* 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, February 15, 2012

On Wednesday February 8 Chris and I each took a van to the airport to pick up 15 people from Washington State. I was quite excited to see this group because many were old friends and former class mates. We got back to Chimaltenango quite late and I had other plans for Thursday so I did not see much of them the first few days but I had plans to be with them from Friday through Monday.

Friday, February 10, 2012.

This morning we all met at Camperos for breakfast and then John, Arlis, Pat and Myself headed out towards Huehuetenango. The other 13 people from Washington State plus Chris and about 5 others from the Bethel crew headed out a few hours later after loading up trucks and vans with food and clothing that would be given away to needy families, close to 100 wheelchairs and enough material to build 2 houses.

The 4 of us left early to get out of the work of having to load all of these supplies into the trucks and vans. :>) Actually the reason that we left earlier than the rest of the group was so that we could stop and visit several families on our way to Huehuetenango.

Our first stop was at the home of Erica and her family. Erica is the girl that has a serious skin disease that leaves much of her skin looking like that of an alligator. There is no cure for her condition but thanks to John and Arlis her condition is much improved due to the medicine that they have been providing for several years now. It was a real treat for the 2 of them to once again be able to spend time with Eric and her family.

Christopher lives not to far from Erica so while we were in the neighborhood John and I hiked up to his house to see how he was doing. Last time that I was there he said that he was having some problems with his power wheelchair. It seems though that the what ever problem he was having seemed to have cleared up on their own because now that I had the time and tools to fix it he claimed that there was no longer a problem. Christopher himself is also doing much better. For a while there he was having seizures at least every other day.

Next we drove to a village where 2 brothers lived that Pat, Dave and I had met a little over a month ago. Both have muscular dystrophy and neither of them have much hand use or any use of their legs and both need wheelchairs. They have both been invited to the wheelchiar distribution that we have planned for Sunday but that will be up in Huehuetenango and that is close to 2 hours from where they live. Erica's family had originally introduced us to this family and when we were there earlier today they told us that the boy's parents said that there was no way that they could get them to the wheelchair distribution. Today's visit was to tell them that we would bring the wheelchairs to them and fit them in about a week when we are on our way back from Huehuetenango.

Shortly after getting back on the road that leads to Huehuetenango we met up with the vans so everyone arrived at the hotel at about the same time.

The members of the teem are going to break into 3 groups this week. Several of them are planning on journaling so I am going to publish some of the things that they write.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Our group, Virgi, Kathy, Cindy, Pat, Tres, Arlis, Dick, Randi and John went to distribute food and clothing to six different families today. Again, the highways and roads were like roller coasters. There were many speed bumps called “tumulos” or “dead policemen,” as some people call them, as we were entering towns. Most often the sign, “tumulos” to warn you, did not exist so there was much jarring to the tail bone.

I will list in order the people we visited:

First, Tony. Tony lives way up on the top of a mountain in a village called Suculque. Tony has hydrocephalus and cannot walk. He lays on a low bed that has wheels all day. He is thirty years old and needs a wheelchair. He was so appreciative of Dick and Pat for all their help. He loves the Lord and his mom, and he tells her so. We prayed for him and his mother because life is hard for them. Virgi gave out little cars to all the boys, as well as Tony. Arlis passed out candy to all the kids.

Silsa will be 15 next week, and Dick and Pat are invited to the party and will bring the cake. Silsa was having seizures that would last 12 hours. She developed a demonic depression and was not able to walk so was given a wheelchair. Pastors came to pray with the family many times, and today she can walk using only one crutch. She looked very happy and is able to do schoolwork at home. We were invited inside and on the wall was a saying which I believe said, “Jesus is the best.” God is working here.

Freddie was next. He has seizures. He is ten years old, but looks like he is four. Mom was very worried about him because last night he had another seizure. Dick asked her when she last gave him his medicine and she said that it was about two weeks ago. She said she used the money to buy disposable diapers because he doesn’t like the rough cloth ones. So Dick and Pat are going to deliver a supply of medicine to her to give Freddie regularly.

Lionel. On the way to Leonel’s house, John pointed out to us a cell tower that looks like a tree. It truly looks like a very tall tree, and looks like its surroundings. What a great idea! Lionel was our next stop. He has cerebral palsy. He was not at home because he lives in the orphanage in Antigua. We went to his family to deliver shoes and clothing as well as food and hygiene kits that Stephanie Van Beck made for her brother Jeff and father Loren to take along. We were invited inside the house that John and others had built for them a few years back. Actually, it was an addition to the old house. Inside the house there were two beds, so the kids must mostly sleep on the floor or else all in one bed.

The Medicine Lady. She had a grandson that Dick used to visit but has now passed away. He died at 13 years old. Dick and Pat brought her a bag of food. We all stayed by the car as it was up a steep hill and also Dick didn’t know how receptive she would be to a bunch of gringos.

Jose. Jose has a congenital bone disease and he cannot use his legs to walk. He is a spunky and bright 18 year old boy and likes to fix his own wheelchair. He even rigged his electric wheelchair with lights. His electric wheelchair was not working, so Dick fixed it. Thank the Lord for Dick, who seems to be able to fix anything. Jose lives up one a hill, but he can get up and down the path and roll all the way to school every day. When is electric wheelchair was broken, his brothers helped push him up the hill, which was not a small task. Now that his electric chair is fixed, he can do it alone.

Jose has a very supportive and happy family. When we just at the house his little 2 ½ year old brother or cousin was hauling a black shoe shine box. The box was almost as big as he was! John was sitting on a bench and he promptly went about shining John’s shoes. John gave him 1 quetzal. I think he earned about 3 quetzales plus lots of kisses from all of us. We were given coffee with cookies and flowers while Dick repaired the power wheelchair. We really bonded with this wonderful family.

Pat was most helpful in interpreting our English into Spanish all day.

This has been a very full day and I feel very blessed that I could experience just a little bit of what it’s like to live here in Guatemala.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Wheelchair Day

What an enjoyable day! A person wonders how they can make a difference in their lives, when you’re so small and insignificant.

But from the time you pull into the parking lot, you are treated like royalty.

After you’re all set up and the speeches are finished, you start seating people in wheelchairs. The reaction you get from the people after you have fitted them in a chair is priceless. The smiles you bring to their faces, the hugs you receive, the tears rolling down their faces. Only then can you realize that it doesn’t take much to make a huge difference in their lives. We have truly helped share their burden.

Written by, ????

What really made this a special day was the fact that nearly 2 dozen people that came for wheelchairs came to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Dick

Monday, February, 13, 2012
Today our team once again split into 3 groups. Dick, Pat, and a local Pastor, Orlando, went with Ralph, Jeff, Don, Pete, DL and Gordon to visit 6 local homes in Huehue. They distributed food bags and some clothing. In any language you can see people’s attitudes about their lot in life.

The first lady we visited was very unhappy, and very vocal about it. We met families later that had life way worse that were more pleasant and appreciative.

Pat and I actually liked the first lady. She was a bit of a chatterbox but understandably so since she lived all alone and seldom had anyone to talk to. In spite of a few complaints she did say that she was thankful to God for what little she did have. Pat and I figure that if we drop in and visit her more often perhaps she will run out of things to talk about so that the conversation will not be as one sided. If not I can always pull the batteries out of my hearing aids. That way they make good ear plugs. Pat can vouch for that. Dick

Although we originally came out to visit the lady in this picture who is holding the baby, we could not help but feel sorry for the lady that is standing between the children . She has a tumor behind her eye that will soon push her eye out of it's socket. See can not afford the $900 to have it removed so she will likely die before long. Dick

It was a food distribution, but 2 of the people Dick and Pat are going to follow up with because they need medical care. After lunch a smaller crew delivered Freddy’s medication so he wouldn’t get seizures. Only 11 switchbacks, and in a 2 wheel drive van.

The other two teams built houses. One team consisted of Ben, Saul, Jorge, Kathy, Virgi, Cindy and Loren. They said it went well.The team I (Randi) worked with today was Chris, Juan, Dan, John, Arlis, Tres and me. I must say this is the most useful I’ve felt so far. We built a house for a lady--we called her LaLa-- and her children. She was a widow and she and her oldest son purchased a plot of land where we built the house. It was hard work but very fun and fulfilling. She was there most of the day to help us with our projects. When school got out and her children came home, they were very excited—mostly about their new beds—two sets of triple bunks. Pretty soon the neighbor kids were all over to see the new place and then later on some neighbor ladies. Arlis had brought along some bracelets and candies to give out to all the kids and that was a big hit. When the building was done, we all gathered in the new house to pray—our team, LaLa and her kids, and a lot of the neighbors. Pastor Juan started the prayer and then everyone started to pray at once. I couldn’t understand the words they spoke but I could feel the power of God in the room. I feel blessed by the day I had and got to experience. God is good! And to see LaLa and her family and friends were so thankful for what we had done was also a blessing,


Pat, David, who just joined us today, and myself will be staying in Huehuetinango for a few more days but tomorrow the Bethel crew and the teem from Washington State will be heading back to Chimaltenango and then bright and early Wednesday morning the Washington group will be heading back to the USA.

Thanks teem! I am sure that the Guatemalan people that you came to serve are grateful to you, but some how I feel that you are equally as grateful to the Guatemalan people and to God for what you are taking back home with you. I am not talking about the souvenirs that you bought in the markets that will likely end up in the attic if not the garbage. I am talking about the friendships that you have made and the lessons that God has taught you while you were here. I trust that God has shown you a lot in the week that you were here, and I pray that this trip helps to strengthen your walk with Him.

Yours in Christ: Dick


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