* 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 24, 2009

Journal July 18-24, 2009

(Click on any picture to enlarge)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Since the team from Faith Community church will be leaving us tomorrow I am going to take advantage of Blake Witmans daily Journals and post this one in place of mine. I guess that I wlil have to start doing my own journaling again on Sunday or Monday but I sure enjoyed the break. Thanks Blake.


Trip Winding Down

By Blake

I honestly cannot believe that Monday we are jumping on a plane and heading back to the great northwest. The other thing I can’t believe is how much we have gotten done in the time that we have been here. I was chatting with Chris Mooney when we were at Dick’s house, and he said to me that he is AMAZED by how much we have accomplished this week … PRAISE GOD! So today, we worked our fingers to the bone … literally!! I think we had three hand injuries (dont' worry, nothing serious) and I ended the day with a HUGE blister on my thumb.

A majority of the day was spent cleaning out another warehouse and then putting up shelving racks in order to store more wheelchairs. There was a lot of wood cutting, a lot of measuring, and a lot of nailing with really bad nails. We did get a majority of it done however …

Around 4 o’clock we all headed towards Dick’s house. Just around the corner are some soccer fields that we rented for a couple of hours and we got a chance to play some soccer with a lot of Dick’s “kids”. It was a ton of fun, and I think Dick’s boys all enjoyed it as well. One thing though, Guatemalans know how to play soccer, and I think only about 3 or four kids were any good … the rest of us pretty much had a hard time. I remember multiple times where people watching from the stands just laughed at me in my attempt to play the game!! GOOD TIMES!
After soccer we all headed back and had some pizza with all of Dick’s boys over at Dick’s house. What a blessing it was to hang out with these kids for the afternoon and evening. Please continue to be in prayer for Dick and all of these guys as the Lord continues to draw each of them closer and closer to Himself.

Blake failed to mention that he was the highlight of the day and will be the main topic of conversation around my dinner table for the next few months. The kids realy enjoyed what he showed them but I wish that he had explained to them that not every American can remove one of their eyes. Several of my younger kids are still pestering me to do what Blake did.


To close off the night we all came home and did an “affirmation circle”. This is where we go around our entire group, and each person is affirmed by at least three different people. What a great night it was just growing even closer as a group, and enjoying each other’s company. Then it was off to bed …

Sunday, July 19, 2009

5:30am when the firecrackers went off right outside the house for Brycen (it is a Guatemalan tradition to set off firecrackers really early in the morning for birthdays) SO HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO BRYCEN! I have to tell you though, I turned on the light just as they started going off so we could sing to him, and Brycen told me his first thought was “Blake, why are you turning on the light, they are going to see us up in here!!!” Evidently he thought we were being attacked! HAHAHAHA

So the game plan today … we are headed to church with the Mooney’s this morning, then coming back home to finish packing up and then we are going to head to the Mayan Ruins about half an hour away. That should be really interesting as it sounds like they still do blood sacrifices there. Then this afternoon we are headed down to Guatemala City to hook up with Joel VanDyk eand going to attend church with him this evening. We are staying in Guatemala City tonight, and then going to do some wrap up with Joel tomorrow before heading to the airport.

In closing, this trip has been nothing short of amazing. God has revealed Himself in some pretty incredible ways … and each of us in our group have been pushed outside of our comfort zone in many ways. The one song that has continually been in my head this week (almost daily) is the song that says “if we are the body, why aren’t his arms reaching, why aren’t his hands teaching, why aren’t his feet moving … “ I believe we have done that this week. I know God has touched some lives through our group, and we all want to give praise to Him for that. At the same time, I know the people of this country have touched our lives as well. Its always incredible to see that, how those who are being ministered to, end up ministering to us as well. From the orphanage, to the housing project, food distributions, clean up crews, wheel chair distributions, and soccer teams … God’s name has been glorified, and word of Jesus Christ has been spread. We are so blessed to serve a God that is so interested in being intimately involved in our lives. As I was telling Chris yesterday, how incredible is it that a perfect and Holy God chooses to use sinful, wayward, broken, and ugly people in order to bring praise and glory to a God that is sooo Holy, sooo sovereign, and sooo perfect.

In the words of Pastor Tino, “Praise God, Hallelujah, PRAISE GOD!”


Your Fearless Y.P. Blake

Thank you Blake and thank you group.

This morning I had the privilege of seeing Alex get baptized. 11 of my other kids came along and I have a feeling that some of them will soon be following Alex's example.

It looks like I will have to start doing my own journaling again now that Blake is leaving but it was nice to have a bit of a break.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Monday, July 20, 2009

Wow! I just ran into Daryl Flup, a friend that brought a teem in to Hermano Pedro about 6 months ago. I offered to spend a few days showing him and the teem that he brought in this week around Hermano Pedoro and in return Daryl is allowing me to post his journal entries. I guess you are once again going to get to read some one eases perspectives of what God is doing here in Guatemala. I think that you will find Daryl's journals interesting.


Daryl wrote the following.

I’m sorry it has taken me so long to post an update on this blog. We arrived in Guatemala on Saturday after an uneventful trip only to discover that my luggage, along with another team mate’s luggage did not. That meant that most of my clothes, toiletries, and basic needs were left in Houston, along with the cord for my computer. I finally received my suitcase this afternoon, so I am able to communicate at last!

Most of our time has been spent at Hermano Pedro, a special needs hospital for children with Cerebral Palsy. That is where my greatest passion lies. And, as always, I find it to be a place of great joy and great pain. Each child there is a treasure and it fills me with joy to be with them. At the same time, their needs are great and often neglected, so it is painful to see those needs firsthand.

We spent the entire day today at Hermano Pedro and were able to take a group of younger children to the park where we ate, splashed them with water from the fountains, and allowed them to experience fresh air and sunshine. It is such a wonderful experience to see their faces light up and hear their laughter as they dangle their bare feet in the fountains. After spending 20 hours a day in a stainless steel crib a simple walk to the park can seem like heaven.

Our team of seven people are excellent with the children. They are working with children with very severe needs, but are not intimidated at all. They have rolled up their sleeves and gotten to work loving the kids. It is hard to tell who is experiencing greater joy, the kids or our team!

Each afternoon at 5:00 pm we are forced to put the kids in their cribs and leave. They consider that bedtime. The kids are drugged to assure that they sleep, lights are turned out, and they wait for day to come again so the volunteers will be allowed to return. Tonight, I tucked-in several children, including Louis and Gloria who are very near to the hearts of Wanda and me. They are pictured here. Wanda and I choked up as we left these little ones behind for another long night. How we long to bring them back to the motel with us, or better yet, to take them home with us to the states and make them our own.

Please pray for the children of Hermano Pedro both now and in the future. As the church, we cannot allow these little ones to be forgotten. We must do something and we must do it now.

More will follow in the evenings ahead. Thank you for your prayers!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Something to Consider

Each time I return to Guatemala I think that I will not be impacted as strongly as before, but after another day at Hermano Pedro I find myself broken once again. And it was a simple, little insight that did it.

As you read this blog you will likely shift your position numerous times without thinking about it. A limb stiffens, so you stretch it. You notice a point of uncomfortable pressure on your leg, so you move it. You feel an itch, so you scratch it. And you do these things without noticing.

Now, imagine that you could not do those simple movements. Due to a mind trapped within a disabled body even the simple movements you depend on has become impossible. You rely on others completely for those simple actions.

That is the case for many of the children with which we work at Hermano Pedro. We placed them in their beds for the evening at 5:00 pm and they will not move again until someone moves them, most likely tomorrow morning. Imagine the prison like existence that this creates for them. Such a simple fact of life for us is an impossible task for them.

In a loving home these children would be tenderly shifted, moved, and positioned regularly to assure comfort. In an institution they are left unmoved. This awareness troubles me greatly and has left me with three troubling question:

  • What is the church’s responsibility for these children?
  • What can I do to change the lives of these children?
  • What am I willing to do to change their lives? (The most troubling question.)

Today we took a group of eight children to Pollo Campero to eat lunch. They laughed, they played, and they reveled in the simple experience of a meal out with people who loved them. At the completion of the meal we took them to the park and splashed them with water from the fountains. Some of them returned to the hospital soaked, but still glowing from the experience. What a privilege it is to call these little ones my friends. They have taught me more about life than I could ever teach them.

We have had our week rearranged as we have made the decision to cancel our scheduled day at Casa Jackson tomorrow. It has been determined that we are more needed at Hermano Pedro, so the team will be working there again instead. Please pray for our time with them. Also pray for our team that is being deeply impacted by this experience. Pray that God will show each of them what He is calling them to do, and pray that they will have the courage to do it.

Thanks for your prayers!


Dick wrote.

I know that I often complain about how institutionalized Hermano Pedro is and about the amount of time that the kids have to spend in their beds, but I also have to remind myself from time to time that even though there are areas where I would love to see some improvements made this place is doing a wonderful job of helping people who would otherwise have no where else to turn. Each year thousands of people receive needed operations for next to no charge. Children are also regularly admitted into their malnutrition ward that would likely not survive if they did not have this option. Today after looking at some recent pictures of Lionel and Jose I went back through my files and found some pictures of them that were taken only a few months ago. I will let you be the judge as to weather or not this institution is making a difference in the lives of these children.

Jose a few months ago

Jose today


Lionel 8 months ago

Lionel today

Yours in Christ: Dick

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pastor Bill is in town for a few days so today Bill, Carlos, Scot and myself headed down towards the coast. No we did not go there to go swimming or sun baiting although the thought did cross my mind. However I could not talk pastor Bill into it because he had a hole in the elbow of his swimming suit.

Our main purpose of going was to visit with Ronny and his family. I had promised Ronny’s family that we would take them out some where if all of the kids got good marks on there report cards. Guess where we all ended up going. That’s right, I can’t seem to get away from going to Camperos no matter where I am. This one happened to be close to an hour from where they lived but I think that the entire family enjoyed tha car ride as much as the food.

Ronny seems healthier than he was the last time that I saw him and he seems much happier. His Mom told Carlos that just a few weeks ago he accepted Christ into his hart. I can see a big difference in his over all attitude. Ronny used to seem like he was angry with God and mad at the world but now his over all attitude has changed.

Today we also stopped in at the home of Carlos, a boy whom we supply medicine to, thanks to a sponsor. His mother told us that Carlos is no longer having grand mall seizures and is doing much better ever since he started taking the medicine. Today’s timing could not have been better because he was down to a 2 day supply.

Our last stop before heading for home was at the clinic that helps us get needed food and medicine to some other kids that we have sponsors for. Then we headed for home.

Tonight I once again have a house full of hungry kids so I am going to close for now and find them something to eat.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Wednesday, July 22

Worth Fighting For

Written by Daryl Flup

Today was another wonderful yet frustrating day at Hermano Pedro. Anytime we get to spend time with the children there it is wonderful. But often the mindset of the staff can be infuriating.

Those frustrations began shortly after we arrived and were playing with the children in the courtyard. We were approached by nurses and told that we needed to take the children back into the wards because it was too cold for them. (The temperature was in the low 70’s and the children were dressed in several layers and were using blankets.) We were forced to take the children back into the same prison cells which they spend most of their lives. Gradually we began to once again liberate the children into the courtyard after an hour had passed and they allowed us to stay outside that time.

Once again, I want you to understand the typical child’s day at Hermano Pedro. They are awakened at around 6:00 am for baths followed by breakfast followed by a few short hours in wheelchairs, hopefully in the courtyard if the weather is warm enough. Then, it is time for lunch at noon. When they are done eating, the staff will place the kids back in their beds for the rest of the day.

This is particularly frustrating when you are there to love the kids and give them an alternative to their normal existence. As we were there holding and playing with the children the nurses began to come and insist that we put them to bed for “naps.” This nap is in addition to the 13 hours of sleep they receive from 5:00 pm until 6:00 am and the additional hours they sleep because they are sedated during the day. Further, they insist that we put the children down for these naps even if they are sleeping peacefully in our arms.

So, our team quietly rebelled. The children were placed in their beds and, one by one, we would slip into their cribs, quietly remove them, place them in their wheelchairs, and break them out of their prison. While we are here, we have decided to fight for their freedom in every way possible. This afternoon we enjoyed another four hours of freedom with about 15 children whom we liberated from their cages.

There are a handful of faithful people who fight daily for these kids. Dick Rutgers, a man whom I am honored to now call my friend, fights constantly for the dignity of these precious children and their quality of life. The difference he makes is real and tangible and he needs your prayers. Please keep praying for the children of Hermano Pedro.

. . .. .Daryl's complete blog can be found at

http://www.hopeforhome.blogspot.com/ or better yet

. . . . .. Just click on this link.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I had planned on being at Hermano Pedro again today but my car had other plans. For the third time this year the steering of my car tried to go out on me. I am getting better at catching it before all 4 of the bolts break off from the stearing arm like they did the first time that it happened but finding that 2 out of 4 of hem have snapped is a bit nerve racking especially considering that just yesterday I made a 6000 foot curvy decent from here to the coast. Today I strongly recommended to my mechanic that we figure out a remedy for his ongoing problem. He claims that he has found a solution but I have chosen to spend the day at his shop looking over his shoulder. After all he is not the one that will be driving the car.

I did manage to get into town and pay my phone bill so that should be working again in another day or 2. It would be so nice if my bills actually came to me like thay are suppose to. That way I would remember to pay them before things get shut off. Last week I was with out water for 2 days. Come to think of it I have not been in to the electric company for over a month now. Oh well at least my laptop runs on batteries.

Well I just heard my mechanic say a discouraging word so I better go and see what happened.

I finally got my car out of the shop at around 1 PM. My bill for parts and 4 hours of work came to 200 Q ($25). My mechanic didn't have me over for lunch today but he did drive me to the far side of town so that I could pay my telephone bill at no additional charge.

I did spend a few hours in Antigua this afternoon and with Scot's help got a few wheelchairs refitted for the kids at the orphanage. Actually Scott did the majority of the work because I was a bit sluggish today. At around 4:00 PM I headed for home and when I got there I told the kids that I needed 2 hours of down time before opening my house up. It is amazing how fast 2 hours goes by but I do feel more rested and plan on opening the gate in a few minutes.

9:44 PM

The kids all pitched in with setting the table and making supper. I paid Cesar to do the dishes though becasue he needs money so that he can buy new handlebars for his bycicle.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Friday, July 24, 2009, 7:27 AM

I write today’s journal with a heavy hart. Calin has always been like a son to me. This morning I caught him stealing money from my wallet. This has been going on for several months now and although I was 99% sure that he was the one that has been stealing money from me, up until today I could not prove it. At first he would not fess up to taking anything any of the other times that money was missing but after a lengthy conversation he admitted that he was the one that had been steeling from me for several months now.

As we talked more I became aware of just how serious things are becoming in this neighborhood and if he is telling the truth Calin’s steeling is just the tip of the ice burg. To my knowledge Calin has not spent any of the several hundred dollars on himself, Unless of course you call giving protection money to the Gangs so that they do not kill you, spending it on yourself. I do not have all of the details sorted out yet but if this is true it sounds like this gang is serious. Please Pray.

7:58 PM

At 4PM I took Calin over to the wheelchair shop where we met with Chris. At first Calin was hesitant to talk about things but he slowly opened up and told us what has been going on. Evidently several kids in my neighborhood have had there lives threatened but to my knowledge only Calin has been told that he has to bring large amounts of money to the gang leaders. Daniel who was threatened last week is laying low and plans on sneaking into the States within the next few weeks but Calin claims that he has been paying the gangs the protection money that they are demanding. Now his source (steeling from me) has dried up so if he is telling the truth it is uncertain what will happen. I was told that when the same gang robbed Abner a few days ago, one of the adult leaders of the gang told him that there were members in his gang that were Abner’s age that would gladly kill some one on command.

Ever since the gang members stole Daniel’s phone last week Calin and Daniel’s mom has been getting threats over the phone. I have to be careful as well because my phone number is on that phone. Then again perhaps I have already been getting threats but do not know it because of my lack of Spanish. I guess not being able to understand Spanish does have its advantages. There is also a chance that the gang knows where Calin has been getting his money from. It has been suggested to me that I close my house to any of the kids or that I even consider moving. I must admit I gave that some thought, about 20 seconds worth. I know for a fact that some of my kids that are sitting in my house right now would be members of the same gang that is doing all of this were it not for the fact that they have a safe place to go where they know that they are loved. Besides that I know I am right where God wants me. What could be better than that?

Yours in Christ: Dick

Saturday, July 25. 2009

I have done some more talking with both Calin and some of his relatives. All I know at this point is that Alex, Abner, and Daniel were threatened when they were robbed. The jury is still out on Calin. If his 2 aunts were the jurors he wold be guilty of lying. Mom says he is telling the truth but this is the same lady that he gave his stolen money to in his younger days. If he is not telling the truth about paying protection money to the gang leaders he is a really good at lying and a rich boy. Either way he did steal from me so even though I will stay in close contact and see him regularly he is not allowed into my house for a long long time.

Yours in Christ: Dick


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