ask “what do you have to say to this woman” or “what do you have to say to bless and encourage this family”. Now, this really put a lot of our team “on the spot” but every single one of them, EVERY TIME, had such mature, thoughtful, encouraging, and biblical things to say. It was so incredible as leaders to see our students step up to the plate like that, and really shine God’s love to these people!

Meanwhile, the other group headed up to the place where the foundation was poured the day before. Working with Howie (a helper with the Mooney’s) we put up the frame and the tin … and then finalized the house for the woman who we were blessing. It was awesome to see our group work so well together, continue to encourge each other, and get so much done in one day. One thought that was brought up last night in our debriefing time was how the woman was so estatic to be getting a new home, meanwhile, to us, the house was more like a mini shed we would have in our backyard. Totally put things in perspective, that is for sure ….

To finish off the day, we all went back to the wheelchair warehouse and got things ready for our job today … a big wheelchair distribution!! We are brining somewhere around 45 or 50 wheelchairs, and Chris told us last night that he is planning on giving away every single Bible that we have … so PRAISE HIM!! We are definetely looking forward to helping and encouraging these people as well as encourage them spiritually through prayer as well as our skit. I am sure we will have some tremendous stories to tell you tomorrow morning.


To read Blake's total account of their mission trip and see more photos,

Click Here

Dick writes,

Other then dinner and devotional time Tuesday evening I did not spend much time with the group on Tuesday or Wednesday. No, I didn't take a few days off, although I am still considering doing that someday. I simply had other commitments that I had to keep.

One of those commitments included meeting up with Deb, a missionary from Guatemala City and trying to get 9 year old Edwin into the malnutrition ward of Hermano Pedro. Deb had contacted me a few weeks ago and told me about Edwin who lives with his mother and other siblings in a house that is built from corn stalks and black plastic. Edwin who weighs in at 21 pounds and has CP. He was not thriving on his diet of corn tortes and sugar water and Deb had asked me if there was anyway that we could get him in to Hermano Pedro’s malnutrition ward. You may think that at that weight it would be no problem but Edwin was almost too healthy and only because of a lot of prayer, persistence and a kindly doctor, did we get the papers signed that started an all day process of finally getting him admitted into the malnutrition ward. Fact is Deb came in with Edwin on Tuesday afternoon and we did not get out of Hermano Pedro until 6:00 pm on Wednesday night.

Since Deb was there with Edwin I managed to break away to do other things at times. Some of my activities included getting several of the orphanage kids seated into new wheelchairs, and giving a wheelchair to a young man that had been shot in a robbery. Thanks to a mom who decided that the perfect one month vacation for her and her 2 daughters would be volunteering at an orphanage, we got to take 3 of the orphanage kids out to Camperos for lunch. You may think that somewhere like Disney Land would have been a far better choice of places for a mom to take her 2 young daughters for a months vacation but I think that these 2 girls would beg to differ with you. You would not believe the love that they have for the kids at Hermano Pedro. Fact is mom told me that they had a few days planned for other activities but her daughters begged her to change those plans so that they could spend more time at the orphanage loving on the kids.

Tomorrow I plan on once again joining the teem as we have a rather large wheelchair distribution planned in Chimaltenango.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Another Amazing Day

by Blake

Have you ever had one of those days where once it is finished and you sit back and think about it, all you can really say is “WOW, God is so awesome”? I think it is fair to say we had one of those days, b/c as I sit here and try to think about what to relay to everyone back home, I almost have a hard time comprehending everything that took place.

We helped with a big wheelchair distribution in the city of Chimaltenango, and what a day it turned out to be, but before I get into some of the things God did, let me just relay once again what an incredible group we have. Not only did we fit over 30 wheelchairs in four hours (when Chris thought it would take us at least 6 or 7) … but Chris mentioned to us how impressed he was by our entire groups ability to just roll up our sleeves and dive right in. He said not once did he see anyone hesitate to help anyone, no matter what condition that person may have been in. Evidently not every group is like ours ha ha ha, but I guess I knew that already, we have a very special group.

I know after spending quite some time debriefing, that each of us have a story of what happened that just reveals God’s hand and Glory. I wish I could share each and every one with you, but obviously I dont have the time or space to do that, so I am going to break it down to about two or three of them, and then just allow the pictures to talk for themselves.

To begin the morning, Chris spoke to everyone explaining to those that showed up for wheelchair what this was all about, why they do it, etc … and then he had our group perform our “Lifehouse - Everything” skit. This is the same skit that our youth did at Easter a couple years back. It became quite obvious how much Satan DID NOT want us to do it, as about 30 seconds into the skit, the cd began to skip. This cd was pulled out of a brand new case just yesterday morning when I burned it from my computer, and as we looked at it to try and get it fixed, it was scratched as if it had been carried around in a bag for years … BUT, God once again was in control as one of the workers at the shop right next door heard it, and had the EXACT SAME SONG on his MP3 player, ran it over and hooked it up to some speakers, and AWAY WE WENT!! At the end of the day Chris came up to me to tell me something that still gives me goosebumps. After people were fitted for a wheelchair they were sent over for a one on one prayer/ministry time with some of Chris’s helpers. Evidently one man who had brought in his son had the following to say in that time.

I have brought my children to church my entire life, every week, yet I have never been a believer. I go in to church and come out of church, and have never changed. But this morning, as I was watching that skit, my eyes were opened to everything. Everything became so clear, I began to see what is really going on in my life …

He was then asked if he wanted to give his life over to the Lord, and accept Christ as his savior … at which he replied …

“Please, I would love to.”

PRAISE GOD!!!!!!!!!! Like Chris said to us last night, “If any of you were wondering why God had you here this week, you don’t have to look any further than that.”

Another just amazing example of God’s hand was with a little girl who came to be fitted for a chair. She had some serious abnormalities in her body and her growth, so had to be worked on at one of the “specialty stations” … this one was a family affair with Dick Rutgers and his Nephews son Josh tag teaming this fitting. Anyways, evidently there has been a chair that Chris received weeks back, and Dick has been on Chris for WEEKS to get the back of the wheelchair switched out b/c “no one would ever fit into it.” The back of the chair was at such a drastic angle, that Dick did not foresee anyone ever fitting into it, and if they did not change the back, they would never be able to use the chair. Anyways, as Dick was trying to find a chair for this girl, he thought of this chair that he has been trying to get rid of, and grabbed it just in case … sure enough … it fit absolutely perfectly!! Almost as if it were designed just for this little girl ;)!


Thanks Blake for allowing me to use your journal entries. It made doing this weeks journal a breeze for me.

Thanks Teem for allowing yourselves to be used by God in so many ways this week. It made this week a wonderful experience for all of us.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Friday, July 17, 2009

Today we took the crew to Panajachel for a day of fun and relaxation. Most of them went zip-lining but since I had done that before I became more focused in on the relaxation part. In the afternoon they all went Junk shopping in some of Panajachel’s Souvenir shops. For the sake of those with week stomachs I will not post any pictures of that. Chris and I stayed behind at the restaurant where the group had lunch and visited. This was not a hard decision for me because I rate shopping for trinkets right up there with going to the dentist. Our guests all had a great day although a few of them gave riding in a car down the narrow mountain roads the same rating that I gave Souvenir shopping.

I was intending to stay and have devotions with the teem at Chris and Donna’s house tonight but on our way home from Panajachel I received a phone call from Calin saying that Alex, Abner, and Daniel had been robbed at gunpoint by a dozen gang members. The gang took their shoes, shirts and cell phones. They also took the bicycle that Daniel had just bought to replace the one that was stolen from him last month. Alex, who had just returned to school after being home for 2 weeks due to anxiety attacks, was slugged so hard in the stomach that he vomited and both Abner and Daniel were both struck with machetes but neither of them was seriously hurt. All 3 are pretty shook up especially since they were told that they would be killed if they told anyone who robbed them. I asked them this evening if they wanted to tell the police what had happened but they said that the police would do nothing about it. Unfortunately I know that they are right. Even though the police will do nothing, the gang that robbed them will retaliate if the police are told. Although I do not agree with is I can see why citizens in many villages and towns in Guatemala are taking the law into their own hands by forming vigilantly groups.

I went over to see Alex’s family this evening and his mother is very worried about him. She told me that she called his phone number shortly after Alex was robbed and the person that answered it said that he was going to kill Alex just because alex's mom called his phone. Alex's mom is talking about having Alex go and stay with relatives in the city just in case the person that had Alex’s phone meant business. If this were the USA I would say the robber was only making an idle threat but here in Guatemala I have seen people get shot over things that make absolutely no sense. Just 2 days ago 2 people were shot outside of a bank that is located only a few blocks from here. It is my understanding that they were shot even though they handed there money over to the robbers.

Please pray for Alex, Abner, and Daniel. All 3 boys are very frightened.

Yours in Christ: Dick


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