* 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, November 2, 2010


This is not one of my usual weekly journal posts. If I can find the time will attempt to do that later this week.  I know that may of you have been praying for and wondering about Ronny though so I thought that I would give you a quick update.  When I posted my last journal entry on Thursday I figured that my next post would be one telling you that Ronny had died. Miraculously though Ronny has regained consciousness and it looks like he will be able to go back home with his family within the next few days. Ronny is by no means a healthy boy thought and we are all aware that his days are numbered.  But then again aren't all of ours?


Just yesterday as I was visiting the kids at Hermano Pedro  I noticed that Julisa's crib was empty.  As I stood there looking at her empty crib one of the nurses came up to me and told me Julisa had passed away only a few hours earlier.  When I saw her only a few days earlier she seemed to be doing fine.  

Alex who has been in the orphanage for as long as I can remember seems to be hanging on by only a thread.  

There is another little boy up in the malnutrition ward who's life is hanging in the balance. I do not know why God chooses to take some of these kids home while others are allowed to live but I know that He loves them and I know that He wants us to reach out to them and love them in the same way that He reaches out and loves each one of us.  Do I ever question God when I see one of these little ones suffer?  Yes all of the time.  For the past several weeks I have been going through a grieving process for Jojo, Enrique, Julisa and for the others that God has taken home.  This has not been an easy time for me but I can truthfully say that I have an inner piece that I can not explain.   I don't know if what I am writing makes sense to you.  Perhaps It won't make sense to me when I reread it in the morning (It is  3:45 AM).  I guess there is one thing that keeps me going though and that it is knowing that, God is God. 
A few days ago Pat posted the following.  Please take the time to read it.

Yours in Christ: Dick 

Suffering and Anger

Written by Pat

I have been overwhelmed by the response to my post on Oct. 27 about the family who was starving.  Many people have offered to help, and this family will be well cared for.

Some of the responses I got, however, focused on how God can let things like this happen.  I can understand this reaction, as I've struggled with it more than once myself.  Even to the point of getting angry with God. . ."How dare you let this happen?"

Over time I've come to realize that anger is an appropriate response when confronted with suffering.  But anger at God is misdirected.  Sure, He's a safe one to blame, and He can handle our anger.  More and more, however, I've come to realize that He's not the source of our suffering.

God created us for a perfect world--Eden.  We were not meant to live in a world of suffering and pain.  That's why our hearts fight it so much.  So what went wrong?  We did.  We each have chosen to trade paradise for our own will.  Sure, I can blame Eve, but if she had not sinned, I believe I still would have.  Even my arrogance at Him, blaming Him for the suffering which has resulted from the choices we've made, is sin. 

I will admit that the entire car ride home from Esquintla I was fuming with anger over starving and dying children.  I realized, though, that I could not justifiably direct my anger toward God.  He did not intend for us to become ill and die.  He has provided enough resources on the earth to feed everyone.  My anger needed to be directed at the one who brought sin and suffering and death into this world when he tempted Eve. The enemy could not defeat or destroy God, so he set his sights on those created in God's image (I've borrowed this from John Eldridge).  And what better way to destroy us than to convince us to blame the One who has come to save us from ourselves. . .

I also, though, need to recognize that "the devil makes us do it" just won't cut it.  We chose to sin.  The result of sin is suffering and death.  While there may not be a 1-to-1 correspondence between our personal sin and the suffering in the world, all our sin adds to the cumulative effects of sin on our fallen world.  Every time I chose selfishness over love, my own will over His, I add to the suffering in the world.  Sometimes it's only me who suffers for my sin.  Too often, however, my personal sin causes another pain.

When confronted with starvation, it's easy to say, "It's not my fault."  It's convenient to blame and omipotent God--if He doesn't do something about it, why should I?  But I believe He is trying to address the suffering in our world--through His Body, the church, us. . .

And we can impact suffering.  The fact that the Reyes family will have food for more than a year demonstrates this.  Can we eliminate starvation in the world?  No.  There will always be the poor.  Jesus Himself told us that.  But when confronted with one starving family there is much that we can do.

So I have to confess that some of my anger is at God.  For making me aware of the suffering of my brothers and sisters.  For positioning me in such a way that my awareness of their suffering causes me pain, disrupts my denial.  The fact that when facing their suffering, I have to chose to turn away or respond.  The fact that I have to do something.

In no way am I suggesting that you should respond to every need that I or anyone else who works with the poor presents to you.  I am suggesting, though, that each day God places those who are suffering in our paths.  We daily have to chose to ignore their pain, or step into it with them.  Just because their suffering is not my personal fault does not mean I am not asked to share their struggle. The Good Samaritan did not cause the pain of the man he rescued.  When one part of the body hurts, the whole body hurts.  And, oh, how much easier it would be to remain unaware. 

I have a friend who suggests that when we ask God, "Why don't you do something about the suffering in the world?" He just might ask us the same question.  So, we can continue to chose to blame God for all the suffering in the world, and that gives us a good excuse to do nothing about it.  Or, we can embrace what I believe to be the Biblical world view, and not worry about who caused the pain, but consider what we can do to alleviate it.

"Let us be the ones who say we do not accept that a child dies every three seconds simply because he does not have the drugs you and I have. Let us be the ones to say we are not satisfied that your place of birth determines your right to life. Let us be outraged, let us be loud, let us be bold."                                                                
(borrowed from Dick Rutger's journal)




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