* 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, September 11, 2009

Journal, September 5-11, 2009

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Today I took some of my neighborhood kids and a few of the kids from the orphanage to Guatemala City where we took in lunch and then a movie.

(Click on any picture to enlarge)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Today was church, lunch, and then a soccer game.

I got to play for a while but when the teem that I was on got behind they replaced me with 7 year old Elder.

Once I stopped playing my teem pulled ahead and won.

Monday, September 7, 2009

This morning I called my friend Mario and asked him if he wanted to accompany me to the coast.

Mario who himself is confined to a wheelchair is fluent in both English and Spanish. He also has a genuine compassion for his fellow Guatemalans who are enduring hardships.

Our primary reason for going was because, Carlos, a little boy that we sponsor had run out of antiseizure medicine.

On our way to visit Carlo we stopped off at the clinic La Gomez to drop off some supplies. While we were there the Doctor and the mayor's wife told us about a family that lived about a half hour away that were in desperate need of help. Soon we were on our way to visit this family. Both parents were out working and only 4 of the 8 children were at home. We discovered that all 3 of the girls in the family had a hereditary bone disease and all 3 were in need of wheelchairs. This was not their only need though. The house that they live in could scarcely be considered even a shed. The floor was mud, the roof was rusted tin with lots of holes in it and the walls were made from rotted sticks and boards. The children told us that they had no food and the well that they had was shallow and the water appeared to be very contaminated. This was undoubtedly due in part to the fact that there were no rest room facilities. The children told us that the land that they live on which does not even belong to them often floods and raw sewage runs into their well. They told us that things were a bit better now that mother who had deserted them had moved back home but they still wish that they could move back to the coast where they would at least able to catch a few fish for food.

John 6:9

"There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?"

No food, no money, no water, no home, no land, no wheelchairs, no education (none of the children attend school), no hope for a better future. Where do you start? Some times it seem so overwhelming that you want to do like their mother did and just throw up your hand and run away from it all. I guess that is when we have to ask ourselves W.W.J.D. What Would Jesus Do? What if Jesus would have reacted like the the mother of these children did when things seemed overwhelming. Had I been one of the 12 disciples when they were confronted with 5000 hungry people, I can only pray that I would not have turned tale and run but would have done as they did and gone to Jesus asking what can we do? Jesus did not tell them to do the impossible. He simply asked them to give what they had. He took care of the rest.

"Faith can move mountains,
but don't be surprised if God hands you a shovel !"

That is what we are planning to do for this family. Today we gave them a few groceries. In a few weeks we plan on bringing in a few wheelchairs and possibly a water filter. Chris is looking into the availability of a small plot of land so that we can perhaps build this family a home. Hopefully in the not to distance future we will be able to get at least one or two of the kids into school. Small steps, one step at a time, nothing big on our part but just like the five loaves and two fish we know that God can do miracles with it. Pleas pray that God honers our feeble efforts to help, and multiplies them in ways that we could never imagine.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that Milton, a little boy that lived near the clinic had passed away. Today Mario and I stopped off at Milton's home to pay our respects. Milton's mom told us that the entire family really misses Milton but they are at peace with things. She went on to tell us that they are now attending church and have found peace with God.

We also went to see Julio's family today. Eleven year old Julio whom I brought into the malnutrition ward of Hermano Pedro 2 years ago weighing only 17 pounds is not as heavy as he was when he returned to his home a few months later but overall he is in fairly good health. Father shared with us that he has been out of work for several months and were it not for the food that we are able to bring in each month he does not know how he would feed his family. Please pray not only for this family but for the thousands if not millions of people here in Guatemala who are going to bed hungry every night. This next year looks like it may be an exceptionally hard one because even though we get an occasional cloud burst that floods everything we have not gotten nearly as much rain as usual. I have been told that a lot of the corn is dying due to lack of water.

After finally getting money to Carlos's mom for the medicine that her son needs we headed for home. It has been a long day but a good one. I feel that I am truly blessed.

"If you find something you love to do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life."

Yours in Christ: Dick

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

This morning I went over to Bethel Ministries wheelchair shop to help Alturo program a cantankerous power wheelchair. As I walked into the shop I was once again reminded of what this ministry is all about. There by a table sat all of the employees of Bethel ministries, having their daily bible study. What better way is there to start off your day then spending time in God's word? And what better way to be reminded of what god can do than to see Jovonti who was once the leader of one of the biggest gangs in Chimaltenango leading that bible study? What a sweet reminder of what the blood of Jesus can do for all of us.

After leaving the wheelchair shop I went over and picked up the group of five people that arrived from the States late last night. Let me rephrase that. I went in and picked up a group of five people that arrived from the States early this morning. There plane was supposed to have arrived late last night but engine problems delayed their flight several hours. Chris said that it was a good thing that the engine problems were discovered on the ground and not in the air. I told him that I didn't think that it made much difference because back in my flying days any of my engine problems that happened in the air ended up with me on the ground anyway.

I took the group to Hermano Pedro and gave them a tour, then we spent the rest of the day loving on the kids. Today we took 6 of the teen age girls out to lunch and they loved it. Just before we were about to walk them back to the orphanage it started to rain. Now this was not one of your little sprinkles but a full fledged thunder storm. After one unsuccessful attempt to run back to the orphanage and get some umbrellas we decided to wait it out. The teens that we had taken to lunch seemed delighted since they much rather sit at Camperos than go back to the orphanage and be put to bed, and the group from the USA who had been up most of the night seemed to enjoy just sitting and visiting with the teens. About an hour later the sun came out and dried up everything except the 6 inch deep streams of water that were running down every street.

When we got back to the orphanage we stuck around for a few hours spending time with some of the younger kids.

Shortly before leaving I got a call from Xemora a compassionate lady that works at Hermano Pedro. She told me that a family had come in to see one of the doctors at Hermano Pedro. The mother of this family that is extremely poor has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. To my understanding her condition is severe and there is little that can be done for her at Hermano Pedro. She has been scheduled to see a doctor at the national hospital in Guatemala City but unfortunately most people die of old age before getting any needed surgery in the national hospitals. Xemora asked me if there was any way that I could get a wheelchair for this lady with out her having to wait until a wheelchair distribution in her area. One phone call to Mark Richard and a 10 minute drive later I was at the door of Hope Haven Guatemala loading up the perfect wheelchair for this lady. Another 10 minutes later I was seating her into her new wheelchair. As her husband walked over to shake my hand he started to cry. He told me that there was no way that he could pay me and he did not know how to thank me enough. I told him that the wheelchair was a gift, and let him know that it was not a gift from me. It had been given to him and his wife as a gift of love and that love was a representation of the love that Christ Jesus had for him and his family.

I thought about leaving this part out because up until this point this seemed like a fairly level headed teem, but I guess no one is perfect. Anyway I agreed to sit out side of the knickknack shop and get board for an hour while the rest of the group went inside and saw what kind of bargains they could get on worthless junk. Once they came back to their senses and came out of the junk, I mean souvenir shops. I thought about asking them to show me what they bought and how much they got ripped off for it but being the kind and sensitive person that I am I decided not to give them a hard time. Not only that but my sides were still hurting from laughing at the things that the last group that I took shopping brought home to their loved ones. I am glad though that they will all be back in the States by the time that his is published so they will have to come all the way back to Guatemala if they want to get even with me.

Before heading for home we stopped of at a nice restaurant in Antigua and had supper.

I got home fairly late so there were not as many kids as usual waiting at the gate. Fernando and Cesar convinced me into letting them stay the night though. Neither of them have school tomorrow so I am going to let them stay up later than usual. I am heading off to bed though.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

This morning Chris and Saul took the group up into the hills to build a house for the family of the blind girl that lives in a vacant building here in Chimaltenango. I stayed home to get caught up on some much needed paper work and this journal. At around noon Fernando and Cesar (who have no school today????) went along with me to the building where the family who we are building a house for lives. All of the children except the oldest daughter were huddled in there one little room. They told us that mother had gone to the markets but when I told them that I stopped by to see if they wanted to come along and see there new house the little boy quickly got up and ran down the street to find his mother. Soon mother was back and the seven of us were on our way to see there new home. The crew had made good progress and it looked like the house would be completed by night fall. I took the family back to Chimaltenango though because all of their belongings were still back there. On our way back I asked them if they would like to join Fernando, Cesar and myself at Camperos for supper. Stupid question, it ranked right up there with asking them if they wanted to see their new house. I doubt that any of them had ever been to Camperos before but they didn't need any instructions on how to eat their chicken. After that we brought them back to the dark nearly vacant building that hopefully will not be called their home for much longer.

Well, it is getting late so I am going to say "Goodnight".

Yours in Christ: Dick

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Today Fernando (who had no school ???) accompanied me to Hermano Pedro orphanage. Once there we met up with 5 members of a Youth with a mission teem that has been in Guatemala for several weeks now. This meeting was a bit special because one of the members of the teem was the daughter of one of my best friends. The teem only had a few hours before they had to go back to the city so we did not take any of the kids out to lunch. Even though their visit was a short one it was very profitable because each and every member of the teem gave their all to show the orphanage kids that they were loved.

Fernando is a natural with the orphanage kids and he had a great time playing with them and feeding them as well. We headed back home a bit early because I am planning on being gone for a few days so tonight I wanted to spend some time with the neighborhood kids. Tonight's supper was a simple one even by my standards, but I promised the kids that next week I will try to do better than baloney sandwiches. I did splurge a bit on a video that I bought and on my way back from Antigua though but I figured that spending 10 Q ($1.25) for Ice Age 3 wouldn't spoil the kids to badly.

Well the movie is over and about 8 of the kids have headed for home. I guess I will go and find some blankets for those that are staying and then head off to bed.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Friday, September 11, 2009After getting the kids fed and off to school I got ready to meet up with Chris and Donna and the group that is here from the USA. Cesar had no school (????) but I told him that this time I could not take him along with me. Today we were heading for Huehuetinango where we are planning on having a large wheelchair distribution tomorrow.

On our way the Huehuetinango we stopped off at several homes and gave out food and shoes.

We also stopped off at the home that the teem built on Wednesday and had a dedication. Here in Guatemala Christian families always have a dedication before moving into a new home.

Here are a few more pictures that I took today.

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(Click on any picture to enlarge)

. . . . . . . . Yours in Christ: Dick


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