* 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)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Why we love the orphanage kids.

Any one who reeds my journals knows how much I love spending time at Hermano Pedro orphanage. After 11 years one would think that I would have gotten tired of it. I can not say that there have not been the rough times when I have felt like leaving and never going back there. Especially when one of the children that I have cradled in my arms gets sick and dies but as hard as it is to see some of these thing happen and in spite of some discouraging times Hermano Pedro orphanage is still one of my favorite places. Perhaps the the following journals that were written by 2 friends of mine will help to explain why.

Yours in Christ: Dick

Destiny Christensen wrote the following.

I go to a local private Christian school in my hometown of Henderson, Nevada and as a senior in high school we are required to have 24 hours of work conducted of a charity of our choice to present as our senior project in hopes of winning a 1,000$ scholarship. Speaking for myself, I never chose my senior project for the money. Since I was a freshman, you could say, I dreamed of what my senior project would be. Working at Hermano Pedro really exceeded my dreams.

Before arriving to Hermano Pedro my friend, Tessa, and I thought Hermano Pedro was just an orphanage…little did we know that it was a disabled hospital where only a fourth or so of the kids were orphans. Everyday Tessa and I took a group of about ten people of our mission team (we had over 40 team members) and on the first day we awkwardly looked around not sure of what to do. The kids were in wheelchairs and could not walk and we did not receive any verbal communication on what we could do.

Before leaving Las Vegas for Guatemala Tess
a prayed for a miracle, and Dick was our miracle. Our first day there Dick was volunteering and he told us everything we could do along with background on a few of the kids. I could see how much these children genuinely loved him and how much he loved them. Dick really eased the awkwardness for the team and after an hour of being there the first ten people of our mission team to go to Hermano Pedro were all holding a child.

Along with Dick being a miracle he was also a blessing, on Tuesday he and his friends took Tessa and I along with three of the healthier kids at the hospital to lunch at Pollo Camprero and he became such a positive influence in our lives as he explained his love for the children of Guatemala.
Every team member connected to at least on child in Hermano Pedro, and for me it was Lesly. She is so beautiful just the way she is. She has one leg that is shorter than another, I think she has autism, she is blind, she slaps and kicks you,and the first day I held her the diaper she was in seeped through her pants onto my jeans. Dick explained the she is a loved child but her family is misfortunate with funds and her mother has polio, which causes her to walk around the house on all fours. Having polio makes it a little difficult to take care of a blind child... Like Dick would say, "I would not have her any other way though because she is perfect the way she is. God created her that way." Hermano Pedro was such a blessing in my life; being able to do things these children cannot do for themselves. The funny thing though, is that these children who cannot do much for themselves changed the entire team who was fully capable to do anything. All of this is due to God's grace and I am extremely thankful for Hermano Pedro, Dick and his friends, and the ministry he is responsible for.


Most of you already know that God had given me a special love for the kids that are in Hermano Pedro, but there is one little guy that I have bonded with over the years that I feel especially close to, and that is Lionel. He and I became best friends several years ago when I first met him at a wheelchiar distribution in Huehuetenanto.

How a starving child who at that time weighed just 14 pound at 10 year of age became one of my very best friends is hard for me to explain, but a good friend of mine Brittney Fulp has done an excellent job of explaining it.

You see Lionel is also Brittney's very best friends. Fact is Lionel is best friends with several people. Do any of us get jealous over the fact that we each consider Lionel our very best friend? Not at all. You see God has given Lionel enough love to go around to all of us with plenty left over for any one who has the privilege of knowing him.


Here then is what Brittney Wrote.

When I hold little Leonel in my arms, I care nothing about the fact that he cannot speak to me or wrap his arms around me. I care nothing about the fact that he cannot lift his bottle or a spoon to his mouth, wipe his drool, change his dirty diaper, or do anything to care for himself. On the contrary, I LOVE to sit by his side or cradle him in my arms and do everything that I can make him comfortable and happy and to help him understand how much I love him. And the joy that it brings me when his eyes light up or a smile crosses his lips is far more valuable to me than anything he could bring me through further "capabilities". And it is completely inexplicable!

Leonel has done nothing to "earn" my love. There is nothing that he has given me or offered me to produce this love for him in my heart. In fact, to even imagine such a thing being the cause for my love for him just cheapens it! I despise the thought. No THING or CAUSE could produce this love for him in me. My joy comes from the very act of loving him. The one and only thing that I desire from him...is his returned love. My favorite moments are the ones when I look in his eyes and can see that, although he cannot speak, he knows that I love him and he loves me, too. And cleaning him up, changing his diaper, feeding him mashed potatoes one slow, small bite at a time, cradling his frail body in my arms, re-positioning him for comfort, asking endless numbers of yes-no questions to find out what he wants and needs, and whispering words of love into his ears...are all my favorite uses of my time because they let me show my love to and spend my time with him...my little Leonel.

And one day it hit me. It is as if God is saying,

"You know that love that you have for Leonel?...That is just a small glimpse of the love that I have for you. You are weak, frail, and helpless. You are incapable of cleaning yourself up and meeting even the most simple of your needs. There is absolutely nothing that you can do or give me to earn my love. And yet you have it...in a quantity and magnitude so much greater than you could ever imagine.

I DELIGHT in you, and my greatest joy is found in seeing you smile and knowing that you are catching even a small glimpse of the love that I have for you. And there is absolutely nothing that you can offer me...except your love.

You don't know what love means yet. You have a distorted and entirely weak perception of love and what it means to give and receive it. And yet...I delight in your best efforts. You are my little child bringing your best piece of artwork (a wrinkled piece of paper covered with crayon scribbles), and I am your proud daddy hanging it on the fridge for all to see. I don't mind that you aren't a professional. That does not mean a thing to me. I just like to see you try because you know that I love you and you want to love me, too. One day, I will bring you HOME and then I will get to see you paint like an artist. But for now, this wrinkled, scribbled paper is the absolute best thing that you could give me. And I DELIGHT in it, because I DELIGHT in you. You are mine and my greatest joy is found in loving YOU."


Thank you Destiny and Brittney.

Yours in Christ: Dick


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