* 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, December 21, 2012

It's Begenning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

I just realized that I actually wrote 2 out of 3 of my last journal entries myself so I figured that it was time that I borrowed from what some one else wrote.  I thought about using some thing that Daryl wrote but the last time I did that I had to rewrite over half of it just to make it seem somewhat believable.  After reading the first few paragraphs below I discovered that both Pat and Daryl have a way of twisting the truth so I almost wrote my own journal but I figured that since it is almost Christmas I would let Pat get by with what she wrote about me and count it as a Christmas present to her.  I hate printing things that are not  true but like Pat says about me being Dutch, he hates spending money even more.  So Merry Christmas Pat. And I do love it when you brag about my boys almost as much as I do.

I am not even going to spruce up the pictures.  Nothing to do with money just tired tonight.


Pat writes

I felt that my 4 foot tall skinny tree just would not hack it in a living room with cathedral ceilings. I really didn't want to spend the money on a larger tree, (Pat is Polish) but figured that by next year funds might be even tighter so decided to bite the bullet. I had thought about going into Guatemala City to get a tree, but Dick suggested we first look at the trees being sold in the park in Chimaltenango. So, a couple of weeks ago after church, Dick, I and four of the boys headed up there to see what we could find.

You can see how dinky his tree was last year!

If I lived in a mansion like Pat
 I would have room for a larger tree.
If you know Dick, you know that he HATES shopping.  However, being Dutch, he hates spending money even more--even if it's my money we're spending.  His last Christmas tree was so bad the the boys begged me to give them my old little one. (He didn't think it was much better than his; the boys disagreed vehemently!)  I was pleasantly surprised when he offered to go with me to shop for a tree, and as a bonus he promised to drive me back if I bought a tree.  (I probably could have taken it on the chicken bus, but, what the heck?  He offered).

I have to admit, though, that Dick was a good sport about shopping.  In fact, he even decided to buy a tree himself!  And lights!! And ornaments!!!  And the world did not end. (Oh, wait, that's supposed to be the 21st, isn't it?)  I think this is worth commemorating in pictures, since I'm not sure it will happen again in my lifetime (which may be considerably shorter after Dick reads this!).  Seriously, though, he did a great job and managed to haggle with the guys in the market to get each of us a tree at a pretty reasonable price.  (I found out later that in Antigua the same tree sells for 100 to 200 quetzales more--$13-26.)


I went to the shopping mall in Chimal alone (didn't want to press my luck or stress Dick's heart by taking Dick with me).  The boys went back to Dick's with him and they were so excited that they had the new tree up and decorated before I got to the house an hour later. (I did find ornaments at one of the stores quite a bit cheaper than the ones Dick bought in the market.  I think he might have wished he'd come with me!) I thought I had a picture of his new tree, but can't find it.  Trust me, it's quite an improvement.

Esbin, one of the boys, was staying with me for a few days while working with Mari. The first night he came home feeling so-so since he had been on his feet all day.  He bounced back quickly when I asked if he wanted to help decorate my tree. (I'd set it up all by myself!)  It turned out quite good if you ask me!


Two Of My Boys Are Moving Out

Two Of Dick's Boys Are Moving In

More from Pat

Casa de Esperanza Update

Skitch-2012-11-01 12_55_52  0000

Cesar’s parents praying over him at his graduation from “Basico” last October.

The beginning of January Cesar, one of Dick’s boys, will move in to serve as an assistant and also go to school at INVAL, outside of Antigua to study to be a PE teacher.  This is a double win, since he needs an Antigua address to attend this school (one of the few which offer this course of study) and I need a reliable worker and leader here in the home.  Cesar is a remarkable young man, already coaching a soccer team of his peers, often translating for Dick, and frequently helping with wheelchair repairs and distributions.  A bonus is that he and the young men from Hermano Pedro we hope to have living here are already great friends.  Cesar said the other day that I am his “second mama.”  I have to admit that brought tears to my eyes, especially since he comes from a wonderful, though very poor family.
Fernando_&_Lisvi_2_1-30-09Fernando holding Lisvi, a starving 6 year old
when I first met him in 2009.

Also moving in during the first part of January is Fernando, another of Dick’s kids.  Fernando’s mom has been in the US since he was very young, and he has been living with relatives.  This past year the family he has been living with has pretty much left him to care for himself, and as a result, he did not pass our equivalent of 8th grade.  When Dick talked with him about this, he said he just felt like he needed to live somewhere where he would receive more direction.  When Dick asked him how he would feel about coming to live with me, he jumped at the idea. (Months before, when I was still in the small house, I had told Dick I’d take Fernando in in a heartbeat if I had the room.  Fernando was the first of Dick’s kids whom I met, and he has always been very special to me.  Once again, God gives me a desire of my heart!)  This past week we spoke with his mother in the US, and she gave permission for him to live here during the week and visit his relatives in Chimaltenango during the weekends.  So, come January 3rd, I’ll be looking at schools for him to attend.  Fernando is also a wonderful friend to the Hermano Pedro boys and will be a wonderful assistant to them when they move in.


Fernando obviously feels at home enough here to take a nap in the room that he will soon share with other male residents.

I had said that I had hoped to have time with some of the assistants living in the house before we have residents move in, and God seems to have worked this out.  Dick’s boys are a wonderful source of assistants since they already know and love for the guys at Hermano Pedro, and Dick has trained them well in caring for them.  I know these young men and have great confidence in and affection for them.  Another way God has been preparing for this house before I even knew it!

DSC05169Miguel, Cesar’s brother, at lunch with Maynor, one of the residents at Hermano Pedro.  I hope to be able to hire Miguel in the future to serve as one of our assistants.

DSC05438A most exciting step toward receiving residents occurred today.  Fidel, who first showed me the need for a home such as this, came to visit today with Xiomara, the volunteer director at Hermano Pedro, and her friend Vicki.  More than a year ago, when Fidel was at a very dark place spiritually, I first mentioned the idea of this house to him.  I told him this could only happen by the grace of God and asked him to start praying for a house we could live in.  He reluctantly agreed.  It was amazing to see the delight in his eyes today as he realized God not only answered our prayers, but did so abundantly.  He kept saying, over and over as we moved through the house, “Muy bonito.” (Very pretty.) When I asked him to say the blessing over the food today, and he immediately agreed.  Fidel struggles to speak due to his cerebral palsy, but his prayer was one of the most eloquent I have heard, as he thanked God for our house, for bringing me to Guatemala, and for bringing me into his life.  Needless to say, I was moved to tears once again.

DSC05440Vicki, Fidel, and Xiomara at lunch today

Xiomara has agreed to talk with Social Work to see what exactly Fidel’s legal status is (he came to Hermano Pedro as a child, and they therefore have had guardianship over him) and also to advocate with Padre Jose, the administrator of Hermano Pedro, to get the ball rolling to move Fidel in.  Vicki, her friend, is a psychologist who offered her services to us whenever we need them, as well as saying she will talk with her father, an attorney in Guatemala City, to see if he can help us with our legal work.


It’s coming together! I continue to be amazed by our wonderful God who has orchestrated all this, to give us the desires of our hearts. To Him is the glory.

Thanks Pat
I will miss not seeing Cesar and Fernando quite as often but this is an answer to prayer.

Actually Jason is living in a new location as well.

I requested prayer for him in my last journal entry and Praise God 2 days later he told me that he waned help.   Yesterday he voluntarily checked into a 9 month Christian treatment program.    It will be 2 months before his family or I will even be able to visit him.  Please continue Praying for Jason, his family and the rest of us.

Yours in Christ;  Dick


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