* 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)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I'm still alive and kicking, but not hard enough to hurt anyone.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It has been 8 days since I had surgery and although the Surgery went well the recovery has been a bit rough. I have been told that this was du to some leakage when they gave me the spinal but all I can say is that I am thankful that pain is now virtually gone. I am still very week and spend most of my time sleeping but feel a little stronger every day. Pat has been an angel and stayed with me most of the time that I was in the hospital. This was an extra special blessing because none of the staff at the hospital spoke any English and my Spanish usually ends up with one of the nurses bringing me a urinal when what I ask for was a drink of water.

On Wednesday I was released from the hospital and am now staying with Daryl and Wanda Fulp and they and their family are spoiling me rotten. It took about 5 days for the pain in my legs to let up that I could finally sleep for more that a few minutes at a time so needless to say I am now doing a lot of sleeping. My intentions of studying Spanish during recovery were put on hold because the Pain killers that I was on made it difficult to remember People's names even when I was looking in the mirror. Well that might be exaggerating it a bit but it leaves me with a good excuse not to study spanish.

On Friday Daryl surprised me by bringing over a few of my kids that he had gone all the way to Chimaltenango so that they could go to Youth Group in Antigua. Their visit was rather short but it was certainly the highlight of my day.

I can't say that lying around and having others wait hand and foot on me is all that easy but it has been a good experience. On the day that I went in for surgery Bethel had a wheelchair distribution down near the coast that neither Chris nor I would be able to attend. It frightened me a bit but I have watched Saul, Benjamin, Jorge and some of the others over the years and they have become confident in seating even the most difficult cases. Not only that they look to God and not to themselves for the wisdom in fitting the chairs while showing Christ's love to each and every person that they come in contact with. Explain to me why at the last minute Saul felt that they should load 12 extra wheelchairs onto the truck. They already had the paper work of each person that was coming to this distribution in hand and each of their chars were already on the truck. When Saul was asked why the 12 extra chairs he really had no explanation other then that he felt that this was the right thing to do. That evening they returned to Chimaltenango happy that everyone that had come to the distribution had received a wheelchair and happy that they had brought the exact number of wheelchairs that were needed. Gidincidence? Indeed it was!

Imagine it being your 21st birthday and your parents asking you how you would like to spend your entire day. Especially if you were in Guatemala where there are mountains and volcanos to climb, lakes and oceans to swim in a hundreds of other exciting things to do. Brittany, Daryl and Wanda's oldest daughter took no time in deciding. Brittany, her mom and dad, 2 friends and 8 brothers and sisters were all up bright and early Tuesday Morning to go and have the time of their lives. Brittany had decided that they would spend the entire day with the kids at Hermano Pedro. Her friends and entire family were as excited as she was. I don't know if Pollo Caperros will ever be the same but they and the kids that they took to lunch had the time of their lives. Did I feel bad that I did not feel well enough to come along? In a way, I love the kids at the orphanage and I never turn down a chicken dinner but just like the wheelchair distribution that I had missed, and the village that Daryl, Pat and some of the others visited a few days ago it does my hart good to know that there are more and more people answering God's call to come and share his love with a hungry and hurting world.

Yes I am getting anxious to get back out doing what I love doing best. I am sure I will have to moderate my activities for a while, (Right now my favorite seems to be sleeping) but God has been teaching me a lot lately and I am becoming aware that far to often we worry about what lies around the next corner when our main concern should be that we are walking the right path holding tightly to Him with the confidence that He is holding us with a grip that can never be broken.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Both Daryl and Pat did a lot of writing about places that we went and people that we visited the week before I had my surgery. I can't imagine how that could possibly be more interesting than hearing about my prostate surgery but if you would like to read what they wrote,

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sorry no new posts this week. I will be having prostate surgery on Monday, May 16. Your prayers are appreciated. I hope to be back on my feet and journaling in a week or two.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Journal, May 1-7, 2011

This week we had a teem of 16 people here from Iowa. I only got to spent a few days with them but I really enjoyed working with them.

On Sunday May 1
we divided up the teem into 2 groups. Chris and Donna took one of the groups out to bring food and clothing to needy families while Benjamen and I took the other half to Hermano Pedro orphanage. Shortly after noon we all met up in Chimaltenango and after having lunch we swapped groups and did the same thing. Some times newcomers are overwhelmed when they see all of the kids with disabilities that are in the orphanage but all in all this group did well. I know that the orphanage kids enjoyed the adults and I think that the impact that the kids had on the adults was well worth the tears that were shed.

On Monday May 2 the group from Iowa went out and started construction on 3 houses that they plan to build while they are here while I headed back to the orphanage with 3 of my boys who were off from school for a day. The boys played with the orphanage kids and we repaired a few wheelchairs. Actually the wheelchair work and the play went hand in hand because while attempting to repair the wheelchairs we had all kinds of little helpers. I don't think that we set any speed records but we certainly had a happy crew. I always maintain that having the kids from the orphanage (Especially Erven) help you shortens an hour job down to half a day but it is well worth it.

At noon my boys and I took 4 of our little helpers out to Camperos for lunch.

On Tuesday May 3 I rejoined the gang from Bethel Ministries and the teem that is here from Iowa for a Wheelchair distribution that took place near San Lucas. I think that we gave out about 50 wheelchairs and heard that a number of people accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.

May 4 was Bill pay and see the Doctor day for me. I figured that since my last visit to a doctor was some where around 8 years ago that a check up would not hurt. Actually I would have put it off a few more years but some persuasive friends offered to break both arms if I didn't go.

On Thursday May 5 I had planned on going to Hope Haven's wheelchair factory in Antigua and helping out with a wheelchair distribution that they were having there but my doctor convinced me that blood tests and an ultra sound of my prostate would be a lot more fun.

On Friday May 6 I managed to make it to Hope Haven's wheelchair factory and helped out with another wheelchair distribution that they had that morning. Sorry no pictures of this one as I accidentally forgot my camera at home. I am now convinced that my doctor was wrong about me enjoying blood tests and ultrasounds more than wheelchair distributions.

Later that day I returned to doctor. The tests show no cancer but the doctor said that I will need surgery to reduce the size of my prostate. Don't worry I have already gotten second and third opinions and since it is 4 times it's normal size no one seems to think that medications will shrink it enough. Sorry no pictures of this one as I intentionally forgot my camera at home.

On Friday night six of my boys and I went and picked up Pat from the airport. Pat has been in the States for a few weeks and were all missing her.

On Saturday May 7 I took 7 of my boys and 4 of there friends to a soccer game that they were scheduled to have at 9 AM in San Lucas. We arrived at 8:30 only to be told that the the game had been rescheduled to 10 AM. At 10 AM the game got postponed to 10:130 because the apposing teem had not arrived. They finally arrived right at 10:30 but after a 25 minute discussion with the referee it was decided that since there was another game scheduled at 11 AM, and 5 minutes would not be enough time to play an hour game that the game would be canceled.

After lunch I let the kids hang around for a few hours then headed out to Antigua where I was was scheduled to have dinner with Pat. Getting out of my alley was a bit of a challenge as there was a wedding taking place at the house next door. Actually it was only 4 PM when I got to Pat's house and we were not scheduled to go over to Leo and Mari's house for dinner until 7 PM but I needed a kid break. Pat and I had a good visit and then went for a walk. Our walk took us past a the home of a Gustavo, a man that I had brought an electric scooter to a few years ago. Today as we walked past their home I asked Pat if she wanted to stop by and visit Gustavo and his family.

Gustavo had suffered a stroke a few years prior to the first time that I met him and even though his family had somehow found a manual wheelchair for him it was of little value to him during the day when he was left alone while his children were at school and his wife and mother were at work because he had no use of right arm. Gustavo was a bit hesitant to use his power scooter when I first gave it to him but within a week his family had phoned me telling me that he was going all over the neighborhood with it. I must admit it has had a few break downs and a few months ago I had to replace it with a different one that Bethel Ministries graciously provided but having mobility has changed not only Gustavo's life but the lives of his entire family. Today his wife shared with us just how much it has changed their lives. She told us that before he received his power scooter she dreaded having to leave him at home alone even though she had to in order to provide for her family. Gustavo who use to suffer from a lot of depression is now an outgoing happy individual as he no longer feels that he is a burden to his family. Not only can he accompany them when they go to see friends or go to church but he can now help out by going to the store on his own and doing some of the family shopping. Today as the family once again thanked us for giving Gustavo this life changing gift I reminded them that we had just been the delivery boys and that the gift was from God. They told us that they were aware of that but that they were thankful that God had directed us to them. More and more I am becoming aware that sharing Christ with people involves a lot more than simply telling them about Jesus.

James 2:14-17

My brothers and sisters, what good is it if people say they have faith but do nothing to show it? Claiming to have faith can’t save anyone, can it? Imagine a brother or sister who is naked and never has enough food to eat. What if one of you said, “Go in peace! Stay warm! Have a nice meal!”? What good is it if you don’t actually give them what their body needs? In the same way, faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity.

Yours in Christ: Dick