* GUATEMALA * * * * * * * * Dick Rutgers *

An ongoing journal of life as a Missionary in Guatemala. It will make you laugh and cry at the same time.

My Photo
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, August 16, 2012

You would think that it would get easier but even after 12 years of seeing 15 to 20 pound 9 year old kids like this little boy, who was recently admitted into the malnutrition ward of Hermano Pedro orphanage, but it gets no easier. Tomorrow we plan on giving him a wheelchair. Please pray that he lives to use it.

During the summer months both Bethel ministries and Hope Haven International have a lot of teems come down to volunteer. I do my best to join these teems when ever they have wheelchiar distributions. Fact is I even got in on a few days of house building with a South Dakota group that was here with Bethel.

Reminder to self

Act your age unless you want to feel even older than you are.

These are a few of the people that received wheelchairs at some of the distributions.

Not everyone who needs a wheelchair
can get in to a distribution though.

I had been told about this brother and sister who have been confined to their home for most of their lives, by Tod and Amy some missionary friends of mine. Pat and I went in to see them and a few weeks later we returned with 2 specialty chairs that my Friend Gustavo who is himself in a wheelchair set up for them using only measurements and photos that I had given him. When we arrived we were met by Tod, Amy and a group of volunteers that were here from the States. We soon discovered that this family was getting the full meal deal. Not only were brother and sister being given new wheelchairs but Tod, Amy and their group had painted their rooms in some of the brightest colors that I have ever seen. As we finished doing some final adjustments to their wheelchairs older brother came up to us in tears and told us that in 30 years this was the first time that anyone had ever shown any interest or offered to to do anything to help his brother and sister. What more lead in do you need to verbally share Christ with someone than that?

Another house call started in Antigua and is scheduled to actually take place when we deliver a wheelchair to the home of the little girl pictured here tomorrow. Ana Ruth and her mom were seeing a doctor in Antigua and her mom recognized me as the person that had seated her daughter at a distribution 2 years ago. Mom told me that Ana had outgrown her wheelchair and was in need of a new one. The family does not live in Antigua but it just so happens (Godincidence) that some friends of of mine and myself had already made plans to head out that way tomorrow to deliver a few wheelchairs to some elderly people in their homes.

On an airport run to pick up some of Pat's friends we stopped off at the home of Fulvio and his mother. Fulvio does not live in one of the safest neighborhoods in Guatemala but most of the people in his neighborhood now know who we are and we are always treated well. Today we stopped of to see if we could get Fulvio's chin controlled power chair running. Fulvio's mom called us a few weeks after it quit running to tell us that witht out it her son had to stay locked in the house when ever she was at work. Fact is when we got there today we could see 23 year old Fulvio through the window but he had no way to unlock the door and that it would be a few hour before his mother would return home. An old lady came out of the house next door and gave us a look that would scare away most bandit but once we told her why we were there she went back into her house and got her son. He told us that he knew where mom worked and that he would go over and let her know that we were there. A short time later mom returned and invited us in to her small house. Fulvio as well as 3 of his 4 brothers had muscular dystrophy. All 3 of the brothers that had muscular dystrophy have died and Fulvio's other brother lives in a different part of town. I was able to get the wheelchair going so now Fulvio can once again get out of his home. I was glad that Pat could come along to because Fulvio's mom who seems very lonely seemed or pour her hart out to her.

A few days ago a man and his wife showed up at my door. I did not recognize them at first but after talking to them realized that they were the parents of a 16 year old boy who we had given a wheelchair to many years ago. One of the reasons that I did not recognize this family was because the father has severe diabetes and he is in poor health. Mom told me that the wheelchair that we had given them was warn out and father could no longer lift him so when mom was out working they no longer had any way to move their son around. I told them that I would come over and see if the old wheelchair could be fixed or if we would have to put him on a waiting list for a new wheelchair. After breakfast Alex and I walked over to where they lived and quickly discovered that they were not kidding about the old wheelchair being warn out. It would be nice to be able to give everyone a wheelchair at the drop of a hat but there are far more people that need wheelchairs than there are wheelchairs so often times people have to wait for quite a while before receiving one. I was scheduled to go in to Hope Haven to help out with a wheelchair distribution the next day though (Godincidence) so I made a quick phone call and the next morning mom, dad, son and 2 of my boys were in the car with me on our way to receive a new wheelchair. Later that night mom and dad came to my house with a gift for me. This once again gave me the opportunity to share with them that neither the wheelchair that we had given them nor the gift that they had given to me were anything compared to the gift of His own Son that God was offering to us.

Let me not fail to mention that my Spanish has not improved. Fact is my English seems to be going down hill as my hearing gradually gets worse. All of the conversations that I had with this family were due to the patience of my boys. With the exception of David who is the youngest of the dozen or so that seem to think that this is their home away from home, any of them will translate for me at the drop of a hat, (Well at least if there is not a soccer game on TV) and I am very proud of them. Most of them are doing great. Abner was having some difficulties for a while but let me tell you God has really done something in the lives of these 2 boys in the past few weeks. Please continue to pray for all of these young men. Jason especially. He is using marijuana and actually tried to get some of the other kids to use it so he is out of the house for at least a month. After that I will have him tested for drugs and he has been told that if he is not clean or willing to get Christian consoling he will no longer be sponsored for school. It breaks my hart to have to do this but it is not his first warning. All of the other boys are praying for Jason but are in agreement that Jason needs some tough love.

After church on Sunday 9 of my boys and I took Pat out for Pizza in celebration of her birthday. I promised not to tell her age but it now starts with the same digit as mine.

It seems like eating is all that we do,
but the orphanage kids sure enjoy it,

Almost as much as
some of the adults do.

After returning from lunch at Camperos, Julio shares his Pepsi with Mickey. Perhaps we will take Mickey with us the next time we take a few orphanage kids out to lunch but it is always difficult choosing what 3 or 4 of over 240 orphanage residence to take with us.

You may find this hard to believe but 3 of my boys and I actually took some time off to have some fun last week. Well actually we mixed a little business with pleasure but we stayed 2 nights at motels that had swimming pools. The pool at the first place that we stayed at looked OK in the dark but when we saw it in the daylight the next morning we were surprised that we did not all get sick from swimming in it the night before. That and the ants that made the cement floor of our room appear to have shag carpet convinced us to move on. The next day we stayed at a nice motel that had a pool with water so clear that you could actually see the bottom (well at least at the shallow end).

We broke away from our fun long enough to take three kids from a family that we are sponsoring school shopping though. I had promised these kids that if they all had good grades we would even take them to Camperos for lunch. This was quite a treat for these 3 as the had never ridden in anything but a buss before and had only heard of Camperos. As an added bonus we stopped of at the motel where my boys and I were staying and let them swim before bringing them back home.

Well, there is a lot more to write about but Mariam is suppose to arrive in Chimaltenango by buss at 5:00 AM and I have to pick her up and get her in to Antigua, so I better get to bed. Please remember her in your prayers. Tomorrow a teem of doctors will look at her and next week they will likely remove her eye.

Yours in Christ: Dick