* 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)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Not So Funny Thing Happened To Us On The Way To Cobon.

I know this picture at the top of this journal has nothing to do with what I am writing about, but who wants a picture of a bandit at the top of their journal?

I have had a few people write saying that they heard roomers that I got robbed last Tuesday. All I can say is that no one held us up with a gun like they did a little over a year ago but I am now shy one window of my car and one Computer. Thankfully not my new Mac though. Not even my old Mac. The poor thieves took the Windows lap top that my kids use for school work. Just shows that these thieves were not the brightest berries on the bush, taking a windows computer and leaving a Mac. Well actually they got away with Garey's computer as well. Fact is they took Garey's whole suitcase which not only contained his clothing but all of his Hart medication. They also got away with Alex's duffel bag which had all of his clothing in it.

We were on our way to Cobon to help out with a Bethel Ministries wheelchair distribution that was to take place the next day when all of this happened. This happened when we stopped of at a store to buy some snacks. Guess it serves us right for thinking that we needed more food less than 2 hours after eating breakfast. The store had a security guard but he and his shot gun were inside when the robbers pulled in along side of my car and broke out one of the side windows. By the time the guard ran out of the store they were on their marry way. Someone managed to get their license number but I doubt that the police will ever catch them.

The up side to all of this is that we had originally planned to go back to the car to eat our snacks and with my tinted windows I doubt that the thieves would have know if we had been in the car and most thieves here carry guns so the outcome could have been quite different. We also got to know several very courteous police men who did everything possible to help us out. After this incident my respect for the Guatemalan police has sky rocketed.

After filing the police report our next and biggest concern was how to replace all of Garry's medicines. Here in Guatemala you can buy almost anything without a prescription but all that Garry had was a list of their English names. The lady at first drug store that we went into looked over the list and even with the help of a large book that had both English and Spanish names of literately thousands of medicines in it she was only able to come up with 1 out of about 10 that Garry needed. Fact is she told us that it looked like the 2 that he needed the most were not sold only in the USA. We then explained to her that we had just been robbed and that the medicine was desperately needed. She seemed very sympathetic and told us that she would do everything possible to help us out. By the way since neither Garry nor I know much Spanish, Alex who told me earlier that day that he didn't feel that he could be of much help at the distribution because of his lack of English did a marvelous job of interpreting for us. After a few Phone calls the manager of the drug store showed up and between him and the lady making phone calls and looking through medical books we walked out of the drug store about a half hour later with all but 2 of the medicines that were on Garry's list, and Garry said that they were not important ones. By the way we later found them at a drugstore in Antigua.

Wow I published this and even sent it out to those that are on my e-mail list before realizing that I left out one of the funniest parts of this not so funny journal. The following 2 paragraphs that are written in red has been added since I originally posted this journal.

Only a few minutes after leaving the drug store we drove some policemen and soldures who were randomly pulling over cars to inspect the paper work. I love my new Land Cruiser but mus admit that it is a real target for these not so random inspections. Some of my friends tell me that it looks like a drug runners car. I am sure that it was no help that the shattered back passenger window was on their side of the car because the second that they saw it they pulled us over. When they looked into the car through the broken window they saw 2 gringos (Gary and Me) in the front seat and Alex who is Guatemalan in the back seat. Before Alex could explain to them that the window had been shattered by some robbers they had him out of the car with his hands in the air and were frisking him for weapons. They calmed down a bit when I showed them the police report and explained to them that we had indeed just been robbed but that the robbery had not been done by Alex.

Now for a not so funny part that I left out of the original journal.

Would you believe that it is 10:30 PM and I just got back from the hospital. No it was not a Stomach ache from eating too many snacks. Esbin came running into the house a few hours ago saying that some of the other kids had just taken Alex to the hospital in tuke tuke. The kids were playing soccer a few blocks from here and Alex had fallen and they thought that he may have broken his ankle. When we got to the emergency room we were told that they had just taken him in to ex-ray and that we would have to wait outside.That's right this hospital's waiting room is the parking lot and the inside of the hospital it does not look much different. After about a half hour I snuck back inside and was just in time to see then wheeling Alex out of the emergency room. They handed the ex-ray to a man that was sitting behind a desk reading a news paper. He laid down his newspaper and took a five second look at the ex-ray. Sprain he Said as he pointed to the door. We hope that he was right becasue he did not give us the ex-ray. Poor Alex this has not exactly been his day.

Now a few hours back in time.

Shortly before the episode at the road block. I had made a phone call to Chris who was already in Cobon with the teem and explained our predicament to him. I told him that we could still try to make it there but I hated to spend a night or 2 there with a car that had one window missing. Not that car windows completely protect your valuables but a missing window is a real invitation to thieves. He told me that he had just found out that there were only about half as many kids that needed specialty chairs coming to this distribution ad originally expected so he felt that they could do it without me. As much as I would have liked to be there I felt that we better work on getting the window replaced and cancel this trip. Besides that having to share a motel room for 3 days with 2 people that no longer had as much as a change of socks or under where did not appeal to me.
Chris made a phone call to Toyota for us and amazingly they had the window in stock. While we were there we contacted my insurance agent and he sent a man down to meet us and fill out the paper work for a new window.

My kids feel bad about the lost computer but are delighted that I am at home. Last night they had a football game that they thought I was going to miss and I think that my being there was worth it to them. I am not 100% sure that it was worth it to me but all of the people that we met with the exception of the robbers made the 3 of us realize that most of the people here in Guatemala are very friendly and will go out of their way to help you.

Yours in Christ: Dick


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