* 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, July 11, 2009

Journal, July 5-11, 2009

(Click on any picture to enlarge)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I have not done any journaling for the last few days because Stephen had been visiting here from Washington State. Having Cerebral Palsy has not slowed Stephen up in taking part in all of the things that he and Pat and Garry Hawkens have joined me in doing during their 8 day visit. I have already journaled what took place from Tuesday June 30 through Saturday July 4, so now I will briefly share some of the things that took place from Sunday July 5 up until today.

Sunday morning the 4 of us plus several of my neighborhood kids went to church and then Garry and Pat treated the crew to Pizza at Piccadilly’s. Once we got back home some of my Boys tried to show their appreciation by styling Garry’s hair for him. Gary took it well but once the hair was styled he was a bit shocked when Calin wanted to apply car polish to the parts of his head that did not need combing. Pat convinced the kids that her hair did not need to be restyled. Later in the day we brought some food out to a needy family.

Monday the four of us went to Antigua and spent time with the orphanage kids. Pat works at Lynden School district, as a para educator with special needs children. She and Gary also care for special needs kids in their home and there love for children is obvious. The orphanage is also one of Stephen’s Favorite places to visit. Being in a wheelchair himself did not keep him from loving on the orphanage kids.

Most of our evenings were spent at my house, which was usually jammed full of kids. I managed to get away and visit with Stephen once or twice but it was hard to break away from the other kids. That was OK though because Stephen loved visiting with them and I was amazed how well they could understand each other.

Pat and Gary do not know any Spanish but those of my kids that spoke English were more than willing to interpret for them. Even when there was no one available to interpret, the kids at my house and those in the orphanage had no problem understanding that Gary, Pat and Stephen loved them.

Tuesday was also spent at the orphanage. I had promised to take a group of 8 students through the orphanage and since none of them had much experience working with special needs kids Gary and Pat’s expertise was a big help. We took 8 of the orphanage kids out to lunch.

Wednesday night I only got about 2 and a half hours of sleep. I had to get up at 3:45 to take Gary, Pat and Stephen back to the airport but for some reason I woke up at 12:30 and could not get back to sleep. There is not much traffic on the road at that time of the morning so I did manage to get them to the airport and them get back home in time to catch another half hour of sleep before heading out to meet up with another group that I had promised to take through the orphanage. We had planned on taking some of the teen age boys out to eat with us at noon but it started to rain while we were still at the orphanage so not wanting to have a repeat performance of Friday we canceled out outing and stayed at the orphanage and helped feed the kids. This was perhaps for the best anyway because as sleepy as I was I would have likely gotten the entire group lost on our walk to Camperos.

After lunch I took a few of the volunteers up to the malnutrition ward. Florinda’s mother and sister have been here visiting with her for a few days and they are thrilled to see that she is improving. I was afraid that she was not going to make it when Roland and I brought her in a few weeks ago but she is now gaining weight and is also a lot more responsive. She still has a long way to go so please keep her in your prayers.

When I got home tonight Fernando was the only one around. He told me that the other kids had gathered up enough money to rent a soccer field so I figured that I was safe in asking him if he wanted to go out for a quick hamburger. By the time I got to the end of my alley there were 5 of us in my car. Seems that some of my kids can smell food before it is even ordered. Even Alex who is now back home from the hospital managed to some how find out that I was going out to eat and put in his order to me by telephone.

When we got back home I brought Alex’s hamburger over to his house. He is still in bed but doing a lot better. The doctors say that his hart is OK but his nervous system is a bit messed up. It seems that the medicine that they have him on is working though because he is improving from day to day.

Today Thursday I am sort of taking a day off. I do have to get caught up on this journal, have a lot of errands to run, and the kids will be getting out of school at noon but I may try to find the time to relax for an hour or 2 if I can’t think of anything bet………… . Saved by the bell! I just got a call from an orphanage in Parommas. The therapist there says that she has 3 kids that are in need of wheelchairs. Since I have nothing better to do I may as well drive down there and take a look at them.

8:43 PM

WOW! This orphanage looks like Club Med compared to most that I have been in. Only a hand full of its 250 residents are special needs but they are really taken care of. I am not sure just how they are financed but the staff to patient ratio is one to one. The 3 kids that I looked at today all had wheelchairs but they had outgrown them. One of the 2 girls is severely deformed and will take a lot to fit. I am going to try to get a wheelchair for her as soon as possible because without one she will worsen fast. The boy that I looked at is paralyzed on his entire right side so I am thinking about putting him into a power wheelchair.

While I was at this orphanage I received a phone call from Calin telling me that Alex was having problems. By the time I reached his house he was doing somewhat better so we decided not to take him back to the hospital. I hope that the doctors are right when they say that there is nothing wrong with his hart but his condition still worries me.

Tonight my house is serving as a dormitory for around 4 kids so I think that I will go and see if they are hungry. (Let me rephrase that.) I will go and see what they are hungry for.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Friday, July 10, 2009

This morning 15 children received wheelchairs at a distribution that we had here in Chimaltenango. The teens that I took through Hermano Pedro orphanage at the beginning of the week took part in the distribution. Not only did they help in fitting the wheelchairs but they also got the opportunity to share there testimonies, pray with, and love on the families that came to receive the wheelchairs. Some of the kids were quite severe and took a fare amount of time but since we had a lot of willing helpers everything went quite smoothly and by noon all 15 of the kids were on there way home with new wheelchairs.
I took Cesar along to the distribution since he had no school today. His English is not as good as that of some of the other kids in my neighborhood but what he lacked in ability to interpret he made up for in willingness to work on wheelchairs.

After the distribution Cesar and I headed off to Antigua and had lunch with my friend Paul. After lunch we stopped off at the orphanage to visit the kids and do a quick repair job on Fidel’s power wheelchair. His front wheel was falling off and he was worried that he would not be able to make it to his computer class on Saturday. Fidel who uses his feet to operate his computer is doing quite well with the computer and loves going out to school on Saturdays.

After repairing Fidel’s wheelchair we spent some time visiting with the kids, most of whom were already in bed for the day. We couldn’t stay long though because I had promised the kids that we would rent a soccer field at 5 PM. Paul knows most of my kids from when he lived in Guatemala for a few years so he eagerly came along and joined us. After the game all 20 of us walked over to the little stand in front of Camperos and had Pizza.

After pizza Paul, a few of the kids and myself went over and visited Alex. Alex seemed to be doing a bit better today but that we short lived because shortly after bringing Paul back to Antigua I received a phone call asking me to come over to his house. Alex’s pulse was racing and his blood pressure was quite high when I tested it. It seems like he is having panic attacks but I wish that there was some way that we could have someone other than the doctors at the national hospital check him out. After a short time his blood pressure dropped back down to normal and he started feeling better. I got back home shortly before midnight and found that the 3 kids that were at my house when I rushed over to Alex’s had settled in for the night.

Well it is time for bed so I am gong to say, “Goodnight”.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Saturday, July 11, 2009

This morning my landlady came over and asked what I wanted to do about the tree in my yard that is threatening to take over the neighborhood. I am Actually quite fond of this tree but the route system is spreading out so far that it is thrusting to destroy the wall that runs along my property line. I guess the tree is going to have to go. My kid have mixed emotions about it because they love climbing it and enjoy the shade that it provides however more than once it has proved itself to be an unmovable obstacle when one of the kids made contact with it while playing soccer in my yard.

As I looked around my yard I realized that some of the smaller trees and bushes were no longer all that small either. With the incentive of a few Q and a promise that I would once again rent a soccer field if the job was well done, the kids went to work on trimming things down to size.

I went over to see Alex this morning and spoke some more with mother. She is convinced that there is nothing physically wrong with him and asked me if I would try to talk him into coming along to watch our soccer game today.

Shortly before arriving at his house his older sister Gladys scalded her arm when she accidentally spilled some boiling water on it. This family has been going through many health issues lately. Please keep them in your prayers.

Well it is almost time for our soccer game. Then at around 8:00 PM I plan on heading off to the airport to pick up the teem of 15 young people who are coming in from my home church in Lynden Washington to spend the next 10 days working with us.

I guess I better get this sent out while I can because we have a lot planned while this teem is here. Please pray for Chris and Donna's family and myself because as much as we enjoy the teams we do get tired.

Yours in Christ: Dick


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