* 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, October 26, 2011

Hurrah! Jessica goes home.

September 14, 2010
........................... September 3, 2011

When I posted my Journal a few days ago I promised that now that Pat was back from the USA that she would soon start writing again. Tonight she sent me the following. Thank you Pat for an outstanding journal.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Pat writes

Today I got to be a part of one of the happiest times we have here in Guatemala. Jessica Vanessa was released from the malnutrition project at Hermano Pedro. In the past year we have become very close not only to her but her whole family as well.

A year ago I wrote:

Tonight I met Jessica Vanessa and her mom. I am always shocked when I actually hold these little ones. . .there was literally nothing to this child. Our guess is she is somewhere between 15 and 19 lbs. at age six. And she's beautiful. And she has more energy that anyone in her condition should have, and she has the sweetest smile. (to read the rest of the journal from Sept. 14, 2010, click here.)


Dick had encountered Jessica when her mom brought her to a Hope Haven distribution in Mazatenango to get a wheelchair. One look at her and he knew that if she didn’t get help she would not live to use a wheelchair.

It just so happened that there was a news team from Missouri covering this distribution. They felt compelled to tell her story:

We spent a day in the clinics, before Jessica was admitted to the malnutrition project. Since that time, Mom has called me Jessica's "abuelita" or grandma. Not only Jessica, but her entire family has become part of our family.

This trip was the first of many we have made back to visit the family. In January, 2011, Dick returned with a few friends and built a new house to replace the make-shift shack the family lived in (shown above).

Virginia, a widow herself with six children to care for, has become an advocate for other families in her area who have special needs children. It seems that whenever we visit, she has found another family to take us to who is in need of help for their disabled child.

It’s hard to describe the transformation that has taken place as Jessica grew stronger and healthier, and even a little bit chubby. The pictures say more than my inadequate words ever could.

Jessica upon admission, September 14, 2010

October 7, 2010

November 24. 2010

December 8, 2010

January 20, 2011
February 20. 2011

August 6, 2011

Jessica on her way home, September 3, 2011!

Were her brothers and sisters happy to have Jessica home? You decided. . .

So it was a real treat to go with Dick as Jessica returned to her community of “La Benedicion” (the Blessing) after a year of her being away. When I first came to this aldea, I was struck by the irony of a place of such desperate poverty being called a blessing. A year later, I finally understand. . .those who live here are the blessing and they have surely blessed our lives.


Thank you Pat, and welcome home.

Faith can move mountains, but don't be surprised if God hands you a shovel !

Yours in Christ: Dick

Sunday, October 23, 2011

It is hard to believe that 2 weeks have gone by since I posted my last journal. I have good news though, now that Pat is back in Guatemala and getting settled in she has once again started journaling and she has promised me that she will soon have a journal that I can post. Meanwhile you will once again have to settle for a mostly pictorial account of the past 2 weeks.

Yours in Christ: Dick

I am left to single single-handedly fight off a machete attack while a teem from the USA has the easy job of replacing a roof in one of the villages.

(Actually a few years ago these kids would run and hide when ever we showed up. Now we have a lot of fun with them.)

Rosa and her family love the home that a teem from
Bethel Ministries built for them a few years ago.

Thanks to generous sponsors, Rosa's kids and others in this village are now able to attend school.

Even though the children in this family have sponsors the 11 year old girl (far left) feels obligated to stay out of school and work to help support her widowed mother and her 4 siblings.

Used clothing is always welcomed, especially in this village which gets quite cold since it is over 8000 feet above sea level.

One of the teems carrying food in to some needy families.

This teem from Canada had a great time with the kids from Hermano Pedro.

No outing is complete without going out for lunch at Camperos.

Last week we spent most of our time down near the coast doing wheelchiar distributions.

Cesar helping load one of 3 truckloads of wheelchairs
that Bethel Ministries gave out last week.

This girl lets Alexander know how grateful she is for her new wheelchair.

Not only were close to 150 wheelchairs given out
but dozens of people invited Jesus into their harts.

This is how many of the people got to and from the wheelchiar distributions.

We also brought food in to more needy families.

Below is a picture of the inside of this families home.
Two weeks ago they had to flee their home due to flooding. The little that they had was destroyed by the flood. Now they have to sleep on the wet mud floor of their home.

I spent Saturday with my kids.

Cesar and Abner's teem took second place in the soccer finals.

Happy thanksgiving!

I know it is a bit early but Camp takes place during Thanksgiving so on Sunday Chris and Donna invited a lot of us over to their place for an early Thanksgiving celebration.

As you can see it has been a busy 2 weeks but they have been good ones. We have seen the hand of God in so much that has taken place.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Click on any photo to enlarge

Monday, October 3, 2011

Today I met up with my friends Scot and John at Hermano Pedro orphanage and along with 2 volunteers from Korea. The 5 of us took 4 of the kids from the orphanage out to lunch. I don't know who had more fun the adults or the kids but we all had a great time.

After we got back from lunch Jessica (The head therapist from Hermano Pedro ) and I went out and visited Ricardo, A 15 year old boy that has muscular dystrophy. Ricardo is in a wheelchiar that is much to small for him so we are going to see what we can do to get him a larger one. We are also planning on getting him into a power wheelchair because he can no longer propel himself to and from school. Please pray for this family. It was recently discovered that Ricardo's younger brother has muscular dystrophy as well.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pat is back!

This morning I took Keven and Esbin along with me to the airport to pick up Pat. She has been in the USA for nearly 3 weeks.
If you think that we missed her you are right but our welcome back was nothing compared to that of the orphanage kids.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Wednesday, November 5, 2011

Pat was catching up on sleep today so Mario and I went out and did some camp recruiting. Most of the families that we visited with were old friends but one family that I have never had the pleasure of meeting before was that of Glendy, her mother and 4 siblings. Glendy (front center) appears to be around 10 years old but she is actually 17. Mother has worked hard at keeping her children in school and even Glendy who has some learning disabilities attends school on a regular bases. Life is not easy for this family as father is an alcoholic.

Our visit with Maria and her family was a bitter sweet one. In the past 2 years 2 of Maria's siblings who use to attend our camp have passed away. Today we discovered that Maria's health is now deteriorating rapidly. She insisted on sitting up when we came but did so with great difficulty. Both her cousin and I had to hold her up. She even mustered up a smile for this picture. Actually she smiled the whole time that we were there. These visits mean so much to our campers and their families.

Mari's mother is a real trooper. Even though she has health problems of her own, up until a few years ago she managed to get her 3 wheelchair bound adult children to and from camp by buss every year. Life is not easy for this dear lady as her husband and several other relatives disappeared during the war in the mid eighties.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Can't really remember what I did on Thursday but I must have gone to the orphanage becasue I have these pictures of Lionell on my camera.

Actually I do remember but I would rather forget. It had something to do with one of my normally trust worthy kids and some missing money.

Lionell has been on a feeding tube for over 2 months now and up until today he has not eaten a thing the entire time. Today he seemed more alert than he has been in a long time. I got him to smile a few times and even managed to get him drink a little bit of milk.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Friday, October 7, 2011

Another day at Hermano Pedro.

Thanks to 2 wheelchairs that I was given by Hope Haven Guatemala, today I was able to seat 2 kids in wheelchairs that they desperately needed. Juan Bernardo had long since outgrown his old one and Marina who is in the malnutrition ward received her first wheelchiar ever.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Saturday, October 8, 2011

This morning 4 of my boys and I headed to Guatemala City to try and buy tickets to an upcoming soccer game but after several frustrating hours in the City we discovered that the game was sold out.
As we were leaving the city it started to rain and by the time we got home the streets were flooded. This did not stop 2 of my boys from playing soccer later in the afternoon though.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Sunday, October 9, 2011

After Church Pat, my boys, and I grabbed a bite to eat then headed back to the orphanage. Soon Chris arrived with 11 people that are here for the week. This group is from, West Side, which is Pat's home church in Omaha, so she was anxious to see them. After giving them a tour of the orphanage we turned them and my boys loose on the kids.

Was it a worth while day? I will let you be the judge.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:

to look after orphans and widows in their distress

and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James 1:27

Yours in Christ: Dick