* 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, November 26, 2011


Most of our wheelchair distributions take place in large buildings where 50 or 60 wheelchairs are given out and fitted in a single day. Although I enjoy these very much I must admit that some of my favorites are the days when we go out and give out just one or 2 wheelchairs. Today was one of those special days. Fact is today we brought the average down a little bit by giving out 0 wheelchairs. I know that 0 is not an impressive number but I still consider it a very valuable day. Let me explain.

About 2 weeks ago I received an E-mail from Joel Vandyke. Joel told me about a gang member who was in prison in Guatemala City who told him that he had a 9 year old son who needed a wheelchair. Adrian, lives with his grandmother in one of the red zones of the City. Red zones are places in the City that are considered unsafe for outsiders to go into. However they are also places where there is much need. Since they are not the best places for strangers to be asking for directions Pat, Elsa (A therapist who works with Hope Haven International), Sarah (A therapist who is here working with Bethel Ministries for the week) , Calin, Kevan, Cesar and I arranged to meet Adrian and his grandmother at a McDonald's in a better part of the City. Edwin, the prison Chaplin had agreed to drive Adrian and his grandmother there.

Edwin and his wife showed up with the little boy and his Grandmother right on time. (Actually they were about an hour late but that is about as close to being on time as things get here in Guatemala.) Shortly after meeting them grandmother told us that the the wheelchiar that I had brought with me was no longer needed because her grandson had received an identical wheelchair at a Hope Haven wheelchair distribution just a few days earlier. She apologized to us for making the trip to the City for nothing. We all looked at each other. I think that we were all thinking the same thing. This had not been a wasted trip. Even though we had just met the 2 of them we were already in love with them both and even though Adrian apparently had some form of bran damage and could not walk or talk, he was one of the friendliest kids that we had ever met. And it was immediately apparent that his grandmother had a deep love for him. Grandmother told us that she had been working with him a lot and that she felt that he would benefit from a walker. After examining him I agreed. After talking with Grandma Pat felt that she would be able to figure out a way for him to communicate as well. We told grandmother that it would be easier for us to assess what type of walker and communication system would be best for him if we knew a little more about his environment though. 10 minutes later Grandmother, Adrian, Pat, Elsa, Calin, Kevan, Cesar and I were in my car and driving to where this family lived.

It took about a half hour to reach their home and most of Grandmother's time was spent holding him and looking out of the window of my car while naming things to her grandson. Even though his mother had deserted him, his father was in jail and he did not live in the best of neighborhoods it was apparent that Adrian was not starving for love. When we reached their home we were greeted by 3 more kids whom we were told were cousins of Adrian. We were told that both of grandma's sons are in jail. This was not one of the safest neighborhoods that I have been in but Grandma was doing her best to make her house a real home for these 4 kids. It was hard to say goodby but we promised that we would be back soon with a walker, some food, some communication ideas and some more Christian love. Had this been a wasted day? Perhaps so if we had been looking at how many wheelchairs we had given out, but I do not believe that is what it is all about.

"There are people in the world so hungry
that God cannot appear to them
except in the form of bread."

Yours in Christ: Dick


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