* 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)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Journal August 1-6

“Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it.”

“Well, why don’t you ask Him?”

“Because I am afraid He would ask me the same question.”

"What if there are children who will suffer somehow because I failed to obey God? What if my cowardice costs even one child somewhere in the world his or her life?"

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Today Chris, Donna, Nanette,(our teacher) Several adults, mostly from Hermano Pedro, Three of my kids from home, and the seven orphanage kids that attend our school all headed down to the Science center in Guatemala City. This was a birthday celebration for Sonia who is turning fifteen tomorrow. Here in Guatemala a girls fifteenth birthday is usually celebrated in a big way. Although Sonia’s party did not take on a wedding like atmosphere like most girls fifteenth birthdays do it still meant a lot to her. Fact is we all had a great time. We even gave her the next best thing to a formal dinner. Much to the delight of Sonia and the other kids this science center has a Camperos attached. No three tear cakes but individual the vanilla cup cakes tasted great. It was great to see all of the kids having so much fun.

(Click on any photo to enlarge)

This evening my house filled up with neighborhood kids and I even gave permission to four of them to spend the night. That is quite a commitment considering that Jason is one of them, so we will see how that goes. Actually Jason, who used to get on my nerves as badly as Etiline still does, has come a long way. He still has a ways to go but then don’t we all.

Well there is no way that I am going to outlast the kids so I am going to head off to bed and pray that the place is still here when I wake up in the morning.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Sunday, August 2, 2009, 9:30 PM

Today 9 kids came along with me to church. I had mentioned that none of my kids had been nominated to represent angels in a small drama that some of the kids put on last week but am happy to announce that today three of them asked if they could be baptized in a few weeks. All ten of us went to Martha's for lunch.

Miguel one of the boys that wants to be baptized said a prayer for the meal. Praise God, this is one neighborhood gang that continues to grow.

At 3 PM I rented a soccer field and about 15 kids showed up for that. Miguel and I took time out to pose for a picture while the kids voted on who was the most out of shape player. Unfortunately only one of us had a soccer ball under his shirt. I am allowing Calin to join us in some of these neighborhood activities but he is not allowed to come to my house. He and Sonia both turned 15 today but his party consisted of taking him, his sister, and a cousin to Burger King for a hamburger. He told me that Daniel is still planning on going to the States with in the next few weeks but Abner is not sure what he will do. According to Calin Abner is not going to move back home with his aunt and uncle because of the beatings that his uncle has been giving him. I never know if these kids are telling the truth but unfortunately from what I am seeing I am afraid that Abner is indeed receiving much more than a spanking when his uncle gets mad at him.

Tonight there are only a few kids in the house and soon I will narrow that down to one. Miguel has some school work to do so he is staying so that he can have some quiet time on the computer.

Well that’s about it for my weekend so I will say “Goodnight”.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Monday, August 3, 2009

Today Carlos, Scot and I took Lionel, David, and Elmer to Camperos for lunch. Although David and Lionel don’t get into playing on the playground equipment after we finish eating they always seem to enjoy themselves. Elmer always has fun at Camperos but getting him to leave used to be a real experience. It was not that long ago that he put up such a fuss that I refused to take him along again for several months. I think that he finally caught on though because the last few time that he has come along with us he has not had any temper tantrums.

It seems that I can never get caught up with getting the kids at Hermano Pedro seated properly but today with Scot's help we made a bit more headway. Actually instead of getting one of the children to sit properly we spent the better part of our day getting Florenda to lye properly. Even though Florinda has gained some weight and seems a bit healthier than when Roland and I brought her into the malnutrition ward a few weeks ago, she still suffers from muscle spasms that bend her back so far backwards that you would think that it would break. Today we built an L shaped device that resembles a 2 sided bed. It may look like some sort of torture device but it keeps her from bending backwards or side ways. It is heavily padded once she is placed into it she relaxes and lies fairly straight. The device allows her to be rotated onto her side and she can lye flat or have her head elevated. I plan on being on the road the rest of the week but Jessica and the caregivers are going to monitor her closely. I am praying that it not only helps improve her posture but that it also helps relieve her pain and helps her breath properly.

When I got home tonight Jason washed my car for me. I held my breath when Etileine climbed up on top of my car with him because if there were ever an accident waiting to happen it is Etiline. I do love her but do have to spend time on my knees asking God for patience. Tonight she survived being on top of my car and even managed not to accidentally hurt anyone else. How she managed to burn up my brand new widow maker showerhead is still beyond me but at least no one was hurt. Thankfully I managed to buy a new one just before the stores closed so I will be able to get a hot shower in yet tonight. Fact is I think that I will do that and then head off to bed.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Tuesday, August 4, 2009, 8:56 PM

Tonight a group of 17 of us are in Xela. Tomorrow we are planning on having a wheelchair distribution in San Marcos a town that is located about an hour and a half west of here.

We stopped off at several homes and gave out groceries on our way to Xela today. All of the homes that we stopped at were ones that we had built for people in the last year or two. How neat it was to rekindle old friendships and visit and pray with these people. All of them are still dirt poor but moving out of shacks and into new homes has given them a new lease on life.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Wednesday, August 5, 2009, 4:20 PM

We just returned to our motel in Xela after having a great wheelchair distribution in San Marcos. Wheelchairs were given out and carefully fitted to over 50 adults and children who were in need of them. Even though most of the group that is here from the USA this week has never worked on wheelchairs before they pitched right in and went to work. With only a little coaching a number of them soon had things figured out and did a great job. As exciting as it is to see someone receive a life changing gift like a wheelchair today we once again witnessed something even more exciting. Once again several people accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Hopefully their new wheelchairs will improve their lives for a few years. Thankfully their decisions to follow Christ will change their lives for all of eternity. Can it get any better than that?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Another fantastic day today. In the morning we had another wheelchairs distribution where 50 more people received wheelchairs and this after noon we nearly completed a house that we are building for a very poor family that had been sleeping in a church.

I think what stands out in my mind is the gratefulness to God that these people show for their answered prayers. Yes we receive hugs and kisses but most of the people that we serve seem to know that we are simply the servants and that God is the one that is providing these gifts. There thankfulness to God is something to behold. I often wonder if I were the one that had no home or could not walk, or if I had a child that was disabled, would I show gratefulness to God simply because I was given a wheelchair or something that resembled a tool shed to live in? This evening Pastor Juan told us that there was one mother that he spoke with who’s daughter received a wheelchair today who seemed bitter at God though. She shared with Juan a number of things any one of which would make most people angry with God. She told Juan that she had been so angry with God that she had not prayed to him in years. Juan asked her if she would like him to pray for her. She said that it would be OK but asked him to make it a quick one because she really wanted to head for home. During that short prayer something happened to this lady because when Juan opened his eyes this lady who was unwilling to show any emotion was crying. She told Juan that she realized that God had not turned His back on her but that she had been trying to turn away from Him. Funny how we get it all wrong and sometimes think that we hold God in our hand and can simply pick Him up or put him down at will. Today this lady realized that God was the one that had been doing the holding and even though she had tried to let go His grip had remained strong.

"I love the recklessness of faith. First you leap, and then you grow wings."

Yours in Christ: Dick


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