* 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 1, 2010

Journal, May 29 - June 1, 2010

Guatemala land of plenty of erupting volcanoes, earthquakes, floods and mud slides.

We have had our share of excitement this week but the kids and I are doing fine. Most of you must already know that last Thursday Pacaya erupted covering much of Guatemala City and the surrounding region with up to 3 inches of ash. The international airport has been closed since that time, leaving countless travelers stranded here in Guatemala and a large number of people including 2 short term mission teems that were planning on joining Bethel Ministries and Hope Haven International for wheelchair distributions that were to take place this week with no way ot get here. Only a few lives were lost due to the mountain erupting but a day later we were hit by a tropical storm. The exact number of people here in Guatemala that were killed by floods and land slides has now risen to over 150 and I just read that there are over 100 people still unaccounted for.

I phoned Mark Richard director of Hope Haven International, Guatemala this morning and he told me that he and his crew have been helping out in a town is located only a few miles from Hope Haven's wheelchair factory which is located in Antigua. Over 30 people, mostly children, were buried in mud slides there. and another 60 in the State of Chimaltenango. There have been 150 confirmed deaths in Guatemala and at least 100 more people missing.

On Monday Mario and I are planning on heading towards the coast and will do our best to reach several families that we know down there. We will be bringing in food, medicine, mosquito netting and water filters. With so many people suffering it seems like we are doing so little but praise God we can at least reach out to a few.

Rather than repeat Mark and others I am going to post excerpts from a few letter sent out by some of them.

From Mark Richard
Hope Haven International, Guatemala

On Thursday Pacaya the active volcano just Southwest of Guatemala City erupted and rained 2 to 3 inches of black ash on Guatemala City. By Saturday we were hit with the first tropical storm of the season, Agatha. Well over a foot of rain fell in Xenacoj where we live. . .Just 3 or 4 miles from the Hope Haven Guatemala wheelchair factory on the edge of Antigua are 2 towns at the base of Volcano Agua, San Miguel and Ciudad Viejo. . .Within the hour [of receiving a call asking for help], 8 of us were on our way to Ciudad Viejo with gloves and shovels. We also had bottled water juice and snacks. . . We started cleaning mud from one of the houses, they had just a few plastic buckets to haul out the mud. Everyone brought shovels but because the mud needed to be hauled to the street lots of buckets were needed. I drove back to Antigua and bought 60 buckets for the clean up. The death toll is still coming in but in just the area within 5 miles of our factory more than 30 lost their lives, many were children. Please pray for the survivors!

Mark Richard

From Chris and Donna Mooney
Directors of Bethel International Ministries

People are beginning to call, looking for help and we hope to be able to give them assistance. Food, clothing, blankets, purified water are needed. Much of the damage has happened to people who live on the edge of the rivers, or also many of the poorest, who have built shacks on the edge of steep hills. Not a good idea in Guatemala, where every year severe rains cause land slides and the steep hills give way. Many of these you would consider squatters, people living where no one else wants. Several people have asked how they can help. If you feel to help out in this time of need, please be assured your gift will be used to relieve the need of these people. Please mark on the memo of your gift, "disaster relief".

Chris and Donna

Gifts can be sent to:

Bethel Ministries International
P.O. Box 573
Reserve, NM 87830

Or you can send a gift by credit/debit card on Bethel's web page.

Meanwhile life goes on here in Guatemala.
Even though the rest of the teem from the USA was unable to make it here Pastor Bill and I manged to get in to the orphanage for a while on Saturday.

Bill's hat really made the rounds.

On Sunday the boys and I went to church in Chimaltenango becasue church in Antigua was canceled due to all of the rain. After lunch we went and watched 3 of my kids play soccer. Then went home for a while and later rented a soccer field so that everyone could play.

We had a wheelchair distribution scheduled in Saloma for Tuesday and knew that it would be impossible to inform many of the people if we had to cancel but we were not sure weather or not we could get there becasue of all the land slides and washed out bridges from the weekend storm. On Monday morning we woke up to sunny skies and although we could not find out for sure if the roads were open we decided to to try to make it to Saloma. There were a few washed out sections of highway and one or 2 questionable bridges but we made it there safely before night fall. Originally we thought that 18 of us would be going on this trip but 10 of the people from the USA were unable to get to Guatemala becasue of the airport had not yet opened.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Today we were able to to have the wheelchair distribution that we were afraid we would have to cancel and even though we all feel badly that most of the Americans that had been looking forward to being on this distribution could not join us, we are glad that the distribution still took place.

Nearly 50 people who desperately needed wheelchairs and even more desperately needed to know that some one cared enough to come to help them not only were told that we cared about them but were also told that God cared. Even though this particular distribution almost didn't take place it ended up a good one and these people were not only told but shown that God loved them.

Yours in Christ, Dick


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