* GUATEMALA * * * * * * * * Dick Rutgers *

An ongoing journal of life as a Missionary in Guatemala. It will make you laugh and cry at the same time.

My Photo
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, April 21, 2010

Journal, April 15-20, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

This week we have a teem of adults here from my home church back in Washington State. Their leader Mike Campfield is keeping a daily journal while they are here so I am going to take advantage of that by posting what Mike wrote along with a few things that I wrote.

We Have Arrived

Written by Mike
We thank the Lord for a safe trip. Other than Dick Rutgers driving we made it great!

(Then again perhaps I should be doing my own Journaling. I thought about deleting that last sentence but am praying that those that read it already know Mike and are aware that not all pastors are 100% truthful.)

Again Chris, Donna and Cindy Mooney (far right in the picture) have opened their home with excellent accommodations. Most of the team had a good night resting their eyes but getting used to the chickens, dogs, gun shots (far away), some loud bird landing on the roof and Warrren's snoring we slept great! We are off to paint, load wheelchairs, fix roads and have fun serving however we can!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Written by Dick

Today as Calin and I were heading towards the coast to deliver a power scooter we had to come to a sudden stop to avoid hitting the car in front of us that stopped at an intersection that he had the right away on. Unfortunately the pick up truck that was following us did not stop as quickly as we did and rear-ended me. Since other traffic was bearing down on us I decided to pull ahead to a wide spot on the road and motioned for the driver of the pickup truck to do the same. Judging by the force of the impact I was sure that substantial damage had been done to my car. The driver of the pick up truck started to pull off behind me but then swung back onto the rode and kept going. I quickly caught up with him and motioned for him to pull over. He did not seem all that interested in doing so. Perhaps the fact that there were about 10 adults in his truck and there were only 2 people in my car had something to do with this. Here in Guatemala It would perhaps have been wiser had I simply given in and let him go but being American and knowing that I was in the right kept me from doing the wise thing. I was not about to let common sense rule, so I kept forcing the issue and finally convinced him that I was willing to exchange a little paint if he did not want to stop and at least talk things over. Would you believe that right across the road from where we stopped there just happened to be 2 police men. Now I know that normally call these things Godincidences but after talking over what had just happened with the police men I am not all that sure that it was. Every one held their tempers (even me) but the police sided with the driver of the pick up truck and told me that I should not have stopped at that intersection since I had the right away. The fact that I had no choice unless I ran over the car in front of me seemed to make little difference. The Driver of the pickup truck told me that he would have stopped quicker but a semi truck was bearing down on him and had he stopped any quicker the passengers that were in the back of his truck would have been in far worse shape than our vehicles. Oh! the shape of our vehicles? In all of the excitement neither we nor the police had looked over the damage yet. When I looked at the front of the pickup truck I was sure that the damage on my Land Cruiser had to be extensive because this truck had a reinforced bumper on it that looked like it had been made for pushing trains off from the road. I think that you could have run this thing into a cement wall with out doing any damage. Next we walked over to my car. I was expecting the worst. There is a spare tire mounted on the back of my car and I figured that when it got hit it likely demolished the door that it is connected to. How the cow catcher bumper of the pick up truck that rear-ended me missed my spare tire and made contact with only my rear bumper is beyond me, and how Toyota can make a car so strong that only the bumper was damaged, and not all that bad, is beyond me but other than my pride, not much damage was done. The police officers looked at me and scratched their heads. Why had I even bothered them. I scratched my head. Why had I made such a fuss about this after all it was only a car? No one was hurt. My chance of getting hurt were a lot greater by confronting these ten men then they had been when I was rear-ended by their truck. We all shock hands then got back into our cars and drove off.

One thing that I have learned from this is that I have to drive even faster so that I do not get rear-ended by any more cars!

About and hour later Calin and I stopped off and gave Owen his new power scooter. Three years ago Owen was riding his motor cycle home from his last day of university. That night he was suppose to go to his graduation ceremony but Owen was run off from the road by a buss and his head struck a tree. Owen suffered brain damage and his life was changed forever. Later this evening as I sat in a 4 hour long traffic jam that had been caused by a head on collision between a car and a semi I realized how fortunate I was. Please continue to pray for our safety and for a lot more wisdom.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Wheels from God

Written by Mike
We woke up at 3:30 AM this morning to be on the road at 4 so we could arrive at the wheelchair distribution by 7:30. The team slept, visited and enjoyed the landscape when the sun came up. Seeing active volcano's is always a sight to behold...

The distribution was to begin around 8 am, then told 9. Then most people arrived and actually started at 10. The mayor of the city came and had us join him on the stage (He's the one in red between Stephanie and Merissa). After his attempted political exploitation (according to Chris), we began doing what Chris and Dick do most of their days.

Our group jumped in and after a few minutes and acted as though they have done it all their lives. Of course there are numerous stories each person could share but the final story is a greater appreciation of the ministry going on through Dick and Chris.

The drive back was beautiful and the BBQ chicken, fresh green beans, potatoes, homemade tortilla and juice hit the spot.
We ended our night with devotions (led by Stephanie) reminding us of our indebtedness to Christ and our call as servants. We closed praying for Dick, singing two songs and time in prayer. Thank you Lord for another great day. Help each of us to serve you with our whole heart, soul and mind!
The "wheels from God" is true! Once individuals are fitted for their chair, a team of people meet with them to share the gospel. 13 people committed their lives to the Lord! The cool thing is those that meet with them are local people/pastors from the church to follow up. A great process for touching the least that last and the lost!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

A day to sleep in a bit but we were all awake by 7 AM. Stephanie, Warren, Sam and Donna made us breakfast. Robert gets the group going (below)! We are leaving for church, then to Antigua at the orphanage then football (soccer) with Dick's kids and pizza feed to follow...keep us in your prayers.


God says Good morning

Written by Mike
There is so much to write about today. God said good morning with a minor earthquake...

Church was great in the morning, the orphanage in the afternoon was eye opening and to end our day playing football (soccer) was fun.

It is so great to know that the God we serve is BIG and to be able to worship with another culture is a treat. The many hugs and kisses during the greeting was fun to be a part of. The love displayed to our group was great. After Chris Mooney's daughter-in-law Alyssa shared how the perfect Love of God takes away our fears we ended the service with prayer and worship.

At the orphanage we were reminded how truly blessed we are to have the health we have. Seeing the smiles the children had on their faces as we took them out of their cribs was rewarding. Walking past the others that we couldn't attend to for our time there was difficult. The group "jumped" right in and loved up on the kids.

Our time playing soccer was a treat. The three teams were split with Americans, Canadians (Brent, Merissa and Natasha) and Guatemalans evenly divided! Following that we ate pizza together. We closed our evening praying for each other and thanking the Lord for another great day!

Monday, April 19, 2010

House on the Rock

Written by Mike

Today we traveled "up"to about 8000 feet to start the first day of our two day house build. Sam, Robert, Natasha, Shayna, Glen and Gina made up the foundation crew. We staked out a 15ft x 18ft plot to start the foundation. We mixed the concrete and tried to pour and finish before the concrete set. We met the lady who was going to receive the new house, she was so happy and excited to see us all there. The children were checking us out all day from a distance, finally a small girl came over and got some candy from the Girls. Before long the kids were making there way over to get some candy and friendship bracelets and exchanging laughs and smiles. We all had a great time and can not wait to finish building and blessing this house for this family.

Stephanie, Merissa, Jess, Warren, Brent and Mike worked on painting the church in Chimaltenango. Not only are we painting the church but the pastor's house and classrooms as well.

After a full day of painting we took bags of food to six families. Of course seeing the living conditions of these families quickly slapped us in the face of how much we have and reminded us how great the needs are of so many in this area as well as many places in the world.

Groups that come down often build houses - same as the one we are building - and the homes we visited were those who have received the blessing of a new "house" by Bethel Ministries. One in particular stands out for our group.

Ruth has had some horrible experiences and through the conversation the hurt came out. Chris gently spoke with her to let go of the past and to trust in the Lord. She prayed to ask the Lord to restore her, for His forgiveness and to work in her life. Praise the Lord!

Ruth works LONG hours in her house working as a seamstress. She can NOT leave her home as her materials and sewing equipment are expensive. IF she does leave, her mother has to watch the house. Unfortunately her mother lives 20 minute drive but she has to walk as she has no transportation.

We pray the Lord will be with Ruth and the Holy Spirit will speak to her daily. We do thank Him for allowing us the opportunity to be a part of this Divine Appointment.

The rest of the homes were similar. Each was so thankful to receive the food and visit with us (mainly reconnecting with Chris!). Many have physical needs that seem overwhelming. Most trust the Lord and truly live by Faith...for the food they eat, the clothes they wear, the health they have and the provisions they need.

The groups will switch on Wednesday and look forward to completing the painting and house project!


Dick wrote

Since there were 2 new kids at the orphanage that were in need of wheelchairs I decided to break away from the group today and go there. When I arrived I was pleased to see that they had most of the kids out in the court yard but I was not happy to see that even though they did not have Ervin locked in his crib like they do most of the time he and his wheelchair were tied to a pole. I quickly decided that even though I had a lot of work to do today I was going to take him out to the park and to lunch.

I did not get straight to work becasuse today the therapists actually decided to use the swimming pool to do therapy. One more adult meant that one more kid was able to get into the pool. Six kids isn't much considering there are 240 full time residents but I figured that it was better than five.

When I got out of the pool I finally went to work. The first little boy that I put into a wheelchair is a new resident at Hermano Pedro. He has CP but seems quite healthy. He is still quite frightened and not at all sure what is going on but wormed up to me quickly and by the time I had him fitted into his new wheelchair we were the best of friends.

Why they think that Ervin has to either be tied up or locked in his crib most of the day is beyond me. Granted he is a strong willed child but once he knows what is expected of him he is a delightfull little boy. After lunch I let him play on the playground equipment at Camperos and he had the time of his life.

When we got back to the orphanage I went up to the Malnutrition ward to see an 11 year old boy that I had only briefly met when he arrived last week. When he arrived at Hermano Pedro he was very malnourished and his breathing seemed labored. Since he was so week I had decided that I would wait a week or 2 until I place him in a wheelchair. He seemed quite frightened and even though I was not going to give him a wheelchair that day I had thought about staying with him for an hour or 2 just so that he would not feel so all alone, but I had so many other things to do that I simply patted him on the head and promised that I would be back in a few days with a wheelchair for him. Today when I walked into the isolation room where he had been I was hopeing to see at least some improvement. When I looked into his bed I saw that it was empty. I feared for the worst but hoped that perhaps he had been moved to a different part of the orphanage or perhaps to a different hospital. I quickly phoned Jessica and asked where they had taken him. Jessica's reply was one that I did not want to hear. This 11 year old boy had died.

The rest of my day was not spent in fixing wheelchairs. Instead I spent it holding some of the other kids that are up in the malnutrition ward. I felt that it was important that they knew that someone cared.

“Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while,
so that we can see Life with a clearer view again.”

Yours in Christ: Dick

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Written by Mike

Today we traveled two hours to experience the zipline and shopping as well . The time was fun and each had a well deserved break but as we reflected tonight seeing how many live in this area made us a bit guilty. Knowing the poverty and severe needs was brought more into focus. While we are thankful for our time today and the fun we had we look forward to getting back to serving Him!

Warren led our devotions having us read from Hebrews 11. A good discussion was had as we talked about where our Faith is and, more importantly, WHO is that faith in? We were reminded that those in the chapter (the spiritual giants if you will) had great faith but died before they received the promises.

How is your faith? Who is it in? How are you doing with applying that faith on a daily basis? Tough questions but worth pondering. Fear often holds us back and when we give in to those fears we miss opportunities for God's hand to work in our life. God WILL accomplish His will and when we don't respond someone else will be used by Him...

With zip lining our faith was in the equipment that held us up and provided security we needed. God provides the equipment to hold us and we have faith to know that He IS in control.



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