* 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, January 8, 2010

Journal, January 8, 2010

Last week I received the following e-mail from a good friend of mine who runs a school up in Santa Maria Dejesus. Lately there have been an alarming number of kidnappings in this village so when I received the flowing e-mail I expected the worse.

Judy Kerschner wrote


I received notice that one of our New Life students has gone missing. Her name is Azucena Coroy and she is 10 years old. She is socially very developmentally delayed. This makes her more vulnerable. She has been missing since Wednesday Dec 30th. Her parents have involved the police, fire dept, everyone they can think of. They have even checked the morgue in Antigua. Please ask your Sunday school classes and church families to pray. Please pray for her protection and to return home safely.


A few days later I received this e-mail from Judy.

This is just a short note to say that Azucena has been found. It's a miracle of God! He had placed her in a safe situation.

This photo was used for a flier. The New Life staff had attached more than 100 (to anything & everything) in Santa Maria then Antigua when she was recognized.

As Paul Harvey would say "Stand by for the rest of the story".

Thank you for your prayers!


I could not wait to here the rest of the story but had no Idea that my friends Pat and Bill Guillermo whom I met with the following day had been a big part of it. I stood in aw as Pat shard with me "The rest of the story."

Here is the Godincidence that Pat shared.


You know, sometimes what seems to be something less than it could or should be turns out to be exactly right. Like when you don't get to a task when you want to, or when other commitments keep you from doing other worthwhile stuff. So here is a true story that will forever keep me glad to serve a living God! How wee details and big problems can be part of such an amazing happening. We got to go to los Estados Unidos for a visit, had an outrageously wondermus time, and returned to Guatemala exhausted AND with lots of stuff our friends and family in the states gave us to give to some of our young friends. Stuff like underwear, socks, and blankets. Well, because we were so wiped out when we returned AND because we got back just in time to prepare for Christmas, we didn't get to Rosa's de Amor, a loving home run for kids who have been removed from dangerous living situations, until Dec. 31st.

Here's a foto of some of the kids with some of their new gifts. A GREAT BIG, HEARTFELT THANK YOU TO EACH OF YOU WHO DONATED ALL THE AMAZING ITEMS, BY THE WAY!! But wait; there's more. It gets even better...which is saying a LOT after we gave them such practical and necessary stuff. Hope you can see the little girl in the front row, 2nd from the left, with the white shirt. The one NOT smiling....this is Azucena..pronounced Ah-su-cena; beautiful, isn't it?). The police brought Azucena to Rosa at 3am this same day, the 31st, having found her in the streets nearby, all alone. She would or could only give her first name, that's all; not her age, where she lived, her parents' names, nothing. I tried talking with her, she was so sad; it was not possible to keep her engaged, and even the other kids couldn't get her to talk with them.


So that was last Thursday. We didn't get to church Sunday, but we were told that they prayed for a missing child from Santa Maria de Jesus. This girl has special needs which leave her unable to communicate well, among other things. She went missing on Thursday, Dec. 31st. Sta. Maria de Jesus is about 7 miles south of Antigua, way, way up on the side of Volcano Agua. Rosa's de Amor is on the road to Guatemala City, at least 10 miles in the other direction from Antigua. We live in San Felipe de Jesus, oh, 2 miles or so in yet another direction from Antigua. I had english class this afternoon at my house, but only 2 of the 4 girls came. When it was time to walk the girls home, we discovered that there was a funeral was walking down our street....did I tell you we live on Callejon del cementario? And yes, they were walking..that's how they do funerals here in Guatemala, even if it means walking down one of the main highways! Anyway, as we were walking down the main street of our little town, here comes my friend Amy, and she has on rubber gloves, and she looks very intense in her work. And since she lives nowhere near us, and because of the gloves, really, this is really why I asked, I asked what she was doing in our part o' town. She and a friend were hanging posters for the missing little girl from Sta Maria De Jesus. So I ask to see one, and this is what I saw.


Azucena, the sad little girl at Rosa's. So I get to tell Amy I know where she is AND that she is OK!

Look at some of the IFs in this.

we didn't have any gifts to give to Rosa, we probably wouldn't have been at her house on the 31st...gives giving a whole new meaning!!!

we had gone to Rosa's any earlier than the 31st to give the gifts, which was what I wanted to do but didn't have the energy for, then we wouldn't have met Azucena.

If the funeral procession didn't go past our casa, or if the other girls had come to class, which would have meant we would have walked them home another way, we would have missed meeting Amy on the street.

I wasn't so nosy, remember the gloves?, then I wouldn't have seen the missing poster.

Amy and I weren't out just doing what we heard God ask us to do, simple stuff, walking girls home and hanging posters, then we wouldn't have been given the privilege of connecting lost and found!


All this adds up to what our friend Dick Rutgers calls a Godincidence vs. coincidence, and we agree with him!

Now I know you remember as you read this that we are indeed in a 3rd world country, where the police and legal machines just don't function as they do in the US. There are no Amber alerts here. And thankfully, the police DID bring Azucena to Rosas. These police operate out of Chimaltenango, which is even farther away from Antigua than all the other places aforementioned...oh how I wish I could draw a map of all this for you :) And when her parents tried to file a missing report, being New Year's Eve, I guess, the police dated it 12/2010. Mom and dad even tried to file a report in Antigua, but the offices were moving, so they were told to come back on Monday. Azucena is 10 years old! Any guesses on how long it would have taken the wheels of justice to figure this one out?

So back to Amy and the gloves, which she got to take off as she wouldn't need to glue any more posters to poles, etc. She called the parents immediately, OK, as soon as she stopped crying, and arranged to meet them in Antigua. Then she drove them to Rosa's for a reunion. She will also help them work through the legal stuff (Remember the police brought her to Rosa's) so Azucena can go home hopefully tomorrow. It may never be known exactly how she got so far away from home, but they were able to determine that she wasn't abused in any way on her dangerous journey. And out of this, the special needs school is going to be working on getting ID bracelets for many of their students.

I like this job!


Thanks Pat and Judy for making this week's journal a breeze for me, and thank you Jesus for watching over this precious little girl.

Here is something to think about.

"The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: 'If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?' But ... the good Samaritan reversed the question: 'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'"

Yours in Christ: Dick


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