* 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)

Friday, October 26, 2012

HueHue Again

Pat is back from the USA and the boys and I are glad to have her back.  She is spending this week with 3 of the boys and myself.  I scratched my brain trying to think of a way to let her know how happy I was to see her again and finally decided that one of the nicest things that I could do for her would be to let her do all of this week's journaling.   I know that it was a big sacrifice on my part but it was the least that I could do.


Pat Writes,

It seemed like I had no sooner unpacked from my trip to the States than I was packing again. This time it was to go to Huehuetenango, in the mountains in northern Guatemala. We work with a number of families there, as well as a local pastor and a community center, so we try to visit them at least every few months.

Dick and three of the boys, Cesar, Elder and Kevin came to Mari’s for breakfast on Tuesday morning and then we were off. We planned to drive only as far as Xela the first day, since we had a few stops to make on the way.

We stopped first at the home of Oscar, who Dick had given a power chair a few weeks ago. Because his muscles are so spastic, he needed footcups to stabilize his legs so he could steer the wheelchair properly. Fitting these was quite the feat for Dick and the boys. Oscar is very particular about how he likes to sit—you could say even stubborn. His preferred way of sitting is actually making his condition worse, though his doting parents will not make him do anything he doesn’t want to. It was quite a challenge for Dick to seat him properly a few weeks ago, but one of his brothers who has a better understanding of what Oscar really needs was there to help that time. Today we were not so fortunate.

Dick gently but firmly held his ground on the important things, though he graciously changed a few of the minor things to make Oscar happier. This seemed to work out to be a fairly good compromise. I hope, though, that he will use the correctly fitted power chair, and not prefer to sit in the old chair he has been using. This is one of those time when we need to do what we can, and wait and see for the rest.


We then drove on to Xela where we would be spending the night, and met Teresa, the mother of Pedro, and we followed her to their home. Dick had also given Pedro a wheelchair at a distribution recently, but he still needed footcups also, to sit properly. Once again, the boys pretty much took over and did the lion’s share of the work under Dick’s careful guidance. It is amazing to me how adept these boys have become, not just in the mechanic-ing, but in the personal aspect for fitting chairs. Dick has trained them well and the training is paying off.

We then headed out to find a hotel, since the one we usually stay at was booked full for the night. We found a very nice one, had a quick supper, and settled in for the night. Tomorrow we head to Huehuetenango.


 Pat writes more,

Wednesday started fairly early for us, as we had a lot of ground to cover before we would get to Huehuetenango this evening.

First we went to see Erica, and take her the medication she so desperately needs for a chronic skin condition she has. A wonderful donor in the US makes sure she never runs out, and it was time to visit her to bring more, since this medication can only be bought in the US and must be packed in to her house.

The hike up to Erica’s can challenge me a bit (though Dick tells me it’s no where near as tough as it used to be before they extended the road to the bottom of the trail leading up to her house.) If I pace myself and use a walking stick though, I can make it without too much trouble (I can even walk and talk at the same time, though I think Dick enjoys having a good reason to tell me to keep quiet, pretending it’s to help me conserve oxygen!) I love this girl and her family, and any effort is worth it to visit them.

Our next visit was to Christopher and his family. I took him some writing instruments and adaptive pencil holders to help make it easier for him to do his schoolwork. I couldn’t believe how excited he was to receive these simple gifts. He didn’t put down the pencil holder the entire time we were there. Small things mean so much when you have so little.
Somehow Christopher had not received his invitation to the camp which Hope Haven Ministries and Bethel Ministries International co-host in November for folks in wheelchairs. He lit up significantly when we told him he was invited. His mother, though, looked a little saddened. She then told me she had talked with Christopher earlier, saying perhaps it was good that he wasn’t invited this year, because they could not afford the cost of the transportation necessary to get to Chimaltenango for the camp. We talked a bit and she thought she could manage to pay the passage one way, and I agreed to give her the funds needed to get home.

Ordinarily I wouldn’t do this, but Christopher leads such an isolated life. Even though he has a power wheelchair he can use to go to town, his mother must carry him down the steep trail to where his wheelchair is stored. He does not go out to school, receiving tutoring at home. This yearly trip to camp is the only time he really gets to see anything beyond his small village, often staying in his home for weeks at a time. This is not just a camp for Christopher, but a link to the outside world which he desperately needs.

On our way down from Christopher’s village, we stopped in to see a family with two sons who have Muscular Dystrophy. We had no real reason to stop, except to encourage this family who will eventually lose both Wilmer and Miguel to this disease. We were pleasantly surprised, however, to see both boys sitting in the yard in their wheelchairs, actually looking better than they had when we’ve seen them in the past. The only thing we can attribute this to is the vitamins we have been bringing them. I’ve never been very convinced that kids in the US who eat a healthy diet need vitamin supplements. However, here where most kids never get enough to eat, vitamins are nothing short of a “miracle drug.” We see this time and again with the growth patterns of able-bodied kids here, and even more so with kids with medical problems like these boys. It was encouraging to see them doing so well.

After the Elder helped Dick fix the brakes on Miguel’s chair, we were again off to our last stop of the day. Gema is a beautiful and lively little girl who has every reason in the world to be glum, but thoroughly enjoys life. When Dick walked into the yard, he found Gema bouncing along chasing her two pet rabbits. This is not anything extraordinary, except Gema has no hands and only one foot on a shortened leg, which she uses for EVERYTHING. This little darling can feed herself, write, draw, and even play catch without assistance. I think we stop here not to encourage her family, but for her to give us a lift. We were excited to be able to invite her to the Hope Haven-Bethel Ministries camp in Chimaltenango next month. Her mother didn’t hesitate a second before saying they’d be there.

In reality, we didn’t travel that many miles today. If we had driven straight through we could have made the trip from Xela to Huehue in less than two hours.  Instead we took the whole day to go this distance. We didn’t give away much tangible stuff, but that’s not what’s important to us. We did give away part of our hearts to each of the families whom we visited. That’s why we’re here—for we minister to people, not projects. Yep, it takes more time, and our hearts bear a heavier burden this way, but we are doubly blessed by the people we meet along the way.


All I can say is that it was great day and I could not have picked 4 better people to share it with.

Yours in Christ: Dick

I Just wanted to let you know that Pat has posted several new journal entries that are really great.  Instead of swiping them form her and posting them myself I will give you the link to her journal so that you can go directly to her site to view them.      http://www.pat2gt.blogspot.com/  or you can just CLICK HERE.



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