* 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)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Psalm 139:13-16

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother's womb.
I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!

I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.

Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I'd even lived one day.

This precious little girl stole my hart the minute that I met her at a Hopehaven wheelchair distribution a few weeks ago. Granted Gema was born without arms and with only one leg but I had a great aunt who made a bigger deal about the wart on the end of her nose. I guess we all have something to complain about if we try hard enough but Gema seems to be to busy living life to worry about small things like a few missing limbs. She seems to be one of the most well adjusted self confident young ladies that I have met in a long time.

Granted having only one leg does make it hard for her to get around but thanks to a new manual wheelchair that we fitted her into her father no longer has to carry her down the narrow trail that leads form their home to the public school that is in her village. The desk that one of the workers at the Hopehaven factory retrofitted to her foot rest also makes it easier for her to do her school work. (Gema does all of her writing with her foot)

I could not help but think though that this independent 6 year old would be thrilled if she could have a second wheelchair that she could control on her own. This is where my friend Jack Craigs comes into play. Or I guess I should say came into play. A few years ago Jack who is a wheelchair technician came Guatemala to work with Bethel Ministries for a few days. When Jack came down he brought along a small kid's size power wheelchair that was in near new condition. I am not sure weather the previous owner had outgrown it or had passed away but Jack told us that he felt that God had told him that there was some special person that needed it here in Guatemala. How this beautiful chair managed to stay in our shop for all these years without being given out remains a mystery to me but somehow it managed to stay tucked away in a corner waiting for that perfect little girl that it was meant for. Last week Rob Rich, another wheelchair technician who came down from Canada to work with Bethel for a week and myself went to work on converting this power wheelchair into a foot controlled power wheelchair, and adjusting it so that it would be the perfect size for Gema, and a few days ago Rob, 2 of my boys (Fernando a and Bryan) and myself drove to a small village that is located between Xela and Huehuetenango to deliver Gema's power wheelchair to her. We had a bit of a time finding the place but finally arrived at the school a few hours before dark. We quickly discovered that the trail from the school to there home was to narrow to accommodate a power wheelchair but the people in the village promised that they would widen it and even pave it if necessary. Gena lives in a rather large house by Guatemalan standards and her yard is perfect for a power wheelchair so we decided to some how get it from the school to her home. This was not all that easy especially considering that it was now raining but with the use of an old wheelbarrow and some strong backs we managed to get the wheelchiar to her house without damaging it or our backs.

Rob and I then went to work on doing some final adjustments. Fernando served as interpret and Bryan was the camera man. As well as the 4 of us and Gema there had to be at least a dozen family members crowded into the room that we were working in. Within a half hour Gema was ready for a final fit and a driving lesson. Gena was a natural and in no time at all she was on her way out of the door and into her yard exploring a whole new world.

The family thanked us over and over again but we explained that even thought there were many ministries and people involved it getting this chair to the perfect person that it was meant to go to. We were only the delivery boys and the thanks was to go to God. I must admit though that it was so neat see how God had used so many ministries and individuals in getting Gena the 2 wheelchairs that He had chosen for her long before we ever met her. To God be the Glory!

Good night:
Yours in Christ: Dick


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