* 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)

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


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