* 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 13, 2013

A lot has taken place since I last posted a new journal entry.  Among other things we have hosted three one week camps and I have made several road trips.  It has been a busy time but a good time.We have been seeing God at work in the lives of many of the people that we have worked with.  One thing that I have not been busy with though is writing in my journal.  Thankfully Pat was able to join me on a recent trip and has given me permission to post some of her journals.   Here then is the first of several that I plan on posting.

Yours in Christ: Dick  

A Freak Accident To A Good Friend

Written by Pat
About a week ago, Dick received a phone call (which I translated for him) from a man in Huehuetenango, telling us that our good friend, Maria Garcia, had been seriously injured in what can only be described as a freak accident.

Maria and a friend were praying in the small church near her home, and about a quarter mile away some men were working on a bridge up the side of the mountain.  They were putting in a new approach and decided that dynamiting the existing structure would be most efficient.  As is all too often the case here in Guatemala, they evidently were not skilled in using explosives, and the uncontrolled blast sent rocks and debris in all directions.

Sadly, a four pound rock from the blast flew the quarter mile, went through the roof of the church, and hit Maria Garcia squarely in the head.  Her husband told us that when he came, she was lying in such a large pool of blood that he thought surely she was dead.

 Maria Garcia, July, 2012, standing in the church  
where she was severely injured.

By the grace of God, she was not. And by his miraculous protection she stayed alive for the half hour it took them to find a pick up truck to take her to the hospital as well as for the hour it took to drive to the hospital in the city of Huehuetenango. (No ambulances in this remote part of the country.  Can you imagine the excruciating pain for traveling mountain roads in the back of a pickup with a head injury?  I can’t bear to think of it.)  

I met Maria Garcia on my first trip to this area, years before I moved to Guatemala.  She has been a good friend and strong example of living the Christ-life without fear or reservation.  Her dedication to her God and her people has inspired me many times.

Maria is what would probably be called a community organizer in the US.  Her late son started working with the people in their area to help them better their lives, and when he died, his mother took over his work.  She has helped Dick, through Bethel Ministries, provide food and educational support for many of the families in this destitute area of Guatemala.  In addition, she shares the love of Jesus with all she touches, both through her words and her actions.

In return for her efforts, it seems she has received nothing but trouble.  A few years ago, she was severely beaten by a group of her neighbors, who either were jealous that she was not providing them with assistance, or, we have been told, did not like a woman having the power she had.  She was left for dead, but managed to survive.

About two years ago, she was afflicted with severe sores in her mouth which took months and months to heal.  She could hardly speak, and could not carry on her usual ministry in the area.  Her daughter, Blanca, however, stepped in to fill the gap and the work continued. 

Now this.  I have no doubt that in these instances, my sister in Christ has been fighting, not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers.  And repeatedly, God has shown His faithfulness to His servant.

We didn’t know what we could actually do, but we knew we had to go and visit her and her family.  We did bring a wheelchair with us, but knew that the personal contact and encouragement to her and her family were the real reasons for our long trip.

Visiting with one of Maria’s daughters as Maria slept in the background.

We arrived 15 days after the accident, not knowing what to expect.   Maria returned home after five days in the hospital where she had surgery to remove numerous bone fragments from her skull, received a metal plate to cover the damaged area, and left with more than thirty stitches which span from one ear to the other, across the whole top of her head.

When we arrived we found Maria in bed sleeping.  She has been told she will need to be on bed rest for six months.  As we sat visiting with her daughter, she soon awoke.  I was amazed to find that she recognized us, and could speak to us, though barely above a whisper.  She is able to move her entire body, and even sat up a bit to visit with me.  Though she is in intense pain, she did not speak a single word of complaint, and joined in as we prayed together for her recovery.
As I stood there, staring down at the huge wound on her head, I couldn’t help but praise God for His faithfulness in the face of this disaster.  My common sense tells me that she should be in a coma, if not completely paralyzed.  And here she is, talking to me, thanking us for visiting her.  I am standing in front of a living miracle.

Please continue to pray for Maria, her recovery, and her family.  They are very poor themselves, and the almost $100 a month she now needs for medicine is almost impossible for them to raise.  We were able to provide for one month’s supply, but if you would like to contribute to help the family pay for her medical expenses (they borrowed over 50,000 quetzales or about $6500 to pay just for her surgery and hospital care), please email Dick or me and we’ll arrange it. 

Please keep Maria Garcia and her family in your prayers.  Her daughters have agreed to continue serving as the liaison with the families in this area who are served by Bethel Ministries.  In addition to caring for their mother, this will be quite a job for them.  We are grateful for their willingness to serve their people.


Thank you Pat!

Yours in Christ: Dick 


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