* 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)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Journal, March 30 - April 4, 2010

Wednesday, May 30, 2010

Last night I got back home after being up in the Rio Dulci area for nearly a week doing wheelchair distributions with a teem from Joni and Friends and some of the regulars from Bethel ministries. We had a fantastic week but I really missed my kids.

You may wonder why I call them my kids when it was only 6 years ago that I moved into this neighborhood and knew none of them before that time, but if you could spend just an hour or 2 at my house you would realize how much they have made themselves at home here. True, having no less than 10 and often well over a dozen kids in a 3 room house at any given time can get a bit overwhelming at times but I would not trade it for the world. these kids have indeed become family. Take tonight for instance when several of them decided to entertain me by doing Dick impersonations.

Elder took first place in the.........
"Dick look alike competition".....

No I didn't make Elder do dishes as punishment. The kids love helping out around the house. (Perhaps love is a bit of a strong word but when there is a small cash incentive they at least tolerate it.)

Lady and Esbin (who after several years, now claims his name is Edwin) have been fixing my hair while I have been writing this. I have not been paying much attention to what they were doing and had no mirror handy but decided to to turn on my computer's camera and came up with this. I guess I was a bit hasty in giving Elder the first place award in the Dick look alike competition. After all he didn't have any bows in his hair.

Well I guess that better quit writing and give the kids 100% of my attention, especially after overhearing one of them say something about lipstick.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Thursday, May 31, 2010

After being gone from home for nearly a week there are always a pile of things to catch up on. Today I decided that they would have to wait. My kids are out of school until after Easter so swimming sounded a lot more important to them than my list of things. It also gave me a chance to try to out do Elder by doing a few impersonations of my own.

Here is a picture of me standing next to Tony doing my Joe Cool impersonation.

Not only did I not win but my stomach mussels still hurt from trying to hold my gut in while Calin took this picture.

It is getting late so normally I would say good night and head off to bed, but I am not sure that I can lye down comfortably. Whoever said that sunblock wouldn't wash off when you swam should be shot.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Thursday, April 1, 2010

This morning Fernando, Cesar, Elder and I headed down to the orphanage for a few hours. I would have liked to have stayed longer but it is Easter week and saying that Antigua becomes a mad house during Easter is an understatement. We parked our car about a half mile from the orphanage and walked there just to insure that we would be able to get back out of town once all of the processions started up at around noon. It was good to see the kids and we had a good time with them but we didn't take any of them to lunch because of the crowds of people that were in town.

This evening Calin and I went to the airport in Guatemala City to pick up Pat Duff and 3 students that came along with her for a week stay here in Guatemala. They are planing on spending most of their time volunteering at Hermano Pedro orphanage.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Here is a copy of the letter that Pat sent out to the parents of the 3 students that came along with her to Guatemala.

Pat wrote.

Hi, parents,

Your kids don't know I'm writing this, but I just wanted to tell you how amazing they were this morning at the orphanage. As I sit here thinking about it, I'm tearing up for about the tenth time today. I can't begin to put into words how proud I am of them. The compassion of Jesus was clear in everything they said and did. I've seen many adults hold back out of fear or awkwardness, but not your kids.

Many of the kids were outside when we arrived at Hermano Pedro, as they were going to watch the procession that went in front of the orphanage. Of course, the challenging kids were left inside. So we went inside. We wanted to take some of them out, but the charge nurse was worried about how the kids would act (the orphanage kids, not yours!) so we stayed and played with them in the garden area. I wish you could have been here to see our crew as they cuddled, carried, fed, played with, pushed and loved on Ervin (who used to have the nickname "Monster"), Delmi, Samuel, and Estuardo. There was nothing that put them off, or made them uncomfortable. I think Cameron gets the "above and beyond" award for today, because when Ervin's pants (all of them) fell to the floor, he scooped him up and carried him to his bed to be changed without flinching. I feel like I got to watch Jesus washing feet today through Brianna, Laura, and Cameron.

I want to thank you for sharing your kids with me on this trip. They are blessing my heart more than they'll ever know, and I can't imagine just how much they are blessing the kids with their unconditional and unrestrained love. They humble me.

On a practical note, we arrived in Guatemala City a few minutes ahead of schedule, with all our bags (Never underestimate the power of missions to get things where they need to be!) I think Dick might have wished we'd lost a few, but with a little juggling and some brute force we got them all into the Land Cruiser and headed off for Antigua. There was almost no traffic in Guate City--and this never happens. In about 30 minutes we found out why--everyone was trying to get into Antigua. The road to town was a parking lot as cars were stopped to pay "parking fees" for entering the city, half the roads were closed because of preparations for the processions, and the ones that weren't were jam packed with vehicles going every which way. Using his famous Guatemalan driving techniques, Dick got us into town, but then we were concerned we wouldn't be able to drive directly to the house. Finally we got on a road I recognized, I finally got my bearings (it was dark!) and we made it to the door of the house without problems.

Pat is being very gracious in not mentioning that after sitting in traffic for nearly 2 hours, I did let my feelings be known to the driver of a car that tried to squeeze his way into line after trying to run the oncoming traffic off the road so that he could save himself a few minutes. I figured that sooner or later Pats 3 guests were bound to find out that missionaries are not saints, but I would have preferred if they could have been broken in a little slower. Sorry group, I promise that next time I will keep my feeling to myself or at least not broadcast them any further than a quarter of a mile.

We had a "snack" when we arrived, and visited with the family for a bit. The girls are surviving. Believe it or not, this morning they both tasted refried black beans, and decided they liked them. The fish they had for lunch was a bit more of a challenge. Tonight we went out for pizza.

We'll it's late, and though we're all sitting around visiting, I think I'll call it a night. A great day.


I didn't even attempt driving into Antigua Today and most likely won't until after Easter. I have decided that taking 2 hours to drive through a town that is only 14 blocks across should not be experienced more than once a year. Besides that my vocal cords are still a bit tender after Thursday night's experience.

I figured that the kids at the orphanage were in good hands with Pat and her crew there so 3 of my boys and I headed down towards the coast to visit a few families.

Our first stop was at the home of Rosa and her children. This is the family that we built a house for last February. Before building and relocating Rosa and 7 of her children to this new home they were living in a shack that most the humane society in the States would put you in jail for if you tried to keep a pig in it.

....................Old house

New home

Today I drove up on a far different seen than the first time that I met this family. Rosa was not at home because she was out selling coconuts that the family had picked from one of the trees that is in their yard. Moat of the kids were there though and although they are still a bit shy they were friendly and seemed happy to see us. All of them looked healthy and the 4 school age kids are now attending school. The family is still poor even by Guatemala standards but I can see a definite change. When I firs met them it seemed that all of them from the youngest who is about 4 years old on up through the oldest had simply given up on having any hope. Thanks to the teem of Americans that purchased the materials and then came down and built them a house they now know that someone cares. On all of our visits we remind them that Jesus is the one who really cares and that is the reason that we are there. I am still not certain where any of the members of this family are as far as their Christianity is concerned but I know that they have been shown what it is all about and pray that they will soon want the lasting piece that only Christ can give.

Next we went cross country to where Julio's family lives. A few weeks ago I brought 11 year old Julio back to the malnutrition ward of Hermano Pedro after his weight had dropped back down to less than 25 pounds. About 2 years ago when he was 9 I brought him into the malnutrition ward weighing only 9 pounds. Juli is once again gaining weight and undoubtedly will be returning back home for the second time within a few months. Today's visit was to speak with his mother about picking her up on Monday or Tuesday so that she can visit him for a day or 2. She told me that she misses him and that she is eager to see him. While I was there father came home with about a dozen small fish that he had speared in a nearby river. I do not know what kind of fish they were but they looked like they were prehistoric and even though I have learned to eat just about anything here in Guatemala I was still quite relieved that the family did not invite us to stay for lunch.

Calin and Cesar had a great time.......
tormenting Fernando by dangling......
the string of fish in his face............

Next we did a bit more cross country driving to where Ronny lives. Often times when I am on the back roads I let one of my kids sit next to me and steer my Land Cruiser. Today the dirt road that we were on was fairly straight and things were so dry that you could see the dust coming up from an oncoming truck or car several miles off, so I let the boys take turns at driving on their own. I am afraid that I really started something but it sure made the day for the boys.

Ronny's parents were not at home but his grandmother was there looking after the kids. Ronny and the other kids seem to be doing fine. The kids had a great time climbing some of the mango trees and took a garbage bag full of Mango's home with them. I told the kids that they could keep them all because mangos are right next to prehistoric fish when it comes to things that I don't like to eat.

We didn't get home until after dark but the house still quickly filled up with kids.

Well that's about it for another day so I will say "Goodnight."

Yours in Christ: Dick

Saturday, April 3, 2010

As much as I miss not spending as much time as usual at Hermano Pedro orphanage I once again decided not to go there today. A phone call to my friend Pat confirmed that the few streets that were not closed for processions looked more like parking lots than anything else.

Instead of going to Antigua some of the boys and I headed up to Sant Martin where Alex and his family now live. Alex, his 2 brothers and 2 sisters use to spend a lot of time at my place until a few months ago when they moved to a small house that their grandfather built for them.

Many of the kids that hang out at my house are related to Alex's family so I had no problem filling up my car with people that wanted to go and visit them. Even though they now live virtually in the middle of nowhere the kids all found plenty to do and no one wanted to leave when I told them that it was time to go home.

Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
1 Peter 1:3

............."Have a wonderful Easter."
..................Yours in Christ: Dick


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home