* 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)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Journal, February 14-19, 2010

Sunday-Tuesday, February 14-16, 2010

All of the people that wrote last weeks journal have returned to the States so I am once again at it. I am gong to break into this a bit slowly by combining 3 days into one. Don't worry though by the end of the week I will more than likely get lengthy again and you will more than likely be thankful for these shorter entries. Another reason that I am starting off slow is to give my sprained thumb a little time to heal. I am slowly starting to realize that 63 is just a bit to old to play soccer with the kids. I am seriously thinking about becoming a full time spectator. Well at least for a week or 2 or however long it takes for my thumb to get smaller than my wrist. I guess that I shouldn't complain though. Jason just showed up with his arm in a cast. He told me that this morning he slipped on a wet floor at his home and broke a finger and a few bones in his hand. He was all alone at his house when it happened so to occupy his time until his mother showed up he took some pictures of his hand. Didn't mean to gorse you out but only Jason would do something like that. Any way enough of my lengthy explanation as to why my journal entry was originally going to be short.

Sunday morning the boys and I went to church and then I took a group of 15 Americans through the orphanage. (There how is that for short?)

On Monday Fernando, Bryan and I headed to the orphanage. Fernando had no school because it was his teachers birthday. If you think that is bad, Bryan had no school because it was Fernando's teachers birthday. ??? I am only repeating what the kids told me.

Shortly before noon Carlos joined us and we headed for the coast. A little over a week ago I mentioned in my journal that Julio who we had placed in the nutritional ward of Hermano Pedro a few years ago had slowly been loosing weight ever since he returned home. On my last visit I thought I had convinced his parent to let me get him back intothe malnutrition ward for a few months so that he could once again get some meat on his bones. Julio is 11 years old and I doubt that he weighs 25 pounds. Like I said I thought that I had his parents convinced, but today when we showed up mother had every reason in the book for not wanting to get her son the help that he needed. We did our best to try to convince her to come along with us but finally had to tell her to call us if and when she changed her mind. I am praying that she will come to her senses and realize that her son could die if she does not allow us to help him. Please pray that she will have a change of hart.

I received some good news when I got home though. Rolland called me and said that the neurosurgeon in Guatemala City that operated on Florinda is willing to see Christian, the little boy that I saw on Saturday who has hydrocephalus (water on the brain). It sounds like he may be willing to operate on Christian for free. We will still have to pay the hospital fees which may run near $500 but the surgery is usually the major expense. It sounds like there is a possibility that we can get Christian operated on as early as the first part of next week. I am praying that it is not too late for this little boy.

Well that is 3 days in a nut shell.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

(Praise the Lord!)
I just got a phone call form Julio's mom.

She asked me if I could come tomorrow and pick her and Julio up so that we could get him admitted into the malnutrition ward of Hermano Pedro. Yes this means a repeat of the yesterday's 5 hour round trip to and from their home but if it means that this little guy will stay alive I would be willing to carry him and his mother all the way there and back on my shoulders.

After I calmed down a bit Esbin and I headed to the wheelchair shop. Esbin had no school today. No it wasn't Esbin's teachers birthday or even the birthday of a friend of Esbin's teacher. Esbin is out of school because the teachers are on strike. From what I am hearing the teachers in Esbin's school have received no pay for several months now. The government seems to be low on money so every now and then they go a month or 2 without paying some of their teachers. This month none of the teachers in Esbin's school got any pay.

When we got to the wheelchair shop we loaded the chin controlled wheelchair that I put together last week into my car and headed for Guatemala City. Since Esbin is not to good at English and my Spanish still stinks I had asked Joviani, who works at our wheelchair shop if he would come along with us to the city to deliver the wheelchair. This proved ot be a real blessing because the only directions to the home of Hector, the young man that needed the wheelchair were written in Spanish and without Joviani's help I would never have found the place. Hector who has muscular dystrophy lives with his mother in a small 2 room home. At first I was not sure that the power wheelchair that we had brought would even fit into their small home. Fortunately the alley outside of there home is paved and so are a lot of other connecting alleys so Hector will have pleny of places to drive his new wheelchair. Hector (By the way this is not his real name but I can't for the life of me remember what it is. I know that it starts with the letter H though.) has muscular dystrophy and has no hand use. That is why I had to build him a chin controlled wheelchair. Unlike some of the head controlled chairs that we have given out we do not need to use expensive ($2500 and up) head control units on these wheelchairs. With a few scrounged parts and a little tinkering a chin controller can be made from the standard hand control unit that is already on a power wheelchair. The chin controller does not work for every one but for Hector it worked perfectly. In no time at all he was driving his new power chair all over the place. I do not know who was more excited he or his mother but saying that they were happy would be an understatement.
Mom watches in amazement
as her son drives his
new chin
controlled power wheelchair.

Lots of kids tonight so I am going to stop writing and spend some time with them.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Added footnote - - (I know it would come to me. I remembered it as soon as I phoned Carlos and he gave it to me. It is Julio not Hector. See I told you that it started with an H.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I actually managed to sucker some one else into doing today's journal. Other than a few exaggerations, or perhaps illusions, about my driving and the size of the snake that Dave thought was going to devour or at least flip my car, (considering their ages) Dave and Lou's account of what took place today is some what accurate.

Dave wrote,

Today Dick invited us to go with him to the coast to do a couple of wheelchair repairs and to bring Julio back to Hermano Pedro. He only brought Edwin with him as his teachers are on strike, much to Edwin’s dismay. He was a blessing and really helpful all day acting as a translator. First we went to Rosa’s to see if she was ready to move into her new house near the coast. It wasn’t possible to do the job today as she said that she probably will need a pickup truck and we only had Dick’s Land Cruiser. This is the lady who the American group built the house for last week. We then went to the house to see if the septic was ready. When we got there two men were working on a new fence. Dick believes they were hired by the mare who has been very helpful. Kudos to the men who built the house last week. It is really nice and even has an indoor bathroom.

Next we stopped in to see Julio to make sure that his mom was still willing to bring him to Hermano Pedro to the malnutrition ward. She was willing but had to wait until her husband returned from work so we said that we would return at 2 o’clock. As we headed towards our next destination we saw, what we thought was, a cane of sugar come alive. It was the biggest snake I had ever seen. I haven’t seen Dick scared yet but I’m pretty sure he swerved to miss it. This is sugar cane country and it goes for thousands of acres. It was already about 90 degrees when we passed by a spot where they were burning sugar cane. The temperature must have jumped to over 100. I could not imagine working in those fields. We don’t know how good we have it.

We then stopped at another home to repair a little girl’s chair. We couldn’t change the wheels so we tightened the bearings and Dick explained that he would have to come back at a later date.

She was a sweetheart.

We then went to Ronny’s house and Dick says that he still misses Ronny’s road every time he goes there. It was very hot there but fortunately it was just a matter of changing Ronny’s charger, a quick fix. Both Ronny’s younger brother and sister were not feeling well and Dick said that if they are still sick tomorrow, he will take them to a nearby clinic. Ronny’s brother and sisters were just returning from school and were proud to show us their work.

We then went back to pick up Julio, his mom and his six month old sister, Maria to bring him back to the malnutrition ward at Hermano Pedro in Antigua. We stopped, on the way back, at Sarita’s where Julio gobbled up some of Dick’s lasagna and Maria mushed up Lou’s fries. After arriving in Antigua, Dick made arrangements at Hermano Pedro for Julio to be admitted tomorrow. We then dropped Julio, his mom and his sister off at Casa de Fe, a wonderful place where they give free room and board to people like Julio’s mom who really can’t afford anywhere to stay while they are trying to get family members seen by a doctor.

Thanks Dick for another “cruddy” day in Guatemala.

Note from Lou,

It was a real blessing when Dick let Edwin, who is 12 years old, do some of the driving. I’m sure that I felt Julio jump for joy. Only so much can be blamed on Guatemala’s poor road conditions.

You know how older people are about riding in cars. Had I driven any slower the dust would have caught up with us much like it did back in the old days when Lou was a girl.

Wednesday, February 18, 2010

Most of my morning was comprised of getting Julio admitted into the malnutrition ward of Hermano Pedro. A few years ago this process often took up to 2 days but over the years the staff at Hermano Pedro has really gone out of their way to speed the process up for me when ever I bring a starving child in to their facility. Today things went exceptionally fast and by 1PM Julio had been admitted to the malnutrition ward and I was bringing mom and her baby daughter back to their home. Two of my boys, Fernando and Marcos accompanied me when I brought mother back home. Once Fernando and Marcos' teachers herd about the teachers at Esbin's school being on strike they quickly followed suit and did the same. Since we wold not have gotten back home until well after dark we decided to make a mini vacation out of this and tonight we are staying at a motel that is located near the coast. The weather is extremely hot but we are not suffering to badly as the room have air conditioning. Well the boys are telling me that it is time to relax so I guess that I will head out to the pool.

Wow, some times this missionary work sure gets tough.

Yours in Christ, Dick

Friday, February 19, 2010

We are still hiding out at the hotel near the coast but that does not mean that we have not been discovered. Perhaps I should have left my cellphone at home. Ronny's mom called saying that 2 of her younger children were still running fevers. She wondered if I could drive out (2 hours) and take them to the doctor 1/2 hour then drive them back home again 1/2 hour plus my 2 hour return trip home. I suggested that she take a buss which would save me 5 hours and lots of many on gas. She told me that it would not be as convenient for her but that she would make the sacrifice. No sooner had I hung up the phone that I received a call from Lionel's parents. They had not yet returned Lionel to the orphanage after taking him home by buss during Christmas vacation. They called to ask if I could make the 12 hour round trip and bring him back to the orphanage. Once again I suggested the buss. Their response was that if I was not willing to drive there and get him they would have to think about weather or not the wanted to return him to the orphanage. I know that I recently wrote about the servant hart that a Christian should have when dealing with a similar situation when Erica needed medicine, and I ended up bringing the medicine to her but I feel that I am doing these people no favors by jumping through hoops for them when they have been given the means of helping themselves. I had offered buss fare to Lionel's father.

I am trying to write this with an open mind but I think that I need your prayers. So many of the people that I come in contact with need a helping hand but they also need to learn not to try to take the whole arm. What I need is prayer that I remain compassionate but not be wishy-washy. I need to have the wisdom to know how to handle each situation in a loving Christ like manner.

John 9:7

Go," he told him, "wash in the Pool of Siloam". So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

No where in this passage do I read that Jesus drove or carried the man to the pool. Jesus made him take action in order to receive the help that he needed.

Tonight I am back home. I took 9 of my kids out for Pizza at Camperos. Actually we sat on the curb and ate outside of Camperos. They have a booth out front where you can buy 2 peaces of Pizza and a coke for 10 Q. ($1.25) So I was able to feed the 9 kids for just a little over $10. It beat stocking up on groceries because I have to leave again for a few days tomorrow. Tomorrow a few of us plan on driving 7 hours to meet up with a group from Washington State that has been building a house with Chris and Howie. On Sunday we plan to have a wheelchair distribution in the town where they are building the house. I doubt that I will be able to get on line their so If I can keep my eyes open I will try to get this sen out tonight.

Yours in Christ: Dick


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