* 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, April 2, 2012

Watching God At Work in My Kids

Pat writes-

A few days ago, while we
were up visiting Norman and Vicki Sutton in San Andres, we received a call from the Hernandez family in Cerro Colorado. Herlindo, the oldest son, had fallen on his bike and severely broke his arm. Could we get them to the clinic in Santa Lucia where we had taken his sister Estrella when she had broken her arm last year.

Ordinarily we would drop what we were doing to help this family. Though Mom can be fairly difficult, both Dick and I have a strong tie to the family. Their oldest son, Rony, had died about a year ago from Muscular Dystrophy. We had promised at the time that we would not “abandon” them as the children had feared because we no longer needed to check on Rony’s chair.

This time it was different, though. We were hours away from Antigua, which is a couple of hours from their home near the coast. This time the family would have to handle things on their own. We did tell them that we would call Carlos, the office manager for Bethel Ministry, and ask him to deposit funds in her account so she should take Herlindo to the clinic.

After numerous confusing and sometimes frustrating phone calls, it was determined that Herlindo would need surgery on his arm and needed to go to the National Hospital in Esquintla. Mom had told Dick that he would be released from the hospital today, so we planned on heading out to take him home.

As things often go with the communication here, we found out just shortly before we were to leave that he would not be released today. When Dick called I heard in his voice his indecision about whether or not we should still head down or wait till he would be released. We decided to go, since we could still try to visit him, and both of us wanted to see Jorge, a young man with spina bifida who lives in La Gomera.

Soon, Dick, Marcos, Miguel, and Esbin picked me up. This turned out to be exactly what we believe God wanted us to do.

We had been wanting to see Jorge since a friend, Daryl Fulp, had told us the doctors from a Faith in Practice team at Hermano Pedro had recommended amputating part of his foot. (To read more about this, click here to read (“Prayers needed for Jorge.”) We hoped to get done in time to visit Herlindo during the hospitals “generous” visiting hour of 1-2pm.

We visited with Jorge’s mom for a while, and got her thoughts and opinions on the surgery. This whole decision was breaking her heart, and she seemed encouraged by our visit. We then went over to the school a few blocks away to see Jorge.

When we entered the gate of the school, we saw Jorge surrounded by his classmates, listening to music on his phone. This is such a blessing to see, as many children in wheelchairs are pretty ostracized in the schools here

We obtained permission for Jorge to go to lunch with us, and soon were off to a local “comedor” (diner). We had hoped to visit with Jorge some during lunch, but the boys immediately commandeered their own table. It was great fun watching them, though, as they were typical teenage boys wolfing down food. This isn’t an opportunity Jorge gets very often, so that made it extra special.

After lunch we went back to Jorge’s house and finally approached the topic of the surgery. He was dead set against this, and even has threatened to harm himself if forced to go through with the surgery. We assured him of our love for him, no matter what his decision, but that we needed to make sure he understood what would happen if he didn’t have the surgery.

We then gently confronted his threat to self-harm, asking him to make a verbal contract that he would not harm himself and call one of us if he felt like it. He listened pretty intently, but would not make the commitment. During this time, Marcos, Esbin and Miguel had been quietly listening. But now, Miguel began talking. . .doing a better job than either Dick or I (or probably any professional counselor) could, encouraging Jorge to face the facts, and move forward. This sounds harsh, but Miguel did it in such a compassionate way that he really seemed to get through to Jorge. When Miguel was finished talking, I asked Jorge if he would like Miguel to come with when he went to the hospital for the surgery, and he immediately shook his head yes.

During the time Miguel was talking, I had been watching Esbin as tears filled his eyes. When we were done, I asked Esbin if he would like to pray for Jorge, and he agreed without hesitation. Now this may seem like no big deal, but, as Dick commented, a few years ago this young man was one of the most foul mouth kids around, and is still somewhat shy about praying aloud. But he did, and it was beautiful as we felt the Holy Spirit fall upon us as he interceded for Jorge and his family. I was moved to tears.

When we got back into the car, I told the three boys that I had never been more proud to be their friend than I was at this very moment. (Marcos had earlier “translated” my Spanish into “good” Spanish as we explained to a lady how she could get an examination at Hermano Pedro. Marcos’ English is not that good, but he does an excellent job of understanding what I am trying to say and conveys it efficiently and compassionately. He’s been with us enough that he knows the routine as well as I do.) Dick affirmed everything I had said and added a few compliments of his own.

As I write this, I realized that God had taught Dick and me how we did not need to take care of everything ourselves—but that we were to be the conduit that brought the people together who need ministry and can do ministry. It has been our belief all along that we are here to support the Guatemalans, not do things for them, and, watching the boys take over today (and knowing how well Carlos had taken care of Herlindo) confirmed that this is the direction our ministry is going. While we could not have orchestrated these events, our Father certainly did, and it’s amazing to reflect on it. After all, as I often tell people in the villages, we are only God’s workers. . .


Dick writes-

I want to update you on 2 more of my boys. Any of you that have kept up with my journals over the past few years knows that Calin and Jason have been 2 of my biggest challenges. During the first few years Calin spent about as much time being kicked out of my house as he did in the house, and it was just a little over a year ago that we found Jason after he ran away from his home and disappeared for 2 months.

Calin and Jason are once again out of my house. I have not seen either of them in several days. Fact is they are no longer in the country. Am I worried about them? A little, but no more worried than the average parent who's son or daughter had gone to another country on a mission trip. This time they have gone with my blessing. That's right these 2 young men and several other Christian teens from Chimaltenango have gone to Nicaragua on a mission trip. They will be spending the next several days in Nicaragua sharing their faith in a number of churches and public schools. I will tell you all about their trip when they return in a few days. Better yet I will have them tell you about it!

I stand in awe of what I see God doing in the harts and lives of several of the teens that hang out at my house. To God be the glory!

Yours in Christ:


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