* 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)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Her's, Mine and Someone Elses

Pat and I often kid each other about our friendship being somewhat like a friendly divorce.

-Pat gets the kids during the week and I get them on the weekends.

-We each take credit for all of there good traits and claim that the other one is to blame for the bad ones.

-When ever one of the boys ask for money Pat tells them to talk to me and I tell them to talk to Pat.

-None of them look like either of us but most are closer to Pat's height than mine.

-Academic wise most of them take after me, but Pat is working on that. (She hired a teacher to come in and work with them.)

-They are all strong willed and always right.  The vote is still out on that one.  (No you can not vote for 2 candidates)

One thing for certain though we both love them and could not be prouder of them even though they can drive us crazy at times.

I have been praying for years about what the boys in my home would do once they got older.  For at least six of them God has answered that prayer through the new group home that Pat has started.  Granted for now only Miguel is working full time for Pat but Cessar and Fernando are living there 5 days a week and are attending School in Antigua.  Esbin, Marcos and Kevin are working for Pat on the weekends and who know what will happen once more people move into Pat's home.

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Pat  added a few comments to what I just published and even though what I wrote was truthful and absolutely correct I will publish what she wrote solely for your amusement.

A Friendly Divorce???--From the Marriage that Never Was!


For all of you who continue to wonder what, exactly, is my relationship with Dick Rutger's, I thought you might enjoy reading his (tongue in cheek) take on it.

In his journal today, Dick wrote:

Pat and I often kid each other about our friendship being somewhat like a friendly divorce. (Only a confirmed bachelor would joke about a friendly divorce---Pat) (At least in a divorce you don't have to  invite all of your relatives and get all dressed up.  Dick)

-Pat gets the kids during the week and I get them on the weekends.  (Except like some dads, he only takes some of the kids.    I still haven't gotten him into taking Fidel so I have have the weekends alone--Pat)  (Not until she takes the ones that hang out here all week. Dick)

-We each take credit for all of there good traits and and claim that the other is to blame for the bad ones.  (Now wait a minute--it surely wasn't me who taught them to leave the toilet seat up--Pat)  (At least you have a toilet seat.   Dick)

-When ever one of the boys ask for money Pat tells them to ask talk to me and I tell them to talk to Pat.  (I think the try to get $$$ out of both of us, myself--Pat)  (This is a sure sight that we are not married.  We both agree on something! Dick)

-None of them look like either of us but most are closer to Pat's height than mine.  (Come on, they all have my brown eyes and what used to be brown hair--Pat)  (Come to think of it they all resemble me to,  2 eyes, 2 ears, one nose and one mouth.  Dick)

-Academic wise most of them take after me, but Pat is working on that. (She hired a teacher to come in and work with them.)  (Now if I can find a Spanish tutor for Dick--Pat)  (You just have to give me a little more time and I will be able to understand everyone in Guatemala.  I already have most of my neighborhood speaking English.  Dick)

-They are all strong willed and always right.  The vote is still out on that one.  (No you can not vote for 2 candidates)  (This is an easy one--Dick is stubborn and I'm persistent.  And I'm right about this one!--Pat)  (See what I mean? Dick)

One thing for certain though we bouth love them and could not be prouder of them even though they can drive us crazy at times.  (Okay, on this one I actually agree with Dick.  He's right for once!--Pat)  (I think that Pat meant to say as usual.  Dick)
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You probably knew that I was leading up to this but why write my own Journals when Pat has already done such an eloquent job.   (Besides that I wrote the last one all by myself.)

Casa de Esperanza Update

With Fidel moving in permanently, a lot of things have changed, including an increased staff.  I never thought of myself as managing a staff, and I'm not sure I'm very good at it, but I'm trying.  We are all learning together.

Fernando and Cesar are working hard to finish up the school year.  It's been quite an adjustment and a bit of a struggle for them to adjust to going to school here in Antigua.

Fernando's grades have picked up greatly, in large part due to a kind "heart to heart" we had with the director of his school.  Carlos has had a bit impact on Fernando, and it's worth all the tuition it costs just to have him in Fernando's life.

Cesar is still struggling with math, but hanging in there, thanks to Profe. Julio.  Profe comes three afternoons a week to provide private tutoring in math, and so much more.  I love to listen in on their sessions (they work in the dining room while I am cooking dinner in the kitchen)--Profe has become more of a mentor than a tutor, and I'm grateful for his positive influence on Cesar's future.  Since Cesar hopes to teach one day, Profe has a lot of insights to share with him beyond academics.  Profe also is Fernando's computer teacher, so we are twice blessed with him.

I knew sooner or later it would happen.  With so many walls made out of glass, I knew sooner or later we'd break one.  I had expected it to be with a forbidden soccer ball, but Fidel took the honors.  His work table was in front of the window, and he accidentally pushed his chair forward and into the window.

Is it my imagination, or does he look just a little bit proud of himself?

People keep asking how Fidel has adjusted to living in the house.  

Well, it seems like he's always been here.  It's a little different for him, though, to realize that he's part of the family now, and not an "honored guest."  He's learning the meaning of "you get what you get and you don't throw a fit."  Not that he would throw a fit when he doesn't get his way, but he can sure throw a pout.  He gets over it quickly.  He's learning what it means to be a PART of a family, not the center of the family.  It's hard, sometimes, but he still says he loves being here.

He's enjoying make some of his own decisions--like wanting to grow a goatee. He says he wants one like Brian (a volunteer serving at the house for two months).  

Only thing is, I think Brian has more of a beard to work with.

Fidel is still taking computer classes, but right now they are on hold.  He has a flat tire on his wheelchair which Dick has not been able to get over to fix, so traveling on the street is pretty much out of the question.

There are no replacement tires in the shop, so we're praying Dick can fix this one.  Fidel does have a manual wheelchair, but refuses to use it. Please pray we get this fixed soon, before he ruins the tire. I have debated and debated with myself whether to take away the power chair until it's fixed, but, eventually we will be able to find a tire--even if I have to bring it back from the States.  I think this might be a good time to help him learn about natural consequences.  It will kill him (and the rest of us) if he has to go without his power chair, but he also needs to learn what a huge blessing it is to have one and how to better care for it.  And to take wise counsel.

It seems like we've had a whole bunch of birthdays recently.  We always are looking for a reason to have a party here--especially when it includes cake and ice cream.

Fidel's birthday was the end of June, and we celebrated in style.

Then, there were Sonya, Henry, and my birthdays the beginning of August.

Finally Fernando's the end of August.

When I get back in October, it will be time to celebrate Cesar and Miguel's birthdays.  They have asked for a "family" trip to the beach, and want to included the guys in the house and their mom.  Dick and I are trying to figure out how to make this happen.

A final, unexpected blessing of Casa de Esperanza is that we have been able to welcome visitors in wheelchairs, whether to watch a movie, work on the computer, or have lunch with us.  Again, God knew this would happen before we did, but it's really nice to be able to bring some of the kids from Hermano Pedro into a family environment, even if only for a few hours a week.

God also had plans to help a family with a child with Cerebral Palsy through our house.  Flor and her husband Henry have two sons, Carlos and Jose.  Carlos is 9 and has CP.  Jose is healthy.  Shortly before I began looking for a housekeeper, Henry lost his job.  Flor had been looking for work, but needed to work around when Carlos was in a day care program.  And when there was no daycare, she needed the flexibility to care for him.

Though Nineth, the Bethel teacher at Hermano Pedro, I met Flor and immediately fell in love with her.  She only works mornings for us, when Carlos is in daycare, and when the need arises, we can give her the flexibility she needs to care for him.  When there is no daycare, she still comes to work, he just comes with her!  He has become the little brother of the family, and has, like the rest of the boys, developed an addiction to the computer.  She fits in with the boys like a big sister, and they give her as much grief as they do each other.

              Carlitos, our hermanito (little brother)

This has been a win-win for both of us, but I think more of a blessing for me than for anyone else.  It's nice to have another woman in the house, and she keeps house better than I ever did.  I can be gone from the house and know that she will make sure things don't become a frat house while I'm gone.  I love how God had this all figured out! 


Pat's Staff

Pat Duff (a.k.a. Guatemala Grandma)

Pat Duff has been a follower of Jesus Christ for over 40 years, has been involved in ministry with children,youth and adults in a variety of churches in the United States before moving to Guatemala.  She also had 30+ years working with children and adults with mild through severe disabilities, including autism, in both public schools and private institutions.  She holds a Bachelors Degree in Special Education from the University of Illinois, and a Masters Degree in Special Education from Creighton University.

Pat has also had previous mission experience, having lived and taught for two years in the early ‘70’s among the Lakota people on the Rosebud Reservation.  She has made multiple short term mission trips to Latin America, including Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Guatemala.  

Personally, Pat has four amazing children, a wonderful daughter-in-law and two precious grandsons.

Pat serves as the Director of Causa de Esperanza Guatemala, and oversees the day to day operation of the community home, Casa de Esperanza.  She also works along side other ministries in the Antigua area which serve children with disabilities.

Miguel Sirin

Miguel Sirin is our only full-time employee.  He works Monday through Friday as a  resident companion care-giver to Fidel.  Our relationship with Miguel began almost six years ago, when he was working all day in a bicycle repair shop (earning about 25 quetzales, or $3 a week) and paying for his own schooling at night.  Miguel continues to study on Saturdays, and is giving most of his salary to his parents to help them put water and electricity on some land they have purchased.  Their hope is to have their own home someday.  (Miguel is the brother of Cesar, one of our student residents.)  This picture makes it look like Miguel is a very serious person, but that couldn't be farther from the truth.  I have never laughed so hard in my life as I have since he has come to live with us. 

" Hay Pat I found a better picture of Miguel.

(I took this one about a year ago. Dick)
     Now this is the real Miguel.  

Brian Taylor

Brian Taylor is a volunteer companion caregiver for Fidel who is working with us for two months while he discerns where God might be leading him next.  Brian has worked as a caregiver in the States, and also served as a volunteer with Pat at New Life School in Santa Maria de Jesus.  He helps Miguel when Fidel's needs that require more than one assistant, such as bathing, and also gives Miguel a break in the evenings so he can study and rest.  

Esbin and Marcos

 Esbin (above) and Marcos (Right) are weekend companion caregivers for Fidel.  Both are in Basico at a school in Chimaltenango and come to us after school on Friday and work through Sunday morning.  While younger than our other caregivers, they are a great team and work well together.  They both have had to learn to work to survive.  A number of years ago, Esbin and his brother and two sisters were abandoned by their mother (who still lives near them in Chimal).  Marcos's mom and dad took the kids in.  Within a year, both mom and dad had died, and now the family is headed by 26 year old Victor, who is working hard to keep the family together while getting an education himself.  For this family, work has meant survival.  We are happy to be able to employ these two responsible young men.


Kevin is a young man from Chimaltenango, and one of Dick's kids (as are Miguel, Cesar, Fernando, Esbin, and Marcos).  He is studying to be a dental hygienist here in Antigua.  He is Fidel's companion caregiver on Sundays.  When we first found the house, it was Kevin who could not wait to tell Fidel the good news.  It is wonderful that he is now part of it.

Flor de los Angeles Ordoñez de Ramirez

Flor is our housekeeper, cook, and Pat's general assistant and the keeper of Pat's sanity.  While originally hired to help with household duties, Flor has become an integral part of our ministry, and we don't know what we would do without her!  While only 26 years old herself, Flor has a way of managing the boys (when needed) while maintaining a good relationship with them.  She is the "big sister" in our family.

Flor is married and has two sons, Carlos and Jose.  Carlos has Cerebral Palsy, and Flor's experience as the parent of a child with disabilities in Guatemala has been invaluable to us as we move forward with our community home.  She and her husband Henri are strong advocates for Carlos in all areas of life, but especially in terms of education.  

So, here's our crew.  God has been good to us in the people he has brought together for this work.  May we be faithful to serve him well.

Thanks Pat:

As you can see God is really blessing Pat's new home and several of my Boys are reaping many of the benefits of that blessing.

<><Yours in Christ: Dick ><>


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