* 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, August 14, 2009

Journal August 7-14 2009

Sorry that I have not done any journaling for the past few days but after stopping off and visiting a few families on our way from Xela, we all took a few days off and went to the beach.

Monday, August 10, 2009

OK I am sort of getting with it again but am going to start out slow. I don't want to strain myself after lying around the past few days.

I did manage to get in to the orphanage this morning and had it not been for the half dozen kids that were in the pool with us I almost felt like we were back at the beech. As much as I enjoyed a few days off I must admit it was really great getting back to the orphanage and spending time with the kids.

Most of them are doing OK but Florenda who is up in malnutrition is once again running a fever. A friend of mine had a few American pediatricians take a look at her a few days ago and things are not looking favorable for her.

I only stayed at the orphanage until around 11 because Scott and I headed up to Huehuetinango to pick up 3 more kids that have doctor's appointments in Antigua on Wednesday. Tonight we are staying at a motel in Huehue and tomorrow morning we plan on driving another 2 hours to pick up these children and their parents. It seems the the needs never end but hopefully these 3 can receive the help that they need.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Scot and I got up early this morning and headed up to a village that is located near the Mexico border. There we met up with 2 families that had children that needed medical attention. One was Isabel, a young girl that appears to have rheumatoid arthritis whom I had given wheelchair to on a previous visit a few months ago. The other was Eric a 13 year old boy whom I had never met before. Both Issibel and Eric's father's also joined us. Not all that many months ago we had taken an other child, a little girl named Lisvi out of this village to see the doctors at Hermano Pedro. Unfortunately Lisvi's parents who had accompanied us to Antigua decided that they could not part with their daughter for even a short time and 2 days later I brought her and her parents back to their home. Less than 2 weeks later her father called me and told me that Lisvi had died. I had fears that Lisvi's death would close this area off to us but here death seemed to make the villagers there more acceptable of us and today there were confirming that by allowing 2 children to come along with us to see if they could receive some much needed medical attention.

When we got back to HueHuetinango we picked up Freddy another little boy that we have been working with, Freddy's mother, and Roland Elf. Then the nine of us headed for Antigua.

A Fathers Love

All three of the parents that came along whit us were very loving with there children but Eric's father really stood out as a father that had unconditional love for his son. Eric is an average looking boy who is a little less than average in intelligence. Due to an illness that Eric had at a young age he is a bit slower than most kids his own age. His speech is a bit slurred and he did not learn to walk until he was 9 years old. Although Eric is a pleasant boy he shows little emotion, he seldom smiles and by most standards would not be an easy son for a father to love. Watching Eric’s father when he is with his son whom he dearly loves is a pure joy. On our journey to Antigua Eric’s father was always there for him. Although Eric can now walk he still stumbles and falls at times. A fresh cut on his leg was evidence of that. Eric’s father was right at his side when he stumbled and fell. He had reached out his hand to his son but Eric chose to walk the rough terrain with out the helping hand of his loving father. Father quickly helped his son back to his feet and as he treated the wound he gently reminded his son that he was there for him. Even when Eric had fallen His father had been there with an out stretched hand. It was Eric that had decided to declare his independence and go it alone. Even at lunchtime father let Eric feed himself. After a little while Eric who has difficulty swallowing asked his father if he would feed him. Father had the wisdom to give Eric small enough portions and feed him slowly enough that Eric was able to comfortably swallow every bite. I could see that even though Eric was not perfect and even though he made his mistakes his father loved him with an unconditional love. Yes he scolded him a time or to but it was because he loved him and wanted the best for him and Erica knew that. The unconditional love that this father has for his son reminds me a lot of the love that God has for us, His children.

After we got the group settled in at Cassia Defay I headed for home. There I was greeted by a bunch of my kids. I had intended on taking the three families that we brought down from Huehuetinango back to there homes on Thursday but after spending a few hours here at home with my kids I think that I will see if the families that we brought here can take the buss back to there homes. Several of my kids have been going through there share of problems lately and I think that I need to be close enough to them that they can reach out to my outstretched hand when ever they choose to.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I left home at around 7:00 AM this morning because I had to stop in at Cassia Defay and pick up the 3 families that we brought in from near Huehuetinango yesterday. Roland was suppose to be there as well but when I got to Cassai Defay he was no where to be found. Not having anyone to interpret for me made things interesting but some how I got everyone registered with the proper doctors and by 8:30 all of the necessary paper work was done. It was about then that I received a phone call from Roland. He apologized for not being there but explained that the restaurant that we had stopped at on our way from Huehuetinango yesterday had given something that he had not ordered. Yesterday Scot had a touch of the same thing from a café that he and I had eaten at in the morning. I must admit neither of these places were on any tourist map but were we were there were not a lot of choices. Besides that where else can you feed a car load of people for around 10 bucks. Roland showed up a bit later and told me that he was feeling much better.

Two of the kids got to see specialists and the other child saw a good pediatrician. Today’s visits only cost around $6 each but all 3 are now scheduled for some fairly expensive special tests in Guatemala City around the middle of next month.

The highlight of my day came this afternoon shortly before taking the 3 families to the buss station. Although I met Freddy a few months ago up until today I have never had the opportunity to give him a wheelchair. This morning while the 3 families were seeing the doctors I drove over Hope Haven’s factory where they gave me 2 new wheelchairs. You should have see the faces of Freddy and his mother this afternoon when I told them that Freddy was going to be the proud owner of one of these wheelchairs. In spite of his inability to walk and countless seizures Freddy always does a lot of smiling but when we put him into his new wheelchair he outdid himself. If nothing else came out of this trip seeing how happy Freddy and his mother were with Freddy’s new wheelchair made the entire trip well worth it. An hour later I waved goodbye to all three families. Next week Roland plans on catching a bus with them and getting them to the City for their needed exams.

Tonight the kids made the entire supper and I did not have to lift a hand. I still have anywhere from 8 to 12 kids at the supper table on the nights that I am at home but am missing a few of the regulars. Calin is still banned from my house but I try to talk to him every few days. I love that kid but cannot trust him and unfortunately I see little remorse for what he has done. Abner stops by occasionally but is hesitant to stay for long periods of time because he is fearful that his uncle and aunt will discover that he is here and that they will force him to move back in with them. It is still uncertain when Daniel will be leaving for the USA and also undecided weather or not Abner will go with him.Last week Alehandro, an older boy that is dating Nancy, and hangs around here from time to time touched his head to some power lines while leaning out of an upstairs window of a building in the City. He was knocked unconscious and has suffered some physical damage. Nancy told me that he is gradually improving but is still unable ot walk and has only limited hand use. Tonight Nancy’s family asked me if we could give him a wheelchair.

Well it is time for bed so I will say “Goodnight

Yours in Christ: Dick

Thursday, August 13, 2009, 9:25 PM

Today was one of those fun days. NOT! I just love spending the day in Guatemala city trying to get all of the necessary stamps put back into my new passport. DOUBLE NOT!! The highlight of my day was discovering that I have to come back into the City on Monday only to go up to the Second floor of the immigration building to pick up a paper that for some reason they could not complete today and then bring that paper down stares and turn it in to an office that will put an official stamp on it and give it to me when I return on Wednesday. Hoping that I would only have to make one unnecessary trip back to the city I asked if there was perhaps some one there that could take the paper from the second floor of the building and deliver it to the office on the first floor but I was told that was not possible. All I can say is that I am thankful that passports only have to be renewed once every 10 years.

Tonight all of my kids wanted to earn a little money so I once again have a spick and span car, house, and yard. I had planned on having the house to myself for a few hours but Jason is still here doing homework on the computer and Cesar just showed up and told me that he has no school tomorrow.

Oh well just last weekend I had a quiet 2 days at the ocean without any kids and who know next time I may not let 2 years go by before I do that again.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Here is a picture and an update on some of my kids.

(Click on any photo to enlarge)

Alehandro #1 - Last week Alehandro, an older boy that is dating Nancy, and hangs around here from time to time toucheed his head to some power lines while leaning out of an upstairs window of a building in the City. He was knocked unconscious and has suffered some physical damage. Nancy told me that he is gradually improving but is still unable to walk and has only limited hand use.

Jason #2 - Jason had a foul mouth and was making a lot of bad decisions when I first met him a few years ago. He has come a long way in a short time and is a pleasure to have around.

#3 - Cesar and his brother Miguel are from a poor family that lives near me. After father pays the rent on the tin shack that they live in there is scarcely enough left for food and nothing left to keep Cesar or Miguel in school. Thanks to a sponsor they are both back in school now.

Elmer #4
- Is now married but he and his wife come over and visit frequently. He is currently working 5 days a week but only receives 800 Q ($100) per month.

Fernando #5
- Who has not seen his mother since he was one year old and does not know who his father is, continues to be one of my favorites. His love and compassion for the children in the orphanages and the villages is something to behold.

Daniel #6
- Just turned 16. He is planning on going to the USA as soon as his brother Walter who is already there sends him the money to go.

Christian #7
- He and his mother moved into my neighborhood from Guatemalan City a few months ago. They came here to escape an abusive husband and father.

Abner #8
- Abner stops by occasionally but is hesitant to stay for long periods of time because he is fearful that his uncle and aunt will discover that he is here and that they will force him to move back in with them. It is still uncertain when and if he will be leaving for the USA.

Miguel #9
- Brother to Cesar. Miguel is doing well in school and is a good Christian inspiration to my other kids. Miguel wants to be baptized later this month.

Marcos #10
- Marco's father died in a drowning accident about 4 years ago. last year his mother got sick and died. Marcos' 24 year old brother is doing his best to raise Marcos, 4 other siblings and the 2 boys that his mother had adopted.

Calin #11
- Calin is out of my house for stealing, but not out of my hart.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cesar had no school today (???) so he spent the day with me. Our first stop was at the wheelchair shop where we intended on picking up a few parts and then going to Hermano Pedro to work on some wheelchairs. It seems that I some how got sidetracked while I was looking for wheelchair parts though and found myself an hour later still talking with Alturo about several people who are still need of power wheelchairs. Some of these people have been waiting for far to long but are in need of specialty parts like head control units and we simply do not have them. We got one chair in a few weeks ago that has a broken head controller on it so I promised Alturo that I will spend a few days with him next week seeing if we can repair that one or possibly design one of our own.Alturo showed me that he had gotten a hand controlled power wheelchair going that was the perfect size for a boy that I had recently met in an orphanage over in Parromas. Since it had gotten to late to get over to Hermano Pedro in time to take any of the kids out to lunch Cesar and I decided to get a bite to eat and then take the power chair over to the boy in Parramos. I mentioned yesterday how happy Freddy was with his new wheelchair. Well this boy's enthusiasm ran a close second. It is going to take him some time to get on to driving it but this orphanage is well staffed and judging by the enthusiasm of the workers at this orphanage I know that they will work with him and he will soon have it mastered. I must admit it made me feel sad that there are other orphanages that consider it a nuisance if a child becomes at all mobile.

When we got back home my house quickly filled up with kids. About a half hour ago I told them that I needed an hour or 2 to myself so that I could get this weeks journal published. Usually the kids protest when I tell them that but considering that tomorrow I am planning on taking the kids to the Ocean that did not get to go there last week, they quickly left when I explained that I would have to stay at home and work tomorrow if I did not finish up tonight.

Hope that you all have a great weekend, we plan on having one.

"Let there be kindness in your face, in your eyes,
in your smile, in the warmth of your greeting..."
"Don't only give your care, but give your heart as well."

Yours in Christ: Dick


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