* GUATEMALA * * * * * * * * Dick Rutgers *

An ongoing journal of life as a Missionary in Guatemala. It will make you laugh and cry at the same time.

My Photo
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, January 28, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened To Me On The Way To Insanity

For those of you who think that some of my journal entries have been too serious lately, I think that this one will make up for it. I did not think that it was all that funny at the time but after looking back on it I decided that it would be best to laugh about it, so I will do that as soon as I stop crying. I apologize for not posting more of my own pictures in this journal entry but I left my camera at home. (Had I taken it with me I would have gladly loaned it to the photographer at the driving school.)

Last Week Dave wrote about my little episode with the police stopping me and wanting to take my expired drivers license away from me. Fortunately Calin came to the rescue by telling t the police that as well as getting old I was also getting forgetful and had forgotten that January 8 had been my birthday and that my License had expired. (Thanks Calin, I think.) Anyway the police allowed me to keep my old license making it much easier for me to obtain a new one, or so I thought.

Bright and early Monday morning Ben brought me in to the drivers license department to get my license renewed. I did not want to drive because the new president is trying to crack down on things and the police and army are stopping cars at random check points between here and the city. I think that they are looking for people that are driving on expired licenses. I wonder who would be foolish enough to do that? I figured that if we got there early we could get back home on time to do other things. I figured wrong.

I have always had a truck driving endorsement on my Washington State drivers license but the law here requires that you have a Guatemalan Drivers license at least 4 years before getting that endorsement. I was told that the test was quite easy so I figured that since I had driven truck most of my life I would take the test and add it to my Guatemalan license. Little did I know just how easy the test would be. Ben had to park his car several blocks away from the drivers license department and as we walked to their office we were approached by several people asking us if we needed any help. Ben asked one them if they knew where we had to go to take the truck driving test and one young man quickly offered to guide us to the government building where we could do that. Once we entered the building he motioned for us to follow him out of a side door and into another building that looked like it was anything but an official government building. We were directed into a room where 2 young men were sitting at a table playing video games on a computer. After finishing their game one of them got up and directed us into another room and asked me to stand in front of the cleanest part of a dirty wall. He then took out his cell phone and took my picture with the camera that was on it. We then followed him back to the room that had the computer so that he and his friend could continue playing video games. About 10 minutes later the young man that we first met came into the room with some paper work in his hand. He told me that the drivers test would be 900 Q (A little over $100)

We then followed him back out of this building and into the Government building that gives the drivers tests. We went directed to the lady who gives the eye exams and she asked me to read the smallest line of letters that I could see. I am not sure weather or not she was even listening to me when I read them but she smiled at me and told me that my eyes were excellent. She then looked at the paper work that the young man had given her and told me that I had gotten an 84 on both the written part of the test that I had never taken and the driving test that I had never taken. I didn't ask but I have a feeling that another $10 could have gotten me a 100% on both tests. I was then given a receipt for 700 Q. Where did the other 200 Q go? Perhaps to buy a real camera but more than likely for more video games. I know that this all seems a bit dishonest but this is the same procedure that people go through to get their regular licenses and it is my understanding that this is the only way that you can get your license in Guatemala. Was this all there was to it. I only wish that it was.

Now that I had my drivers test out of the way all that was left was the easy part, simply renewing the license. I had all of the necessary paper work. My depei, (Guatemalan ID) my Expired Guatemalan drivers license, the test results from the test that they told me that I had just taken and last but not least, more money.

Last time I got a drivers license here I had a problem getting into the building because the Person that filled out the paper work for the test that I never took forgot to write on the test results of the test that I did not take that I did not speak Spanish. Today however the Lady that gave me the eye test made sure that they were notified that I did not speak Spanish, she even told us to tell them that the person that did not give me the test that I scored 84% on, spoke English. (If this is getting a bit confusing to you? You should be the one writing it, or the one trying to understand it in a foreign language. Let me not fail to mention that my hearing aid batteries were going dead.)

Once we were inside of this building we walked up to the friendliest looking of the 3 people that were sitting behind a table and I gave her my paper work. She scanned over my paper work and congratulated me on the good grade that I got on the truck driving test that I never took. (I thought about asking her if I could get some money back if I was willing to accept a lower passing grade but I held my tong. After looking over the rest of the paper work she told me that most of the paper work looked good but said that I had one small problem. She held up my depei (Guatemalan ID) and pointed to my name. "Your name on the depei is not the same as it is on all of your other paper work." she exclaimed. I looked at it and then some of my other papers the depei read 'Dick C...... Rutgers' all of my other papers read 'Dick C...... Rutgers.' "It all looks the same to me," I said. "No it is different." "What is different about it?" "The name is Different." "No it isn't." "Yes it is!" "No it isn't!!" "Yes............!!! This highly intelligent conversation was getting us nowhere. Finally she was able to explain to us that my name was wrong on my depei because my middle name Cordell (There now the whole world knows the name that I have been trying to keep a secret for 65 years is Cordell) was printed on the wrong line. Evidently this mysteriously made it my last name instead of my middle name and I was not allowed to have 2 last names. Thus the depei that took me over a year to get was no good. I will not go into a lot more detail except to tell you that the next 6 hours were spend standing in line, sitting in line, and driving half way across Guatemala City attempting to get my things straightened out so that I would not have to wait a year or better while they attempted to get me a new depei so that I could get a drivers license. Half way across town I finally got written permission to get my License but have only started the process of getting a new depei. Is this where the story ends? No!

When Ben and I finally got back to the license department more men approached us asking if we needed any help. We both said "NO!" One of the people that we had seen on the other side of town had promised us that he would phone ahead and tell them that we were coming and had assured us that I would have no further problems getting my drivers license. He evidently had some clout because we were treated like royalty. We were escorted to the front of the line and soon our paper work was being taken care of. My old expired license was cut into small pieces and handed back to me. (I guess their garbage can was full.) I was then directed to a room where my picture was once again taken, this time not by a cell phone. I was soon handed a brand new license and then directed back to the window where I had originally started. The lady there told me that the license that I had just received was not endorsed for trucks but only for cars so she took it from me and cut it up and gave it to me. Now my pocket was nearly as full of garbage as their garbage can was. Oh well at least it felt good to have a legal license for a few minutes. A little more paper work and I was once again in line to get my photo taken. The man taking the picture looked at me a little oddly so I told him that this time I was applying for a 5 year license instead of a 5 minute one.

It has been a long day but I am once again legal to drive in Guatemala. Oh I failed to mention that my Washington State Drivers License also expired on January 8. I guess I will worry about that the next time I go back to the States. Meanwhile I have to work on getting a new depei. Oh well the last one only took 14 months to get.

Funny thing I didn't get much accomplished today but I feel strangely tired. I hope that I can sleep well tonight, because the last few nights I have been having this reoccurring dream that my doctor calls me and tells me that I am so old that they have canceled my blood type.

Yours in Christ: Dick Cordell
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,..,, Rutgers

...........Not: ...... ..Dick
........................Cordell Rutgers

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The first few days of my week were actually spent near home here in Chimaltenango. Pat's landlords, her sort of adoptive family, invited me over to their home for a (one week after my birthday) birthday party, after church on Sunday.
" Why are we dressed in Black? "

I first felt honored that there were so few candles on my birthday cake but later discovered that they were afraid of burning the house down if they put the proper number of candles on the cake.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Most of my day was spent at the orphanage loving on the kids. Most of the kids are still at their homes for Christmas holidays but in a week or 2 all 240+ residents should be back. Most of the kids that are there during the holidays have no family or family that never bothers to visit them, so they welcome any attention that they can get. Today Pat, and I showed 2 groups from World Race around the orphanage and introduced them to the kids. It only took a few minutes before they were holding and loving on the kids. What an awesome group!

Unfortunately they already had other plans for lunch but Dave, Pat and I took 3 of the kids out to Camperos.

Gloria has not been doing well at all. She does a lot of choking and spends much of her time crying. That is why the highlight of my day and I am quite sure Pat's day, was when Pat got her to smile.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

This morning Pat, Dave and I headed for the big city. All 3 of us had at least 1 reason or another to go to the immigration office. Not our favorite thing to do but misery loves company. Besides that I am the only one who has a car. It is more than 3 weeks after Christmas and this Guatemalan government building still has it's Nativity display up. It has been quite a few years since I have been in the USA for Christmas but it is my understanding that nativity display's are not allowed to stay up in government buildings 3 weeks after Christmas. The World Race teem is sharing Jesus in several of the Guatemalan public schools this week. Perhaps they can ask one of the students if they know if that is true. (Yes that was meant to be a little sarcastic, but it does leave one wondering who should be sending missionaries where.)

We got back from the City just in time to go to the opening ceremonies of the School that Cesar and Fernando are attending. Most of my kids started school this week. Calin and Miguel are the only one not going yet but they will start next week and now I will once again have to wait in line to use my computer.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Written by Dave,

(Dave has once again offered to do the Journaling while we are on the road. That may be part of the reason that I stretched this 1 day trip into 3 days.)

Dick received a couple of calls about Nery and Stephen's Power wheelchairs not working properly, so off to the lake we are headed. Albert from the school in San Juan also called, and needs a chair for a young girl.

Dick and Calin spend most of the morning getting things ready in Chimal. ( batteries, chargers, etc.), so I meet them at Hope Haven to pick up a chair for the girl in San Juan. While waiting for them to arrive, I get a chance to work on my espanol with Gustavo and the other guys working there. What a good bunch of workers.

It is almost noon by the time we leave, and we arrive at Nery's about 3 p.m. He is at school, so dad takes us to grandpa's home where they are keeping the chair because it is closer to Nery's school. Dad says when the chair was new, it would run for 2 days on a single charge, but now lasts just 1.5 hrs. Dick has brought a couple of other batteries, so we change the older one. Dad calls us later after charging the chair, and having Nery use it up and down the hill outside his home. Dad says the chair is working much better, so hopefully we have the problem fixed. It is quite a trip for Nery to get to school, so it is a blessing to get his chair working again.

Our next stop is at Stephen's in Chukmuk.

Stephen 2 years ago.

Stephen 2 years later

Stephen's muscular dystrophy
is taking it's tole.

Both Stephen and Nery depend on their chairs to get to school, and both of them have some pretty tough routes to take to and from school. Stephen's present chair does not handle the rough roads well and it is also having charging problems. We may have to buy new batteries tomorrow for a different power chair we have brought for Stephen as it requires a different size than the ones that we have with us. While at Stephen's home, we have a lot of fun with the neighborhood kids. The kids in this village used to be quite shy but most of them have gotten over that.
We then drive to San Pedro, only to find our favorite hotel full, so we are staying next door at the Casa Lola - a triple for Q150. ($20) The manager there graciously allows us to charge a chair and a battery overnight, after Calin rides back and forth on the main street to see how fast the batteries drain. Calin says he did not meet any novias (girlfriends), but knowing Calin I kinda doubt that.

While we are unloading our stuff, the manager notices 2 walkers we are bringing to Albert, and tells Calin his wife could use a walker, as she has a hard time walking now. Dick gives him one, and he is very thankful. Dick tells him it is not from us, but from Jesus. He is a very nice man, and it is a blessing to help him.

I take Calin and Dick to a restaurant up a back alley behind our hotel, and they start to wonder where I am taking them. We finally find the Clover restaurant, and it is well worth it. Chicken rolls with rice and fresh steamed veggies for Q39.

Off to San Juan manana to look for some proper sized batteries and deliver a chair to the girl in Albert and Ruth's school.

Can't wait to see what else God has in store for us.

Blessings, Dave

Thursday, January19 , 2012Today we hope to get Steven's chair working properly, and to deliver a Hope Haven chair to Lucia, a little girl who lives in San Pablo and attends Albert and Ruth's school in San Juan.

We spend most of the morning searching for batteries in San Pedro, as Dick is concerned about the ones we have brought. We jump in a tuk-tuk and the driver takes us to 2 or 3 places to look for batteries. We find some, but they are very expensive, so we return to our hotel and check on the ones we have been charging. They seem to be charging okay so we leave them on the charger while we head off to San Juan to deliver the Hope Haven chair to Lucia. At Albert's school we measure and fit Lucia to the new chair, and then take her, her mom, and Albert to their home in San Pablo to look at her old chair that is there. We find a Muholand chair, which Dick says is much to small for Lucia, so we take it and promise to bring Lucia another chair for home, as it will be very difficult to transport a chair back and forth to school everyday.

Albert takes us out for lunch in San Juan, and then to his home, and we then return to San Pedro to check on the batteries we have left charging. Low and behold, they are charged up fully, so Calin graciously offers to drive the chair back and forth on the main drag. I suspect he is just looking for girls, but he says no. He does surprise one necklace dealer by stopping and getting out of his chair to buy a necklace! Calin does this again later, as Dick wants to make sure the batteries are holding up. This time Calin, the ladies man, meets 2 girls and their adopted puppy at our hotel. Oh, Calin!

On our way to dinner last night I happened to stumble on a speed bump, and Calin and Dick rib me pretty good. On our way to the same place tonight, Dick stumbles on the same bump! I do not think that is the proper way to pray - but it worked!

(Actually I deliberately stumbled just to make my not so graceful and not so grateful friend feel better. Dick )

Sorry, Lord.

Friday, January 20, 2012

We head back to ChukMuk after delivering some food packages to Albert, and arrive at Steven's home.

After fitting Steven to his new chair, Dick suggests we walk with him to his school to check it out. It is perhaps .5 mile to his school, all dirt, with perhaps 100 yards of flat road. The chair seems to work well, and when we arrive at the school, we find a new wheelchair ramp all ready for Steven! What a blessing.

We have an entourage of a half a dozen kids there and back, 3 of which are cousins of Steven's, plus his 24 year old sister, Antonia, whom we can see loves and cares for him very much. This walk is the best part of the trip for me - Thanks Dick for suggesting it.
On our drive back to Chimaltenango, the police stop us along the way ( just a random check ). They find Dick's Drivers license expired on his birthday on Jan. 8th, and they want to keep his license. Dick pleads with them not to, as it will be much easier to renew with the old one. After Calin talks with the officers, they do return Dick's license. Later on Dick calls me to tell me what Calin had told them. Apparently he told them Dick had just turned 65, and his memory was failing and that was why he didn't renew his license! With my Spanish, I thought he had told them, Dick was Santa Claus, and was overly tired from Christmas. ( Come on, Dick, you know how many kids were calling you Father Noel! )

(If only Dave's Spanish were a little better he would realize how many people have asked me if he was my father. Dick)

Thanks for the great trip, Dick and Calin.
p.s. I believe Calin is scheduled for a dunking the next time we are near water - for his muchos “REALLY” after every sentence. Lo siento, Calin.


Thanks Dave.

In my next journal I will attempt to describe Dave's driving after I let him drive the rest of the way home but right now I still get far too nervous just thinking about it.

Now I know why Dave's favorite quote is "When I die, I want to go peacefully like my Grandfather did, in his sleep -- not panicky and screaming, like the passengers in his car."

Yours in Christ: Dick

Monday, January 16, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

For the past several days Bethel Ministries has had a group of men from the USA here building some homes for needy families here in Guatemala. This morning they took a break from house building and I had the privilege of joining them in a wheelchiar distribution that we had here in Chimaltenango. This was a first time experience for most of the men that were here from the USA but they were eager to share God's love and caught on quickly and within a few hours close to 50 people were properly fitted into their new wheelchairs.

As exciting as this was what was even more exciting is that several of these people accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Friday, January 13, 2012

Written by Dave:

Dick has invited me to go along with him, Cesar,and Elder to deliver a motorized wheelchair to 11 year old Juan in Santiago Atitlan. (I will keep inviting him along with us long as Dave keeps offering to do the journals when he goes along with me, even if he is hard to understand since all he speaks is Canadian. Dick) He is the boy we met a couple of weeks ago whose legs are bent underneath him, and whose parents say they will build a ramp up a slope to get to the street.

On our way there, we visit Jessica, a little girl Dick met a distribution a year and a half ago. She had come for a chair, but as soon as Dick saw her, he left the distribution and brought her to the malnutrition ward of Hermano Pedro. She was severely thin. Today she looks very good, and has is now back with her family and is being well looked after by them. She has 2 sisters, Blanca and Enma, and 3 brothers, Danny, Angle and Hector. Enma and Hector are in primary school and had already registered for school which is scheduled to start in a few days. Danny , Angle and Blanca wish to go to Basico ( gr.7,8,9), but mom cannot afford to send them. Dad passed away about a year before Dick met them, and Mom's (Virginia's) only income is from selling the few Bananas that she is able to find growing near her home. She says it would be hard for her with the older ones in school, but says she could manage and it would be worth it if her kids could get an education. After figuring out costs, Dick called Chris to see what he thought about them sponsoring these kids even though they did not have someone to sponsor them. I was praying as Dick called Chris, as this family really touched my heart. Chris told Dick that just yesterday he had found five kids that needed sponsors and he said yes to them Trusting that God would supply a sponsor. Chris then said to go ahead and that they would just have to have faith that a sponsor would be found.

Hector, Jessica,s youngest brother, is a real fireball, who actually RAN up trees, and swung like a monkey! He was a hoot. Dick was telling me about when they built this family a home, and how he made 10 or 11 trips = back and forth for cement, sand, and water, etc. It is quite the 4x4 drive, even crossing the river where Dick says they got their water from. Dick says he had been debating whether to make the trip up here today, but now realizes it is ANOTHER Godincidence. Had he postponed the trip until next week it is unlikely that the 3 oldest children could have been registered for school.

Due to a full hotel in Santiago we end up in San Pedro La Laguna, and manana will travel back to Santiago, to deliver Juan,s power chair.Every time I travel with Dick, he manages to take me up a road, which I think is the worst I have been on, and on the next trip, he shows me one worse!

(Dave ain't seen nothing yet. I am trying to break him in slowly. I can't wait until he goes with me to a village near Huehuetenango where we climb from 3 700 feet above sea level to 8200 feet on a dirt road that would make most mountain goats tremble. Dick)
Thanks, Dick and Cesar and Elder, tambien
And thank you,

Saturday, January, 14, 2012

After spending the night at my favorite hotel in San Pedro, Dick and I take Cesar and Elder on a boat ride to San Marcos, as both have never been on a boat before. It was quite wavy, and both boys enjoyed getting splashed, sitting at the front of the boat. On the way back, we sat at the back near the driver,and this turned out to be a wetter ride than the first trip. Elder's shirt was completely soaked,and Cesar was not far behind. This was a better ride than at an amusement park, and only Q10!

We then drove to Santiago and met Argentina, who took us to little Juan's home to deliver his electric chair. Dick was a little worried about him using his controller with his hand, but after some adjustments, Juan totally had control, and loved it! He was going back and forth, doing 360's, and laughed when he banged into the dresser a couple of times. To see the smile on his face was indescribable. Mom and dad also were pretty happy, and had even carried the chair down a fairly steep set of stairs, which I believe they will do every day for Juan to go to school. Cesar did a great job interpreting, and Elder helped make the adjustments, and took pictures.

Just as we were leaving Argentina received a call from Steven's mom in ChukMuk about his batteries heating up and not lasting long. Stephen and his older brother Sebastian both suffer from muscular dystrophy and without their power wheelchairs they can not go to school, or even leave their home. SOMEHOW Dick had brought along 2 extra batteries, so we stopped at the school where he was to check his chair. We replaced his batteries, and hopefully after a full charge, his chair will be okay.

We opt to return home via Escintla, with a stop at Saritas restaurant, maybe swaying our vote a little. We even got a police escort for about one mile, after they stopped us and asked if they could follow us hoping to lure out some bandidos that had been robing cars on that stretch of road. Dick said we might as well tell them yes and have them behind us rather than run into the bandits without the police with us. Fortunately no bandits showed up. We figured that the flashing lights on one of the 3 police pick-ups that followed us might have scared them away.

As I told Dick after giving Juan his chair, "I will have to stop coming along on these road trips, if all we can do is change one little boy's life and make him laugh and smile."

Just another cruddy day in Guatemala!
Thank you, Lord


Here is why both Dave and I had tears in our eyes when we left Juan's home. Weather it is a 50 wheelchair day or a 1 wheelchair day it is still exciting to be able to share the love of Jesus with those that God puts in our path.

"Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
Matthew 25:40

Yours in Christ: Dick

Sunday, January 8, 2012

" And a little child will lead them."

Isaiah 11:6

(Click on any picture to enlarge)................

Last week instead of writing my own journal I stole some of what Pat and Daryl wrote. This week I did not steal anything that is written below. True it was not written by me but it was not stolen. It was given to me by my good friend David Black, no strings attached. Thanks Dave! Oh by the way it looks like I will have room in my car to take you back home from Huehuetenango after all.

Your good friend: Dick

Dave wrote the following.
Dick asked me to join him, Pat Duff, Cailin, and Cesar to go and visit Ronnie's family near La Democracia. Mom had called Dick and told him 2 or 3 of her daughters did not want to return to school in January abut wanted to stay home and help mom. Dick and Pat found this a little hard to believe, and wanted to talk to mom and the girls.

On the way there, we stopped at Carlos home. This teen is in a wheelchair, and has 2 or 3 seizures a day. His mom had to quit her job to stay home and look after him. He is receiving some meds. but needs another 2 or 3 pills a day to help control his seizures. Dick and Pat are going to look for these meds. in Antigua, and also Guatemala City tomorrow (where they are much cheaper). While we were there, Dick also measured Carlos for a bigger chair, as he has out-grown the one he has now.

Off to Ronnie's home we drove. I know Dick and Pat were not looking forward to this visit, but thanks to God, He gave them both patience And perseverance.
When Pat first asked the girls if they still wanted to go to school, she received what seemed like mom's answer. Mom said she needed the girls at home to look after the baby, while she sold lemons in Santa Lucia. When Pat asked one the girls if she still wanted to be a teacher, she did not say anything, but her eyes lit up! Later some of the girls privately indicated to Pat that they really do want to continue their schooling. Dick and Pat both stressed that if the girls did not go to school, they would lose more by not having a sponsor and not going to school than mom makes by selling lemons. After about an hour, Dick told mom to talk and pray with her husband about this, and get back to Dick next week. Please pray for mom and dad to make the right decision. I believe the girls need an education to have any chance of a better life.
As we were leaving, Calin reminded Dick to stop at Angelica's, just around the corner from Ronnie's place. This older lady had broke her femur a few years ago, and after a botched up surgery at the national hospital she later had surgery at Hermano Pedro. Unfortunately about a year later one the screws holding a plate came out, and was actually sticking out of her leg. This became infected but fortunately she got back to Antigua, and had it repaired. After visiting Ronnie's mom, (this visit was so much more enjoyable). The 3 girls here were in school, and wished to still go, and had their parents blessing. Dick and Pat hope to get them some backpacks filled with school supplies. I know Dick and Pat had not looked forward to this trip, but with God's grace, they both were granted wisdom and discernment. Thanks also to Cailin and Cesar for translating, their driving not so much, especially LEADFOOT Cesar !

(I can't understand it, because I am the one who taught Cesar how to drive. Dick)

Thank you Lord. Dave

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Dick invited me to come along with him, Pat, Calin, Esbin, Mario, and his daughter Maryann to visit a little boy, Julio (about 4 years Old) who lives near Champerico near the coast. Julio is a distant cousin of Maryann's, whom Mario believes is mal-nourished.

Mari, Pat's landlady, graciously gave Pat and I a ride to Dick's place in Chimaltenango where we loaded up Dick's Landcruiser. We managed to squeeze Esbin in the back, bur we could not see or hear him thru all the luggage.
Maryann, who is 10 years old, is a lovely girl who speaks perfect English, taught to her by her dad, whom she adores. Pat wants to bring her to her place in Antigua for a girly weekend to bake cookies and hang out.

After breakfast at Camperos we head off to the coast. After a couple of pit stops we pick up Doris, a social worker in Retalhuleu, who wishes to meet Julio and his family. When we arrive at Julio's home, he is asleep in a hammock. Dick really did not want to wake him, but had to in order to check him out. Between Dick, Pat and Doris, they determined he really was not too mal-nourished, but after talking to his mom (who is 17 years old), and grandma, it was discovered that Julio had a bad fever when very young, (possibly meningitis). His bone growth looks good though, and he even chewed a piece of liquorice. Dick had brought along a small wheelchair on a hunch, and Cailin, Esbin and I went about adjusting it while Dick and the others taught the family how to use a Sawyer water filter that we had brought along for them. Mom also walked Pat to the river for a nice chat. She really does care for her boy, and takes him every week to Fundabiem in Rehul, for therapy.

Julio sure took to his chair, and with the vitamins we left with the family he will hopefully gain some weight. Pat wants to work on ways to get him to communicate since he does not talk. Leaving Mario and Maryann to stay with their relatives, we head to Champerico for a dinner of fresh shrimp on the beach (Pat had to teach the boys how to say beach properly). What a beautiful sunset with a nice breeze off the ocean, which kept salty air blowing on Dick. Most of the salt was provided by Esbin who was pouring salt on his cucumber upwind from Dick.

As Dick told me, "
What a great one chair day", with a really nice family.

Thank you, Lord, for days like these. Dave

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Today we are headed from Champerico to Huehuetenango to visit Erica and Christopher. Erica lives near San Francisco el Alto, and has a skin disease which requires salves and lotions daily, as there is no cure. She has a very supportive family, and a older brother who teaches her and her cousin Christopher, who lives nearby. Erica's father told us about 2 boys who live close by, and need wheelchairs. After delivering about 50 lbs. of meds for Erica (graciously donated from a sponsor in the states).

Dick and Carlin hike up the hill to visit Christopher. He went to camp this year, but since returning home, now has a urine infection and is now having at least one seizure a day. Dick and Pat are going to see if they can get him to a doctor. The mom of the 2 boys has hiked up the hill from her home and we drive her and Erica's brother, William, back to her home to visit the 2 boys - Wilmer and Miguel, aged 11 and 13. Dick says they both have M.D., but dad and mom do not know this, and ask if they can ever walk again. Dad asks Pat if they as parents can do more, and Pat tells him they are doing as much as they can do to help their kids. They take them to Fundabiem, where they have received the use of 2 wheelchairs. Dick checks out the chairs, and determines they could use 2 better wheelchairs. After a quick call to Bethel in Chimaltenango we find out there is to be a wheelchair distribution in Huehue (close by) on Feb. 11 (Another Godincidence). We measure the boys for chairs and head off to Huehue for the night.

Thank you Dick and Pat for showing God's love every day I am with you.

An extra thank you to Pat for trying to teach Carlin and Esbin proper English, although Dick's Spanglish seems to have gotten them by!

Hasta manana,

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Today we are going to visit 3 of Maria Garcia's grandchildren (who my wife and I sponsor), check on Rolando and possibly visit Lionel's family. All these families live about 1 hr. north of Huehuetenango, up some pretty rugged 4x4 only roads.

We stop at Rolando's home to find he has gone with his dad somewhere. We had intended to talk to him about his schooling but discover that the wife of the teacher that was going to come to his home to teach him had just been murdered.

We arrive at Maria Garcia's home, where I get to meet Brenner and Monica, 2 of our sponsored kids. Brenner is 9 years old, and will be going into Grade 4. Monica is 9 years old and will be going into Grade 3. It sure is nice to meet them and their families face to face. Their grandmother Maria Garcia has done a lot of work in these parts for Bethel Ministries, and is a wonderful woman.

Next we head off to Lionel's home to visit with his family. Maria's daughter Aura and 2 of Maria's grandchildren join us. Very little Spanish is spoken by any of the members of Lionel's family so Aura came along to translate from Mam to Spanish.

Dick and my wife brought Lionel into Hermano Pedro a couple of years ago, when he was almost 11 and weighed 14 lbs. He did well at first but now is on a feeding tube, and was not able to go home for Christmas. Dick showed the family pictures of him smiling and actually chewing food at Darryl and Wanda's where we had taken him for Christmas dinner. I am sure I could see a twinkle in mom and dad's eyes.

Next we visited Wendy, the third grandchild of Maria Garcia that my wife and I sponsor. Wendy lives up a trail from the main road. Once there, we called my wife in Canada on Skype, and we all chatted on video. Here we were in the middle of the Guatemalan highlands seeing and talking to my wife in Canada. Oh, and she had also just walked in the door at home. Amazing!

We next stopped at Juana's, an older lady who has a teenage boy in a wheelchair. Here we found out he had been sexually attacked last September 29, A neighbor found him and brought him home. His mom asked us if we had a pill for fear. We said we did not have such a pill, but we would pray for him. Dick, myself, Carlin, and Esbin prayed for him. We also left some packaged food and vitamins. That was a tough visit.

Dick,, Pat, and Carlin went and visited Rudy down the hill from here, while Esbin and I repaired this boy's wheelchair. Rudy just had a new artificial leg put on, and is doing quite well.

We then dropped Aura (Maria Garcia,s daughter, who had come along to translate Spanish into Mam, the local Mayan dialect), and the 2 little boys, Luis and Tony off at their home, where Pat gave them some knitted hats and vitamins.

The boys sure liked the hats, and we sure enjoyed little Luis driving on Dick,s lap, as I did not even use the "Oh my goodness handles!

In our devotions tonight ,we read from James 4:13-17. We had planned today (actually the whole trip) To visit certain people, and God keeps putting others in our path, like that young teen today.

“ If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”
James 4:15

Thank you Lord. Dave

Friday, January 6, 2012

Today we are going to visit Silsa, a young girl Dick and Pat met a couple of years ago. We are going to visit her because her mom just happened
(Godincident) to call Pat yesterday while we are here in Huehue. Mmmm…

Silsa was a normal, walking girl a few years ago, and then suddenly lost use of her legs. Dick got her into Hermano Pedro, where they could not find anything wrong. Apparently, a witch doctor had put a curse on her, but through lots of people praying for her, she is now walking again. Today she was using crutches, but was moving like she really did not need them. Praise God!

Just as we are leaving her home to go and set up a teacher for her, God puts another person in our path at the end of their driveway (Another Godincident). A neighbor has brought her daughter to meet us. She is 11 years old who lost her vision 2 years ago. Dick and Pat are going to see if they can get her into Hermano Pedro to see an eye doctor. Dick drives them up the hill to their home and finds out mom and grandma are both believers.
After a Q55 lunch of pop and snacks for all 5 of us, we drive to Jose's home up the hill from Colotenango. Jose is 17. Dick met him and his brother on the street one day several years ago. Jose lives about 2 or 3 miles from his school up a hill. His brother used to push him back and forth to school by hand before he received a motorized wheelchair. He also has to go up the last 100 ft. on a dirt path to his home. Jose is a very sharp boy, especially mechanically, and is always working on his own chair - even adding some taillights! Today Dick has brought him a new wheelchair as the 1 good chair he has and the parts chalr that he has are both not working. I can see why from the trips he makes each day. What a nice family - no mom, but dad, sisters, and a very helpful uncle. We almost lost Pat to a new born baby, and the 2 year old nephew keeps bringing Pat flowers after flower! (This kid really makes me look bad. Dick)

Dick and one of his helpers adjust Jose's new chair speed-wise, and he is quite happy with the faster speed.

Continuing with James 4 it looks like tomorrow we will visiting some more people near here, and not returning to Chimaltenango as
"WE Had Planned."

“ If the Lord wills…..”


Saturday, January 7, 2012
Today we visited Esmeralda, a 12 year old girl who has limited use of her hands and legs, who lives near San Juan Atitan. Pat loves this girl and is bringing her a computer to help her learn. Both Dick and Pat think she may be able to use her hands with some exercises, and use the keyboard. For now Dick has rigged up a pointer on a head band which she seems to like to use. Her brother Henry looks like he will help her a lot, also. A local pastor visits her weekly to teach her. Another very supportive family.

It takes some time to set up the computer, and the MacGiver headband, and it is past noon by the time we leave.

On our way back to Huehue, we stop at Suculque, to find a man that the waiter at our hotel told us about. We find his home, and his family is bringing him towards us on a home wagon. Bartalito is lying on this wagon, smiling. He is 40 years old and is Hydrocephalic. Dick tells the family he can bring a higher and foldable flat chair, as he can not use a regular chair.

Pat starts taking pictures and the whole family joins in, especially the little girls. Pat hugs mom when we leave, and she starts sobbing. Pat consoles her and tells her she can tell the whole family loves and cares for Bartalito. What a sweet, loving family.

On our way to visit Amanda in Huehue, Dick asks me if I like these house calls. I tell him they are okay, but a little hard on the heart. As a song says: "Break my heart for what breaks yours, Jesus." Seeing these children sure tugs on my heart.

We stop on the way home so Calin and Esbin can get a picture of a mule, tied up beside the road. Dick and I question the boys why pictures with mules, and not with girls. Dick also is going to get his brakes checked, as we kept rolling away from Cailin and Esbin when they stopped for a washroom break.

On our way into Huehue, we picked up Amanda, a lady who has identified wheelchair needs in the past.

She takes us to Vida Aqua, a feeding center, where we meet Claudia (who had just emailed Pat last night about when she was coming to visit !). Claudia has a feeding program, and also has families come and get water from their Sawyer water filter - much to Dick,s agreement, as this proves which families would really use one themselves.

Claudia asks us if we could see 3 people tomorrow who need wheelchairs, so it looks like we are going to spend Dick's birthday in Huehue. I will let Dick tell his age!

Oh, and at dinner tonight, we meet a young boy in a wheelchair who needs a larger one, so his mom fills out a form, so they can exchange this one at a distribution here in February.

Thanks Lord, for another day in Guatemala.


Sunday, January 8, 2011

Today we are meeting Clara, Amanda, and Maximo at the Aqua Viva office to go and visit some children there and older persons who they think need wheelchairs. Clara who runs Aqua Viva has organized this just since yesterday. We head out at 8 a.m. Maximo is a local man who Clara has connected with for his local knowledge of the people and their needs.

At our first stop, we find a 84 year old man, taken in by a family because he has no relatives to look after him. He has no use of his legs after being hit by a motorcycle. Dick measures him for a chair, and hopefully he can receive one at the next distribution here, if possible.

We then visit a 80 year old grandma lying in bed who can also use a wheelchair to get around.

Now we head out of Huehue and up into the hills to a village called Canabaj. Here we find a 2 year old boy, Ramiro, with C.P. Dick talks to dad that anything is possible with kids like these, even walking and talking. This brings a smile to dad's face, (and also to Dick), and behold while Dick was talking, Cailin has befriended Ramiro, and even is helping him to walk! Dick measures him for a chair, and will bring a walker also.

Next we meet Josefa next, a 87 year old grandma who could use a chair and possibly a walker.

At our last stop, we find Evilio, a 91 year old man, who is still pretty sharp. Dick asks him what his secret to such good shape is, and he raises his arms, as if lifting weights. Dick interprets this as Evilio going to the gym every day! He has difficulty walking and could use a chair.

At this last home about a dozen neighborhood kids show up, and are pretty shy until we send Pat to them. By the time we leave, they are laughing, and taking pictures with us. They never had a chance once Pat, the Guatemalan grandma, went after them. According to Amanda, there have been gringos here before, but never much interaction with the locals, especially the kids. As Dick says afterwards, "We did not seat a lot of people today, but I think we have shone a little of Jesus light to the people we met."

Dick is finding more and more of these types of visits fulfilling. Not necessarily giving out anything, but just talking and visiting with the people.
After today, I would agree with him.

We had intended on going home on Friday, but God has kept us here a couple of extra days.

Thank you, Lord.

Thank you Dave for doing all of this week's journaling. I also want to thank Pat, Calin, Esbin, and those that were with us earlier this week. All of you helped to make this a great week and today a great 65th birthday. I guess getting older isn't all that bad after all.

We actually think that we will head for home tomorrow (Monday). After all we have only been in Huehuetenango 3 days longer then expected. The night is still young though and even though Dave and the boys are a bit tired Pat and I figured that we would go out and get a bit of exercise. We may have to settle for playing soccer though since the temperature is about 75 and there are no Indoor ice scatting rinks here in Huehuetenango. The video below may take a few minutes to load but Pat and I would really like you to see what we have been doing in our spare time.

Yours in Christ, Dick