* 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)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Journal, June 7-10, 2010

(Click on any picture to enlarge.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tropical storm Agatha has left a lot of people hurting, so this morning I headed over to Bethel's wheelchair shop and picked up some walkers, crutches, mosquito netting, children's vitamins, and a few water filters. Then I drove to Antigua and picked up my friend Carlos. We then headed over to Hope Haven's wheelchair factory where Mark Richard helped us load up my car the rest of the way with boxes of food, and then headed for the coast.

Mark is the one with the gray hair and the beard.

I am the one with the gray hair and the beard.

Or is it the other way around?

It has been over a week since Agatha hit Guatemala so enough roads have been reopened that we figured that we could likely make in in to most of the families that we knew. Our first stop was at the home of Irma. Irma is a lady that is in a wheelchair that we built a house for several years ago. She, her 2 children and granddaughter had to move into a community shelter for a few days when the storm filled their house with water but they managed to hang up their meager belongings on the rafters of their house so they lost only a few things. Their well that was always polluted is now nothing more than a hole in the ground that is filled wiht mud ans sludge though. Chris had already managed to get some money to Erma so that she could have the well cleaned out and today we gave her a water filter and a some groceries.

....Carlos & Irma's granddaughter

Our next stop was at the clinic in Lagomara. My good friend Doctor Josey and the mayor's wife took time from their busy schedules to visit with us and tell us about some of the ever present needs along with new ones that the flooding had brought on. We gave them some of the supplies that we had and then moved on.

From there we drove a narrow dirt road to Ronny's house. Even though it had to be close to 100 degrees we kept the windows of my car rolled up on this stretch of road. This was the same road that I had met the 3 armed bandits on a few months ago. My windows are not bullet proof but they are tinted and so it is hard for a bandit to know how many people are in a car and weather or not they themselves are armed. I do not carry a gun but feel that it is best to keep certain people wondering.

Ronny's family is always one of my favorites to visit. Over the years they have become like family to me. They told me that the water had gotten about 2 feet deep but fortunately we had built their house high enough that not a drop got into it. An hour suddenly turned into 2 and even though it seemed like we had just started our visit we knew that we had to move on.

Before leaving we stopped of at a few of their relatives that had experienced flooded homes and gave them some food and mosquito netting as well. Some times it feels like we are doing so little but I have come to realize that even though the food and other supplies are needed and appreciated, letting these people know that we care, and more importantly that God cares about them is even more important.
Less than an hour after leaving Ronny's house we arrived ant Julio's home. 11 year old Julio is still in the malnutrition ward of Hermano Pedro. I was able to get him in there after he dropped down to around 20 pounds. He is doing well but I knew that the rest of the family would likely be in need of food especially after most of the homes in their village had 2 to 3 feet of water in them about a week ago.

We then drove about another hour and actually found a hotel that is quite nice. You might say that it is a bit humid out side. Still in the upper 90s and pouring down rain. We paid a bit extra for a hotel that had air conditioning and it was likely worth it were it not for the fact the the lighting took out the electricity shortly after we arrived. Oh well at least I am getting a lot of journaling done. If it were cool in my room I would likely be sleeping instead of writing in my journal at 3 AM.

4:30 AM My room has finally cooled off to somewhere in the upper 80s so I thing that I will try to get some sleep.

Good night:
Yours in Christ, Dick

Tuesday, June 8, 2010First thing this morning we drove to the home that we recently built for Rosa and her 8 children. Rosa and her family are doing better now that they are in their new home but there are still some problems. We would like all of our efforts in helping people to have Cinderella results but unfortunately that does not always work out. On a positive note several of the kids are now in school and the family no longer lives in what resembles a pig sty. Please pray for this family though because they need Christ in their lives before they ever find real happiness.

Next stop was at the home of the Gonzales family. David who is confined to a wheelchair has suffered from bed sores a good part of his life. The past few months they have been so bad that he has had to drop out of school. This is sad because it took years with a private teacher before we could get any school to accept him. David has full intention to continue his schooling but he and his family have decided that he has to get these bed sores taken care of first. With in a few days we plan to have him see a doctor and then he will likely have to be hospitalized for a period of time.


We then drove for about 2 hours to the home of Jason, his mother and sister. A few weeks ago I mentioned in my journal that principal of the school that Jason had been attending told Jason's mother that his teacher had come to her and told her that see no longer wanted Jason in her class because Jason who has CP had poor penmanship. Believe it or not the principal sided with the teacher and Jason was booted out of school. Today I had the pleasure of telling Jason and his mother that we now have a sponsor for Jason and that a teacher would be coming into his home a few times a week to teach him one on one. Both Jason and his mom were excited. I had also brought a walker along from our shop and once I got it fitted to him he was non stop.

One more stop for a quick visit at Owen's home and we then made a 2 hour drive to our hotel here in Mazatenango. I has been a long day but a good one.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

This morning Carlos and I headed up to the village where Florinda and her family live. There we met up with Roland Elf who had spent the night there. Florinda is a little girl that Roland and I brought in to the malnutrition ward of Hermano Pedro about a year ago. Thanks to Roland's persistence and a great nuro surgeon Florinda is now back with her family. She still has a long way to go and only time will tell if she will fully recover but she is no longer having severe pain or seizures.

Florinda 11 months ago.

Florinda Now

After our visit with Florinda and her family we stopped off and visited several other poor families in the area. Each and every family thanked us over and over again for the food, vitamins, and mosquito netting that we gave them. This village did not receive much damage from the storm that we had a week and a half ago but there are still a lot of people living there that are in great need. To me it was a not so gentle reminder that often times we are quick to jump in and help people when a major disaster happens but seem to forget them once their pictures and stories disappear from the front pages of our news papers. I do not have the time to write about everyone that we met today but here are a few pictures.

We gave food and mosquito netting to the 4 people that live in this house.

The 9 people that live in what is left of this home received food and we gave a supply of vitamins to the children.

We didn't give mosquito netting though because this family has no beds to put the netting over.

This man asked if we could get him a wheelchair. He also asked if there was any way that he could see a doctor. He said that he wanted to know why he was dying.

After seeing still more people in this village we drove about 2 hours to visit with Enma and Jose. I have known this family for over 10 years so I always enjoy visiting with them. Enma told us that Water surrounded their home which is located on top of a small hill but the flood waters never did get into their house. They did loose part of their grass roof though so things inside of their house got very wet.

Both Edma and Jose were thrilled with supplies that we gave them and Edma broke into tears when we gave her a new water filter. Before leaving we had prayer with the family. Please remember them and the other families that we vised this week in your prayers. I know that those that we visited this week are simply a few out of millions that are suffering, but perhaps God put me here on earth to reach out to these few. Just think though if each of us reached out to one or 2 in Jesus name "He" could do so much.

"To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world."

Yours in Christ, Dick


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