Some months ago Andrea and Alphonso asked me to officiate their wedding. If you follow us, you have heard of the Tejeda-Harris family. I believe 12 years ago on MedEquip Missions second trip to Guatemala with a biomed tech (Todd Poor), Vine International vice president in Guatemala then was Dennis and Doris Rice. While we were racing around the country, Dennis Rice was flattening his ear with his phone arranging for an ultrasound machine that just happened to be on a Vine Container to be off loaded and transported to a crises pregnancy center in zone 13 Guatemala City. Todd on our final day in Guatemala plugged the machine in and put it through its paces. The lady that initiated the request was Andrea’s older sister Lucia. Lucia and a group of young ladies had set up a counseling center and were very successful in intervening and preventing abortions. Lucia told us that women who see and ultrasound photo of their child were about 60% more likely to NOT abort. The most startling statistic she told me that day still runs through my mind. When the man that sired the child sees an ultrasound photo the save rate approaches 100%…it seems he understands he has become a mini-creator and no one is going to harm what he has created.
In the course of the day Dennis Rice found out about the Tejeda Harris family business and a partnership was born. Lucia, Andrea, Sonia, and Sonia Mejor (mom) in a brief period of time became family. They are a Guatemalan face to the ministry in our dealings with customs, companies that ship containers in Guatemala, truck drivers, etc. They wade through the constantly changing regulations and keep us from making expensive mistakes. Words can not express the sense we have that God brought us together. Both families feel blessed and that is obvious when you see us get together. Sonia the younger sister is now married and just last week confirmed she is pregnant. I answered the phone to, “You are going to be our American Grandad!” What a blessing. Still it was a surprise when Poncho (knickname for Alfonso) and Andrea asked me to officiate their wedding. The only question I had was, “is it legal for a gringo missionary/pastor to do so in Guatemala?” When they assured me it was so, the answer was yes. Of course Dennis Rice learned and passed this pearl of wisdom on to me – when Andrea asks you to do something= DO IT!
Weddings in Guatemala – hmmm – There are two weddings, one done ‘legally’ before a judge or lawyer sometime before the ‘church’ wedding. Often this is done the weekend before the church sanctioned wedding. There are nuances of differences in how they do their wedding party; no practice ceremony the night before with a big rehearsal dinner was one that made me a little nervous. But the wedding was beautiful. November is usually the beginning of the dry season – whoever God’s secretary of weather forgot to send the memo. It was raining all morning at our house. Cindy and I got there 2 and a half hours early and it was a heavy mist. Some of you had joined us in prayer for this outdoor wedding and the clouds parted and blue sky came in time to dry the seats.
Now a word about photographs… One cannot be the photographer AND pastor, so these photos are of the grounds and some of the lead up to the actual ceremony. Cindy got a couple of Andrea and her mother walking the aisle and a couple of the ceremony itself. Andrea was a beautiful bride. She made a request that Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 be used in the ceremony with an emphasis on 4:12b (ASV …a threefold cord is not quickly broken. ) Poncho and Andrea braided two white cords and one purple cord together during the ceremony. For communion the bread was a three strand braided loaf. One final note about the photos linked here: for some of the men that follow this blog – the International Harvester pickup truck that Poncho restored is some real eye candy. Todd Poor, Jim Moore, David Bennett y’all can quit drooling now.
In the midst of this past week Vine International launched a new website (linked here). The web site is crisp, clean in appearance. There is a tab about the story/history of Vine that you can click your cursor on and watch Woody pack 20 years of history in 5 minutes. If you know Woody – THAT is an amazing feat. Check it out. It is our step into the information age and the social media. There are ways to give to Vine or to sponsor a container if you church or company would choose to do so.
Thank you for your support.
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
Cindy and I would like to announce to those who follow our life here in Guatemala a launch of a new website for the ministry we serve.
Vine International ( www.vineinternational.org )has been working with friends of Vine since a meeting in February of this year to restructure our online presence. Woody has spent hours with friends and specialist to develop this site. It is clean and fresh. It will announce new containers and allow us to share stories of what happens with the material sent. Now, you must to pray for a couple of old guys Woody and myself getting comfortable keeping the site up to date. I still look for paper and pencil to take notes… makes for a really messy laptop screen when you try to erase.
On the front page under the header photo is an animated blurb about Vine and the service we provide/you help us provide to Guatemala. Under that is a tab that says “Learn more about Vine’s history”. Click on that and you will see the founder Woody Woodson share a 5 minute moving history with several photos. Watch for that first infant incubator on the first van load on the first day with a premature baby whose name was Moises (espanol for Moses). That story still brings up a well of emotion for me.
Tonight in Knoxville TN there will be a celebration of 20 years of Vine International serving in Guatemala. If you are our friends and close enough please consider attending. RSVP here please.
Please share our story with your friends. Some of you are feeling pressure from economic downturn. We are praying for all our supporters. As you feel the pinch, things for our friends in the country side of Guatemala are even more extreme. I am constantly surprised at how interconnected the countries in Latin America are with the economy in the USA.
Just a quick note about the website launch and the 20th anniversary celebration today. Enjoy, share and pray for Woody and the board – they have put heroic effort in tonight’s event.
In Christ, Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
Cindy and I always enjoy a break with our friends Mike and Karen Rheas at Rancho de Esperanza. This is a unique place for children where the atmosphere is as home like as this couple can make it. They received a new child about three weeks ago. Carlitos was picked up from Fundaninos. There were apparently several Angels (an hels) there and the staff named this lad Carlitos. In the paper work Karen found his name to be Angel so a new kid, a new name, a new home for Angel in a single day. He is blossoming.
Cindy and Karen catch up on all kinds of things, Mike and I cure the political problems in the USA and talk issues of faith. I think everyone gets to relax for just a brief time. I first met Mike and Karen about 12 years ago. They were running a clinic on the river Rio Dulce (Sweet River) and a boat outreach to some of the inaccessible areas on the river/lake. They had a national nurse for a season, but she was let go for a discipline issue. They continued their work and were a blessing to the Mayans in the region who were woefully underserved. They received a letter from the regional national health department forcing them to close because they did not have national staff.
The Rheas were being led to start a children’s home and put their full effort where they believed God was directing. They sold the boat and started the orphanage. That story is too big to tell here. The village in which the fixed clinic, now closed by government directive, came to Mike and Karen on multiple occasions to ask them to start it again. Karen encouraged them to go deal with their government and get the doors open again. I think now over 5 years the local leaders have built, repaired cleaned and painted. The government still requires a national nurse. There may be two freshly trained nurses who are Mayan interested in the position. The clinic will need about $350 dollars a month to pay wages/expenses for this position. Then there will be the supplying of medicines and basic supplies that a clinic needs. Vine International has helped years ago and we are standing by to jump in once again. This coming Thursday a Vitamin A and de-worming program will be done as a step towards reopening this much needed project. Please pray for wisdom and discernment for the Rhea’s. They have a heart for this project as do we, but clearly their primary calling is the children at the ranch. A second home is going up and will soon be available for children. So they need a second set of house parents. Perhaps there is someone out there with a medical background who wants to help with the work of home care of children and a medical clinic to serve rural poor…. ?
We stayed through church on Sunday. Pastor Benito who is leading a Calvary Chapel church plant on the property is now also the foreman for the ranch. He has some health issues and was told by his doctor to move close to Guatemala City. This man believes his calling is there on the ranch. So please be in prayer for this brother in the LORD. He is a tremendous blessing the Rancho de Esperanza.
Check out photos linked here. Find in a photo caption what Michael Jose said to Cindy one night before walking across the field to the little house that caused Cindy to tiptoe all the way. Mike and I both laughed out loud.
As you know by now we will celebrate our 20th Anniversary of Vine International serving in Guatemala on Nov. 7 2013. I was with some of the board members in Guatemala early this year and heard Dave Russell tell of that first trip. They had an infant incubator in the back of that van… and the very first night after delivering the incubator, it was put into use to warm and save the life of a premature baby named Moises (Moses). That photo may be part of the proceedings so go and see… simply RSVP at this RSVP Link
Thank you for your continued support.
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
First the 20th Anniversary Celebration of Vine International and the work here in Guatemala is being celebrated in near Knoxville TN. Nov 7th 6:30 to 9:00 in the evening at Knoxville Island Home Airport 2701 Spence Place, Knoxville, TN 37920
If the link in the picture does not work, try http://www.vineinternational.org/main/?page_id=1948 I am sure it will be an enjoyable time, but Cindy and I will not be there.
As we have pointed out in last couple of blogs Dennis is officiating a wedding in Guatemala less than 48 hours after the Vine International Shindig and we did not want to take a chance on air travel that close to this wedding.
Andrea Tejeda-Harris is getting married. This family is part of the Vine family. They are an extremely good blessing here and have helped in countless ways to expand the work in Guatemala. When Andrea asks, Bruce White, Woody Woodson, Cindy and I say YES MA’AM!
Cindy and I spent the day with Pancho and Andrea and his mother, and step father. We went to see the event center where the outdoor wedding was and went over the service. It is a beautiful orchid farm, with a house that may go back to the 1700s. It will be a beautiful wedding I am sure. We will post some photos after the wedding but here are a few photos of the bride and groom and the grounds.
We are going to take a small break and go visit our friend’s the Rhea’s at Rancho de Esperanza in Rio Dulce. We always enjoy seeing the kids and the chatter that goes on ALL the time when you have so many adolescence and teenagers.
We are in the midst of a Vitamin A and anti parasite program the meds are provided by Vitamin Angels through MAP. Lots of work being done by our “partners” throughout Guatemala. When we are done, 10′s of thousands of children will have been treated. Perhaps 100′s of thousands as each ministry ‘improves their serve’.
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
I am not sure how one can not believe in God. Cindy and I teach two Bible studies each week. One at our house on Sundays, where we are going through the Gospels following Jesus through His earthly ministry and emphasizing the Jewishness of our Lord, His Gospel and how that effects our current beliefs. This group are English speaking missionaries in this region. We are particularly blessed to have Jan with us who has long been interested in this very thing, has spent time in Israel and adds many pearls to the discussion. God puts these resources together.
The other Bible study is at a neighbors house and we need a translator there. We are teaching through the gospel of Mark, to a mixed group. It is challenging to teach Catholics, pentecostal and evangelicals. This group has gotten comfortable enough to have some mighty challenging discussions after the teaching. The LORD continues to teach me many things. God gives the words to say in these times.
And there is a third Discipleship group, that while Cindy and I don’t lead, we work closely with them. In our Bible studies this past week we picked up on Matthew 10:16 Jesus paired up His 12 disciples and sent them out with these words, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” This week one of our discipleship group was murdered because that person chose Jesus Christ and could no longer live her old life. This was one of God’s lambs sent out in the midst of wolves… we are both broken-hearted and praising God at the same time. God will be glorified. And another martyrs crown given…. God gave us this verse for this event. God let’s us see more courage, true joy in some of these brothers and sisters unexpressible testimonies. God’s word tempers our grief. Only God knows what tomorrow holds and He alone can prepare us. Sorry to be so vague but necessary at this time.
While the tears clear, Cindy and I have been extremely busy, three containers in ten days (August – Sept.), Vitamin A program, Albendazole for parasites, I think over 60 ministries coming through the bodega, a couple of major hospital projects that we are advising/helping with… crazy busy. Schedule slowing down to reasonable. We were tired and took a night off and stayed at Hotel Aurora in Antigua.
We ate a good hamburger at Joe’s Grill (good hamburgers are hard to come by here in Guatemala). And we found Pastores, the town that deals with all things leather. I have ordered a pair of black shoes to go with the black suit for Andrea’s wedding in the near future. One blessing last week was meeting one of our friends Stephanie Hawley with Exodo at her home. She was a chef Texas/Louisiana before being a missionary in Guatemala, so we were forced to eat TEXAS BBQ ribs and chicken. That pile of bones on my plate was just a little piggish. Outstanding!! We HAVE to go back this week to pick up the shoes and we are taking a bag of grits to her and talk about expanding the Vitamin A / parasite program into the sugar cane regions. Wonder what she will make for lunch this time.
One month from yesterday Vine International is celebrating 20 years of service in Guatemala. While Cindy and I will not be physically in Knoxville our hearts will be there. I will be officiating Andrea’s wedding here in Guatemala. The Vine family considers the Tejeda-Harris family our family. But all you who support us are invited to Knoxville. I know that is a little bit of a travel for most of our supporters. If you happen to be close you should go. There will be pictures, video, I am sure they will make Woody tell the story of Vines two decades sometime during the evening. There should be some food, I imagine. You can RSVP at this link so we can have a head count.
We have a new website launch coming up which will be that week. I have seen the new website and am going to beta test some of the functions, such as adding our blog posts and photo/video content to stay current with events on this end. It looks very professional – now if a couple of old guys can keep from messing it up!!??
Thank you for your support. In Christ, Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
We are tired. Due to a combinations of forces (finances mostly) we were unable to ship containers through the summer. BUT when Woody received a grant, our boss made up for lost time. We received three containers in about 10 days (Paul Gordon where are you when I need you), all filled with coveted material. One was 80% designated, the second was from Wheels of Hope with wheelchairs, rollaters, walkers, crutches and the last was a MAP medicine container. Cindy and I took about four days to get all in order and then we announced the delivery to all on our container list. *Have you ever watched Shark Week?* The feeding frenzy started. We served over 30 ministries in the first week and that is tapering off now. Each ministry averages about 2 hours in the warehouse. Friday was unbelievable, first ministry was over an hour late, second ministry on time and the next two ministries came early. So we had four ministries at the same time. I got the lists confused and had to rewrite for accounting purposes – not the day to make such a mistake.
Motrin has been our friend – all the lifting (unload, move into place, give it away and loading the recipients vehicles. AS OF TODAY, those three containers are well over 80% dispersed.
In the midst of this we are involved in a couple other projects – collecting material for our 20th Celebration November the 7th in Knoxville and a Vitamin A project for MAP and Vitamin Angels.
Yes, Vine International has been collecting and dispensing medical aid for 20 years. The first effort was a van full… in that van was an infant incubator. The day that was delivered it was used and the very first baby in that incubator was named MOSES!! Many stories are being collected for sharing at the 20th Celebration. It will be in Knoxville at a hangar at the airport from what I hear. Cindy and I will NOT be able to attend because I am officiating a wedding in Guatemala. Andrea Tejeda-Harris is more than a friend to our ministry, she is family and has asked us to do the wedding. That wedding is the 9th of November. I do not want to take the risk of any flight delays and not be back for the wedding. As a side note, we have tried to buy a suit for me in Guatemala… they don’t come that big down here. So I have a tailor made black suit made here in San Jose Pinula for about 200 dollars. I haven’t been in a suit for 20 years. chuckle.
The Vitamin A project is a good one. Vit A reduces child mortality, infant and childhood blindness substantially in the developing world. Vitamin Angels has a huge goal of treating over 40 million children worldwide. One of their biggest clients is MAP, and Vine International is among the largest clients for MAP. We are trying to collect numbers of children treated. Trying to be accurate when the language is difficult – is difficult, smile. We are going to give it the college try. It is clear to me that if we can do this annually we will improve this treatment program with the experience that comes with repetition. We will give a future more detailed report of this probably March of next year when final tallies are in.
For Wheels of Hope fans – wheelchairs, crutches and rehab chairs are in a word GONE!!! We still have walkers and rollators. Praying the LORD pours it on ya! So we can get another container soon. Do you collect canes? We could sure use canes.
Well got to keep running just wanted to do an update as it has been awhile. We continue to lead two Bible studies (Wed evening, Sunday afternoon). We appreciate your prayer support. No photos this time will try to put together some shots for next occasion.
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
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