* 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, April 4, 2015

The Month Of March

We have just returned from spending 8 days in Huehuetenango. 

It has been a good trip as we were able to visit with a lot of families.   We tried to help them out by giving out food, vitamins, Water filters, and wheelchairs where needed.  We also  shared with them that Christ loves them even when things look very bleak, as they do for so many of these families.   Imagine if you could having absolutely nothing to feed your family and all of your neighbors are in the same predicament.  Or imagine having 2 children that are in need of medicine so that they do not have continual seizures, and having to decide on which one get the medicine since there is not enough money to purchases it for both of them.  Perhaps you would like to trade places with the parents of a 15 year old girl who for no apparent reason started having such muscle spasms that for the past 3 years she has been unable to get out of bed.  Oh yes this young ladies parents were finally able to take her to a local doctor, only to be  told that it was some sort of sickness that she got from a frog.  The doctor's reasoning for this was because her twitching resembled that of a frog.  We came upon this family strictly by God-incidence.  This was on lyr way back home.  We only had one wheelchair left and that was a specialty chair that I had gotten from Bethel Ministries.   It had been intended for someone else but we could not locate that person.  While we were stopped at a small store stalking up on nutritious junk food ( actually our intentions were good as we had intended to buy fruit and dairy products, but they had no Strawberry cheese cake ice-cream) we asked the young lady at the store if she know where we could find the person that we had intended to give this wheelchair to.  She told us that she thought that see did and that the girl's father was working nearby.  In a hart beet the excited father was in the car with us and we were on our way to their house which was several miles away.  While talking to dad we began to realize that this was not the girl that we had been looking for so I told father that even though we had not been able to locate the other girl we would not be able to give the chair that was tied on the top of our car to his daughter because it was a highly specialized chair that would only fit and be useful to a very limited number of people.  

When we got to the house we went into the room where this young lady was.  She was very twisted and her patents assured us that there was no way that she could be go into a seated position.  At first I was convinced that they were absolutely right but after getting her confidence and then working with her for about a half hour she began to relax and go into position. At first she wold spring back to her contorted position at the slightest noise but longer we worked together the more she relaxed and I began to realize that perhaps we would not have to leave her in a lying position and put her into a gurney like chair as I had first suspected. A bit later we tired ot get out of the house to get the specialty chair that was on top of  my car.   I say tried to get out of the house because by now there were about 30 people in the room observing what we were doing.  I can not say enough good things about Fernando and Marcos who were with me.  Fernando is a great interpreter and ever since deciding to study medicine has taken an even  greater interest in doing anything he can to help anyone who is sick or hurting.  Marcos is not as fluent in English but is studying to be a mechanic and these skills were needed as well.  Have I ever mentioned that I am very proud of my boys?  It took a few hours butby the time that we left this young lady was sitting straight and tall.  Not to mention the fact that she was relaxed and said that the chair felt great.   I just love these Godincidences.

By the way don't worry we intend on going back to this area to see if we can get a real doctor to look at his girl and we will surch until we find and get a wheelchiar to the other young lady as well.

Yours in Christ; Dick

Wow I did it an actual journal entry.  I do have some Face book posts as well so I am going to add them below.  Come to think of it I think that I will paste the journal entry into Facebook.  Hope that this does not make you face book haters to mad.  To be perfectly honest there are a lot of things about Facebook that I do not like either.

We Stopped By To Visit Jema Yesterday.

She is a little girl who was born without both arms and one leg. We have already given her the foot control power chair that she loves and uses at school. Even though this determined young lady refuses to be looked at as disabled or handicapped her one wish has been to someday be able to walk. Thanks to my friend Marvin and a generous sponsor that dream has become a reality. Jema's family takes her
to therapy once a week and she continues to improve in her walking. She is a determined young lady and with or without her artificial leg or her power wheelchair this young lady it's always going to be a winner.

Video of Jema using her new Prosthesis


We're having a great time up here in Way-way-tin-ango 
(actually spelled Huehuetenango but pronounced the way I spelled it)

We certainly need your prayers though. David Black, Moisés Guerra, Fernando Velasquez, Marcos Ovalle, and I arrived here on Friday evening.yesterday was mostly spent visiting Family that are sponsored through Bethel Ministries. Voice is one of Bethel's new social workers, he had never met most of the families up in this area so I offered to take him along with us and introduce them to these families. how are visits have been great and thanks to some wonderful organizations we have been able to hand out vitamins dried food the water filter and we will be giving out some wheelchairs. More important than this we are able to visit and share the love of Christ with people who have become good friends over the years. our visits have been great so far. but some of our drives between Family and villages have been a little more exciting than we had cared for. yesterday while trying to make a right turn onto a small road a bus that was parked on the shoulder decided to pull out at the same time. the bus imprint in the side of my car but very very close.five minutes later as I was attempting to drive through a small village we came to a halt as we encountered traffic that was going in the opposite direction on what was meant to be a one way road. even though the road was meant to be only direction that we were going today it was a free for all.I had a bus behind me (fortunately not the one that had just tried to run over me) so there is no way that I could back up. the traffic going in the other direction also consisted of cars trucks and buses so we were at a gridlock. To make matters worse we're stopped right in front of a bar that had to have over a hundred drunks standing outside. we could not see who was inside except for the times that two or three of them would come tumbling out bringing their fist fights out onto the streets with them. at times there were three or four fights going on at the same time and all we could do was watch from inside of the car. being the only two gringos in the entire town Dave and I were exceptionally happy but the windows on my car are quite tinted. I am not real sure exactly how long we sat there but it felt like an eternity. things escalated to bed when a couple of people got hit over the head with their bottles then one retaliated but shooting a rock into the middle of the crowd with a slingshot but it did clear the crowd up a bit as half the crowd went running after him.after a while the traffic started moving again and we were quite relieved to be leaving this town but kept thinking about the fact that we would have to drive back through it on our way out. .the rest trip went well though and the town was quite a bit quieter when we drove back through just before dark.
Today David plans on driving the hope Haven van that we used to transport her chairs back home. Voice plans on staying with us Intel either this evening or tomorrow morning while we visit more sponsored families. the boys and I plan on staying here for another 45 days as we have several wheelchairs to give out and lots of food and vitamins. please keep the families that we visit and us in your prayers.

Were Still Here
Fernando Velasquez, Marcos Ovalle and I are still up in Huehuetenango. Things have been going well. We have been giving out food, vitamins, wheelchairs and sharing the love of Christ with many families. Marcose and Fernando have been a lot of fun to travel with and a real blessing. Not only do they help with interpreting for me, seating the wheelchairs and getting the food and vitamins down from the top of the car, but they have also taken their turns praying for the families. There is so much physical and spiritual need here that sometimes we get overwhelmed. It is difficult to walk by 5 or 6 homes where there is just as much need as a family that we are going in to visit. Praise God for those that we can reach out to but I can't help but get a lump in my throat when I think of those we can not help.
Then the righteous will reply" Lord when did we ever see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you something to drink?"
Matthew 25 : 37


Today I told Lionel who is in the Hermano Pedro Orphanage that I was going to see his parents this week and that I would try to bring him some pictures back. Don't tell me this kid doesn't understand English

One Day Later


Today I went back to the orphanage and spent a little more time with Lionel. While I was holding him he got rid of some unnecessary air from his stomach. (No, he did not burp.) I quickly grabbed my nose and said "PU". I have not seen Lionel laugh like that in years. It was well worth the irritated sinuses and the watery eyes. Next time I go and visit him I'm going to ask that the nurses feed him plenty of frijoles first.

"More Beans Please."

Dick Rutgers's photo.......................................................................................................................
 Short Term Mission Trips

 I have had quite a few comments about the post below.  Most of them have been positive but a few people were not all that fond of it.   When I wrote it  I was not targeting any particulate people or organizations.  If you think that I am pointing a finger at you remember when I point at some one 3 fingers are aiming back at me.  I see much of myself back when I started coming on mission trips so this is as much a reminder to me as it is to anyone else.  If you offend easily please do not read this post.  If you are considering a mission trip and feel that you have all of the answers perhaps you should skip it as well.  I in no ways want it to discourage you from coming on a short term mission trip.  It is on such a trip that God changed my life. He could very well have something similar in mind for you.  If you are open minded and perhaps ready to consider a few things before going on a mission trip please continue reading.


Several missionaries have been posting their views on sort term mission teems lately. I am one of them. I do not want to be taken wrong. I think that short term mission trip can be a real blessing not only to the teem that comes down but if done correctly it can even be a blessing to the people that they come to serve.  Who should we come to serve? The elderly, the hungry, the sick, the disabled? Yes and even those cute little kids with there mouths full of the candy that we gave them! I guess my question should be more how can we best serve. Did you ever think of asking God? and then ask the organization, the church or missionaries that you should be coming down to work with? After all could it be possible that those of us who have been doing this for several years may have some idea of what is needed and of what works best for a people and culture that most people from the USA, Canada and other countries do not have a clue about? After all there is a lot of experience here and most of us have learned by making some pretty big mistakes that you could possibly learn from and avoid. I say most of us because as I mentioned ask God first because he don't make mistakes, but remember God often uses his servants to advise and mentor others who have less experience in a cretin aria.
I repeat Did you ever think about asking the missionary that your team is coming down to work with how they can best be helped? Or do you send him or her an agenda of what you want to do? Sorry but God did not put most missionaries here to be tour guides. Granted there are mission organizations who spend most of their time hosting short term mission teems. I am connected with some that do a down right good job of it, but even if you do come down to work with one of these missions or organizations please remember these are people that have made a commitment to serve God, They are not tour guides. Please ask them how you can help rather then let them know your agenda why not ask them how you can come along side and help.
You would not believe some of the requests that I have personally gotten over the 14 years that I have ben here. Here are just a few. granted some of them have been exaggerated a bit and the answers that follow most of these requests were not the answers that I sent back to the people that wrote them but perhaps thy should have been.

"Hi Dick"
Perhaps I should have written you sooner but tomorrow I am coming in with a group of 15 people. We would like you to take us through the orphanage and then take 15 of the orphanage kids out to lunch. We are a little short on funds but most of us can pick up the bill for our own food. Oh by the way can you pick us up from the airport tonight at 10;20 PM?
My Reply (Not) "No problem! I wasn't doing anything anyway. Well to be honest I did plan on taking a little girl who has leprosy in to the city but that can wait after all she still has 3 toes left. I am sure that your needs are more important. Besides that now that I will be paying for lunch for 15 kids and myself and will likely not be reimbursed for the fuel of picking you up from the airport I won't have enough cash to help this little girl anyway."
Signed Dick the tour guide.

"Hi Missionaries that we are coming to Serve"
We will be arriving on Friday the 23rd at 10:20 PM there will be 11 of us one of our teem members can't catch that flight because her dog is having a birthday party. You will have to pick her up the following morning at 3:20 AM. Hope that this does not innocence you in any way. Oh by the way we have our own personal luggage of 2 bags each plus 6 suit cases of used tooth brushes that that my boy Preston and his first grade class have been collecting for the past 3 years. (Why has Preston been in the first grade for 3 years?) We also have 5 suit cases of used bars of soap that my husband has collected while away from home. (Should I ask why he is away from home so much?) 2 large trunks of hand sanitizer. Can we buy more there if we run out?
Here is what we want to do for the 10 days that we are here.
Day 1 rest, some of us may be tired from our long trip.
Day 2 climb a volcano.
Day 3 Rest up from climbing the volcano.
Day 4 We are ready work. We would like to visit some poor but sanitary homes. (none of us want to get sick while on this mission trip) please bear in mind that 3 of our people get car sick, especially Mrs. Dyeeasy who is 98 and has a serious hart condition so please no curvy roads and noting that is more than a mile or 2 out of Antigua. We would like to return to Antigua by 11;00 AM so that we can sower before lunch. Please remember only 5 star restaurants. We would not want any of our teem members to get sick so that we could not be a blessing to everyone that we minister to. If we have time after lunch and none of are too tired perhaps we could visit a few more homes. Of corse that would mean that we got back to our 5 star hotel in time to shower and rest up befor supper.
Day 6 shopping
Day 7 We would like to do a wheelchair distribution. Please don't invite any people that have anything contagious or any one who has a deformity as several of us have sensitive stomachs. We know that the wheelchairs cost money to repair or build but since we are making this great sacrifice to come down and serve, is there some one else who would be willing to sponsor the wheelchairs? if not we may have to skip the distribution. Actually that may be best as I am quite sure that we will not be abel to get all of our shopping done in one day.
Day 8 and 9 I understand that Lake Atitlan is one of the pretest places around. I think that this would be a good place for us to debrief for a few days."
We will be looking forward to coming along side and helping you.
Here to serve ;;;;;;;;;;;

You no doubt know that the letter above is fictitious but most of the requests are not. 
"No Reply ( If I had one you would not want to read it.) Dick
Then there are the requests that are even worse than the one above. They go something like this.

"Dear ministry that is going to be blessed with our presence."
We are a hard working overly skilled mission teem that any one would give their eye tooth to have help them. You have been randomly selected to be blessed with our presence for 3 days. We know that 3 days is not a long time but we promise to do what no other mission teem has ever done for you in such a short period of time. We will be arriving at 10;20 PM on Monday the 14th. (What is it about that 10:20 flight?) We figure that if you have the van warmed up and running we can get out of the airport by no later that 10: 22 PM. We know that you said that it is a 10 hour drive to the job sight but we figure that there will be less traffic at night and if we take turns Driving your Van we should cut off several hours and be to the job site by daylight. We heard about a teem that put up a house in 4 hours we have been practicing at home and have it down to 3. so if we work from 6 AM to 9 PM we should be able to do 5 houses per day. Do not worry about food we are all bringing power bars. Please make sure that none of the people that we are coming to serve get in our way by trying to help though. We have this down to a science and don't want them to get in the way. Perhaps we can set up a rope barrier and even have a few armed police around to make sure that the people that we have come to serve by building the houses for do not get in our way. This would also keep them from steeling our tools. I hear that most foreigners can't be trusted. If we have any time left after building the 15 houses perhaps we could build a church or a school. We hope to set a record that will stand for years to come.
Glad that we can bless you with our presence."
Dick's reply (If you go home feeling good about yourself or about how much you accomplished, you more than likely missed the point. )
How about asking the local missionary what you can do instead of dictating what you are going to do?
I hope that I still have a few friends left but it needed to be said.
<>< Yours in Christ: Dick ><>
By the way this is a teem that came to serve, and like most they were great to work with.

 Took Marcos out for his18th birthday today.



Oliver & his mom Heather. Oliver is one over several kids that I took to San Lucas Telemann last week for foot surgery. they are back home now and doing well.

Both of the boys picture below has a foot that aims completely backwards. Hopefully by the end of this week that situation will be rectified. There is a team of highly skilled American doctors that is here at Lake Atitlan for the entire week. Not only do they plan to operate on 6 children that I brought to them, but about 20 other people will be operated on as well. Please pray for the 26 or so patients that will have operations on their legs and feet this week. For many of them it is the first time that they have ever been to a doctor so needless to say they are quite nervous. Also pray for the doctors and medical staff that will be treating them. While you're at it say a prayer for me. I will be here the entire week and away from my home and my kids.

Dick Rutgers's photo.
Dick Rutgers's photo.
My friend David Black and I have been on the road for the past several days.. We managed to get 5 or 6 kids back into school simply by repairing their power wheelchairs. We also gave out a few manual wheelchairs. The scenery on this trip has been spectacular, but what we both enjoy the most is visiting with these wonderful people.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home