* 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 2, 2010

Journal, July 26-August 1, 2010

(Click on any picture to enlarge)
Monday, July 26, 2010

My car is still in the shop but I did manage to get the Toyota pickup that I borrowed a few days ago out of the shop and all the way back to Chimaltenango before putting it into another shop so that they can perhaps figure out what is wrong with it. I am beginning to think that buses and tuk tuks are the only way to go.

I Think that the Lord is trying to tell me that I have to let go of everything that gives me dependence on my self and lean wholly on Him. He is also showing me what the important things are in this ministry.

This morning I took the buss to Hermano Pedro orphanage and spent most of my day there. Pat Duff has been here about a month now and she is fitting right in. She has started doing a lot of learning activities with several of the kids and they love it. Pat has a real love for the kids. The kids know it and that is why they respond so well for her.

July 27-28, 2010

Getting to work

................................Written by Pat

I think this is one of my favorite pictures of all times-
kids working together.

I got kind of a late start getting to the orphanage today, because I went with Dick, Leo, Manuel, Fernando, and Cesar to take Dick's car to Leo's shop in Guatemala City. Dick has been having trouble with it for a few weeks now, and has seen a number of mechanics, all of whom wanted to do something different to the car, including putting in a new motor! Dick has thought the problem was electrical, and Leo agrees, so Dick's giving it one more try to get it running smoothly again. It seems Leo has the problem figured out, and his diagnosis makes sense to Dick. Now if they can just find the part they need. Dick's Land Cruiser is a little less than new!

The last three days, I've introduced "work" to the kids, and they've loved it. I've managed to put together about 15 different task for the kids, and a number of adaptations of each for the differing skill levels of the kids. I can hardly keep up with them. I continually hear a chorus of "Paty" (how my name is spelled in Spanish!) as each of them wants me to look at what they are doing, and give them praise. The teacher in me wants them to be more independent, but the mama in me loves that they want my attention. These kids have gotten so little affirmation and have had so few opportunities to do anything that would earn them praise, that for now, they're gonna get all the praise and encouragement I can heap on their darling little heads.

Even Gloria, a Guatemalan lady who volunteers at the ... . . .
orphanage 3 days a week, is joining in the fun! . . , , , , , . .

One of the neatest things that has come out of this is seeing the kids work together. Yesterday there were about five kids around one small table, each doing something different, but working cooperatively. I don't think I've ever seen this much interaction between kids. Of course, some of it is "fighting," like when Ervin tried to touch the blocks Heidi was using. She's normally so quiet and passive, but boy, can she let out a scream of protest when she wants to. Even this, though, is so good for her--to be able to assert herself in some small way and have it respected. (Spoken like a true woman. Dick) And, believe it or not, Ervin did back off and leave her stuff alone! (I taught him that after learning it the hard way. Dick) We'll work on sharing later. (Does that mean that he will have to give her what ever she asks for or suffer the consequences? Dick) It's hard to ask kids to share when they've never had anything worth sharing before. All things will come in due time.

Thursday, July 29, 2010
Today some of the Bethel crew and a teem of 11 people that ahve come in from the USA to work with us for a week loaded over 50 wheelchairs onto Jorge's truck and then drove to Cobon for a wheelchair distribution that we plan on having there tomorrow. Since my car is once again in the shop I road along with the group in the van. There was a lot of traffic so the trip took about 7 hours. We all had a good time visiting with each other but were happy when we finally arrived at our motel.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Friday, July 30, 2010

Since over half of the people that came to today's wheelchair distribution were children we figured that it would take us all day to do the seating but although the teem from the USA had no previous experience in working with wheelchairs they caught on quickly and we were finished by 1:30. We were grateful for that because we still had to drive all the way back home.

Over the past few years I have seen a lot of changes in the way that the Guatemalan people look at people who are disabled. Although some still consider a disabled child as a lesser being or even a curse from God more and more Guatemalans are seeing these children for who they are and are willing to reach out to them. Today the building that we were in was filled with not only the families that came to receive wheelchairs, and those of us who came there to give them the wheelchairs but there were lots of Guatemalan people there that had come to help out in any way possible. Some helped out with paper work and translating. Others helped fit the wheelchairs. All of them had come because they cared. Not only is this wonderful for us to see but this growing acceptance and genuine love for those with disabilities is also helping to change the attitude of many of the parents who have a child that has a special need. We are seeing more and more families who are not only no longer ashamed of their child because he or she has a disability but have recognized their child as a gift from God rather than a curse. Please pray that this attitude will continue to grow not only in Guatemala but throughout the entire world.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Saturday, July 31, 2010

It is once again the week end. Chris and the teem are out near Tecpan building a house for a family. I decided to stay home and relax, well sort of. I guess you can call taking a buss ride to San Lucas to watch some of your kids play soccer relaxing. This Buss ride was far from relaxing though. In the 10 and a half years that I have been here I have had some wild rides but never have I been on a ride like this one. Two of my boys Fernando and Bryan were on the buss with me and they as well as most of the other passengers seemed to be as frightened as I was. Had the buss driver stopped long enough for any of us to get out of the buss anywhere along the way I am sure that we all would have. I truly believed that the buss was going to role over on one of the many curves, or that it was going to go over a cliff when ever the driver passed other buses and cars on the narrow shoulder of the road. Thank goodness the ride which should have taken a half hour only lasted for 15 minutes because I don't think that I could have held my breath much longer.

The kids won their game and are still undefeated. Next Saturday they will play for the championship. I plan on watching the game but if my car is not running I will either walk or look for some one who will take me there on a burrow. After the game 3 of the boys and I took another buss to Antigua. (Not a misprint.) There were now 3 kids with me. Cesar had decided to join us instead of riding home with his teem. This buss ride seemed much tamer. (Then again I guess anything would after what we had just experienced.) When we got to Antigua we picked up my car at the home of the people that Pat Duff lives with. Her land lord is a Mechanic and for the past several days he has been trying to fix my car. He is a great guy and did his best to figure out what the problem was but other than by wallet being a bit lighter and easier to carry not much else has improved. The Mechanics wife invited us to lunch so we stayed and had a good time visiting. They are wonderful people and I can see why Pat loves staying with them.

On our way home the boys talked me into stopping off at the hot springs to relax for a while. I had a lot of work waiting for me at home but must admit that the swim felt great. Fact is what was going to be a half hour swim turned out to be more like 2 hours. When we got home my house quickly filled up with kids. They were all excited about the soccer game that we were going to play this evening. We had a soccer field reserved and Chris and the 11 Americans who and been building a house all day were going to meet us there at 7 PM. Now my boys are always excited about playing soccer but what really helped was that they know that there were some teen age girls in this this group from the USA. The game went well and no one was hurt despite the gallant effort of each of my boys to do spectacular shots to impress the girls. As soon as the game was over the Americans headed back to their hotel. They said that they were tired. I don't know why though all that they did today was build a house. I was the one that had the scary buss ride. My work was not over though because 10 kids decided that they were hungry. Supper was easy though because we had rice and beans. I know that I mentioned that I had difficulty making rice and beans in the past but I now do it differently. I now buy the beans in a can instead of a sack. (More expensive but about 8 hours less cooking time involved) and I bought myself a rice cooker. (The kids now like to eat the race rather than use it for silly putty). Well 4 of the kids have left and the other 6 have just informed me that they are staying so I guess I will call it a night. Considering how small my house is Had I know that I was having 6 overnight guests I may have reconsidered giving them all beans.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Sunday, August 1, 2010

This morning 7 of the kids came along with me to Church. After church Pat joined us for lunch. Then we took Fernando who was not feeling well back home. I asked the rest of the crew if they wanted to stay at home as well but they all wanted to come along to the orphanage where I was suppose to meet up with Chris and the 11 Americans. As you already know most of my kids love going to the orphanage but I could not help but wonder why today they seemed extra excited about going there. Even Abner who is not usually that keen on going there wanted to come along. That is when I once remembered that there were American girls in this group that Chris was bringing.

The orphanage visit went well even though there were a lot of tears. One girl in particular had a hard time. She herself had been adopted from Guatemala when she was just a baby and I think that seeing the kids lying there in the orphanage made her realize how bless she was to now have a wonderful Christian family.

When we got back from the orphanage I told the kids that I needed the rest of the day to myself. This did not win me any popularity contests but they all listened and headed out of the gate.

I have spent the past few hours working on my car and have made some progress. I now have it running as good as it did before I brought it to the last 2 mechanics so at least it is back to where it was 2 weeks ago. If this happened to me back when I still lived in the USA I would likely have gotten more upset but here in Guatemala things like this happen all of the time so you have to either learn to live with it or find a new place to live. That is why I try not to forget that, "The most valuable lesson man has learned from his dog is to kick a few blades of grass over it and move on."

Yours in Christ: Dick


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