* 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)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Journal, Auguast 25-29, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I am starting to feel guilty about posting more of Pats journals than my own but taking a bit of a break from journaling every day has felt pretty good so I think that I will live with the guilt and once again post several of Pat's journals along with a few of mine.

(Click on any picture to enlarge). . . . . . . .. . .

You will find everything that Pat wrote written in Blue

Mine is the Gray.

If neither of us want to take credit for it, we will choose a different Color.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Today, Wednesday, I spent the morning playing secretary for Dick as he measured folks at Hermano Pedro for new chairs. We went into areas of the hospital that I didn't know existed. A team of therapists from the US is coming in a few weeks to help build chairs and seat kids in the children's homes, and we wanted to have the information ready for them when they get here.

Since Bethel Ministries invests approximately $70, into each adult wheelchair and $180 into each specialty child's chair, I figure Bethel needs close to $2500 in sponsors for wheelchairs for the kids that we saw just this morning. Not bad though considering just one new specialty wheelchair would cost far more than $2500 in the States. Looking at these pictures of some of the folks in their current chairs, and the pictures of the kids that have no wheelchairs, I think it's a good investment.

I got up into the Malnutrition Ward for the first time since I moved down. I could easily spend all my time "hiding" up there, just cuddling kids, but still think the kids downstairs need me more. Hardly even talked to any of "my" kids today! Tomorrow a small team from Kentucky is coming in, so a number of kids will get to go to lunch.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Today a small team from Kentucky was visiting the orphanage. These folks were great with the kids, and we were able to take 6 of them to lunch. This team was great. Not in a hurry, willing to take time playing with the kids, letting them go at their own pace. They seemed to enjoy the lunch together, and even hung out with the kids at the orphanage after we got back. They were a marvelous team to tag along with. Thanks for letting me come.

..........Henry ready to go.

Elmer, looking cool

Jason, one of Dick's kids,.......
getting into playing with Henry.

I think I've written about the concern on the part of the orphanage staff about the kids getting sick. Well, keeping them cooped up in a non-ventilated room has not seemed to help much (go figure). Today, two of the kids very close to my heart are very ill. Both are very medically fragile, Jojo having hydrocephalus and dwarfism, and Leonel continuing to struggle with malnutrition. I ask prayers for both of these dear ones. Leonel, especially, looked very weak to me today, hardly responding when Chris visited him.

...............Chris visiting Leonel

Dick holding Jojo..................

I recently came across this song and the video that goes with it. It really spoke to me. It is less then 4 minutes in length. Please take the time to watch it.

Was what you saw disturbing?

With a click of your finger you can turn off this web page and act like you never saw this, but the fact remains that every minute 21 children die of malnutrition.

That over 25,000 children in Uganda have been kidnapped and forced to join an army and fight in a civil war.

In the past year alone I have personally held at least a dozen children in my arms who are no longer alive.

They are calling for us.... isn't it time we heard them and did something about it?

Yours in Christ: Dick

Friday, August 27, 2010

This morning I stayed in Chimaltenango and did a few things. I tried out a new Barber but this guy is really expensive. I had to pay $1.50 for a haircut granted he trimmed my beard as well but I never expected him to charge me $.50 extra for that. I perhaps would have taken it better but I had just gone in and payed my light bill and my water bill. Would you believe this month my water bill climbed to over $2 and my electric bill reached a staggering $30 for the month. At that rate you would think that they would be able to keep the water on all day or at least run it to the inside of my house for me. Then again if they did it wouldn't do me much good because I don't have a sink in my house. II understand that there are people in the States that do though. If I remember correctly some people even have their bathrooms in their homes. Disgusting!!

Since they had no school (??) Esben and Elder spent the entire morning with me but by noon I was ready for some adult company so I brought them home and headed to Antigua. I picked up Pat and we had lunch together. We had a nice lunch and visited for over an hour then decided that we had our fill of no kids and headed to the orphanage.

I will let Pat tell you about the rest of our day.

Yours in Christ: Dick
Spent the afternoon just "relaxing" at the orphanage. When I got there all the kids were in bed, so I snuck into the room housing the littler kids. I've not spent much time with these guys lately, since the older ones want to do work the minute they see me. So today, I would concentrate on this half of the unit. Leonel still looks very weak and now has an IV running. Am really concerned about him. Jojo, though, looked a bit better today.

I haven't seen much of Julian lately and yesterday a therapist with the team gave me some suggestions on things to do to help him focus. So, I went to his bed and worked with him for a while. When I put up the side to go and ask Dick something, Julian began SCREAMING at the top of his lungs. I've never seen him cry before. So, instead of doing any exercises, we rocked for about an hour. He was so calm during this time, and I enjoyed the cuddling, too. He's a neat kid, very bright, with no communication. Makes very little direct eye contact, but LOVES his back rubbed. Today I was working with his legs quite a bit, trying to get some resistance when I pressed against his foot. It's hard for me to tell if he has any muscle strength in his legs, because he doesn't like this and keeps bending his knees. I'd love to see him be able to use a walker. Anyway, after an hour of rocking, he willingly went back to bed, and I moved on to the Malnutrition Unit.

I've not spent much time here. I've almost been avoiding it, and am still not sure why. Part of the reason is I guess I've been concerned that I would lose my focus from my main work. Today, I not only lost my focus, but lost my heart once again. Gidy is a beautiful, smart, mobile, verbal five year old, who is back in the hospital because of malnutrition. She looks perfectly healthy to Dick and me, but one of the therapists explained that much of her size is just swelling. She is a darling.

When I walked in she immediately rushed up to me, hugged me and gave me a kiss. Yesterday I'd told her I'd be back, and this is one young lady who will hold me to my promises. We played outside with toys for a bit, and then she just wanted to cuddle.

She was enthralled when Dick took out his camera, so I went and got mine and she took some pictures to show you all what the porch area of malnutrition looks like. She really did a good job for never having used a camera before.

All too soon it was time to leave, and she didn't cry, just told me I couldn't go. Not in a demanding way, but with a firm "No!" each time I explained I needed to leave. I promised to come back, either tomorrow or Monday.

After extracting a promise from me that I'd come to see her tomorrow, she finally agreed to let me go, after filling my face with more kisses. I don't know much of her story, but expect I will be spending quite a bit of time being loved by this little one.


Pat was not with me this evening so I guess it would not be fair to have her write about what went on at my house.

Question - How to you get 35 people into a small 3 room house?

Answer - Let 2 or 3 of the neighborhood kids know that 5 Americans are showing up at your house with Pizza.

I must admit though that it was a lot of fun and that I am very thankful that I do not have any carpets in the house. The kids and I would like to thank the Teem that is here from Kentucky for a fun night. Well I guess I will go out and get the garden hose so I can clean the floors. Then again I better wait until morning because it is 9:25 and they will be shutting the water off in 5 minutes.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Hay I am on a role, 2 journal entries in a row written by me. Then again it is the weekend so I will try to keep it short. The kids and I started off our day by going to a soccer game that Abner and Cesar were playing in. Marcos is on this teem as well but he injured his elbow playing basket ball at school yesterday and will not be able to play for a week or so.

Alex, 1 of his sisters and 2 of his brothers came in from SanMartine for the Pizza feed last night. Actually I had invited Alex because he had a birthday last week but had no celebration because his family could not afford one. We also celebrated Fernando's birthday last night. Fernando and Alex were 2 of the 3 kids that I actually invited. I figured that they would get the word out to the others and they certainly did. Anyway after this morning's game I offered to drive Alex, his sister and 2 brothers back home. Seems like going some where is almost as exciting as having a pizza party and not unlike a pizza party you only have to tell a few people about it and you end up with a mob. Soon the 12 of us were jammed into the borrowed pickup truck (Still no word on when the mechanic is going to have my car fixed) and heading down the road to SanMartine. I knew the kids were hungry and figured since Alex's mom and his other sister had missed out on last night's festivities that we would stop off and pick up some food before we reached their house. Wow talk about inflation. Pop, chips and enough roasted chicken to feed 14 of us set me back $14. That's a dollar each.

Alex and the rest of the kids in his family still miss living in Chimaltenango but my kids really enjoined getting out into the country. When I finally had to tell them that it was time to go home none of them wanted to leave. I wanted to get back home before dark though because the road between SanMartine and Chimaltenango is in bad shape do to all of the rain that we have been having. Here in Guatemala they do not put up signs where sections of road have been replaced by hundred foot cliffs.

We got back home at about 6 PM. Fernando's uncle and aunt had invited me to their house for a birthday dinner that they were having for Fernando. Knowing that everything in Guatemala runs on Guatemala time I showed up at 8 PM. I was an hour early.

Well that's about it for my Saturday so I will say "Goodnight."
Yours in Christ: Dick

Sunday, August 28, 2010

This morning only 3 of the kids came along with me to church. This is an all time record low but several of them and other things going on and a few over slept. We had a wonderful service and 4 people who had recently been saved were baptized. After church the 4 of us went to Subway (Yes Antigua has a Subway) for lunch and then we hiked up to the cross that is on the hill that overlooks Antigua. Our hike was cut short though because as soon as we reached the top of the hill it started to rain. By the looks of the sky this was going to be more than just a shower so we quickly headed back down the hill to where we had parked the pickup truck. When we reached the truck it started to pour. We were glad that we were off from the mountain because it soon turned into a full fledged thunder storm.

Shortly before 5 the rain tapered off enough that I let the kids talk me into renting a soccer field and even though things were anything but dry it sure beet spending the rest of the day in the house. I manged to stay dry but that was only because I stayed under the tin roof of the bleachers while the kids played and I also stayed clear of the wrestling match that a few of the kids had in a large mud puddle after the game.

WOW ! I just went over and took a look at Pat's web page. Since I have already finished today's journal I am going to post it but I can't help but wish that I had once again copied Pat's. If you want to read something really inspiring please CLICK HERE.

Well that's about it for now so I will once again say "Goodnight."
Yours in Christ: Dick


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