* 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)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cesar with 5 year old Jose, one of the orphanage kids

After being on the road from Sunday through Friday I was looking forward to having a quiet weekend at home. Those plans didn't last long though becasue as I was ending my 6 day road trip and pulling into the alley where I live I received a phone call from Ronny's mom. Ronny is the 16 year old boy whose family we have worked with for years who passed away a few months ago. Ronny's mom told me that her daughter Astrilla (spelling is not even close) had fallen from a tree and broken her arm. She told me that did not have enough money to get her to the doctor yet alone pay the cost of a doctor or x-rays. When I asked mom how long ago Astrilla had broken her arm she told me that it happened 2 days ago. A short time later I had Pat call to see if we could get more details and perhaps talk to dad who does not seem to dramatize things as much as mom. A few years ago mom had made called to tell me that another daughter was hysterical because she had fallen into a pond and almost drowned. It was only after a 2 hour drive to their home that dad told me that his daughter had fallen into a mud puddle and started to cry because she had gotten her new dress dirty. However after talking to dad this time we were convinced that Astrilla's arm could really be broken so early Saturday morning Pat, 3 of my boys and I headed down to the coast to see if we could find a doctor's that we could bring Astrilla to on a Saturday. Oh yes there was always the option of going to the national hospital in Esquentla but after some of the experiences that I have had with National hospitals I much rather pay for a doctor.

To make what is becoming a long story a bit shorter I will condense things by saying. We got her to a doctor. X-ray's were taken. Mom claimed that we were taken as well because the visit with the doctor, the x-rays and the cast that was put on the arm that was indeed broken came to a whopping $80 American. I wish that I could get taken like that in the USA. Anyway Astrilla is now back home and doing fine.

Arlindo felt pretty special when the older boys
asked him to play football with them.

We finally got back home well after sundown and some how I gained another kid for the next 5 days. For quite some time I have been promising Ronny's little brother Arlindo that he could come to my house for a few days again. He came a long a few months ago but a good part of that visit was spent in seeing doctors and getting tests done on Arlindo who was not eating well or feeling all that good. This time Arlindo although still a bit skinny and pale in color was doing much better though. Fact is he ate me out of house and home. Even though most of my boys are older than he is they all had a great time together and I think that he would have gladly stayed on for a few more days or even years.

Some of my boys watching the Guatemalan Election returns

The next few days were fairly normal, or at least as normal as it gets around my house. Especally considering that school is out for a few weeks.

Arlindo and a few of my kids spent quite a bit of time at the orphanage and Pat spent time with us when her stomach wasn't upset. She very well may have caught a bug from teaching table manners to some of the orphanage kids that we took to Camperos.

I have to give Pat a hard time while I can because on Thursday she leaves for the States for 3 weeks.

On Wednesday Fernando, Marcos, Elder, Arlindo and I headed out to do a few more days of camp recruiting. Arlindo would have gladly spent the entire week with us but I had promised his family that I would bring him back home on Wednesday so after visiting a few people in his area we brought him home. From there we headed to Mazatenango and stopped off at a few more homes before finally reaching the Bamboo hotel which would be our home away from home for the next few days.

We tried to get a fairly early start each morning because it is rainy season and the thunder storms move in almost every afternoon at around 3 and there is no way that you can drive in to some of these places once the rain starts. You would have to see it for yourself to believe it but within 15 minutes a dry dirt road can become a flowing river. The kids love it though because our motel has a swimming pool and the rain is always warm. I do get a bit paranoid and make them get out of the pool when the lightning gets close though.

I can not believe but it seems that almost overnight these boys are turning into god fearing young men. The 3 that I have with me this week are incredible. All 3 of them have taken their turns at driving Marcos who is now 15 has been my camera man and also the one that programs new places into my GPS for me. Fernando who is 14 has done all of the interpreting for me. And Elder who is 9 has been updating the phone numbers of all of the campers. Believe it or not that can be a full time job. That is also one of the reasons that we put on thousands of miles each year inviting people to camp instead of just picking up the phone and inviting them. I do not think I am exaggerating if I say that out of the campers that have phones close ot half of them change their numbers at least once a year. I think part of it is that most of the phones here in Guatemala are cell phones and many of them get stolen. Although no one will admit it I also believe that now much like the USA more things can be bought on credit it is done to help keep the bill collectors from finding them.

The number one reason that we do camp recruiting though is so that we can make personal contact with the families that we visit. There is something very special about visiting them right in their homes. First of all even though even though it has improved a lot in the 11 years that I have been in Guatemala many disabled people are still looked down on and the fact that you are willing to make the effort to go and see them means a lot to them. It also seems that these people really open up to you when they are in their own environment. Just today I had the opportunity to pray with Marco Tulio Ruiz, a young man that was paralyzed from the waist down when he was shot in the back a few years ago. Today Marco told me that a few months ago his father suddenly got sick and died and then a few days later his brother was murdered buy someone who thought that the money that Marcos' brother was carrying to go and buy a pig was worth more than his life. I would have liked to have visited and prayed with Marcos' mom as well but she was out working for a few dollars a day so that she can provide food for Marcos, his little brother and herself.

It is now Saturday night. We planned on getting back home this evening but an unexpected side trip to repair a power wheelchair for a boy that has no other way to get to school kept us from visiting a few of the families out this way. In a way it is good though because once I get back home it will be hard for me to find the time to do any writing. Besides that we found another motel that has a swimming pool and now that the lightning has moved to nearly a mile away the kids are once again enjoying them selves.

Don't confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Mother Teresa is the other.

Yours in Christ: Dick

PS. Hurry back Pat we all miss you.

Besides that I hate having to write all of my own journals.


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