When we took over the house for the Rices, we tried to get to know our neighbors. It was a gated community but other than setting off firecrackers and rockets for Christmas and New Years for over three years we would never see them. We would see their house servants. Interestingly I quit sweeping the front porch. We would get three or four ladies knocking on the front door wanting a job. Apparently a man can’t sweep his front porch down here.
When we downsized to a house ‘in the jungle’ our neighbor introduced herself, the house was cleaned and lawn mowed by her, we shared food.. met her children. We at last had neighbors. We have been very blessed. We help her and she blesses us in so many ways.
Now I have to be annoyingly vague. First, we are leading a home Bible study through James and at our local church here the study is in James. James pushes living out the Christian walk. Faith in Jesus produces visible results, ‘works’ if you will. Christians are different than the world. We should be visibly different, should we not? Christ says the second greatest command is to love your neighbor as yourself… James says our faith will be visible in how we control our tongue (Ch 3 in particular), that we, like God do not play favoritism/racism, and Ch 1 how we deal with widows and orphans is visible fruit for professed faith.
There are times that good wars with good; did you know that? We have one of those situations this past week. Due to certain events our neighbors moved out this week. We and they are broken hearted – our tears watered the driveway.
When James speaks of brother, a term he uses repeatedly in his epistle he uses Greek word adelphos… the direct literal English translation means “from the same womb!” I called a “from the same womb” kind of brother for advice and help. His first words were don’t get involved… here is where good wars with good. He had our safety in mind and it is from his heart those words came. Yet I have just taught on how a righteous man should help widows and orphans. How can we not get involved? LORD please take charge. I don’t want to defy advice from this brother YOU have put in my life. I don’t want to be disobedient to what we have just studied.
I am in a place where I don’t have a solution to that situation…. We helped them move what little they have. A picture that lingers in my mind is that we loaded three small bicycles… not a one that is functional. I could have been a better neighbor and fixed those. Lord give us a second chance at that, please.
LORD we pray for safety for our neighbor. Out of this time of stress let us have blessed opportunity to share Jesus Christ. Give Cindy and I wisdom and discernment in all these things. Please give us balance in our trusting ways, let us discern those who are evil and let these who are evil be blinded now. Please show Your compassion for our neighbor. We believe what we ask is from Your heart and from Your Word. We ask it in Jesus name Amen.
Jas 1:26 If any man thinketh himself to be religious, while he bridleth not his tongue but deceiveth his heart, this man’s religion is vain.
Jas 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
For this season you who are our prayer warriors please put us high on your lists. We are grateful for your support.
And thank you brother (you know who you are) – you are placed in our lives here for many reasons. We are grateful for you and your family.
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
Stephanie Hawley is founder and director of Exodo and works with the families of rural poor pastors, leads medical mobile clinics, and a couple hundred other things. One of those things is she works with a couple of national evangelical Christian ministries that do drug and alcohol rehabilitation. Funds raised by recycling glass, cardboard, plastic and metals will go to Exodo to be used for rehab ministries.
OK enough serious stuff. Stephanie has bought the rubber chicken key ring for a client of one of the rehab units. He had raised a chick to about 1/3rd grown. One morning he found it dead. Being quite attached to the critter, he tried CPR (seriously) the head flopped left, and he tried again, and the head flopped right obviously no success. Still trying to save his pet chick he gets a power cord and plugs it in the wall after cutting and stripping two wires. He approaches the chicken and zaps it with 110 AC… The chicken seemed to jerk (hmmm). But no life. He tried again and finally gave up. They plucked the electrocuted chicken put it in a pot of soup that fed 45 men that day. Apparently one small thigh went to the director and the rest was prize findings IF you got a piece.
They are calling our friend Electro Pollo… Electric Chicken. And Stephanie is going to give Electro Pollo his own rubber chicken… You have to laugh. So we think the next project is going to be a good stove for the guys and to be paid for by our recycling here at the Vine International Bodega.
Stay tuned. This is Vine Internationals 20th year and an anniversary celebration is being planned in Knoxville. We will need RSVP if at all possible. the date is the only thing firm at this point. Nov. 7 at a hangar off the Knoxville Airport. Details to follow. They will NOT have electrocuted chicken, I promise.
In Christ, Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
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.
Don’t have much time. Was at Hospital Santa Fe yesterday meeting with Dr. Sergio Castillo and Joe Leier planning for the future. The evangelism/work team from Community Chapel of Greenville SC was there as well. This team is near and dear to our hearts. They are supporters and have really taken a shine to the Sergio Castillo family. The youth have been in the local schools doing evangelism most every morning – imagine a country where you can speak the name of Jesus to school kids, share Bibles and prayer… The United States does not know what it is missing.
In the afternoons they were working on projects around the hospital. Our visit was short and sweet. But we had another facility to get to and do some equipment work. AAAnnnnddd I have to go.
This team leaves their electronics at home so they have not updated Facebook or blogs. I applaud their decision to do so, but I live here and don’t have to comply. So friends at Community Chapel in Greenville enjoy a very few snap shots of your family members at our photo blog linked here.
The scorpion escaped this morning, now go pound out my shoes and try to warn Paul Gordon to do the same before breakfast. Don’t worry Mom, I saw him before he saw me.
thank you for your prayer support.
In Christ, Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
Vilma died this morning. Vilma carried every title of importance to a Godly woman, daughter, wife, mother. I knew her as a friend of the ministry of Vine International. Her husband Manolo is a board member since the beginning of Vine in Guatemala and makes doing this work easier…. but Vilma had a special love. She is a champion of orphans. She has intervened in the lives of many true orphans, abandoned street kids, babies and she has been an activist trying to get the orphanage system working here in Guatemala.
That big heart of hers suffered an attack this morning and she did not survive. While obvious her family will miss her as any family would miss a wife and mother, Guatemala will miss her in ways they may not understand. She was obedient and shared the very desire of God when she opened her home up to orphans and when the home became too crowded the Benfeldt’s found property and built a proper ministry. Fundo Ninos has supporters all over the USA that are just now hearing — there are children and now adults that were adopted to loving families in the USA and other countries that were directly blessed by the hours this heroine gave on their behalf. They will share the grief as well. But we who believe have a hope and peace that the world does not understand.
Church in Guatemala, church in the USA it is time. It is time to practice your religion. As James called on the first century church to care for widows and orphans. No GOVERNMENT will ever have the compassion that the Vilma’s of the world has. Orphans are not a political problem, rather they are our opportunity to be obedient to a thrice Holy God. Vilma will leave a hole in this community; who will fill it?
I hugged her last week, commented on her new hairdo. I expected to hug her this week too as we do most Sundays…. As my boss Woody says our hearts break with yours Manolo and family. Wish that we could do more. Would you please pray for the family left behind and for the orphan problem here?
In Christ, Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon, and staff and board of Vine International y Asociacion Vine International Guatemala…
This is a moment of confession/confusion/con-something… Friday a week ago we had an organizational meeting right after breakfast… Hands are coming Sat./need to exchange money in the city/equipment on the bench in various states, a few other things. Paul Gordon goes to the shop at the warehouse, Cindy cleans house and I go to the city for Vine business and exchange money for the Hand family coming a day later. All errands done, and I have my foot to the floor on the accelerator heading back up the mountain – phone rings (I usually don’t answer it – traffic is light so I do) and I hear, “We are here”…….I am confused… couple more comments I finally say “WHO IS THIS?” It’s Marty Hand and family at the airport.. YIKES. Quick turn around back to the airport and pick them up. Feeling very embarrassed and thankfully very forgiven we hit Pollo Campero, the house and the bodega.
You know you have teenage girls in the house when they look at your little bananas (called digitales – fingers) here in Guatemala and hear, “That is SOO cute”. Sarah bananas are edible not cute. Tools in back of van with the Hand family gear and across Guatemala City we head toward Casa/Clinica Angelina.
Marty Hand and I have been friends for over a decade. He is a biomedical technician that has accompanied me on several trips to Dominican Republic and Guatemala. His daughters asked specifically if they could take a trip like this instead of putting money into a senior trip. So we set them up with Casa Angelina with the thought that they would not be in the van traveling as much as we do with the biomed teams. Marty could repair and PM the equipment in the clinic and then work on equipment in the orphanage while the Hand ladies did what ever was HANDY.. they painted fence, cleaned the clinic, and played with kids. Marty earned the name McGyver after fixing dryers, washers, stoves blender, microwaves etc. Cindy Paul and I picked them up at breakfast on Thursday and took them to Antigua where the girls shopped. We had a good evening of fellowship and got the clan to the airport in time for their flight on Friday. The administrators at Casa Angelina have invited the Hands back anytime.
Marty will be part of a video project we are doing about the need for biomedical technicians in Guatemala (and the developing world). This will be presented to the North Carolina Biomed Association meeting in September this year with Jim Moore and the biomeds at Samaritan’s Purse.
Marty, Joy, Hannah and Sarah…. I will never leave you at the airport again. This is a guarantee because Cindy has promised to beat me with a broom if I ever do this again. Photo blog is linked here.
A word about Good search. We are over 13.00 dollars so we will make the $25.00 cutoff this year for a donation check at the end of the year of that I am confident. Only 32 of our readers have participated and 1/4 of those only once. If you are a student doing papers for your classes and using the internet for research, set up GoodSearch as your search engine. (www.goodsearch.com) Enter Vine International in the non profit you want to support box and we get a penny for every search you do. Share with friends that want to support a good mission but don’t have money to do so. If you buy anything online check through Goodsearch and see what kind of deal you can get and watch the donation dollars stack up.
Thank you to the Hand family for demonstrating their compassion for missions here in Guatemala.
In Christ, Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
It was that kind of schedule, some locations were canceled but Refuge International (RI) asked for help checking out medical equipment at a clinic/outpatient surgery site only accessible by water. Hey, it was ‘on the way’. If you get a map of Guatemala look just across the river from Belize almost in the ocean – there is Sarstun. Long van ride. Long boat ride, but beautiful river scenes. Paul and Joe got to talk, and talk. I was ballast in the back of the boat offsetting the tools and these two guys up front.
We assessed, “PM’d” several pieces of equipment, checked the anesthesia machines. Oxygen sensors were corroded and pins were fouled. We cleaned those. Further checking showed that both 110 Volt and 220 Volt outlets properly installed behind the anesthesia machine. Not sure why the 220 line. changed the plugs as the units on the machine or anything plugged into the back of the machine would have been 110. Water filtration unit RI has is an excellent unit but the UV light had failed. Joe and Paul worked on that.
We were done in time to make it back to the van and allow our host to get back home before dark. So we took advantage. Hopefully one of these days we can go back to support one of the medical teams.
Please check out the photos. RI has a much needed facility in a very rural place. They do what a lot of our “partners” do. They do the best with what they have. I applaud them, but we need to help them improve “their serve.” Please check out the photos of the surgical table. If you are medical you will be startled – amazed or something. RI has a surgical table in their sights in Texas, hopefully Vine International will ship it soon. And it will get put onto a small boat in Puerto Tomas or Barrios and hauled to this facility to replace the unit they now have. When you support Vine materially or financially you help over 100 Christian medical and humanitarian medical sites in Guatemala with problems such as these.
Paul Gordon is seeing some amazing things here in Guatemala. One thing is the contrasts – cell towers and high end water filtration units and ancient insufflators, oxygen concentrators and vacuum pumps. He has a mind for puzzles and we try to give him a new puzzle every day.
Marty Hand and his family from Alabama, are here in Guatemala. We will pick them up from Casa/Clinica Angelica and spend Thursday with them and get them to the airport on Friday. So looking forward to their story (well not the Friday arrival where it involved me – the Hands assure me they have forgiven me). Marty has been with me in Dominican Republic, and two or three times in Guatemala to repair medical equipment. But he is a McGyver, from what I hear he has had his hands in the washing machine, dryer, microwave and has been through the clinic there. Perhaps we will get something on the blog from the Hand family soon.
We deeply appreciate your support. We watch closely the news and know that economic issues are very real. We have seen drop off in support. Please take care of your families, your homes and businesses. God takes care of us. We do ask that you would consider sharing our work with others who have a love of missions. Medical missions done properly are a great way to share the truth of Christ.
In Christ, Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon