* 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, April 30, 2010

Journal, April 25-30, 2010

Once again we have a teem here for a week and one of their members is graciously allowing me to publish some of his journals. This week I will try to do a bit of my own writing as well but I think that you will enjoy what Bob has to say.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

It's not all about Bob

Written by Bob

Less than 12 hours from the time I am sitting down to write this blog entry Keli and I will be leaving our house for Eppley airport. Keli's dad will be driving Keli, myself, and two other guys to the airport, where we will meet up with 6 other friends, to catch a 6:00 a.m. flight to Guatemala. Ben and Brandon will be staying behind with their grandparents, at our house, while Keli and I travel as part of a mission trip with Bethel Ministries International

It's been an amazing journey over the last few weeks considering, deciding, and planning to go on this trip. We have been so blessed to be in a position where Keli and I could make this trip together, and to have the time and financial resources (with a lot of help from friends and family) to make it possible.

Upon learning about the possibility to go to Guatemala, I felt an urge to go. When I first mentioned the idea to my wife, Keli was less than "optimistic". At one point we had decided not to attempt this trip, and I was going to inform our pastor the following Sunday that we would not be able to join the team. However, God had other plans, and event after event kept pointing us back to Guatemala. After deciding NOT to go, we rearranged our summer plans to be more responsible about how we would use our time and financial resources this year in order to support mission work. Coincidentally, those changes freed up exactly the number of vacation days we would need for a trip to Guatemala and a significant portion of the financial resources.

I remember the moment that Keli looked at me after speaking with a friend on the phone, tears in her eyes, to say "What is God doing to us?" Her friend was considering the Guatemala mission trip, but didn't want to be the only female on the team. If Keli wasn't going, she wasn't going to go either. This was just 2 hours AFTER I had planned to tell my pastor we were NOT going, but didn't get a chance to talk to him because he was in a conversation when I tried to inform him of our decision. I had opted to talk to him later that week, but that future conversation turned out to have a completely different tone. That night we spent hours discussing what this trip might mean, and why we should or shouldn't attempt it. The following morning found us meeting at the post office to send in passport applications "just in case". By the end of the week, we had decided to join the team going to Guatemala.

The following weeks were filled with a visit to the doctor's office to get the shots we would need prior to the trip, a visit with a lawyer to have our wills prepared, and several meetings with the team that had formed for the trip. That team is probably all in the process of packing and finalizing details (as is Keli) while I sit here typing this blog entry.

You might be wondering why I'm sharing all of this. I guess my hope is that, through this post, and the posts that will follow during or shortly after our trip to Guatemala, I can share a glimpse of how God is working through this team of 10 and how God will be changing us in the process. Those of you that know me best know that I can be a pretty selfish person. A friend once told me, half in jest, "It's all about Bob". He was right...and I've spent a good portion of my life thinking just that. This trip is most definitely NOT "all about Bob" and it's been a huge blessing to see how God has already been working through the generosity of others, encouraging words, supportive parents, prayer support, and stories about how people have already been touched by this trip. And all of that has been a amazing picture of how God can do amazing things when we are willing to step aside and let Him do His work in our lives.



Monday, April 26, 2010

Hello from Guatemala

Written by Bob

Sorry I don't have time to type much, but my food is getting cold.We made it safely and looking forward to a busy day. Last night we had a time a prayer and sharing. I think we can all agree that this trip is challenging all of us in different ways. Some of us have already been moved to tears on more than one occasion. This ministry is so amazing as are the people involved in it.


Here are a few pictures of what we are up to.

Meeting up at Eppley

Chris explains wheelchair distribution and introduces us to the team

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

King of the Casa

Written by Bob

It´s been an amazing 2 days here in Guatemala. We loaded up the truck this morning with more than 60 wheelchairs and a prefab house prior to making our rounds to 3 different families. We met several families today while doing food and clothing distribution on the way to Huehuetenango.

What a blessing it has been to meet these families and get a chance to see how they live. Although we have several projects to complete while we are here, it has been the relationships and time spent with the Bethel Ministries team and the families they have relationships with that have stood out the most.

Among many memorable events today, here is one. On our first food delivery stop we were greeted at the door by 5 year old Victor. Victor´s mother, Carmen, had taken Victor´s sister to the hospital to be treated for a serious foot infection and Victor was home alone. As we entered Victor picked up several small plastic figures and a play mat and put them into a plastic tub and immediately began offering us stools to sit on. Throughout the visit, we were awed by Victor´s hospitality as he proudly showed us the chicken in his kitchen (mothering a brood of both chicks and baby ducks), and his family´s pig, turkeys, and hens in the yard outside. We later learned that the reason Victor was home alone was that if someone was not physically on his property at all times, bandits would clear out the entire home within hours. Imagine your 5 year old son or daughter defending your home and property from thieves, by him/herself, and entertaining a group of 12 people, only 2 of whom he or she knew. Our first reaction was shock that a small boy would be left alone like this. What we later learned is that, although this small boy was at risk, his entire family´s life would be at risk if all their belongings were stolen. Chris jokingly pointed out that Victor was ¨King of the casa¨, which is exactly what this 5 year old boy was.


Click HERE to view Bob's entire blog

Wednesday, April 29, 2010

Written by Dick

Today was day one of a 2 day house building project. We have a rather large group of us staying here in Huehuetenanago. There are the 10 people from the USA plus 8 of us from Guatemala. Divide that into the 18 foot length of the house that we will be building today and Friday and you come up with 1 person per foot.

Since we had so many willing house builders I asked Pastor Juan, and Gordon if they wanted to join me in visiting a few families while the rest of the teem stayed back and built the house.

Nearly a year ago Roland Elf and myself went in to the back country to pick up Cilsa, a 13 year old girl whose family had agreed to let us take her to a specialist who could hopefully figure out why about 6 months prior she suddenly lost use of her legs and started having seizures that lasted from dawn to dusk every night. Just a few weeks prior to this we had taken her and her mother to Hermano Pedro to see a regular doctor and they had seemed quite happy that he had set up this appointment for her to see a specialist, however on the day that we showed up to take her there the family informed us that they had found some one that promised that they could cure her by giving her an injection that they had to pay $100 for. Unfortunately this area is full of witches, medicine men, and people that simply claim to be doctors. They all make promises of being able to cure some one of what ever aliment they have but demand large sums of money and once the the family is drained of all of the money they have they move on to a new victim. Letting us come back to pick up the pieces.

Today Pastor Juan, Gordon and I went back in to visit Cilsa and her family to pick up those pieces.

Celsa's mother sounds like she is now willing to let us take Cilsa to a specialist. I told her that I would try to return to their home tomorrow to confirm that Cilsa's father is in favor of this as well.

Next Pastor Juan, Gordon and I went to the home of Freddy a little boy who, thanks to a sponsor, we are now bringing antiseizure medicine to on a monthly bases. Only Ferddy's grandmother and 2 little girs were at home but grandmother told us that ow that Freddy is taking the medicine his seizures have all but stopped.

We were already back at the hotel when the others returned. They were tired and sore from all the work that they had done on the house today but no one was complaining. They know what a blessing it will be for this young mother and her 3 children to finally have a place of their own to live in.

"Let us be the ones who say we do not accept that a child dies every three seconds simply because he does not have the drugs you and I have. Let us be the ones to say we are not satisfied that your place of birth determines your right to life. Let us be outraged, let us be loud, let us be bold."

Yours in Christ: Dick

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wheelchair Distribution

Written by Dick

It seems that the needs of people here in Guatemaqla are endless. Today we at least had the privilege of reaching out to around 50 people that were in need of not only wheelchairs but of some one who cared. It would be impossible for me to share all of their stories but many of them brought us to tears. There were adults and children that had never seen doctors in their entire lives. One child that stands out in my mind was a little boy who is having 4 or five seizures a day but becasue of lack of money his parents have never been able to take him to a doctor.

I also gave a wheelchair to a 13 year old boy (not pictured) who had muscular dystrophy. His family had taken him to a doctor but like so many doctors here in Guatemala this one gave this poor family little more than the time of day and told them that their son had something other than the muscular dystrophy that he actually has. I did not have the hart to tell this family that their other 3 sons have a 50 50 chance of having it as well. The list goes on.

As important as the wheelchairs are to those that are in need of them I am more and more becoming aware that what is even more important to these people is simply knowing that someone cares. You would be amazed by the number of people that came up to us after they or a loved one received a wheelchair and an encouraging word from one of the pastors that was there to counsel with them, and thanked us over and over again for caring. One lady that appeared to be even older than I am (ancient) went around and gave each of us hugs for about an hour. Some of us got thanked by her 2 or 3 times.

No, we are not here for the hugs or the thank-yous but it does make us aware of how important it is to not only let these people know that we care but to let them know that God cares.

"Thank you Lord for once again reminding me that you loved each one of us enough that you were willing to give your only Son."

Yours in Christ: Dick


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