* 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, July 18, 2010

Journal, July 13-18, 2010

(Click on any picture to enlarge)

The past few days have once again slipped by without me doing any journaling. I am thankful though that I have a camera and even more thankful that I have friends who don't seem to mind when I copy and post their journal entries. Here then is some of mine and a lot of theirs.

I spent a good part of Wednesday and Thursday seating kids that came into Hope Haven's wheelchair factory for new wheelchairs.

Ryan and Melissa were still here on Wednesday
so Ryan helped seat wheelchairs.
Wednesday, July 17, 2010

Even though I only spent a small part of my day with Pat today I have decided to post her journal entry becasuse I feel that it has a lot of insight in it. Thanks Pat, for giving us all a lot to think about.

Pat writes the following

Learning to be a Human BEING

Today was such an ordinary day, I couldn’t quite think of what I was going to journal about. Really “accomplished” nothing today, except spending time with the kids at Hermano Pedro. And as I prayed about this, I realize how I’m still striving to DO rather than surrendering to BEING. Can this possibly be God’s will for my life, just being? Can it really be this simple?

I’m beginning to realize that though I may not be able to show tangible events as “proof” of my service, that much is happening inside of me, and hopefully inside of those I touch each day. I really struggled over whether or not to go to language school in Costa Rica, to become more “equipped” to serve here, but understand now that this initial time is part of my equipping.

Each day I learn more about being a “missionary” from Dick and Chris and Donna and others who have served here for years. I’m grateful they share their wisdom with me, and know I am a better person because of their friendship. (“Missionary” is in quotes, because I’m still trying to figure out what that means. How is what I am doing here different from what I was called to do at Westside? As Dick pointed out to me today, aren’t we all called to share and be Jesus to each other, no matter where we live?)

Amber, a volunteer from the States, holding Patita

As I held Patita (little Paty) at the orphanage today, she taught me much about just being Jesus to another. Paty is one of the most significantly involved kids I’ve met. She cannot even eat orally, and is fed through a stomach tube. Today when I came in, she was crying, and there was no way I could just walk by her crib and not stop to spend time with her. As soon as I lowered the side of her bed, her crying stopped. It seemed as though she reached out for me with her eyes, though she was unable to with her hands. She has very limited movement, though today she did smile and reach for my face as I held her (which reduced me to tears).

I don’t know that I’ve ever felt so strongly the call to let my hands and arms be the hands and arms of Jesus. As I prayed over her, I saw her face and body relax. Did she understand my words? Probably not. But I believe she experienced the touch of the Holy Spirit in her spirit. I’m learning that I’m not called just to minister to physical, intellectual, and emotional needs of the kids, but also to their spiritual needs. I really don’t think that there is such a thing as being “spiritually handicapped” unless it is something we do to ourselves by clinging to our intellect and abilities, rather than just yielding to the touch of God. I find myself almost automatically starting to pray over each child as I say “hello” or wish them “good night.” They are teaching me much about inviting Jesus into all my encounters.
I also profoundly experience the truth of Jesus’ words, “whatever you have done to the least of these, you have done to me.” Today as I held and “fed” Paty, I had the strong impression that in some way I was holding Jesus as I never had before. She was being Jesus to me as much as I was being Jesus to her. I was once again overwhelmed and humbled by the privilege of serving Him in the kids. He is “blessing my socks off” each day that I’m here.

Folks sometimes ask me what I think God’s “purpose” is, in allowing these children to be so limited in the things we think are important. Each day I see more clearly that their “ministry” is to show me (and any who will take the time to see and hear them) what REALLY is important. They teach me each day what it REALLY means to be a human being (vs. a human “doing”), and I sometimes wonder if God created each of them only to help me grow into the person He created me to be. Their very existence brings glory to the One who made them. I’m trying to follow their example in bringing Him glory more by who I AM than by what I DO.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Written by Pat

Visiting With Old Frie
Today I went with Dick to visit the Hernandez family near Santa Lucia. This is a family I’ve known for at least the last 2 years, when I was with a team from Westside who painted their house. I’ve visited them a number of times since then, and was excited to see them.

Their oldest son, Ronny, has Muscular Dystrophy. He is barely able to move on his own, and uses an electric wheelchair which had broken down once again. So Dick, Marcos (one of Dick’s “kids”) and I set off with spare parts.

The trip down was pretty uneventful, and it seemed like in no time at all we were at their home. (Really, I think it took about 2½ hours, but with the trips we’ve made lately, that’s not long.) The kids were home when we arrive, and they quickly called their parents who were working in the field nearby.

I’m always so excited to see the girls in this family. They have become very special to me, and I had time to visit with each of them. Estellita is having some trouble in school, and we talked quite a bit about how hard school has been for her. Talking to her mom, it’s the same story I heard many times in the States—she does her work, but does not hand it in. I think there’s a lot more going on here, though, as she was hesitant to show me any of her work, while the other two girls could not wait to do so. She also says she’s afraid of the teacher because she yells at her. I hope to spend more time with this little one, to see if I can figure out what’s really going on here. She just sat in my lap and cried as we talked about this. Please pray for her tender heart.

I brought some gifts for the kids. A young friend in the States, Terryn, had sent down some Barbie dolls for me to give to kids here. Since there were three of them (with wardrobes), I thought these three girls were the perfect recipients. I was especially pleased to see that Yessica, the oldest at 14, was excited to receive a doll. It seems like every time we’re here, she’s working and caring for the younger children. Today was no exception, as she was busy making tortillas while the rest of us visited.

Claudia, the youngest girl, has grown up quite a bit since I saw her last. I don’t think she hardly put down the Care Bear I brought her. She looks much healthier now than she did even a year ago.

Herlindo, the “middle” son, is quite the character. He’s sharp as a tack, but has a definite mind of his own.

I really got a kick out of Dovan, the baby, who at age two also knows how to assert himself! I’d brought him a small ball, and if anyone touched it, he’d scream bloody murder! He did play futbol (soccer) with Dick for a while, though.

Dick and Marcos managed to repair Ronny's chair by replacing the wheel bearings. This was the real purpose of our trip, but, as Dick says, you can’t just make a quick stop at this home. This is a family who loves to visit and is always so gracious to us when we do. To thank Dick and Marcos for fixing the chair, Momma gave them each sacks of limes to take home.

After the repairs were done, Dick took and printed some pictures for the family. I’m always amazed at what a big deal this is. These pictures I took of him doing this show just how much the family enjoyed this activity.

Soon it was time to go, as Dick needed to get back to Chimaltenango to take his teenagers to youth group this evening. We took a different road back, and discovered that it was covered in water in many places. This is dangerously deceptive, as what seems like a shallow puddle can turn out to be a 2 foot deep pothole filled with water.

The Land Cruiser did an admirable job handling this road, even if it was unable to pull the bus we passed out of its “sink hole.” It’s nice to know there are some things even a Land Cruiser can’t handle! It did manage, however, to get us all home safe and sound.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Written by Dick

This morning a number of the kids and myself went to San Lucas and watched some of my older kids play soccer.

After the game 6 of the boys went with me to the village where Maria lives.

My boys and some of the village kids quickly got another soccer game going. This one was not played on a manicured field but the kids still had a great time.

This soccer field
even had a water hazard.

It was a good thing I took a head count when I left home. Otherwise I may not have noticed that there were about a dozen extra kids in and on my car when it was time to leave.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Only 3 kids came along with me to church this morning. That is an all time low but some were sick, others were grounded and a few went to another church with some friends.

After church pat joined us for some Pizza then we bought 2 cakes and headed over to Olga's house for a Birthday party. Olga turned 15 today and here in Guatemala that is usually a big event in a girls life. Often times the Girls family throws a party that resembles a wedding except there is no groom. Were it not for the cakes and 2 small gifts that Pat and I brought Olga would not have had a party at all though. Olga her sister and 2 brothers live in a house with 4 other relatives the oldest of which is 23 years old. Her mother lives less than a mile away but wants nothing to do with Olga or her other 3 children. Olga's aunt and uncle originally took her and here sister and brothers in a few years ago but uncle died shortly after in a drowning accident and her aunt got sick and died shortly after that. Her cousin Victor who is 23 is doing the best he can to hold the family together but he has to work long hours and receives little pay so it is difficult to put food on the table yet alone think about having a birthday party. Earlier this morning when I asked Victor if we could bring over a cake and have a party for Olga he seemed thrilled.

In traditional Guatemalan fashion Olga got her face shoved into one of the cakes after blowing out the candles. I used to think that getting a spanking on your birthday was bad but this one takes the cake.

Even though we felt privileged to be part of this celebration Olga and her entire family thanked us over and over again for coming.

I had a big crew for supper tonight and even though I had run out of hamburger the entire crew voted for spaghetti. It's not that my spaghetti is all that good it is just that the only other choice was corn flakes. I must admit though I still prefer hamburger in my spaghetti better than chopped up hot-dogs.

Well it is getting late so I think that I will take a few Tums and then head off to bed.

Yours in Christ: Dick


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