* 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, April 29, 2011

Journal, Last week of April, 2011

(Click on any picture to enlarge)

Daryl Fulp and 3 of his daughters have been on the road with me this week. Since Daryl's family fears riding in the family car when Daryl is behind the wheel these outing with me are about the only way that they can ride in a car without being in continual fear. Actually I am praying that within a few years Daryl will gradually pick up some of my driving skills and hopefully his family will be as relaxed with his driving as they are with mine. Meanwhile since I have done all of the driving and most of the work I have decided to let Daryl do this weeks journaling. Besides that Daryl is a better speller then me. Bear in mind though that he also exceeds me in stretching the truth when he writes.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Here then is an account of our trip. (according to Daryl)

Bouncing around with Rutgers…again

Written by Daryl Fulp

IMG00398-20110427-1447Today Teisha, Carissa, Taryn, and I took off on another road trip with Dick Rutgers. Unlike last time, Pat is not with us as she is currently home in the States visiting with her grandchildren and getting a break from Dick and me. So, Dick’s car is much quieter and neither Dick nor I are suffering from headaches that usually result from Pat’s head slaps.

As usual, Dick treated us to a flawless drive to the coast. We just hit a few potholes that resulted in a couple of damaged kidneys, but the damage was spread out through us all so we all still have one left.

IMG00397-20110427-1418As we drove toward the coast the temperature rose about 15 degrees and the humidity rose sharply. When we arrived in town all the motels were full except for one that has no air conditioning as. As you can tell from the photo, the ceiling fans are no good as they have gradually drooped and warped from the humidity. But that is balanced by the reality that we have no hot water. Tonight’s shower was the first time all day I have been cool. Earlier Dick and I were trying to decide who would get the better bed (the one without sharp metal sticking in your back). I decided that he could have that bed and I will sleep in the cold shower, but now he wants the shower. We will compromise and alternate hours.


As soon as we had checked into the hotel we took off for Jessica’s house. Jessica is currently in Hermano Pedro and doing quite well after recovering from malnutrition. The journey to their home is quite interesting and involves some pretty bad roads and crossing a couple of streams. Interestingly enough, Dick drives very carefully on those roads.

IMG00406-20110427-1647Someone donated some money to Dick to help with the family’s water situation. They currently only have water at their home for one hour every other day. As a result, they often find themselves hiking down the mountain to fill buckets. After analyzing the situation we realized that we could purchase a 200 gallon water tank that will fill automatically when the water is on and can be used as a supply when the water is off. So we left their home and traveled to the nearest town where we purchased the tank, pipes, and fittings that are necessary and will return tomorrow morning to install the tank. For the time being, it looks nice on the top of Dick’s Land Cruiser, although I had to stand on the back bumper to help it squeeze under the entry arch of our motel.

This evening we found a restaurant that was not top notch, but was quite edible (unlike the shrimp from our last trip). We were also able to purchase some medicine for a nasty head rash that Jessica’s brother, Hector, has. Hopefully this will resolve the problem.

Well, the hour is getting late. I think we are all heading out for a bite of ice cream and then I will return and tuck myself into the shower for the night.

Buenes noches de Patulul, Guatemala!


Tanks, Filters and Low Overhangs

Written by Daryl Fulp

We awoke Thursday morning after a somewhat toasty night, and I took another cold shower to start off the day. When I got up at 5:45 the temperatures outside were nice, and we enjoyed a pleasant walk to the restaurant for breakfast. By the time we finished eating we could feel the temperature and humidity rising. From that point, sweat was our constant companion throughout the day.

DSCF0279As we left the hotel we once again had to deal with a low entry arch and the water tank strapped to the top of Dick’s Land Cruiser. We gradually worked our way through with first me and then Teisha standing on the back bumper to weigh down the rear. We had to do a little bouncing and a little scraping, but we made it through and hit the road. (I think the hotel may be missing a little bit of their arch.)

We headed back up the mountain to Jessica’s family where we spent time explaining the medication we had purchased for Hector’s head rash and applying his first dose. We then set to work installing the water tank which will automatically fill when their water is on every other day. This will be a huge blessing to the family as they will no longer need to fill pitchers, barrels, and anything else they can find to provide a reserve for the dry times.

DSCF0347Dick and I worked well together after he learned to appreciate the Leatherman tool I always wear on my belt. He had spent much time over the last few weeks telling me how useless it is (even insulting it by calling it a Swiss Army Knife), but suddenly found himself needing it a lot. After we worked through his tool prejudices things went smoothly and we were able to complete the job in under an hour. Between Dick and I we had come up with a thorough list of the parts we needed, which was good since the nearest hardware store was about 25 minutes of rough road away. After the tank was installed we prayed with the family and headed out again.

DSCF0379On the way down the mountain we passed a group of ladies who were walking and decided to offer them a ride. We piled five women and two babies into the Land Cruiser and I hoped on the back bumper and hung onto the luggage rack for the rough ride down. Thankfully, Dick drove more like a gentleman than usual. (Gentleman is not a word that is usually associated with a description of his driving, and it is very relative.) However, as we were driving through the river he somehow managed to make sure that his rear bumper dropped below the water, soaking my boots. He said it was accidental, but he said it with a grin and while turning off his hearing aids.


From there we headed to the home of Sergio, a teenager who has Spina Bifida. He had received a new (to him) electric wheelchair the week before and it was not working. Dick was concerned because you never know the extent of the problem in a situation in which a chair has no power. It could be a bad charger, a bad connection, or a bad computer. We were pleased to discover that the battery connections had come loose as the batteries had shifted in transit. Once we discovered the problem it was a simple fix to reposition and secure the batteries.

DSCF0404The wheelchair is extremely important to Sergio because it is his only means of getting to and from school. The journey involves several rough areas with some steep climbs, so he needs a robust chair. While we were there Dick broke out his programmer and made adjustments to assure that he could climb the hills. He boosted the speed and power and made several trips up and down one of the hills himself. The kids in the neighborhood had fun watching the gringo go up and down, up and down, up and down...

By the time we left Sergio’s house we were extremely hot and sweaty and headed for the nearest air conditioned restaurant for a late lunch. I don’t think cool air ever felt so good!

DSCF0423After lunch we swung back by Herlindo’s house. As soon as we pulled up we realized something big was going on because the yard was filled with balloons and people. We found out that after having nine children together Herlindo’s parents finally decided that it would be safe to get married, so we had walked into a wedding reception. We were warmly welcomed by the family, offered drinks, and shown all the kids report cards. We then gave Herlindo the medicine he needed and explained the dosages to the parents. The medications are for a very bad stomach parasite that is in the family’s drinking water. It is the worst kind of parasite and requires strong medications to eradicate.

DSCF0429For some time now Dick has tried to explain to the family that their water is bad and they need to use the filter he had provided for them. Until now, they did not believe that this simple little device would make the water safe, so they just continued to drink it without filtering. Dick and Pat arranged for a doctor to call them and explain the situation and that the filter would work, and that seemed to convince them to use it. Only one problem…they had lost the filter. So, we hooked up another gravity feed water filter and taught them how to use it. Please pray that they make good use of it as it is imperative for the family’s health.

From there we headed home to the cooler temperatures of the inland mountains and refreshing showers. As we looked back on the trip we were blessed and amazed at how God caused everything to come together for such a great and productive trip. Through the heat, work, and rough roads He was with us the entire way.

Good evening from San Antonio Aguas Calientes!

Daryl, Wanda, and the Crew

Here are a few more pictures of our trip:


Thanks Daryl.


Yours in Christ: Dick


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