* 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)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Journal, May 27 & 28, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

(Click on any picture to enlarge)
Not much exciting news today. This morning I drove into Guatemala City and Picked up Paster Bill from the airport. He came in a few days ahead of 8 other people from the States who were planning on joining us for a week of wheelchair distributions and house building. I say "were planning on joining us" because now that the airport is closed for at least 4 or five days it looks like there is no way that they will be able to make it on time. Oh did I mention that the airport is closed because Pacaya one of our local volcano's erupted a few hours after picking Bill up from the airport. The people in Guatemala city are now experiencing what it is like to have a couple of inches of snow on the round. Only problem is this stuff is black and it does not seem to be melting. Any way like I said not much exciting news today so I will keep this one short.

Friday, May, 28, 2010
Calin and Bryan had school today but since their teacher still had not shown up at school an hour after classes were suppose to have started I let them come along with me to Santiago today. Nearly 2 months ago we had a wheelchair distribution in Santiago where I met 3 teenage boys that had Muscular dystrophy. None of the 3 had enough strength in there arms to propel manual wheelchairs so I made a promise to all 3 that I would return as soon as possible with power wheelchairs for each of them. As you are likely aware of I have just returned from a 3 week visit in the States. While I was there pretty much relaxing I could not help but think about these 3 young men who were more than likely wondering if they were actually going to receive wheelchairs that would revolutionize their lives. Today their hopes became a reality. While I was in the States good old Alturo who works for Bethel ministries got three chairs that he and I had picked out before I left up and running. All I can say is Wow! Perhaps nothing more happened yesterday than a volcano erupting but today's excitement made up for that.

Below is a short video of Domingo test driving his new power wheelchair.

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Doming Attends the same school as Manwell, another young man that we built up a chin controlled power wheelchair for a few months ago.

Here is a picture of Domingo and Manwell.

On the left 13 year old Stephen patiently waits while the boys and I set up his new power wheelchair.

Below is Stephen in his new power wheelchair with his grandmother and step mom standing next to him.

Stephens older brother Sebastian was
also given a power wheelchair today.
Guatemalan teens are told that it is not cool to smile when you are having your picture taken but believe me there were plenty of smiles when they were off camera.

We did not get home until around 8 PM. It was a rather exciting drive due to a lot of rocks and mud on the road. Oh I almost forgot to mention that there is a tropical storm off coast and with the amount of rain that we are getting they say that many of Guatemala's roads will likely be closed by tomorrow. I guess the up side to this is that the Volcano is now dropping mud on the City instead of ashes and dust.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Journal, May 26, 2010

May 26, 2010

After being in the States for 20 days I am finally back in Guatemala. It was good to get some rest and even better to see friends and relatives that I have not seen for far to long, (First time out of Guatemala in over 3 years) but Guatemala has become my home and it is always good to get back home. I got in late last night and by the time I got up this morning all of the kids were in school so it was actually rather quiet around here for a change.

First thing I did after leaving the house this morning was go to my mechanic to pick up my car that was left at his shop while I was gone. I figured that if I gave him nearly 3 weeks to fix a few small things on it that I would not have to be with out it. Wrong! When I got there today I was told that he would start on it this afternoon. Welcome to Guatemala Dick. I had forgotten that nothing is ever done on time here, even if a few extra weeks are allowed. Fortunately a car that Chris and Donna had left there "who knows when" was finally fixed so I was able to use it today.

I had missed the orphanage kids as much as those that frequent my house so I headed there for the day. Before going to the States I had also promised a lady that I would show a group of people around the orphanage today. What I had not known was that this group was more like an army. There were 25 of them. All went well though because they quickly adjusted to the kids and with in a short time most of them were feeling right at home. It was good to see all of the kids and I was thrilled to see that both Jo Jo and Alex who were not doing to well when I had left were now doing much better.

When I got home this evening I was not at all surprised to see 7 or 8 of my kids waiting for me in the alley by my house. With in a half hour those numbers had more than doubled and by supper time I had lost count. Several of them told me that 2 of the boys had told them that I had called them and told them that I was not coming back. It was meant as a joke but I was later told that some of them were in tears when they heard that.

Well things are pretty much back to normal. One less window due to a stray soccer ball. Several bandages have been used up on wounds that could scarcely be seen with a magnifying glass. Everything that has taken place in the last 3 weeks has been shared by nearly every kid. Several times 3 or 4 of them would tell me their side of the story all at once. Six packs of Spegetti and 2 bags of potato chips have been consumed, and my some what clean dishes have been put away. The kids insist that it is hard to get them spotless when you have to wash them out side with a garden hose. I have considered getting inside plumbing but then the kids would not be able to have water fights while doing the dishes. Any way things are once again back to as normal as they get around here. I guess I will go and look for my flash light. I don't want to trip over any kids as I walk through the house if I have to go outside to use the bathroom tonight. I guess I could build something like the house that I stayed in while I was in the states had but some how I just don't think that a bathroom inside of your home could be all that sanitary.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Journal, May 4, 2010

May 26 update (I am back at home here in Guatemala and I plan on posting new Journal entries within a few days.)
May 4, 2010

Tomorrow I plan on heading back to the States for a 3 week visit. I am uncertain as to weather or not I will be doing any journaling while I am in the States.

You would think that since it has been over 3 years since I last visited the States that I would be excited about going back but leaving Guatemala, even if it is for only a few weeks, is difficult for me. Granted it will be nice to see friends and relatives that I have not seen in years but to say that it will be easy to leave those that I have come to know and love here in Guatemala would be a lie. I can not help but wonder where the kids that frequent my house will hang out while I am gone. I also wonder if the children in the orphanage like Luis or Alex will have some one to hold them while I am gone or if Alex or some of the others will even be alive when I return. I know that these kids are in God's hands but I will miss not being able to be an extension of those hands.

Yours in Christ: Dick