* 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 8, 2012


Pat wrote this one.

Sometimes you have to break the rules--even when they're YOUR RULES. Today was one of those days. Last week when we were distributing food in Huehuetenango, we met Miriam. We were visiting her cousin, and she "just so happened" to be there when we came. And the whole team felt a strong conviction that God was calling us to help her.

She doesn't fit our usual "rules" or guidelines for people we help--she's not "handicapped" in the sense of most of the people we work with, she's not a widow, nor is she desperately poor (though she doesn't have much, to be sure). She does, however, have an extraordinary need, far beyond what she or her family can handle themselves. Two years ago, she was diagnosed with two brain tumors, and had surgery done in a local hospital. At the time, the doctor could not remove the entire tumor, due to hemorrhaging, and now one of the tumors has regrown to the point it is pushing her eye out of the socket. She is in constant pain, as you can imagine, and told us that the same doctor said he could operate again, but she did not have the money. She was not asking for our help, just stating the fact; acknowledging that without surgery she would eventually die from this. She is forty-eight years old, and has eight children. We knew we had not met her by accident--but "Godincident". But, we had no peace about pursuing surgery with a doctor who had not seemed to handle it correctly two years ago.

After talking with the team, we asked her if she would consider going to Guatemala City to see a neurosurgeon we knew and trust greatly. She instantly agreed, we made a quick phone call and we had an appointment set for her before we left the house. She and her cousin would take the bus to Chimaltenango on Tuesday, and we would take them into Guatemala City on Wednesday to see the doctor.

They arrived without problem--in fact, they were just stepping off the bus when Dick pulled up to meet them. Mari had room for them in her house, so they would be in Antigua with me so we could provide what support would be needed. From almost the first minute we entered the house, we knew this was the right decision. Mari welcomed them as if they were family, and the ladies fit right in. Hilda, Miriam's cousin, had brought her grandson Anderson, and he was soon the center of attention, not only from Mari but from many of the students living in the house. This was so much better than them spending a night alone in a hotel room.

We met with Dr. Jose Wednesday morning, and he sent us for an MRI. Through his contacts, we were able to get this done immediately in the same building, and were able to meet with him again this same afternoon to discuss treatment options.

We knew this would be a complicated surgery, but I have to admit both Dick and I were a bit overwhelmed when Dr. Jose explained just how complex this case was, requiring not only his services, but an ophthalmologist to remove her eye (which had stopped functioning long ago) and a plastic surgeon to repair the damage already done to her face, which would be made even worse by the surgery. He did say that he could do this in the military hospital to keep the cost down. When we asked how much he thought it would cost, both Dick and I lost our breath at the number--a minimum of 80,000 quetzales, or roughly $10,000.

We had the promise of help from the Nooksack team and others who have offered help, but none of us expected it to be this much. We had to admit to Dr. Jose that we didn't know if we could raise this much money for one surgery. We discussed the possibility of the surgery being done by a friend of Dr. Jose in the National Hospital, but we had no peace with this option. The facilities there are very lacking. In fact, towards the end of last year, they did not have access to medications even for their in-patients, due to lack of government funding. How could we trust that they could adequately care for Miriam.

So, here were our options: first, do nothing and allow her to die; second, use the National Hospital and hope for the best (while expecting the worst); third, step out in radical faith, more radical than we have probably ever done in the past, and trust God to provide the funding for the surgery to be done by Dr. Jose. With fear and trembling we took this to prayer--and both felt compelled to step out in faith. We don't know exactly where all of these funds will come from, though we have some offers of help. We do believe God has directed this decision, and are trusting He will find a way for this to be done. If you feel God inviting you to be part of Miriam's healing, please click here, to email Dick for more information.

Dr. Jose's recommendation was to do the surgery the week after Easter--so that gives us a little less than five weeks to receive these fund. While I have to admit, I still get a little sick to my stomach when I think of just how much is needed, and realize how tentative is my trust that when we obey the Father, He will provide. . .so I'm learning. And praying. And waiting. We're standing in faith and moving forward in obedience. I can't wait to see what God does with this one!



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