* 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, September 26, 2009

Journal, September 19-25

(Click on any picture to enlarge.)

July 1996 - September 2009

Things have been rather busy around here lately so I have once again fallen several days behind on my journal entry. The following pictures and captions will be my feeble attempt at catching up on at least some of the highlights. (At least those that I can remember)

Hedy comforts Lionel who is having a bad day.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

On Saturday morning I arrived at Hermano Pedro to fined that Ervin was not locked in his crib like he usually is. Instead they had him tied in his wheelchair and the wheel chair was tied to a post.

My friends Daryl, his wife Wanda, and I remedied this by taking Ervin and 2 of the other kids out to Camperos.

Click here to see Daryl's journal

These are a few of my new friends that are up in the malnutrition ward. Allen on the right came in malnourished but is now doing great. The little boy on the left has a hart condition that may require surgery.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

On Sunday I loaded up my car with kids and we followed a buss load of people that go to Abner and Daniel's church, to a water park down in Esquentla. Even though we had a picnic and did a lot of swimming our primary purpose in going was to see Abner and Daniel get baptized.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Most of my day was once again spent at Hermano Pedro.

Three year old Jose has put on a little more weight. He is now 12 pounds. What he lacks in size he makes up for in personality.

Florinda is gaining weight and her back is straightening out a lot. It is still not known weather or not she will fully recover though.

I took this picture of Florinda a few months ago.

Another little girl was recently admitted into the malnutrition ward who appears to be in as bad if not in worse shape then Florinda was in when we brought her in from her village.
I don't even know the name of this little girl but I know that she needs your prayers.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On Tuesday Mario and I picked up Cesar and his Father and took them to Cesar's school for a scheduled meeting with Cesar's principal. As it turned out the principal had no time to meet with us today. Tomorrow Cesar and his father plan on going to the school again hoping that the principal will meet with them. Cesar wants badly to be back in school but the longer that he stays out the harder it will be for him to catch up. Hard to believe that they can expel a kid simply because he was sick for 2 weeks.

Mario and I then headed off for a 5 day road trip. We plan on visiting a lot of people on this trip.

Some of the people that we visited
we have never met before.

Others we have known for years

All of them were excited about being invited to camp.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On Wednesday we visited with more families.

Sergio was busy doing his school work when we stopped in to see him. Thanks to a generous sponsor Sergio is now going to a private school. The public school that is located in the town where he lives will not accept him simply because he can not walk.

Jason's mom said that she will do her best to get her son to camp but that having to catch 3 different buses to get them there is difficult because many of the buss drivers do not like stopping and picking up people that are in wheelchairs. last year Jason's wheelchair suffered a lot of damage when the workers on the buss carelessly threw it down from the top of the buss.

Six years ago Jason's dad left home to find work in the USA. That was the last time that Jason's family heard from him.

After dad left mom had no other choice but to put Jason into the orphanage at Hermano Pedro.

Now that her other children are no longer babies mom has more time to care for Jason, so he is once again living back at home with his family.

Jason is much happier now that
he is back with his family.. . .

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nearly every year I have at least a few people ask me, "Why don't you just call or write a letter to the people that you want to invite to camp, that would not only save a lot of time and money but it would also free up so much of your time you would not have to be on the road for a month and a half straight handing out those invitations?" I must admit that this year before heading out I asked my self the same question. As much as Chris loves going out and doing this the responsibility of being director of Bethel ministries only allows him and Donna to go out recruiting a few days a year, so this year even more of it has fallen on my shoulders.

The thought of simply making a phone call or sending out the invitations by mail crossed my mind but I knew that if we did it that way the majority of the people would never get their invitations. Mail service here in Guatemala is lousy at best. In the 10 years that I have been here in Guatemala the track record for receiving letters or packages that have been sent to me stands at 100%, not 100% success but 100% failure. In 10 years I have never received a single item that has been sent to me by mail. As far as calling the people is concerned many do not have telephones and many of those that do have phones, often loose them, break them, have them stolen, or trade them in for new ones. Since phone numbers are assigned to each phone and not the owner a new phone means a new number. Chances are when you call any number that is more than a few months old you will either find that the number no longer exists or that you are talking to the person that stole the phone.

These are a few reasons why we put on thousands of miles each year recruiting for camp, but after just a day or 2 on the road I am always reminded of far more important reasons. To most of the families that we see this visit is an event that they look forward to all year. They cherish the fact that we take the time and effort to come and visit them where they live. Over and over again some one will take my hand and weep while they are thanking me for coming so far just to see them. Many people with Disabilities here in Guatemala and other third world countries are continually being told that they are nobody's. To have some one come and visit them means the world to them. Some of them simply want to talk. Others may have a broken chair that we can sometimes do a quick repair on. Some want to show us what they have learned now that we have provided a teacher for them. Some need medical advice. Just this week alone I made appointments for several of them so that we can get them in somewhere to see a doctor. Others simply want a listening ear or to have some one pray for them. All of them seem grateful that we were willing to take the time to come and see them. We always leave feeling grateful that we had the privilege of visiting with these beautiful people. This has to truly be one of the most rewarding times of the year and I would not trade it for the world.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Friday, September 25, 2009

Our first stop today was at the home of Juan Gerando. Juan who is in his early thirties lives in one of the rougher sections of Mazatinango. I mentioned to Mario that we would make today's visit with Juan a brief one. I guess those were my plans and not God's plans though, because we ended up spending several hours in this neighborhood. Not only did we end up visiting with Juan much longer than planned but on our way out of his yard we were approached by several of his neighbors. One of them was a mother that was holding her son who had cerebral palsy. As she handed me the child she looked into my eyes and asked where she could get help for her child. As it turned out he had received a wheelchair from us several years ago but he had now nearly outgrown it and due to lack of any therapy his condition now required that he should have a wheelchair that gave him a lot more support than this one. A short time later I had him sitting much better in his wheelchair but it still required a better head rest and a few other things that I did not have with me. By now a large crowd of people had gathered out on the street where we were working. In this crowd was another mother who was holding her 9 year old child. She told us that she has gone to several doctors with her son who was also unable to walk but none of them would give her as much as the time of day once they discovered that she had no money. I examined the boy and found that he could stand up and even take a few steps on his own if I supported him. Fact is he even stood up on his own by holding on to the front bumper of my car. I didn't want to give him my car but promised that I would do what I could to get him a walker and a wheelchair. The mother asked me when that would be. I started to tell them that at best it would be a few months but suddenly remembered that we happened to have a wheelchair distribution in a town that is 10 minutes down the road in less than two weeks. What a coincidence or then again was it a Godincidence? A quick phone call to the wheelchair shop confirmed that we still had room for both boys and that they could come in to that distribution. I am not certain if this mother understood English or if she read the look on my face but before I could hang up the phone to tell her that she could bring her sons in to the distribution to receive a walker and a wheelchair she started to cry.

Mario and I stuck around for a while and just loved on these people. We explained to the mothers of the 2 little boys and the other villagers that even though these boys were unable to walk they were a gift from God and that they were a blessing and not a curse. I think that the fact that one of the people telling them this was himself in a wheelchair helped them to understand more deeply what we were saying. Mario has been such a blessing on this trip. Funny how God seemed to open my eyes as well. Only a short time earlier I had been telling Mario that I wanted to make this visit a brief one, partly because we had a lot to do today but also because this area was considered dangerous. Now I was wishing that I could stay with these people forever.
"Thank you God for allowing me to have a small part in this ministry."

11:05 PM

I am now back at home here in Chimaltenango. It has been a long week and I am tired. I was going to head off to bed as soon as I Got home but several of the Neighborhood kids quickly discovered that I was home and there was no way that I could not let them in. All but the 2 that are spending the night have now left so I thought that I would quickly check my e-mail and then call it a day. One of the first e-mails that I opened was from my friend Rolland who has contacts with with several of the kids that we sponsor up near Huehuetenango. Here is part of the letter that I just received.

Hello Dick,
Very sad news:

Today I talked on phone with Maria Sanchez Perez mother of Edgar grandson of medicine woman Josefa, Huehuetenango, Maria Sanchez was crying on the phone, her son Edgar died yesterday,

I said to Maria I want to continue to help your family, she has 5 sisters, and medicine woman. I asked Maria if she has studied and she said - I have never studied, so I asked her if I can find a way so that she can study, does she want to? - Yes - she said if that can be possible she would like to study. Let’s see what I can do. She thanked me so much for phoning her; she was talking and crying during all the conversation. She has suffered so much.

Now Edgar is with God.

God bless

All 4 of the children pictured here live within a few miles of each other. I guess that I should use the word lived. All 4 have died this year. As I look at Lionel and others that we have helped from this area that are making it, I am happy that we can help at least a few but at the same time I am deeply saddened. There are so many that are dying and we simply can not reach them all. Or can we? Just recently I read the following.

According to several different resources, there are an average of 147 million orphaned children in the world today (this statistic includes children who have lost only one parent as well), 11 million children starve to death each year or die from preventable, treatable illness. 8.5 million children work as child slaves, prostitutes, or in other horrific conditions (making things like that cute baby Gap dress your child may have worn today...) 2.3 million children world wide are living with HIV.

That is 168.8 million needy children like Edgar and Lionel. Seems like a big number, huh? It shouldn't, because there are 2.1 BILLION people on this earth who profess to be Christians. Jesus followers. Servants. Gospel live-ers. And if only 8 percent of those Christians would care for just ONE of these needy children, they would all be taken care of.

Good night,
(Then again perhaps a sleepless night would not hurt a few of us.)

Yours in Christ: Dick


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Wednesday, December 30, 2009  

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