* 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)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Journal July 25-31

(Click on any picture to enlarge)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

After all that has been going on this past week I decided that I needed a brake. Knowing that Alex’s family had been through a lot with having nearly every member of their family in and out of the hospital the past few months I figured that they needed a day of relaxation as well. Since their family and a large cooler of food did not entirely fill up my car I decided that not taking Abner and Fernando along to the beach with us would be just be a waist of empty space. This was the first time seeing the ocean for several members of Alex’s family. Mom had been there before but that was 20 years ago.

Hard to believe since it is only an hour and a half drive to the Ocean from Chimaltenango. It was good for me to get my mind off from what has been going on here and judging by the faces of Alex’s family it was just what the doctor ordered. Tomorrow I will try to deal with reality but it felt good to get away even if it was for only a day.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Sunday, July 26, 2009, 9:53 PM

This is a picture of some of the kids that attend the church that I go to. None of my kids are in the picture. I guess they don’t qualify as angles. During the past few days I had to kick Calin out of my house for stealing. I also had to talk to Abner about why he suddenly ran away from the home of his uncle and aunt who he has been living with for all of his life. He is also talking about trying to sneak into the Sates with Daniel. Later today I sat down and let the entire group know that I am able to track wherever they go on the Internet even when I am not in the room. I didn’t point any one out but Cesar was certainly looking uncomfortable. All of them are aware that if what has happened happens again there will be no more Internet.

On a positive note this morning my car was jammed full of kids that wanted to attend church and even if none of them were nominated for the Halos that the kids in the picture above are wearing I would not trade them for the world. Yes some of them break my hart at times by some of the things that they do but God has given me an unconditional love for them.

This morning they made an announcement that there was going to be a Christian concert in our church this evening. When they announced that it was going to be free I figured that I could afford to take some of my kids to it. However tonight it did not take long to figure out that even if it were free, we had been overcharged. I have stated before that here in Guatemala the worse the band is the louder they play or sing. This evening certainly confirmed that. It also confirmed that I am not totally deaf to high pitch Screechy sounds. All this just one night after a rock band had a concert just across the street from my place. Now all of my kids are as deaf as I am and they no longer believe that I am the worst singer in the world.

Well things have finally quieted down around here, at least to the best of my knowledge they have, so I am going to head off to bed.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Monday, July 27, 2009, 9:28 PM

No school again today. Why? Who knows? Cesar and Esben came along with me to Hermano Pedro today and they were thrilled when they found out that the kids were going to swim today. Why they only put 6 to 8 kids into the pool on the rare Mondays that they do swim is beyond me but at least that hand full of kids had a good time. We were going to take a few of the kids out to lunch after swimming but since there were a few volunteers there that offered to help us work on wheelchairs I figured that I would take advantage of it and work on chairs instead. We worked mostly with the kids from the malnutrition ward today and even though only one of them received a new wheelchair several of the kids got modifications to their wheelchairs that made a world of difference.

At around 3 PM I took the 2 men that had been helping us over to Hope Haven’s wheelchair factory and showed tem around. While I was there Mark gave me 2 wheelchairs that I planned on taking to El Salvador on Wednesday.

The boys and I then headed for home and after grabbing a hamburger we met up with most of the other kids in the neighborhood and then we rented a soccer field for an hour. Even though the game was played on cement no one got hurt but due to an extra hard kick the new soccer ball that I had just been given is now due for a hernia operation.

Only 2 showers were taken at my house tonight I took the first one then about 5 of my kids took the second one. Judging by the laughter and the amount of water that was running out of the door of my bathroom I think that the kids had a good time. Later tonight I will try to build up the courage to go and see what my bathroom looks like. It is times like these that I am glad that it is not connected to my house, but I am also thankful for high walls because the bathroom was evidently too crowded for all of the kids when it was time to get dressed.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Today I had planned on getting ready for a 2 day trip to El Salvador. Dennis Matter, a friend from the States who spends a good deal of time in El Salvador asked me if I could bring some wheelchairs there for 2 kids that needed them. Carlos a friend from El Salvador who volunteers at Hermano Pedro had planned on going with me as well. Since I had not been out of country in nearly 2 and a half years I had to locate my passport. When I did I discovered that it had expired 4 months ago so there was no way that I could leave the country. Thus my plans to go to El Salvador have been delayed for a few weeks and today I had to go to the embassy in Guatemala City and apply for a new passport.

While I was in the City I stopped off and visited with a man who had been shot and paralyzed by bandits about 2 years ago. I am hoping that I can get a power wheelchair that some one sent in from the States, set up with a head control unit.

My friend Daryl Flup and his teem are now back in the States. Daryl plans on bringing other teems into the orphanage in the not to distant future. I don’t know what he does to prepare his teems but I am looking forward to Daryl’s return. Here is what Daryl wrote after getting back to the USA.

(On Tuesday July 28 Daryl wrote)

Faces that Follow

Well, we are home again. The last two days have been filled with unpacking and catching up with my other life here in the States. But as I settle back in I find that there are some faces that follow me and come to mind often. I want to take a moment to introduce them to you and ask you to pray for them in the days ahead.

Delmi is one of the most ignored children in Hermano Pedro. From a human standard she is homely. Her large ears and bulbous nose are not exactly cover girl material for today’s magazines. Yet she is beautiful. She and I spent a large part of the day together on Monday of our trip. She went with us to the park and enjoyed a break from the prison of Hermano Pedro. At one point, I took off her socks and placed her twisted feet into the fountain and helped her splash the water. Her face lit up with a beautiful smile and she laid her head over against my chest. Delmi is precious and wonderful and she needs someone to show her that truth.

Byron is an incredibly sharp young man with a wonderful sense of humor and a joy for life. This joy radiates from him despite the situation in which he lives. Dick Rutgers has fitted him with an electric wheelchair that he steers with his head because his arm control is not sufficient, and he spends every moment that he is out of his crib speeding around the facilities of Hermano Pedro. It is so easy to see the twisted, disabled body on the outside and miss what wonderful intelligence and wit lies inside. He is such a fun person for those who take the time to know him. He needs someone to talk to him as a young man and see the sharp mind and humor that lies inside.

Louis is a little guy who capture the heart of my daughter, Krishauna, on our last Guatemala trip. He has also captured the hearts of Wanda and I. After long periods with little interaction he is slow to respond and even slower to smile. But with a few hours of attention from someone who loves him he will make noises attempting to talk, connect through strong eye contact, and is quick to smile and laugh. He has become our son and we love him deeply. Simply put, Louis needs a family (just as all the children do) to love him, encourage him, talk to him, and hold him.

Gloria is a beautiful eight year old girl whose smile can light up a room. Until this trip we believed, due to the staff and some volunteers, that she was deaf. However, during the time we spent with her we realized that she was startled by loud noises. She practices self stimulation by brushing her hand across her lips in a rapid manner. She too has become our child and we are head over heals in love with her. She needs a family who believes in her, advocates for her, and loves her with passion. Our arms feel especially empty without her in them.

I have highlighted four of the wonderful children from Hermano Pedro, but they are just a sampling of the hundreds of beautiful and incredible children, teens, and adults who fill their wards. I have grown to love and respect every one of them. That is why I struggle so much each time I leave them behind. When I am there I feel like a father to each of them, and when I am away I feel as if a part of me is missing.


Perhaps you would like to join Daryl on one of his trips to Guatemala where you can get to know these gifts from God as he has. To find more info or to sign-up to go along with Daryl, go to


You’ll change lives…including your own.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Today most of my day was spent at Hermano Pedro orphanage seating kids in wheelchair. Getting the kids seated properly is not always an easy task but it is a rewarding one.

This evening I went over to the Elmer’s home to celebrate his birthday. Sunday is Calin’s birthday I am still trying to figure out what to do about that. In the past I have always had a party for him but after I caught him stealing from me it make things a bit harder.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Once again a good part of my day was spent fixing wheelchairs at Hermano Pedro. Two men from the USA have been helping me the past few days and we are making a bit dent in what has to be done. All work and no play makes Dick a dull boy though so we did talke time out to take 2 of the kids out to lunch. I had fully intended on heading for home at around 3:00 Pm but then I made the mistake of going up into the malnutrition ward to say goodbe to a few of the kids.

"It is never easy to say goodbye to the kids at the orphanage but for some reason this evening it was especially hard."

"What I thought was goint to be a quick goodbye ended up taking well over an hour."

"It's pretty hard to just smile and wave goodbye when the children cry out with their eyes, to be held."

"I usually hate long goodbyes but were it not for a bunch of kids waiting for me at home I could have stayed a lot longer."

Yours in Christ: Dick

Friday, July 31, 2009

Today Fernando, Cesar, Scott and myself brought food and medical supplies to some families that were in need. Our first stop was at one of my favorites, the home of Maria and her 4 children. Although her 2 sons were still in school we received a warm welcome from Maria and her other 2 children. Although she had never seen Scott before maria's little girl ran streight to him when he held out his arms. I was hard to believe that this same little girl use to run and hide when ever an American came on the yard. Maria's youngest son and her sister in laws son were both a bit sick so we left some medicine with Maria. We left a few toys for Maria's 2 boys who were still at school and alos gave some food and toys to a few neighborhood children who evidently did not attend school.

From there we headed to where another Maria lives this Maria who is in her late twenties use to come to camp with her brother and sister who like Maria were also in wheelchairs. About 2 years ago maria's sister died and a year ago her brother Fidel passed away. Up until a few months ago Maria could still walk a bit with the use of a walker but she is now confined to her wheelchair. After visiting a while and giving this family some vitamins, medicine and food, I brought out my portable printer and printed some pictures that I had taken. Talk about a hit, the family loved the pictures.

Alex and his mom had spent the night in San Marteen so I figured that since we were close I would call them and see if they wanted a ride back to Chimaltneango. They immediately said yes as the curvy mountain roads are bad enough in a car but down right scary in an old school buss.

After getting back to Chemaltenango Scot and I took the boys out for supper and then we brought Scott back to Antigua.

Before I send this out I will give a quick update on a few of the kids.

Alex- is still not back in school but seems to be doing a lot better. as far as I know he has not had any panic attacks for quite some time now.

Calin- is still barred form my house for stealing. Sunday is his birthday but I will not have a party for him this year. I am still not 100% sure weather or not a neighborhood gang was making him pay protection money but either way he has to realize that he can not steal. last night I talked with him over the phone and told him that I would pay him a visit on Sunday. Please pray that God gives me wisdom in how to deal with Calin.

Abner- is still living with his grandmother. He refuses to go back and live with his aunt and uncle. Since they live right next to me he is staying away form my house as well. I have heard that he may be getting ready to try to sneak into the states with Daniel. I will miss him.

The other kids that hang out here are all doing quite well but Fernando really misses Abner. Even though they are uncle and nephew there is only 2 years difference in their ages and those 2 are like brothers.

Florinda- The 3 year old that we brought into the malnutrition ward of Hermano Pedro a few weeks ago is gaining weight but her muscles continue to spasm and at times she appears to be in a lot of pain.

Edwin- The 21 pound 9 year old that we brought in to malnutrition a few weeks ago is g doing well. Now that he is getting something more nourishing than tortillas and sugar water he is gaining weight.

Jose- Little 11 pound 3 year old Jose is doing quite well. He still has problems eating a large variety of foods so it will be difficult for his family to feed him when he goes back home. He is a feisty one and a survivor though. It still amazes me to see some one who is not much larger than a new born baby walking around.

-Although Lionel's health and weight have greatly improve since he first arrived at Herman Pedro he still misses his family and cries a lot when he is not being held.

"Each one of them is Jesus in disguise."

Mother Teresa

Yours in Christ: Dick


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