* 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)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Journal, November 16-18, 2009

(Click on any picture to enlarge)

One thing I love about camp is that we try to make sure that our campers do not only hear about Jesus, we also do our best to show them Jesus.

Camp officially started on Monday. I have been promised by a few of our American volunteers that they will give me copies of some of their daily journals so I will try to add pictures and publish them as soon as I receive them. I have not personally spent all that much time at camp yet this year. One of the reasons being the numerous trips that I have made to the airport picking up volunteers. Due to the untrustworthiness of our van one of these trips took 7 hours instead of the usual 2 to 3 hours. This year I am also trying to spend more time with the ever growing number of neighbor hood kids that are more and more considering my home their home as well.

The number one thing that has so far kept me from spending much time at camp though has been a cantankerous power wheelchair that I have been trying to get set up for Gustavo. Gustavo is a 24 year old resident of an orphanage in Guatemala City. Cerebral palsy has left Gustavo with arms and legs that refuse to do what his brain tells them to do. Fact is they have to be anchored down to keep Gustavo from accidentally hitting or kicking himself or any one that comes near him. Even though Gustavo's arms and legs do not work well and it is difficult to understand him when he speaks Gustavo is an amazing tender harted young man. For nearly 2 years now I have been promising Gustavo that I would do what I could to get him set up with a wheelchair that he could drive himself. It seems that there have been countless obstacles though. The first of which was convincing the mother superior who runs the orphanage where Gustavo lives that he should have a power wheelchair and that he would actually be able to drive one if he were given one. Once that less than easy task was accomplished there was the problem of locating the components to build a head controlled wheelchair. New head controllers are very costly and it seemed that any used components that were sent to us were broken or warn out. A few weeks ago Jack Craigs a seating specialist from the United States came down and brought some head control units. While Jack was here we got a head controlled power wheelchair going for a man in Guatemala City that had been shot and paralyzed in a robbery, but Jack's stay here was far to short so even though I had promised Gustavo that I would have a power wheelchair ready for him by camp time neither of us had found the time to work on a wheelchair for him. That is why for the past several days I have been spending my time in the shop trying to peace together a head controlled wheelchair. I don't know why but this particular project has been one of the most difficult hat I have ever worked on. In the past few years I have put to gather several similar wheelchairs but this one was a nightmare. Monday night I finally got it going though and other than a few finishing touches it was ready to go. Guess what. When I showed up at the shop this morning and turned on the switch everything was dead. These head controlled chairs have dozens of components and I know that the problem could lye anywhere. After nearly throwing in the towel I did a lot of praying and finally traced the problem down to the main computer. Alturo and I did an extensive search through our shop and found a used one that worked. Another hour of reprogramming this computer and the wheelchair was finally ready. After all this work I was still not 100% sure that Gustavo would even be able to control a wheelchair with his head. What I did know is that if this did not work for him there would be no other way that he could control a wheelchair and that he would have to spend his entire life relying completely on others for making his every move. I knew that I had to at least give him the opportunity to see if he had enough control of his head to drive a wheelchair.

Were all the hours spent setting up Gustavo's wheelchair worth it?
Watch this video and then you be the judge.

.................^ Click button to see video.

I only wish that I had not run out of memory on my camera before Gustavo entered a wheelchair race this afternoon. It didn't matter that he came in well after everyone else, Gustavo is still a real winner!

Yours in Christ: Dick


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