* GUATEMALA * * * * * * * * Dick Rutgers *

An ongoing journal of life as a Missionary in Guatemala. It will make you laugh and cry at the same time.

My Photo
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)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

"Six Days On The Road"

"Six days on the road and I'm going to make it home tonight.". it has been a great six days with Bethel Ministries and hope Haven Canada. We have given out close 150 wheelchairs, built two houses, visited many families, and seen a number of people come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Carline came along with us and did a wonderful job of interpreting and of working on wheelchairs.  My only regret is that I missing the graduation of both Kevin and Cesar. I am very proud of them.  (Sorry Kevin I didn't have a picture of you when I posted this.)

Friday, October 24, 2014


When I first saw Daniel at today's wheelchair distribution I thought that he was a malnourished 4 year old. When his mother told me that he was 18 years old I was astonished. Daniel who is hydrofluoric (water on the brain) has a head that has to weigh close to 40 pounds but his fragile body can't weigh more than 15 pounds. Daniel's mother has never had enough money to take him to a doctor. Had she been able to see a doctor when he was a baby he would likely have had a shunt (drain) put into his head and could have lived a normal life. Living 18 years with this condition and no shunt is nothing less than a miracle, "a miracle of love". This loving mother and her precious son have a love for each other that is beyond description. 

Today when I first met Daniel I suggested getting him in to the malnutrition center at Hermano Pedro for a few months but I soon became aware that neither Daniel nor his loving mother would survive even a few days with out each other. 

  "Hope Haven Canada to the rescue." Ralph Turpstra and the gang from Hope Haven Canada offered to sponsor Daniel with the food he needs for at least one year. This will mean a lot to a mother who told me that her son eats quite well when the family has food. I don't know how much time Daniel has left here on earth but it does my hart good to know that he will no longer go to bed hungry. By the way you should have been there to hear his mother pray when we prayed together. 

"Thank you Jesus for another awesome day".

<>< Yours In Christ: Dick ><>

Monday, October 13, 2014

"To God be the glory!"

 I have just returned from a 6 day Bethel Ministries and Joni and Friends wheelchair distribution. Not only were 150 live improved when these people were professionally fitted with and given wheelchairs but more lives were completely transformed when over 50 people received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. "To God be the glory!"
Like<>< Yours in Christ ><>
................ Dick

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Battle with Want

I have just returned to Guatemala after spending 4 weeks in the USA.  I was seriously thinking about writing a journal about he culture shock of going back to the USA after not being there for over 2 years and spending the past 14 years here in Guatemala.   Then I came across the journal entry written by my good friend Daryl Fulp.  Daryl picked me up from the airport when I returned to Guatemala yesterday and although we did not talk about this he must have been reading my mind so instead of me being accused of copping and publishing Daryl's journal I am accusing him of copping my thoughts.  Thanks Daryl for doing all of the hard part for me.  

Daryl writes the following.


The Battle With Want


WeddingLast week I had the opportunity to fly to the States for a few days to be a part of my daughter, Teisha’s, wedding. It was a quick trip (I arrived in Dayton late Thursday evening and flew out again very early on Sunday) but it was a special one as Wanda and I were able to visit with friends and family, see two of our daughters we haven’t seen in a long time and finally meet our grandchildren (Tristan, age 3 and Allison, age 4 months). There is not much that we miss since moving to Guatemala, but family and friends are at the top of that very short list. It was so nice to finally hold my grandkids.

Our schedule was packed full with family and friends, US drivers license renewal and shopping. There are quite a few things that we cannot buy here or are cheaper in the States, so we took the opportunity to go to Walmart and Meijer and make some purchases. I was not prepared for what I found there.
Mms-in-Walmart-Candy-AisleWe do have Walmart in Guatemala now. They opened stores about two years ago, so we shop there once a month. However, the stores here do not have anywhere close to the selection of US Walmarts. I was literally overwhelmed by the choices and merchandise available. A trip down the candy and cookie aisle yielded 12 different kinds of Oreos and 9 kinds of M&M’s. And at one point I found myself in the men’s underwear section looking like a deer caught in headlights. I mean, I just wanted regular men’s underwear, not boxer briefs with a micro pore sweat dispersal system and Bluetooth capabilities. Everywhere Wanda and I turned we were met with an overwhelming number of choices.

In some parts of these stores I found myself getting disgusted. Do we really need so much stuff? It is ridiculous to have this many choices for basic products. But in other parts of the store my hypocrisy showed through. As I walked through the hardware section I found myself drooling and “needing” tools and gadgets that I did not know existed until that moment. Funny how that happens, isn’t it? The same thing happened when I walked through the electronics department and saw all the handy gadgets for my phone. After all, I really need it don’t I? It will make me faster, more efficient, better organized, blah, blah and blah.

WantAnd in the midst of one of those ponderings and justification sessions I caught myself. And it scared me. I could feel the demon of want worming its way into my heart and life…along with its constant companion, discontentment. There I was, a man who works daily with the poorest of the poor, finding my priorities shifted in just a couple of hours of shopping. I put down those luxury items a left the store as quickly as possible.

And this whole experience left me thinking. We often fail to realize that the majority of the US economy is built on marketing wants to people by convincing them they are needs. And the powers-that-be do it pretty well. That is why people with perfectly good iPhone 5’s have been lining up around the block to buy the iPhone 6. It is new, it is different and they are sure they NEED it. That is why shoes come in two million different styles. Yes, you have shoes, but you don’t have THOSE shoes. That is why every other month they come out with a new razor or toothbrush that is no better that the old ones. Because they know we will just have to try it. Over and over again the marketing industry plays us like a violin, and we keep pumping out the same tune. (Insert your own 80’s or 90’s tune to the following lyrics):

"I want it! I need it! I really have to have it!"

The economy in the States is dependent upon us buying what we don’t need. And this is to the point that if we were to stop buying luxuries and only bought needs the economy would completely collapse. And so, day after day we are faced with marketing and commercialism. Buy, buy, buy! Spend, spend, spend! And we do.
Gloria's House - copiaTwo days before standing in those department stores I stood in a very different place. I stood in the home of a poor Guatemalan family with dirt floors and a leaky roof. They have a child with cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder and I asked them a question:


That is a pretty wide-open question, especially when it is asked of a poor family by “wealthy Americans.” They could have mentioned so many things and I would have understood. A new roof, a concrete floor for their daughter’s wheelchair to roll on, beds, clothing, and more would have been acceptable responses to my question. But without hesitation the father responded, “We have everything we need except the medicine to control my daughter’s seizures.” (As he answered this there were three children playing happily in the corner with their homemade dolls.)
So, how on earth could I find myself two days later trying to justify gadgets and cell phone cases as needs? How could I find myself so quickly almost captured by that culture’s snares? The answer is painfully obvious: The marketers are good at what they do, and I am bad at keeping my eyes on God’s heart.

MaterialismPeople often ask us if we are scared to live in a culture like Guatemala with all its crime and violence. My answer is no. But living in America scares me to death, because I fear what it can do to my heart and priorities. I fear losing my soul in the American Dream and awakening (again) to discover it is a nightmare.
And so, my family and I continue to walk imperfectly this line of needs versus wants. I so desperately want to see, act and spend like Jesus. But the voices around me scream loudly in an attempt to drown out His voice, and those screams get a lot louder in the US.

So, to those of you who live in the States I extend my respect and prayers. I pray that you will walk the line much better than I and say no to the voices that scream. I pray that you will "spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed” (Isaiah 58:10a). And I pray that you will lose yourself within the heart of God instead of in the American Dream. That is the call of God that each of us shares.

Blessings and love from Guatemala!
Daryl, Wanda and the Crew

Thanks Daryl:   You said it exactly like I wanted to, but with a lot less work for me.  Bet while you were home you didn't have a niece who had artificial eyelashes glued in one hair at a time for $150 though.  The lady that put them in said that they would last for 2 weeks.  Not a bad deal considering that you can only keep a family alive for a few months for that amount.

<>< Yours in Christ: Dick ><>