* 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, December 17, 2012

A One Hour Visit

Tonight's journal is not going to be a long one. I simply want to share with you about a one hour visit that 3 of my boys and I had with a family today.   If you don't like to hear people bragging about their kids you may want to skip this one because that is what I am about to do. 

Three of my boys (or I guess you could call them young men) and I have been on the road for a few days on what I call a combination business and pleasure trip.  I had just returned from a week long Hope Haven wheelchiar distribution in El Salvidor so I considered postponing this trip but I had promised the boys that we would take them to Plya Grandy some time before Christmas and they were really looking forward to it.  Fact is all of them wanted to go but over a dozen teen age boys in one car for 7 days can soon become 12 too many. The first few days of our trip were spent at Semuc Champey, one of the most beautiful places in Guatemala if not all of the world, where we hiked, swam, explored caves, and just relaxed.  Today we packed up and headed cross country towards Plya Grandy where we planned giving out a few wheelchairs and  visiting with several of our sponsored special needs students and their teacher. The road that we took is improving over the years but much of it is still Land Cruiser country, so what appears on the map to be a 2 hour drive ends up taking nearly 7 hours.

Oh that's right I was going to keep this short and only share about an hour of this trip.   About 5 hours after leaving Semuc Champey we turned  onto a side road that was even worse that the road that we had been traveling (if that is possible) to go and see our friend Alberto.  Alberto who lives with his grandmother has brittle bone disease,  He can not bend his legs and does not have enough strength in his arms to push himself across the dirt floor of the wooden shed that he and his grandmother call their home.   About 7 or 8 years ago we found Alberto thanks to another man that we had given a wheelchair to.  At that time he had no wheelchiar and was lying on his bed reading his bible.  Since then we have given him a manual wheelchair because until a year ago a power wheelchair was out of the question because up until then he lived in a home that had a trail leading to it that was far to narrow for a power wheelchair plus there was no electricity.  

Although the house that he now lives in appears to be falling down around him and his grandmother it is more accessible and it does have electricity.  So today we had a gift for Alberto.  After my last visit nearly a year ago I gave measurements and drawings to Arturo and Mario, 2 of the workers at Bethel Ministries, and asked them if they had a power wheelchair that they could modify to the specifications that Alberto needed.   A week later Alturo called me and said that the wheelchair was ready.   I wanted to get Alberto's new chair to him as soon as possible but due to the location and time it takes to get there I usually make the trip only once a year, so it was not until today that we finally made it to his home.

We had called the night before and said that we were coming so Alberto's father and step mother were there as well. 

Alberto could scarcely contain himself when Calin, Fernando and Marcos wheeled his new power wheelchair into his house. Grandmother wheeled him up to it so that he could examine it while the boy's and I made some last minute adjustments.   We then explained to him exactly how everything worked.

It was now time for the test ride so grandmother and Father carefully lifted him out of his manual wheelchair and into his new power wheelchiar.  My kids and I offered to help but grandmother explained to us that one wrong move and his legs would break.  

Alberto was a bit apprehensive and took it pretty easy at first but after a bit of coaxing from his family he was soon driving his new wheelchair all around the house.

Calin, Fernando, & Marcos with Alberto and his family.

So why did this one hour visit make me so proud of my boys young men?  Not only did they do all of the interpreting, picture tking and final adjustments to the wheelchiar,  all Three of them also offered to pray for Alberto and his family.   The family was delighted and for the next several minutes there was no doubt that we were in the presence of God.   

I must admit I did open my eyes just long enough to click this one picture and to look at these three fine young men.  Was it possible that these were the same three that I met about ten years ago.  One of the three had never met his father and his mom had left for the States when he was just a baby.  Another had lost both parents, his father in a tragic accident and his mother died a few years later, and for the first six years the third had spent more time being kicked out of my house then he did inside of it.  I wish that I could say that it was because of all of the right things that I did that most of the boys are doing so well now but to be honest with you had I known what I was getting into before hand I would likely have turned tale and run.  Praise God I didn't know because I would not trade these last ten years for the world.  And praise God that most of these boys are becoming fine God fearing young men. 

Please continue to pray for each of us, and please say a special prayer for Jason.  He is currently not allowed in my house because of some bad choices that he is making. 

Yours in Christ: Dick


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