* 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)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Journal, Sunday, March 27-Thursday, April 7, 2011

(Click on any photo to enlarge)

I apologize for not updating my journal in over a week and a half but somehow running kids to and from the hospital, driving half way across Guatemala to visit a few families, cooking for 10 to 12 kids, running a piece of steal into my leg, visiting the orphanage, going to soccer games, having one of my boys robbed at gun point, and countless other things seemed to take up much of my time. I hope that you don't think that I am complaining. I would not trade life here in Guatemala for the world. (Steal into my leg and robbers excluded) Oh I guess that the soccer game that was canceled because the teem showed up 2 minutes late would have been more interesting had it been played but overall it has been a good week.

A good part of my time has been spent running back and fourth to and from the home of Ronny's family. Ronny who had muscular dystrophy passed away about 2 months ago and although his family seems to be going on with their lives Ronny's death has still left some scars. Mom and dad are aware that all 3 of Ronny's younger brothers have the possibility of having muscular dystrophy as well so they are rightfully worried.

Arlindo who is 8 years old is there biggest concern because that is exactly how old Ronny was when he was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. Although Arlindo has lost some of his appetite and often falls asleep in school, his muscle tone is good and Pat and I are pretty much convinced that he does not have muscular dystrophy. We feel that he is going through a bit of depression over loosing his brother and hearing Mom and dad continually talk about the fact that they think that he has muscular dystrophy is making things much worse.

A few days ago I asked if it would be OK if Arlindo came to my house and spent a few days. I wanted to observe first hand how he was doing and I wanted to get him in to see a doctor and have a good checkup.

During the 5 days that Arlindo has been with me I have not seen any of the things that mom and dad had told us. Arlindo has been sleeping well at night, his apatite has been great (even though he has been eating my cooking) and he has had lots of energy. I think that he my be a bit anemic though so I have started hims on some good vitamins.

Mom with her other 2 sons

Although both Pat and I are convinced that he does not have muscular dystrophy we still felt that it would be a good idea to have him go in to Hermano Pedro for a physical examination. Although the results of the blood tests and a few other tests have not yet come back the doctor is convinced that Arlindo does not have muscular dystrophy. We are praying that his parents will now be convinced as well and not keep telling their son that they fear that he has a disease that would likely take his life within a few years.

Although some of the tests were not the most pleasant for Arlindo or myself (I don't really enjoy taking stool samples) he had a great time while he was here and he and my kids had a great time playing together. When we brought him back to his house yesterday it was not easy for any of us to say goodbye. We did make a promise to the 5 kids that attend school that we would return once they get their report cards and if they were good that Pat would take the 4 girls to her house and that I would let Arlindo come back to my house for a weekend.

Arlindo helping me
repair a wheelchair at the orphanage.

Daryl and Wanda Fulp with one of Arlindo's sisters

It is a bit against my better judgment to post journals that are not 100% accurate but after much arm twisting Daryl Fulp convinced me to publish his rendition of yesterday's events. I am sure that on reading the following you will soon become aware that not everything that Daryl says is true but than again what can you expect from a missionary.


Daryl wrote,

In addition to our normal work and ministry, on Wednesday Wanda and I were able to journey over toward the coast with Dick Rutgers and Pat Duff. During that afternoon we experienced a temperature increase of about 15 degrees as we dropped in elevation. By the time we reached our destination things were plenty hot and humid, and this is not even the hot time of year. In addition to the heat we were also exposed to the back and forth verbal bantering between Dick and Pat. Dick had “forgotten” his hearing aids, although I wonder if it wasn’t by design so he could pretend not to listen to Pat. Meanwhile Pat kept trying to prevent Dick from talking while she was attempting to translate:

Pat: “I can only listen to one person at a time!”

Dick: “No Problem, Just make sure it’s me!”

Our first stop was at the home of Gabriel. He is eight years old and has Spina Bifida. His back has never been repaired, so this little guy has a large mass on his back that prevents him from sitting up with firm back support. Dick delivered a new wheelchair and fitted it with a back pad that is positioned higher, allowing the lump to fit underneath. This chair also has the benefit of folding easily as his family takes him to physical therapy each week. This journey is actually a nearly two hour trip one way on a crowded chicken bus, so a folding chair is a great asset to them. We were blessed to meet this wonderful family!

From there we delivered Herlindo (Dick: Daryl spells Arlindo a bit differently than I do but it is the same kid.) (Come to think of it everyone spells things differently than I do?) to his home. Herlindo is the younger brother of Ronnie who passed away in February of Muscular Dystrophy. Herlindo had been showing some weakness and weight loss, and his mom was concerned that these were the early signs of MD. Dick picked him up and kept him for five days so that he could take him to Hermano Pedro for testing. I am pleased to report that he is free of MD. While they are still waiting on a few test results, the general consensus seems to be that he is still depressed from losing his big brother, to whom he was very close. After a few days with Dick he seemed much happier and was eating like a horse! When we took him home we were able to meet his brothers and sisters. There are seven children remaining, including Herlindo. While there, Wanda got to hold some little ones so that made the entire trip for her!

Then we traveled through the town of La Gomera where we delivered a load of vitamins to a medical clinic and picked-up wheelchair applications. At this point, it was after 3:00 pm and we still had not eaten lunch, so we stopped at a roadside chicken place for a quick bite to eat. The food was good and there were some tables under an awning, so it was a welcome stop. By the time we had eaten and left we all felt renewed.

It was great afternoon together. I saw that Pat has finally gotten used to Dick’s driving as I saw no tears and heard no screams. Dick: Daryl had evidently left both his glasses and his hearing aid at home. However, I think maybe Wanda has become a Catholic as I believe I saw her cross herself a few times as she sat in the back. (Now that I think about it, I think she started that around the time I started driving here.) In reality, everyone felt better when Dick let Herlindo ride in his lap and steer.

Dick: The only reason that they felt better was because I first offered to let Daryl drive but he didn't think that he would fit on my lap, and Wanda said that she wasn't sure that she could find the right buss to take home.

When we returned back home we dropped Pat off at her apartment in Antigua and Dick came back to our house. He needed a break and a place to do some journaling so he spent last night upstairs. I just realized that I should probably go check on him to make sure he is not wandering around lost. I think I saw him carrying his GPS around the house last night.

Dick: Daryl's guest bathroom is larger then my entire house. This may sound disgusting but his bathroom is located inside of his house.

Blessings from Guatemala!

Daryl, Wanda, and the Fulps

Thanks Daryl (I think?) : Dick

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Another trip that we made this week was a drive up to Huehuetenango to make perparations for building a family a new home that they desperately needed. Pastor Juan and 2 American friends accompanied me on this trip. About all that I can say about this family is that you cannot please everyone. It is good to know though that there are others that will be thrilled with the home that we had planned on building for this family.

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A few days later we made a trip that proved to be a bit more rewarding. Lori Wheller and her mother accompanied Calin and myself to the home of Samuel, a boy that Lori and her family sponsor. Although Samuel who is 12 was out working the fields Lori and her mother got to visit with the rest of Samuel's family. Samuel's mom is widow. Only about 4 or 5 of the kids pictured above are hers the rest are neighbors that just wondered in to say hi. Although most of the kids in this village use to run and hide when Americans came in they now are very friendly and love it when we visit.

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A lot of other things took place in the past week and a half but I do not have the time
or the memory to write about them all. Besides that it is time to spend some quiet time with my kids.

A wise person once said, "It ought to be as impossible to forget that there is a Christian in the house as it is to forget that there is a ten-year-old boy in it."

Yours in Christ: Dick


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