* 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)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Journal, September 6-10, 2010

My Mack is still in the shop and I am not a Windows fan so this weeks Journal may be a bit of a challenge for me. Since it has taken me 4 days before I figured out how to turn on this Non Mack computer I am going ot have to play a bit of catch up. Don't expect any fanch frames on any of the pictures because I haven't figured out how to do that either. To my knowledge neither has Bill Gates. Well after that great introduction if any one is left that wants to read this weeks journal here goes.

On Monday, none of My kids had school. (????) so a few of them came along wiht me to the orphanage. The kids and I rounded up a few more volunteers and the group of us took several of the kids to lunch. During the past few weeks most of the kids have not been allowed out of the rooms that they sleep in because someone has decided that any time it is cloudy it is to cold for the kids to be out in the court yard. This is a real bummer because we have 6 months of rainy seaslon and even though the tempratures average 75 to 85 degrees and it seldom rains before 3 or 4 in the afternoon most of the time there are at least a few scattered clouds. Funny thing though even though the kids can not go out into the court yard when it is cloudy the care givers have no problem allowing us to take the kids out to lunch. Sort of an out of sight out of mind thing I guess. At any rate the kids that did get to go to Camperos had almost as good of a time as those of us that took them.

I had planned on being back out on the road this week giving out more invitations to camp but most of the roads remain closed due to mud slides. I think that I may be able to get into Robinel in a day or 2 but for now I am staying put.

On Tuesday I spent most of my morning a the wheelchair shop going over the list of campers that still have to be invited to camp and then headed off to Hermano Pedro shortly before noon. Esben wanted to go along with me but his story of having no school today seemed to have a few holes in it. When I told him that I was going to call Victor to see if he had really given Esben permission to come along with me Esben suddenly decided that he did not want to go. Fact is it may be some time before he does get to come along with me again because as I suspected he was skipping school. I wanted to take Henry along to lunch yesterday but he was unable to go so I took him today.

Pat has had a bad cold for the past few days so she has not been able to come in to Hermano Pedro to see the kids. This has been hard on her and the kids because she loves them and they love her. I wanted to get a few more kids out but could not find any one else to help me so Henry was the only one that I took. It was well worth the effort because yesterday he felt really bad that he was unable to come along with us. I spent the rest of my afternoon visiting with some of the other orphanage kids. Lionel who has been quite sick seems to be on the mend. He absolutely loved it when when I called Pat on my cell phone and they were able to visit. Since Lionel does not talk Pat did all of the talking and Lionel just laid there and laughed. I took the phone around to some of the other kids and they loved it as well. I think that this made Pat miss the kids even more but I think that it was good for both her and the kids.

This evening my house once again resembled Hermano Pedro orphanage. I told the kids that I am planning on heading out to do more camp recruiting tomorrow so I think that they all wanted to get one good meal in before I left. Actually the food is not the only reason that they come over. Most of them just like to hang out here. Simply having an adult that will visit with them and take the time to listen to them seem to mean a lot to them. These kids are great, I just wish that more of their parents would recognize that and take the time to let the kids know it.

Fernando is going to come along with me tomorrow. He has permission to get out of school early and has no school on Thursday (It's true, I checked) so if they have school on Friday that is the only day that he will miss. (His teacher told him there is a chance that there will be no classes on Friday though. ????) Several of my other kids wanted to come along with us as well but they are scheduled to have school so given the chance that they may actually have school I told them that they would have to wait until a different time to come along.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tonight the 3 of us are in Saloma. I know that I said that Fernando was the only one that was traveling with me this time and that is partly true. Fact is there were only 2 of us up until this evening. The roads were not to bad so we made it here by 4 PM. After getting settled in we decided to visit one camper who lives only a few miles from here. A few years ago Lusvin's mom brought him in to Hermano Pedro because Lusvin who has muscular dystrophy was loosing weight and she was worried about him. During his 4 month stay he and Fernando became good friends. That is one of the reasons why Fernando was anxious to come along on this trip and also why we did not wait until tomorrow to visit him. I still don't know how I got talked into it but after a nice visit with him and his family the 3 of us headed back to the hotel. I have stayed at this hotel in the past and one of the rooms is actually air conditioned. Since it had to be 90 degrees out side and even hotter inside I had decided to dish out the extra $5 and be comfortable. This room which has no outside windows was extremely hot when we moved into it but earlier this evening but we figured that since we had turned the air conditioning on hight before going out to visit Lusvin's family that we would be returning to a nice cool room. Wrong! We found out that $5 gave you a room with an air conditioner but not necessarily a working air conditioner. The owner of the hotel was fair though and told us that he would give the $5 back and move us into a a room that had fan and a window. Not a big improvement but a 90 degree room is better than one that is 105 degrees. I am not sure if it was all of the water that he drank or the excitement of stying in a hotel but having to get up every hour to carry Lusvin to the bathroom gave me a good work out but little sleep. Would I do it again? In a hart beet! Lets make that a few heart beats. It would be nice to get a little sleep before our next slumber party but seeing the fun that these 2 boys had and not knowing how long Lusvin will be around to enjoy fun times like this made it well worth while.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Thursday, September 9, 2010

After breakfast we brought Lusvin back to his home. Mom had gone to the market to buy some food so we stuck around until she returned. When she got home Lusvin told her that he had decided to come along with us for the day but I had to tell him that it would not work out this time. Some of the people that we planned on visiting today lived quite far from any place that we could drive to so there was going to be a lot of walking and the trails were to steep and narrow for his wheelchair. Lusvin took it well and told us that he would see us at camp, then we said goodbye.

Today was another hot one and some of the hikes in to see the people were long ones but each visit was a good one. The people are so appreciative that we are inviting them to camp and that we have come so far to visit with them. One of our visits was with Margette a young lady who spends her days sitting in front of her home weaving belts. She told us that it takes her 15 days to weave a belt that she receives about 50 Q ($6) for. That comes to 40 cents a day.

Mario another camper that we visited with today attended camp last year. While at camp he learned how to make jewelry. He is now doing this at home and selling it in the market.

Fernando and I were bit hesitant when we met up with a bull
that did not look like he was that enthusiastic about
sharing the trail that led to Julia's house with us.

Fortunately 2 little girls came to our rescue
and chased the bull off from the trail for us.

Fernando told me today that he loves this kind of work and we talked at some length about him continuing to do this when he gets older. He is so good at it.

I have never seen a young man that is so at ease no mater what the situation. No mater where we go he instantly makes friends. Within a mater of seconds he is either holding a child or has a soccer game going with a group of kids. The adults love him as well as he is very courteous to them and he does an excellent job of translating. Today when I thanked him for what he was doing he told me that he loved doing it because he loves his people. As long as there are Fernandos in this world places like Guatemala have a brighter future.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Friday, September 10, 2010

Today we drove back home from Robinel. I prefer going cross country on the the back roads but many of them are still closed due to land slides so we stayed on the main roads. Traffic was heavy especially in the city so the drive home took us close to 6 hours. I would have liked to have stayed home this evening but it was youth group night at the church that we go to in Antigua and I had promised several of my kids that I would take them if I got home in time. Those of my kids that are not yet old enough to attend youth group tried talking me into staying home but the older kids won out. That is why this is being written in the cafe that our church operates while I am waiting for youth group to get out. Some days you just can't win though because 2 of my boys didn't get to go because of a mix up in when we were leaving. Morcos is usually quite easy going but tonight he was mad that he got left behind. He called me on the phone and said that he is never coming over to my house again. I'll give it about an hour before he gets over it but I still feel bad that he did not make it to youth group tonight.

I enjoy being out on the road visiting those that come to camp and their families but really miss the kids when I am gone. I am thankful that there are times like this week when Fernando or some of the kids that hang out at my house can come along with me and I try my best to spend quality time with them on the week ends but we do miss each other when I am on the road so much. I also miss the kids at the orphanage when I am on the road but now that Pat is here that has been somewhat easier. Because even when I am not there she makes sure that the orphanage kids are loved.

The following was written by Pat.

Back in the Swing of Things (Sept. 9 & 10)

FINALLY, my cold is over and I'm back with the kids. Yesterday I started out slowly, or planned to, but the kids had other ideas. It brought me to tears how excited they were I was back, and we spent quite a bit of time just visiting. I got to hold Leonel for the first time since he and I had both been sick, and it was sweet. After a while, though, the other kids got bored and I put him back in his wheelchair but sat him at the table working with the kids. He loved watching, and I finally thought, what the heck. He usually doesn't use his hands very deliberately, but thought we'd try.

Once again, I was amazed by one of the kids. He "came alive" with work to do. His hands are pretty weak, but he had great fun pulling clothespins off a container and putting them inside. I was dumbstruck by the control he had over his hand. I guess he hasn't done much with his hands before because there wasn't much to do with them. I don't know who was more proud, Leonel, me, or the rest of the kids who were applauding for him.

I'd planned on spending time with Carlos this morning, but he was in therapy when I arrived, and Leonel just about jumped out of his chair when I walked by. We found a quiet corner by ourselves, and he worked and worked and worked. I'd brought small plastic animals with me, and he LOVED them. He would reach out in different directions to grasp them. You can see how hard he has to concentrated to get his hands to open and close at will, but he manages. He also managed to grasp, rotate and stack small cups today. Now do I sound like a proud mama, or what? Seriously, I am realizing just how much I've underestimated not only his desire to do meaningful work, but his ability, too. I need to remind myself what someone wrote to me a while back--that ALL of the kids are more than tears and smiles.

A friend from the city was coming for the weekend, and I was going to meet her in Central Park. After putting Leonel through his paces this morning, I figured we both needed a treat, so I signed him out and took him walking with me. Since it was about lunch time, I wanted to get him something to eat, but he doesn´t do too well eating chicken from Camperos. So we went to a "real" restaurant, and I ordered the fruit plate to share with him, and he had a vanilla shake. Man, did that kid love smashed fruit! Especially papaya (sorry, Dick, but it's true). We had a great time just visiting. Though he doesn't speak in words, Leonel's eyes, face and smile communicate volumes. This was one of the most fun lunches I've had here in Guatemala. And for dessert, we had the best flan I've ever eaten.

Our timing was perfect, as we finished lunch just as Elizabeth's shuttle arrived from the city. The poor girl had waited over an hour for the shuttle to be full enough to leave Guate City, but appeared no worse for wear.

Elmer showing off on his horse
Henry doing his "wild man" impersonation
We went straight to Hermano Pedro, and she went straight to work with the kids, though she had never met them before, and hadn't had any lunch yet. They fell in love with her as soon as they saw her sweet spirit and her genuine interest in them. It was really cute the way Elmer and Henry wanted to "show off" for her, refusing to sit in their wheelchairs, and wanting to sit independently on the stairs while they worked with her. They had a great time doing puzzles with her, and even let Ervin join in a little.

By about three o'clock I figured I'd starved the poor girl enough, and we reluctantly packed up and headed out to get her something to eat. As much as I love working directly with the kids, I think I enjoy it just as much when I see someone like Elizabeth open her heart to them so easily. I think I'm sometimes so much the "teacher" that it's good for them to have someone just come and play! Thanks, Elizabeth, for jumping right in and not holding back your love from the kids one bit! What a great afternoon!


Guess that's about it for now. Tomorrow is the weekend so other than driving down to Tecpan early Sunday morning to pick up a lady and then bringing her in to Hermano Pedro for Surgery, I plan on kicking back and and spending some quality time with my kids.

Yours in Christ: Dick


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