* 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, January 18, 2011

Pat to the Rescue

How does Pat do that?

Lately every time I try to journal I discover that Pat has beat me to the punch.  Knowing how much I like to stay up late at night writing for hours and then correcting my spelling for what seems like days I think that it is a bit selfish of her but I am learning to live with it.  


Actually after several years of doing most of my own journaling this has been a blessing that I can not describe.  I do plan on taking my turn again soon but for now all I can say is, "Thank you Pat!" I appreciate what you do and I admire the loving and unselfish way that you minister to all of those around you.

Yours in Christ: Dick 


Written by Pat 

Notice, I am starting to get so lazy that I didn't even add any fancy frames to the pictures. (Dick) 
Taken by Bayron.  He still is facinated with our cameras!

After we arrived in Santa Rosa on Wednesday, we ate a quick lunch at Camperos (where else) and went to see Bayron and his family. We wanted to check to see if his Grandma had been able to find a teacher to tutor him, and we also wanted to talk with her about the possibility of building them a house.

There were even more people at the house than usual when we arrived, and Grandma explained that her sister-in-law had recently died, and she was watching their four children for her brother who was working picking coffee. After a few minutes, we figured out that the lady who had died of cancer was the mother of Oliver, another child we had been planning on visiting. We had no idea that these two families were related.  Her brother and his children would be moving in with her as soon as they could afford to buy some "lamina" (corregated metal) to use to build on to their make-shift house.

Dick began discussing the possibility of a new house with Grandma, and she almost could not believe what she was hearing.  We were glad to find out the she was buying the land (for about Q300/mo.--roughly $40 US) and had been able to keep up on the payments.  Much of there current house is constructed of borrowed materials, which would need to be returned to their owner shortly.  Though we didn't know exactly when the house would be built, we couldn't help but marvel at God's timing in our visit.  Anxious to be able to tell Grandma more specific details, Dick called Chris Mooney at Bethel.  Chris, without much hesitation, decided that the construction would be done in February, with the help of one of the teams scheduled to come down then. 

When we told Grandma this, her response was, "I'm going to die of happiness."  A remarkable statement from a lady who has endured so much for the sake of her family.

The past few times we had been here, we had taken Bayron, and then his brother Edgar, to stay with us at our hotel where they could swim.  They were eager to come with us right now, but we explained we had other families to see, and would return for them tomorrow afternoon.


When we returned Thursday afternoon to pick up the kids, the two we had somehow had grown to four.  The boys had invited Vanessa, their cousin, to come with us, and Oliver's dad asked if he could come.  (Oliver is a little guy who uses crutches to walk, though they hardly slow him down.  See the video of him playing soccer with the kids.)  I think both Dick and I were waiting for the other to say, "too much," but we were both pretty much soft touches today, and agreed to let the extra kids come.  We did, however, draw the line at Caterina, a five year old, joining us.

Video to be posted here when my internet is faster!

We spent the next 24 hours playing, watching TV, using the computer, swimming (though it was way too cold), eating, and talking, and wrestling (with Dick, not me!). A small amount of time was also alloted to sleeping. Once again, I lucked out with having a girl as a roommate. She went to sleep by 10. I think the three boys kept Dick up much later, or so it appeared from his somewhat weary look in the morning. (Fernando and Cesar had retreated to their own room for the night.)

The kids braved the cold water and air to swim

Dick wrestling with two of the boys.
And he wonders why he has sore ribs. . .

The hotel playground was put to good use!

People who have not been here sometimes wonder at the value of these "social" outtings with the kids.  The value is two-fold.  The benefit of the kids receiving undivided adult attention, even for a short time, cannot be overlooked.  Though their families love them dearly, so much of the adult energy is invested in just keeping the family going, that seldom is their time for fun with the grown-ups.  I think, too, these adventures strengthen our relationships not just with the kids we take, but with their communities as well.  In many of these areas, gringos are still viewed with suspicion, and seeing us leave and return with the children helps build trust. 

These times with the kids are good for us, too, though I have to admit they sometimes make me wonder at what I am missing with my own grandsons in the States.  (My grandsons, though, are well loved and cared for by extended family was well as their parents, and I'm probably missing out on more than they are!)  

Honestly, it think if it were not for these times spent with the kids, I would find myself missing Zach and Nate even more.  These people are becoming an extension of my family.

After a somewhat chaotic breakfast Friday morning (these kids are not used to getting to choose what they will eat, and have a hard time sticking with their decision after they have made it!) we headed to town to buy school shoes.  This "ministry of shoes" is old hat to Dick, but somewhat new to me. 

Kids here are not allowed to attend school unless they have black shoes (among many other requirements), and the shoes the four kids we had with us were not going to work.  Just the night before, Dick had received an email, telling him someone was sending a donation to use as he saw fit.  He saw fit, today, to buy all four kids shoes. We managed to find good deals in a local shoe store, and all the kids left with new school shoes.  A small thing, perhaps, but reinforcement to me that our God cares about the details of life.


We were not done with our work here, however.  We still needed to visit with the teacher Grandma had found to tutor Bayron at home this year. (He is not allowed to attend the local school because he is deaf.)  We had discussed the possibility of Bayron attending the school where this teacher taught during the day, but the cost proved to be prohibitive.  So we were hopeful that Sra. Anna would travel to work with Bayron at home.

As soon as we met Ana, she asked me if we were Christians.  When I answered, "yes," she said she had been praying that God would bring other believers into her life and work.  She agreed to work with Bayron individually, though the cost of this tutoring proved to be somewhat higher than we had hoped.  Ana already lives a long way from her school, and Bayron's house is in the opposite direction from her home.  The cost of her transportation would also have to be factored in.  Usually when she works one-to-one with students Ana charges significantly more than we are able to pay her (she's actually a special ed. teacher with experience with deaf children), but was willing to work with Bayron at a reduced rate.  While this was not the perfect solution, it will at least provide him with some regular instruction, and a chance to actually advance in school.

After taking Grandma back home, it was time to say good-bye.  Leaving this family is like leaving old friends.  Though we don't have much in common it terms of our backgrounds, or even life-styles, we do share a love of God and a love of these kids that binds our hearts firmly together.  We both look forward to our return.


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