* 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 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


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