Paul Gordon will be home…
before this is posted. One aspect of mission work that is least enjoyable is the partings (PARTINGS, not parties M. Rhea) that seem so frequent. Teams come, serve and with smiles on their faces they return to home, hearth and family. We hug and watch the departures dreaming of home, hearth and family.
Paul stayed for two months. He went from serial killer (read former posts) to adopted son… Cindy gave him more hugs than I get when I go. She shed a tear … I get smiles when I leave – as William Mayhew would say, “What’s up with that?” Paul assessed a lot of equipment that he was unfamiliar with. He fixed some, declared some unworthy and that, technically was why he was here. Vine International serves Christian and humanitarian medical ministries in Guatemala. One of our issues is the need to inventory, repair and maintain medical equipment. We need a person with biomedical technical skills to take over this aspect of our mission. Paul has seen the need. Time will tell what the LORD has in store for my young brother.
If you have kept up with Paul’s blogs you know that one of his most memorable moments had nothing to do with repair of machines, but with sharing the One we call ‘the Great Physician’. Paul had the opportunity to share his testimony in a prison here in Guatemala. He did a splendid job. I found my young brother to be spiritually mature – more so than when I was his age. We will be in prayer for/with him as life goes on.
Paul helped in many ways; short term teams, around the house (got the cobwebs that were bugging Cindy), weed eating, gardening, working on the forklift (as old and cantankerous as I am), oxygen concentrators, vacuum pumps, autoclaves, centrifuges, left me with a clean and organized shop, traveled to Hospital Shalom setting up CO2 system and checking out the best prosthetics shop in all of Peten and possibly Guatemala, Refuge International Surgical Center in Sarstun, Rio Dulce where he did construction project with Danny (grin). On the Pacific side of Guatemala Paul worked at Hospital Santa Fe, planning for a construction/electrical team putting in a much needed generator in August.
We stopped at Clinica Ezell near Chicacao where Paul with Joe Leier spent a few hours on a surgical microscope. They successfully repaired the scope and last minute before Paul left the house this morning we found out that 49 patients were operated on last week with that unit. Paul also helped with a video project to share the need of biomedical technical support with the North Carolina Biomedical Technician’s annual conference in September. We pray that much fruit will come of this. Photos for this post and of Paul is linked here.
That is the good news. The temptation here is to always write positive newsletters. We want to be upbeat, share our joy etc. Newsletter training manuals and mission agencies encourage such. And in doing so we hide the truth (a euphemism for a lie?). Mom, we are OK!!! Vine International has reduced its services this year substantially due to finances. This is NOT a complaint, it IS a call to prayer, a call to share. The economy is effecting our supporters in negative ways and we are amazed at how faithful you are in light of economic changes. Woody and all Vine staff firmly believe leaders of families are called to support those families first. Businesses must survive in times like this, please take care of your businesses. Employees who have been faithful are a treasure and deserve your support. Vine International is the LORD’s work and His to support and care for.
Vine International has maintained a robust ‘designated’ service where ministries in the United States/Canada collect material donations for their specific ministries and cover most of the cost of shipping. Where we are reducing service is the area that saddens Woody, Bruce, Cindy and I the most. That is the national ministries and some smaller missions that serve here. They depend heavily on us for materials that do not exist or are not affordable in the national grid. Cristo Es El Camino (Christ is THE WAY) a Baptist group that ministers to the people in the dump and inner city who always need wheelchairs, assistive devices, medicines and dressing materials walked away last week with very little aide. And they brought us lunch. These who are faithful in sharing Jesus in word and deed, why Lord can we not support them better?
We are not caving into this pressure. But we must serve inside that financial fence. God is not surprised. He is in control. We are working as always to increase quality and efficiency to do the best with the resources He gives us. Here is the call – pray, pray pray. We pray for you.
And give as you see fit. A supporter years ago gave up soda and Snickers and sent what she saved to us. Sounds like a small thing but it A.) encouraged us to not take lightly what you give as people sacrifice their comfort to give to this work and B.) at the time Cindy and I were just starting out, that little donation was easily 10% of what we were taking in at the time (grin). Lesson - our ministry will be stronger if we increase the number of supporters who give what they think is “a little”. (Little is much if God is in it… painted on the side of Kentucky Coalmine Mission trailer). Yes we are humanitarian/physical in our ministry but we do not forget the eternal. Dr. David Huitz (Open Arms Refuge Ministries) who uses our warehouse reported 17 professions of faith in his note about a rural medical campaign two weeks ago. Jesus is shared by this work. If you must reduce your giving be blessed, and would you please be vocal and share our need among your friends and churches.
Ever grateful – In Christ, Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon.