* 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, June 29, 2010

Journal, June 22-29, 2010

(Click on any image to enlarge)

I have to admit that I have once again fallen way behind on my journaling. Thankfully a few people that I have been with have been more faithful than me in that department so once again I am going to post one or 2 of their journals along with a hodge podge of my pictures and a few comments. I will try to do a better job in the future but no promises. There are only 24 hours in a day and I seem to have a knack for finding more interesting things to do than writing. Here are a few photos of some of those things.

These 6 girls from the teen section of the orphanage
enjoyed going out to the park.

Judging by the expression on Mercedes face they enjoyed Camperos even more.

A few days later several of the younger kids had their day out on the town.

It appears that Camperos was the favorite part of this groups outing as well.

The following was written by Amber Greathouse, one the ladies that volunteered at Hermano Pedro this week.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It would have been very easy for me to turn around and leave. When I first entered the children's ward I was so overwhelmed I thought I might lose my breath. There were what seemed like hundreds of children all lined up against the walls strapped into wheelchairs. Some were covered with mosquito netting so bugs and flies would not crawl into their open mouths and eyes. Most of the children where starring into space and slobbering. I thought to myself I will never make it through this day let alone this trip. There were a few little fellows zipping along in a more open area. Some with stand up wheelchairs and one with a head controlled wheelchair, and they were so darn cute. Angela turned to us and said, "well, OK pick one". Pick one? Was Angela crazy? This wasn't exactly like going to the pond for a new puppy. These were children, someone's most precious possessions, a little person with a heart and a soul and a mind, no matter how functioning, and I was just supposed to pick one? There would be no way I could possibly help any of these kids. This was way beyond a small group of volunteers. I was starting to think hiking Volvan Agua would be a nice way to spend the day, and then Angela handed me Perla.

She had gorgeous black curls and a total of 4 teeth, all that were fully covered with bright silver mercury filled fillings. She was expressionless, just looking out to nowhere. I sat down and said one of the few Spanish things I knew, "hola Perla", and suddenly her face wasn't so expressionless,maybe she had heard me? I was wishing that I had learned at least one Spanish song, but since I hadn't I started counting. By the time I got to diez I got a full fledged smile. This precious little girl, who would never walk, talk, sit up, or probably ever eat solid food, she just smiled at me.

I guess I held Perla there for about an hour or so. I sang the days of the week and counted to ten probably one hundred times and she seemed happy the whole time. It was amazing.

Later I held Patita. She was a little more aware than Perla, she could sit up a little with a lot of help. She didn't have Perla's cute curls. Instead she had a buzz cut, shorter than most of the boys. I really liked her. She wasn't as cute and cuddly as some of the other children. Dick Rutgers, one of the main volunteers that has been there for years, said that she was one that didn't usually get a lot of attention. I liked her so much that she's the one I went and found after lunch that day and every day after. I spent about 3 hours with her that first day. I even fed her, which basically amounted to me holding her while her IV bag drained through her feeding tube. I sang the days of the week, counted, and shouted fiesta over and over again. I taught her the C-A-T-S- cheer and told her about the Wildcats. When I started moving her arms up int he air for the "Fiesta" cheer and the "Cats" cheer she started to laugh. She started to laugh out loud. What an amazing sound! Angels could have came from heaven up above and sang and it would not have sounded so sweet.

I was so overwhelmed when I had first walked in but by the end of the day I had made several wonderful new friends, Patita being one of my favorites. I guess Angela wasn't so crazy after all.

Amber Greathouse

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At the beginning of the school year I promised the kids that hang out at my place that I would take those that got good marks on their report cards to a water park in Esquentla. Nine of them got to go.

No Camperos here
we all had
a great time.

In spite of his good grades I did not allow Calin to go with us to the water park.
but a few days later I let him join us for a neighborhood soccer game.

Thursday, June 24, 2010Marcos, Esbin (They are out of school for a week???) and 2 people that are visiting from the States joined me for a visit to Ronny and his family. This was not a scheduled visit but the night before I received a phone call that Ronny's power wheelchair had quit running. The drive to Ronny's house is 2 hours each way but well worth it knowing how much Ronny's power wheelchair means to him. As an added bonus Mara, one of the people that accompanied the boys and I got to see the Democratica, the town where her adopted son came from.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cesar, Bryan (Who are also out of school for a week) and I traveled down to Jalapa Along with Chris, some of the Bethel workers, and a group of volunteers from the States. Cesar Bryan and myself helped out with the wheelchair distribution that was held in Jalapa on Saturday and then headed back home on Sunday. Chris and the others are planning on staying in Jalapa for several days so that they can build a house for a family who's son received a wheelchair and also to distribute food to needy families in the area.

Kathy Christensen who is here with the volunteer group from the Seattle area is doing some journaling and here is what she wrote about the wheelchair distribution.

Cathy Wrote the following.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor serving the Lord."
Romans 12:11

It is good to be back in Guatemala with Dick and Chris. The wheelchair distribution in Jalapa was simply a blessing. It was a blessing to be able to help pack the truck in Chimel on Friday with the supplies we'd be needing during our time here. Wheelchairs, walkers, wheelchair parts, tools, food, clothing and a house. (No kitchen sink, but rather a stove).

There were a lot of people who attended the wheelchair distribution. To realize that many of them have been waiting decades for mobility helped to keep us focused on each individual chair fitting. An elderly woman we helped was so pleased to have a chair that her eyes sparkled with joy. They were even more sparkling when she was treated, for the first time in her life, to a manicure from one of our team members.

There were a lot of children needing chairs. From previous experiences these require specialized fittings. Though I've lived 18 years with a child in a wheelchair, never would I profess to have the talent for such an undertaking. And yet when confronted with the task, and by God's grace, oh, and Dick's excellent suggestions, my group was able to fit a chair to a precious little girl whose loving father was grateful for receiving. It was a highlight, and a reminder of the power of the Holy Spirit.

To be the hands and feet of Christ is an awesome experience, and does so much more for us than the recipients. To understand that God is changing our hearts and minds while we are serving others is a reminder that these types of trips are so necessary for our spiritual journey. When I am here it is apparent that God calls us to help others not just for their benefit, but for ours. And this team I am on is truly serving with fervor, jumping in and working hard in Jesus' name - with actions and in truth.

This is also an experience in discovering the true meaning of need. These lovely people do not have the services we have come to expect in the States. And having a child or adult with a disability is much more problematic for families living in a country that is impoverished. So sharing our blessings with those in great need not only helps us appreciate what we have, but also shows us why God calls us to share our portion with "the least of these".

Thank you Lord for your lessons in humility, service and faith.


Monday, and Tuesday June 28 & 29 , 2010During the past few days I have spent most of my time at Hermano Pedro Orphanage. Since School is still out (???????) I took 2 of my boys with me each of the days. On Monday Fernando and Elder came along with me and today Esbin and Bryan accompanied me. Watching my boys interact with the kids at the orphanage always does my hart good. If you were aware of some of the things that my boys have been through you would think that they would be angry at the whole world. That is why I always marvel at the love and compassion that they show to the orphanage kids. They are living proof that God can heal the most wounded harts. Thank you Lord for putting them in my life.

Yours in Christ: Dick


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