* 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, March 24, 2012

Hermano Pedro Orphanage

On March 5 I posted a journal that was written by Destiny Christensen. Destiny was one of over 30 students that came to Guatemala from a Christian school in of Henderson, Nevada. I had the privilege of spending time with Destiny and the others from her school that came here on a short term mission trip. A few days ago I received the following journal entries that some of the other students wrote. I pray that you will be as blessed by reading them as I was.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Hermano Pedro

Entries from Students Journals

Today was the last day at the orphanage, and again, it was AMAZING. My team did grate and loved on the kids. Overall, the day we had to say goodbye couldn’t have gone more perfectly. Dick, the man we met Tuesday came and spoke to us tonight at our hotel and it was amazing to hear his story. He talked about the love that he saw us give to the kids at Hermano Pedro. He told us his story and how he started his mission in Guatemala. It was remarkable to hear him talk about how these little children are no different then us. How everyone is disabled in some way, these kids just happen to be visibly, physically disabled, and that God allowed it for a reason, “God don’t make junk,” he said. He explained the perfectness of how God made them, they were exactly how they were meant to be. I experienced first hand the astounding fact that for some reason, these children who don’t say anything at all, can say so much. The kids there have blessed me more than I could have ever blessed them and have literally changed my life. And I believe that that is their purpose, little humans that are put on this earth to show others a glimpse of the pure unconditional love of God.

The one thing that scared me the most was when Dick started to explain that if going to the orphanage didn’t leave you in tears, if those kids didn’t break your heart, then you didn’t let them really touch your heart. I was scared that I had missed it, that I had gone all four days and left with nothing, but later that night we went up stairs to worship, and much to my surprise, the tears started rolling. The song Hosanna started playing and I couldn’t compose myself. The words talked about God breaking my heart for what breaks his and showing me how to love like he loves me. I felt like, for the first time in my life, I could sing that song from experience. My heart was broken for these beautiful children and I had learned to unconditionally love them in spite of their imperfections just like God unconditionally loves me in spite of my own. This feeling is indescribable and I pray that I never forget how impacted I was from the little miracles at Hermano Pedro.

Tessa McQuillan

While at the orphanage I spent all my time with one little boy. He didn’t look at me in the eye much, but he clung to my hands and refused to let go. Destiny un-belted him from the chair he lives in and placed him in my lap. He did not say one word to me but I was overwhelmed with emotion while he put his fingers between mine and refused to let go even to be put back in his seat. I prayed for him the whole time I was there. Lifting him up to his heavenly father only increased the love I had for him. A few days after I went to the orphanage, Dick came in and talked to us saying, “We are all disabled.” That hit me hard. Just because that little boy’s disabilities are more visible than mine doesn’t make him any less of a beautiful creation of God. I cant wait to see him in heaven one day, where there is no more disabilities.

Cheyenne Turulis

I went to the orphanage with the least amount of emotions I could possibly not contain and left it swimming in thoughts and feelings. I didn’t want to go in with expectations because I would only be horrified if they were worse or better than the expected. My emptiness turned into children that were normal except for their physical cages: there bodies. And all they wanted was love, and we could so easily give it if we only open ourselves to it. They taught me about humans, we are not bodies, we are what is on the inside. Outside circumstances can never diminish that inner value that we all possess. We are valuable; from those that where crowns to those that lie wasted and filthy on the street.

Allison O’Donnell

I had been praying for weeks to see a baby with a cleft pallet because I was born with one, but when my team was coming back they were talking about their time at Hermano Pedro and said that they were not allowed to see the babies. So I kept praying. I went on Friday and I was spending time with this little boy when we were asked to help throw a birthday party for everyone with birthdays in the month of February. We fed them cake. When I went back to the kids, my little boy was gone, so I went back and helped clean up the birthday party. While I was there my teacher asked me if I wanted to go see the babies and I almost cried. So we went in groups of 4 for 10 minutes and I was in the first group. Right off the bat I found a little girl named Rosalina that had the same exact cleft pallet that I had when I was born. This little girl held my finger so tight and smiled, I felt like we had such a connection. Her smile was beautiful even though she had a cleft pallet. I was singing to her and then I started crying so I had to leaver her there and step outside because I didn’t want her to see me cry. When I was done, my teacher introduced me to a mother and her baby, Lorenzo, who was having surgery on his cleft pallet on Sunday, so we prayed for him and the family. For a long time I had been wondering why; why me, why did I have to have a cleft pallet. Statistically I should not have one, but God had His own plan and I feel so relieved that that question is no longer in my mind. I know why.

Shannon Regan

I wasn’t nervous until we arrived. I heard loud moans and cries. My stomach dropped. I don’t usually think past my own life, familiar people, and the city I am in. Sometimes I trick myself into thinking that nothing else exists. I came to Hermano Pedro thinking I had experience. In reality I was as out of pace as anyone. People started praying with the kids, and the kids would laugh and smile. I looked around at all of the children sitting in their chairs who were not responding to me and it was frustrating in a way. I became angry. Why can’t they respond? This frustration soon changed to a sense of compassion. I felt a love for these children. I sat there holding a little girl’s hand playing music and singing to her. I looked to the sky. I was in a place of worship. We both sat there, glorifying God in two very different ways. I stared into her eyes knowing she was thinking and feeling something. She eventually squeezed my hand. I believe now that she was saying, “its OK. I am OK. Stay with me here.” Honestly, there is no way to articulate the affection in my heart. This feeling that hits me every time I think about this experience, if I try to tell people about it, they will never understand. I didn’t cry directly after I left. Later in the week I couldn’t hold in the tears as I reflected. All I can picture in my mind is beauty; God’s unique way of expressing His glory. I realize, there are so many people in this world; So many situations, so many stories, so many needs. Before my visit, these children would have never entered my mind. Now I think of them every day. God’s creation is so vast and unique, we can’t fathom. I am very appreciative to God that a barrier in my heart is now gone. I love the connection I was able to have. With no words, I felt the greatest love. A silent love, that speaks so loud in my heart.

Bridget Cockrell

Going into the orphanage, I didn’t really know what to expect. I was really nervous and I was just praying to connect with the people there. Once I got there I met a boy named Carlitos; he grabbed my hand and never let go. I spent my entire day with him and I fell in love with him. The craziest part is that he didn’t say one word to me the whole day, but I knew that when he smiled at me, he felt God’s love shining through me. The orphanage really made me appreciate my health but it also made my heart break. God really put it on my heart to do similar work back home. Hermano Pedro changed me, and I am so grateful.

Sierra Alvarez

The orphanage was an amazing experience that I will never forget. Seeing how much those kids just needed to be loved was heartbreaking, and just made me want to love them even more. I was extremely scared and did not know what to expect. I was afraid that I would not know what to do or how to love them, but I asked for God’s grace and He completely worked through me. Watching how Tessa and Destiny interacted with the kids helped show me what to do as well. I am incredibly grateful that I got to do that and I hope I impacted someone’s life whether they remember me or not.

Megan Watkins

Dear Tessa and Destiny, going into this trip I had a fear! It was a fear I didn’t think about much, but I was reminded of this fear before entering the orphanage. This fear was one day being the father of a disabled child. I didn’t know how I would be able to love a child like that and I didn’t think I could handle it. Going into the orphanage I did not know what to expect. Most of the children I tried to speak with or touch did not respond and my heart sunk wondering, “how do you share the love of God with someone who cannot speak, or have understanding of what you say?” But I know that God has a place for them in heaven. After a while, I got to sit with a child who could barely move and just laid in my lap. Every time I spoke or just touched him, he smiled with joy. My understanding of the disabled changed that day and my fears for my future child were left behind.

Dax Dable

My experience at the orphanage was absolutely amazing, and no amount of words can fully describe how I felt and how it affected me. It was difficult to put myself out there in the beginning, but God just pulled at my heart and showed me that all these kids want is love. For me, all it took was one smile to fall in love with these kids. Just a simple smile from one of them would rip your heart out. I was fortunate enough to really bond and connect with a boy named Edgar. Edgar was an alcohol and drug baby. He would bang his head, and often chew his hand to the point of bleeding, but all he wanted was love. I learned that Edgar loved music and the sound of a maraca. When he would bob his head, I would rather think of it as dancing than a “disability” or a “problem.” This boy smiled and danced with me and held my hand for all of 4 hours and that’s all it took for me to fall in love and come back the next day. I was able to bond with some other kids as well such as, Lito. This boy also stole my heart. The orphanage was definitely a life changing experience and one of the best things I’ve ever done. Deciding to attend the orphanage was the best decision I made that week. It really showed me God’s working hand. He showed me how to love on these kids. I went into the orphanage hoping to make an impact on someone’s life when in reality they impacted me.

Taylor Badua-Kono

My experience at the orphanage was completely life changing. I was very nervous about feeling uncomfortable wile I was there, but I know that if I hadn’t gone, it would have been one of my biggest regrets. I am so glad I did it because it opened my eyes to the thing I feared. Showing love to people who are looked down on by society gave me this fulfilling feeling. I got to spend my day playing with Elmer and talking to Arianna. They are just the best kids and I’m proud to say I got to love on them. I definitely have a new perspective on showing love to people.

Colleen Zumaran

My trip to the orphanage was amazing. Right when I got there, Erwin rolled up to me, grabbed my hand, and put it on his wheel chair, meaning he wanted me to push him around. I spent all five hours with him and had an inspiring time. When I had to leave, he grabbed my hand and put it around his shoulders so I could give hug him, and I did. Surprisingly, it was tough saying goodbye because I didn’t think I could connect with a kid so fast. Overall, I am SO glad I went and don’t regret a single bit of it.

Landon Sorenson

When I first heard that we were going to go to an orphanage in Guatemala I was so excited! As the day drew closer however, I was becoming more and more scared until the day arrived. Then I was terrified! I had never helped with special needs kids. I didn’t know what to expect or what I was getting into. As part of the drama, I went on the last day. People told me that the kids would break my heart. The night before I prayed that God would let me have the strength and know what to do. When we got there I was immediately heart broken for these kids. They were all sitting in the courtyard and immediately I saw Tessa and Destiny grab a child and start loving on them like crazy. Suddenly God totally took over and I played with a little boy named Denis. He wasn’t super responsive, but I sang to him and he moved like he was dancing. Then I went to celebrate the birthdays for the month of February, which was amazing. It was so cool to see so much joy on the faces of the people who were celebrating another year of life even with their condition. To finish off the day I had the privilege to go up and see the babies. I got to sing to them and pray for them, which was such an answered prayer. All in all, God showed me how to love unconditionally and answered all my prayers. I am so glad for what God did in this life.

Caitie McCombs


Thanks gang.
Yours in Christ: Dick


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