* 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)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Journal November 19-26

I mentioned in my last Journal entry that during the 3 weeks of camp my journal entries were likely to be hit and miss. Fortunately 2 more of our American volunteers have come to my rescue. So here is what Amie and Anne wrote.

(4 pictures were necessary just to get all of the teen campers to fit in.)

Camp in Chimaltenango Guatemala

Week One Teen Camp

Amie Spriensma wrote

God has used this week to reveal more about His love in any language. Edgar Garcia and many others have blessed me with their beautiful smiles. Marvin writes and recites such passionate poetry, he should write a book. He definitely has a good word for the people of his generation. Debora cannot hear and her speech outside of sign language is limited; nonetheless, her vibrant eyes and patient touch have spoken volumes to my heart. Rene David likes to draw in his spare time, but he has difficulty making people’s noses look realistic in his drawings. Every person with a disability also has abilities and a unique story to be discovered. It has been my true pleasure to see the joy of our Lord revealed in all different spaces, faces, and places these past few days. I wish I could give this special camp experience to everyone I know at least once! It would give each one of them many great memories to cherish and delight in as they face every day that is yet to come!


Anne Longo

What an amazing week! We met many people with disabilities at the beginning of the week and said goodbye to those same people as friends at the end of the week. God moved mightily in the hearts of the campers and the staff. The staff were united with one accord as the Scripture says; as you give to the least of these you give to Me. Most of the campers were not only disabled but poor. But I came to realize that we were the ones who were poor; poor in spirit. They prayed before they did anything. Beautiful hearts; the Guatemalan teens who volunteer for 3 weeks were loving; giving and caring a wonderful example of the compassionate heart of God. The America staff were here as servants of God’s hands and feet doing and performing as needed.


We had a banquet and closing ceremonies on the last night of teen Camp. I was honored that Ascension who has been my friend for nearly ten years, saved her last dance for me.


I must admit though that we had one highly talented person at camp that outdid any dance that Ascension, myself, or any one else at camp attempted to do.


...............^ Click button to play Pastor Bills rendition of Swan Lake.

Please pray that Pastor Bill still has a job and a wife after this video is posted.

I am not sure if it was just a pastor thing or what, but during the weekend Pastor Chris got a bit flaky on us as well. On a visit to the orphanage he did little to stifle the superstition that Americans eat Guatemalan children. Although Lionel who is thoroughly enjoying Chris's antics may help to convince them otherwise.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Week 2 Kids Camp

Between airport runs, kids camp, the kids in my neighborhood, and everything else that has been gong on I have not had much to time to do any journaling this week but this morning I will try to take the time to write about some of the highlights.Most of Saturday was spend bringing some of last week's American Volunteers that helped out at teen camp to the airport while picking up new ones that were coming in to help out at this week's kids camp. This week we have right around 18 American volunteers here at camp. There are also close to 15 Guatemalan teens that are volunteering their time to make sure that those that attend the camp are well looked after and that they have a wonderful time. I can not say enough about the dedication of all of our volunteers. With out them we would not be able to have a camp.

I have been managing to keep myself busy as well. Mat Smeltzer and I are rooming with 6 energetic boys that are here from 2 different orphanages. They are a blast but they are definitely keeping us busy. Nearly all of them are taking medications that have to be administered several times a day and only 2 of them are potty trained. Fortunately even though Mat and I are the ones staying with these boys there are lots of volunteers so several of them come over and help us out at bed time and when we get the kids up in the morning.

I have been letting a few of my neighborhood kids come along to camp and help out as well. I do not want them to feel left out. Besides that they know a lot of the kids that attend camp and do a great job of helping out with them.

Tuesday afternoon 3 of the American volunteers and myself left camp for about an hour to meet up with 15 of my neighborhood kids for a soccer game. Torrey Babb and his wife met us at a soccer field that we had rented. Tory and his wife have ministry called The Mission Ball that involves sharing the gospel and giving out Soccer balls that have scripture texts written on them, to kids all over the world. My American friends were amazed at the talent that many of my kids have when it comes to playing soccer. We had a great time and the soccer balls that were given to my kids were greatly appreciated.

On Wednesday we took all of the campers to a park that is about a half hours drive from here. This may sound like an easy task but loading up 3 buses and one car with kids, family members, volunteers, wheelchairs, food, and (don't forget the) diapers involves a bit of work. A great time was had by all though.

I think that the highlight of everyone's day was the horse back riding. Although some enjoyed just hanging out and making new friends.

The sleeping habits of some of these kids leaves a little to be desired. Tuesday night Henry had a rough night so I ended up getting about 2 hours of sleep. So last night one of the volunteers took my place so that I could go home and get a good night sleep. I plan on returning to camp later today but want to spend the morning at home getting caught up on a few things like this journal. I am not sure that being at home is all that much more relaxing than camp though because 2 kids spent the night and 4 are now here for breakfast. Oh well at least these 4 are potty trained.

I just got off the phone with Pastor Bill. He told me that they had quite a scare at camp last night. Stephanie, one of our Guatemalan volunteers had a serious asthmatic attack last night and almost died. They rushed her to the hospital in Chimaltenango and then to Antigua where she stopped breathing and had to be revived 3 times. Bill said that she is now doing well and that she is even talking about returning to camp later today.

Yours in Christ: Dick

I saved the best for last. My friend Joseph Starling has also been doing some journaling this week. Joe just handed the following to me. I think that it sums up what camp is all about.

Chilmaltenango, Guatemala Missions 2009

“Living Inside Out"

This is a summary of this week’s awesome missions week here in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. The theme of this year’s missions is “Living Inside-Out” and it was truly shown. God’s beauty and love has been all over this place! Titus 3:1-8 is a prime example of what is good. Sharing and showing God’s love, Agape Love. Not only that, but also using our gifts and talents from a simply smile that shines bright as the sun that shines the Son, Jesus Christ, to saving a life in an unexpected time. Prayers have been answered throughout the week and tears have shed.

James 1:27 says “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep one’s self from being polluted by the world.” We have being obedient to God’s calling by doing His will. We have been Romans12. We are God’s living sacrifice. There has been prophesying, serving, encouraging, contributing, leadership, and showing mercy throughout the week. In some way or another all of these have been done.

Even working with the volunteers from Guatemala has been great and greatly appreciated. The teamwork has been like fresh flowing streams of water from Guatemala, Ireland, Canada and North America coming together as one to do God’s mission. This teamwork is teamwork that only God can create. The body of Christ Jesus, the Church was represented here.

There were families that came from distances from as far as 9 hours away and from near by. Some had to borrow money just to make it here, and some had to use what little that they had just to make it here. They made the sacrifice to take care of that family member that is in need of have medical attention taken care of to receiving a wheelchair. Some haven’t even had a decent meal. Just talking about this brings tears to my eyes.

I haven’t been back since 2003 and I’m so grateful that God opened the doors for me to come back to be obedient and serve. God is awesome in this place! It was great serving side by side with familiar faces and with new faces as well. I’ve made new friends in the process. The people that God put together for this week to happen were so greatly designed. Watching Dick R. and his little and not so little guys just love up on each other and others at the orphanage and here at the camp was so great to see. There was such faithfulness in Dick’s labor and love. The rest of the team that I want to include are Pastor Bill, Pastor Chris and his whole family, Tim, Christian, Joan, Matt, Margaret, Hank, Alice, Anna, Leah, Katlin, Lindsey, Amy, Lauren, Maria, Heather, Helen, Liz and Peyton. There was such servant-hood shown here and it wasn’t for selfish reasons or gains. What’s even more awesome is that I was able to share this whole week with my son Peyton. This was his first missions away from home. I am in total awe of watching him grow up right in front of my eyes. From the fireworks going off at “NO o’clock” in the morning to the roosters crowing and dogs barking in the middle of the night, I wouldn’t trade this week for the world. The Word says in Mark 8:36, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?” I’d rather lay down my life to do God’s will and His way than to sink in the quicksand of worldliness and its worldly pleasures. I choose to be transformed whole than to be conformed to this world.

The mission does not stop here at the end of this week. It continues on even when we return home to our families. We must run the race and run it, (life), as a marathon. God is not finished with us yet! It is so good and pleasing to look after the cares and interest of others than those of my own. Just as Jesus said, “I did not come here to be served, but to serve.” It doesn’t stop at the washing each others feet. It’s continuous and contagious for the glory of God. It was an honor and pleasure to do the photos for the campers that were here for the week I was here. It was a blessing to bless the families with acts of love and kindness. Some of the comical tidbits that I want to add are Tim with his black eye and his duck “Quacky”, “Afro-kid”, Peyton, BUffalo Christian, Pastor Bill, Matt, and Pastor Chris dancing, smashed fruit on one of the ladies dorm room door and more.

There is one of the campers out of all the campers I’ve met here this year and had a great time to spend with and serve is Rodney and his family. I enjoy and will miss greatly all of the campers but Rodney is the one that I connected with. His mother allowed me to walk with him, feed him, and just be there for them. The time with them was so precious. Just giving his mother time to eat and take care of her little daughter was much needed for her. Just by looking into Rodney’s eyes told me that God was in him and letting him know that everything was alright and that He was in control. I’m so blessed to be there for them and it isn’t for me but to glorify God, obey God and to do the will of God.

It’s time to take the limits off of what we do in our regular everyday living and thank God for who He is and for the relationship we have with Him through His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. God is getting all the glory for what He is spreading across this land. His love, AGAPE LOVE.

Joseph D. Starling
Tampa, Fl

Thank you Joe, and thank you to everyone that helped to make this camp a reality.

Yours in Christ: Dick


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Thursday, December 03, 2009  

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