* 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, January 30, 2014

"Free At Last"

42 year old Salvadoha
never left his house, 
" Until Today! "

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A few weeks ago Dave black, three of my boys and I took a trip to Santiago Atitlan to deliver a power wheelchair to Angle, a boy who suffers from Muscular dystrophy.

Since Angles back was severely deformed this wheelchair proved to be a real challenge but with everyone pitching in after a few hours we managed to have Angle seated properly and soon he was driving the power wheelchair all over the place. I told Dave and the boys that I doubted that we would run into a more difficult case in a long long time. 

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Little did we know that in just a few short hours we would be taken to the home of Salvador a 43 year old man that had such severe curvature of the spine that he had not been out of his house since the day he was born.

Salvador's spine is so severely curved that this is 
as far as he can possibly bend forward.

Since Salvador can not straighten is back and there is no way that he can sit or even lay flat his elderly parents have not been able to transport him any where.  Granted when he was a child it was likely that he could have been carried but back 40 years ago no one in Guatemala would ever bring a disabled child out in public.  Thankfully the astigmatism of having a disabled child  is slowly changing here in Guatemala but I still run into families that are so ashamed of their disabled child that they will not bring them out in public.  What ever the case Salvador's parents now seem to want the best for him and seemed excited when I talked about building him a very special power wheelchair.  Salvador was excited as well.  He told us that he especially wanted to be able to go to church.  The past few days an American volunteer named David and myself went to work at the Hope Haven factory here in Guatemala on building that very special wheelchair for Salvador.  It took us nearly 2 days to build but we finally came up with something that looked like it would work.  

On Wednesday my friends Scot and Linda Hardy and I headed out to Santiago Atitlan to give Salvador his new power wheelchair.  I had told him on my original visit that it would likely be a year before I would have something ready for him but thinking about him lying in that dark little house that had no windows for another year made me put this wheelchair on my priority list 

Before going to Salvador's home we picked up Argentina the lady who originally introduced me to Salvador and another lady who offered to interpret for us.  Scot and Linda are wonderful people but their lack of Spanish is right down there with mine.  (I think that is why I like them so much.)

One of men who worked at the special needs school that Argentina founded helped us get Salvador into his new wheelchair.  He also served as interpreter number 2 since neither Salvador nor his parents speak any Spanish. These 4 way conversations can get a bit confusing but Salvador and his family made it clear to us that they knew that this wheelchair and our chance meeting was a true gift from God.

Salvador listened intently as I explained to him 
how to operate his new wheelchair.


And soon he was on his way down the narrow cobblestone road that led from the house that he had not set foot out of in 42 years.  

"How did he do? "             "Watch the video blow!"    

"Thank you Jesus for another wonderful day in Guatemala."

              Good night,
<>< Yours in Christ: Dick ><>


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