I see it has been awhile since we have posted. Christmas in North Carolina, West Virginia and Virginia was productive for ministries we work with but we were not able to do much for Vine and personal needs. BUT still the LORD blessed us with some special givers. Our roof for the house was covered financially and we are very grateful. Everyone is so busy for the holidays, enough so we may change our pattern of coming to the USA. We want to see our grandkids participate in sports, etc. We are looking at our schedule for the year ahead.
Since return to Guatemala we have had our ups and downs. Cindy and I worked hard to get the containers that came early in Dec. in order and most of that material is being used as designed. We have seen a decrease in donations of wheelchairs and are seeking other resources there. The Vine International Board of Directors has some new fire! We will see what comes of this.
Woody and Dianna Woodson our bosses are here in Guatemala right now. This is a split team. The first part was traveling and research for ministry opportunity’s with Norris Hill and family. Also this is Dianna’s first trip and Woody is showing her ALL of Guatemala (we don’t call him Hurricane Woody for nothin’). IT is good for the Vine family to see what we do through new eyes once in awhile. We have covered Guatemala from Quetzaltenango to Flores, seen Tikal, a few of our partners in ministry and have told a ton of stories from the past 20+ years of Vine’s existence in Guatemala. I learn something new all the time.
Several exciting projects are in the development stage and will be beneficial to rural medicine (Canilla, Chocola, out side of Antigua) in Guatemala where the most underserved exist in this country. Also an exciting project is moving from vision to building stage in San Jose Pinula to serve children’s homes in Guatemala. Vine will be involved in advising in the progress of these groups as well as what we do best being a supply line. Some but not all the ministries we serve are suffering from the decrease in donations that follows with job loss in the states. But the LORD shows Himself strong and resourceful. We know some of you give sacrificially, we guard your gifts and try to ensure they go to the point of need.
I have passed a small kidney stone (that is a good thing – small being the key word) but also have been bit or stung by some small Guatemalan critter. He got away, but right now it looks like I have been hit by a baseball bat just above the right hip. Cindy wants to take a picture, but I assure you most of you just don’t need to see that part of my anatomy. The doctor at Hospital Shalom – Peten graciously checked me out and did some lab. All seems well other than bruising.
We will be returning to our home tomorrow, getting the Woodsons on the plane on Monday and getting back to work on Tuesday or so. Many things added to the schedule and there is lots to do. I have a study designed with Abiding Life ministries to help with counseling opportunities here. We continue Wed. night Bible study and preaching on first Sunday’s near Antigua. We will also be sharing and preaching at Hospitalito Espiritu Santo (The Holy Spirit Hospital – don’t you love that name?) in March. It already looks like 2015 will be busier than 2014. Praise the LORD!
This is the dry season, rains will start late in April or early May. (mangoes come with the rains). 2015 is an election year I believe, with all that comes with change in administration. Sometimes good changes, sometimes not so good. Please pray for Guatemala, for Vine International and that we may glorify Jesus Christ with our words and deeds this year in even greater ways.
Please let us know if we can pray with/for you.
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
PS a little ‘housekeeping’… if you don’t want to read our updates please let me know so I can remove your email from this list. On the other hand if you change your email please let me know so you can stay informed. You can always find us/contact us through Vine International website http://www.vineinternational.org
Just a brief post to let you know we have not dropped off the face of the earth. Without Cindy here with me in Guatemala there is not a lot of free time. We can’t split up and go to the bank to stand in line to pay bills and all the other activities of daily living. Our boss Woody is found of saying some days in takes all day just to live in Guatemala. Well now it takes two…
It has been humbly surprising the out pouring of support from the missions and ministries here in Guatemala once they found out Cindy was at work in the USA and I stayed here to keep Vine International going. Other support has increased as well. We are grateful. AND pleased to announce while we have yet to meet our goals completely the pressure is off and Cindy is coming back to Guatemala with me on return flight January 2015.
There is a lot happening here in Guatemala and I have alluded to these projects in past notes. I will start doing a full report on each project after the first of the year. Next week I am picking up three senior college students, Paul Gordon being one of them, for a week in Guatemala surveying some of the issues in medicine in the developing world. They have taken on a project to see if we can extend the life of or refurbish oxygen concentrators. This would be a huge score for medical missions and medical care in developing world if they are successful… and preliminary reports are exciting. Will keep you posted.
I will take them to Hospital Santa Fe to meet the Castillos and enjoy the world famous raccoon sandwich they serve all new comers on Thursday next week. I put them on the plane on Wed Dec. 17th come home, clean house and get a haircut preparing for flight to Asheville on the 18th. We still have a couple containers in the works and we have really pushed the envelope as far as getting them through the custom system here. So please by in prayer these do not get hung up.
New board members are meeting with Woody today. They will discuss several issues including a new used forklift for both ends of the “Pipeline” of Vine services. The one here we are working on about 5 hours for every 20-30 minutes of service. I am ready to push it into a very deep lake. It is hard to justify putting any more money into repairs – so pray for the details of this ministry.
One final note and the main reason for this brief note: please change the ministry email to firstname.lastname@example.org and delete email@example.com
We don’t want to loose contact with you.
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
Cindy sent a note early Wednesday, 17 September 2014 that Pastor Bob Wilson died that morning. I sat on the bench on our front porch in Guatemala. I thought of some of the conversations with this dear brother in the LORD. I remembered some of his teachings, stories and sermons. I remember Juanita his wife, Robin his daughter, there are other children but I did not know them – praying for them as I remember. I wish all of you could have been in my church the day that both Bob and Juanita shared the testimony of their salvation. It was a proper balance of who they once were and glorifying Jesus our Redeemer. So many testimonies are 20 minutes of who I was and a two minute oh by the way Jesus died for me… not Bob and Juanita. Jesus is the star of the show in the Wilson memoirs.
I complained once to Bob about being stressed about job, every other day on call, often 12 hours days, trying to build the ministry MedEquip Missions and balancing family in that formula. Bob gave Godly advice for a life once again out of control. Self control is a fruit of the spirit he explained, but the thing I remember most is his acronym for BUSY: Being Under Satan’s Yoke. It helped trigger the move into missions full time for the McCutcheon family.
Cindy and I reject the term sacrifice as a descriptive of mission work. Don’t get me wrong, it is difficult at times but for the most part there is a peace of knowing that this is what God has called us to. Then to compare what we do with the true sacrifice Christ made for us is offensive frankly. The only thing that comes close to smelling like sacrifice is missing family, not being here for the parting of friends – things that are deeply relational. I have missed David Barger and William Mayhew’s funerals. Those hurt a bit. Men who had been put in my path to teach me things that God would have a son learn, were called home and I could not be here. Not this time. I came to western NC to be part of this home going. Now mixed in that is a chance to see my wife, children, and grandchildren a blessing to be sure.
Romans ch 12 came to mind. This chapter is a rich chapter in Paul’s writings. After encouraging believers to be transformed the thirteenth apostle starts to teach what transformation looks like. Here is what pops off the page. Verse 15 says, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” End extremes it seems, in the same verse, the same sentence, so close together. In my TODAY, we went to a wonderful church service. I listened to a powerful message about clay in the Potter’s Hands. Prayed with my wife at the front of our home church and then home to eat pot roast, potatoes, green beans with Jason and Hadley, Peggy, Cindy and my granddaughters. Olivia (grandchild #1) is so mature, we talked for awhile. Her little sister, however, not yet two years old, is still not comfortable with a grandad she cannot remember seeing. So slowly I approach, retreat, approach again with a different tactic, ICE CREAM and she finally comes to my lap, empties my shirt pocket of pens and iPhone. SCORE! Sarah on granddad’s lap punching buttons and putting sticky ice cream finger prints on the screen. I will clean my cell phone next month right now I rejoice… then two hours later I weep with a dear family that has lost husband, father, grandfather, uncle. But it is not weeping like the world weeps. There is the hope of resurrection in the conversation. There are words of joy and peace in the midst of the grief. Rejoice and weep are intentionally, buy an act of the Holy Spirit’s inspiration touching each other in Romans 12:15. This is life in verse.
Sigh, some reading this feel guilty to rejoice in one moment and weep in another. It is an issue of obedience. I can rejoice in my granddaughter’s presence, and should do so. In these relationships will come the opportunity to disciple young minds and hearts. Sarah on my lap, Olivia engaged in conversation – are blessings from my God. Encouraging my son and daughter in grace are part of the priesthood of fathering. Equally obedient is leaving the house and going to Groce Chapel and meet the Wilson family and talk and share with family. Cry when Cindy and I hug Juanita’s neck, see her beautiful smile in the midst of this sea of family and friends. This is more than respect, my brother deserves respect. But it is love. Christ loving through us. It is obedience. One more thing jumps off the page today…
God is a God of action. He commands His kids (believers) to act, but notice He keeps some things for Himself. Rejoice/weep is ours to do in the midst of the fellowship of saints here and now on this earth. No where are we to hold back or give it to God to do. But notice in Romans 12:19 Paul says, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. ” In our work in Guatemala violence and sexual abuse of women and children seems rampant and justice is minimal. One estimate I read, is that 10% of guilty parties are ever arrested and of those 10% are convicted. Vigilante justice is an under current in rural settings. You can imagine why. I say that to highlight God keeps some of His work, vengeance in this case, to Himself. There is a principal here. God has work for us to do. Be obedient in that work. God has a work for God to do. Be watchful. Don’t give back to God the labor He asks of us. Don’t take up that which He keeps to Himself.
Bob Wilson is a brother in the LORD. Those of you who know him intimately will see irony in Bob talking to me about being busy… (for those of you that don’t know, Bob was often referred to as the Every Ready Bunny managing our feeding program, preaching on Wednesdays, working with a children’s program/summer camps, Christmas gift giving, on the board of our church and youth ministry above, constantly discipling, encouraging, of which Cindy and I are benefactors). I know Bob and Juanita are faithful in praying for our work in Guatemala and I will miss him. I WILL see him again. I will be looking at the back of his head since he is now closer to the Throne of the Holy One of Israel.
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
We are blessed in too many ways to count. As some of you know Cindy has returned to a job in the USA. I remain in Guatemala to handle the ministry of Vine International. It is not the most pleasant of situations, but we believe it is what needs to be done. Not knowing the future we desire to have our debt retired. We have reduced our living expenses to less than half what they first were when we moved to Guatemala. Many people in the USA think it is cheaper to live here. Some items are (vegetable and AVOCADOS yeah!) but milk fuel wear and tear on vehicles is much higher here than there. Anyway we have incurred debt since serving in Guatemala. And it is ours to deal with. We are not going bankrupt and our support is amazingly stable considering the economic issues in our home country. We are grateful for your support.
Cindy went through the airport with a one way ticket and a new passport that did not have a visa properly stamped in it. It made security a little nervous. She looks so threatening as you know (just ask Casey and Peggy – she never scared Jason but that is a different story). She was grilled on at least two occasions and got to meet the drug and bomb dogs at our international airport. They liked her! Long lay over in Atlanta was extended when some equipment failed on the plane – on the ground – see we ARE blessed. She finally made it home about 8:30 pm (over 14 hour day for her) into the loving arms of family.
Her job starts today. She had this job the day we discussed this option and she called a lifelong friend Beverly. We also knew while we wanted to reduce costs we were going to need to invest in a car. In the meantime we called Red and Sandra (will save their last names as I have not asked them if I could share this yet) who always let us borrow their car. We asked if we could keep it a couple of months to build up a down payment on a personal vehicle. Red is a car nut. On Saturday Peggy dropped Cindy off at Red/Sandra’s house to pick up the car. There was a Toyota Camry sitting in the driveway. These friends gifted us with a car y’all! I cannot express our gratitude enough. We believe this is a blessing from God. Cindy was crying when she told me… fortunately I was on this side and she couldn’t see my reaction…
Thank you Red and Sandra. Thank you Beverly. Now to some frugal living and getting this time of our life behind us in as short a time as possible. No photos this time. Got to run, propane, meet with Tejeda-Harris about some paperwork, gearing up for a couple of Joni and Friends containers for Bethel International Ministries, water man comes today, garden needs hoed and lawn needs mowed and I have promised to spend some time on the bed with my leg in the air… dear!
Thank You LORD for friends that support us in so many unique ways.
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
It ain’t easy. It is humbling. God requires it of all His children on occasion. We are from “America” (actually the United States of America – it is rude here to say you are from America as every one of our Guatemalan friends can say the same thing. We are often rude; it comes from our pride.) Relatively we are the wealthy ones, we should give. We are the spiritual ones here ‘on mission’ and a major part of that mission is to give. It is our role to give. But to receive??? From those who are poorer, from those who we consider friends, yokefellows in mission here; how does one do that?
First, friends, there is a dangerous pride in giving. It is an area the Christian community should take caution. When I give from the flesh; 1.) I keep accounts – you need to show me results. Based on those results depends my future giving. Noah and the apostles would have failed most mission agency tests. 2.) I put you in debt to me. 3.) I am in control of the relationship. You jump through my hoops so I and others can pat me on the back. (gag) If it honors self don’t do it! If it honors Christ, don’t you dare to not do!
Should accounting be done? – in the majority of cases overwhelmingly yes… but supporting missionaries in Islamic world, persecuted churches in North Korea, China, ministries that are trying to free people from gangs, sexual slavery and prostitution may be working in areas where ‘necessary paper trails’ can put these we call brother/sister in danger. Ask the LORD (it IS His money anyway) for wisdom and discernment in these situations. There are times to give, let go, shut up and don’t go home and brag about it on the internet.
There is, also, a sinful pride in refusing to receive. (my struggle in this moment). Here I am just out of the hospital. Sick enough I scared my wife, an experienced nurse. Medical care in Guatemala is done in cash, baby! It is much less expensive when you do not have brokers (insurance companies, government) and lawyers under every rock. Still in our financial situation we were in a position we could not cover the hospitalization and the outpatient medical regimen. Payday is not until next week. We plundered the envelope for auto insurance and propane. Thought it might be enough… it was not. Humbling situation. Yes we are uninsured medically. We could not afford that luxury and serve here in Guatemala.
Into my room walk Oscar and Amy Garcia, and passes an envelope to me from the staff of Orphan Resource International (ORI). It was a busy week for ORI yet every staff member gave, sacrificially. We found out later that our situation was mentioned to ORI’s USA staff and a team here in Guatemala and some of those gave – and that is still coming in. That first gift covered the IM and oral antibiotics, Nexium, couple other things in my daily medical regimen for a total of 10 days. If they had not given we could not have afforded those meds. We have praised ORI in the past and we continue to do so today.
So many other gifts… Amy fed Cindy and Mary Kate while they were watching over me that first day. Apparently I wasn’t thinking of food at that point – Bummer! Amy can cook! The Walls brought killer chicken soup. The Sauders came a couple days after coming home with soup and grilled cheese sandwiches and their daughters cleaned up the kitchen afterwards. Y’all (that is what we say in North Carolina when we mean every last one of you’ns ) are a blessing to us. While I find it hard to receive from you, I was forced to see the providence of GOD for us from you. It is my prayer the LORD will return every centavo 100 fold so you can support the orphans He has given care of to you. Humbly Cindy and I thank Orphan Resource International for holding our hands in this moment.
Mary Kate Hardy biomedical engineering student, gave in a different way. We (Joe Leier, Rick Wood and I nicknamed her ‘Chatty’ – for those who know her, you just smiled) were blessed to have her in our house at this time of need. She went with Cindy and translated very effectively. Mary Kate and Rick Wood showed true mission flexibility by not complaining when we substantially changed her internship schedule here. I pray Mary Kate we do not have to do that again. Thank you both for your help and uncomplaining flexibility.
And Cindy… such a blessing to have a nurse/wife in this time. I am sure they would not have agreed to discharge if she did not have the skills to give injections, take vital signs etc. Thank you honey.
Since I am the photographer there are no photos accompanying this blog.
Thank you for your continued support.
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
This is a brief sweet story. One of the clients (Proyecto de Salud Sangre de Cristo) that use Vine International to help serve their patients had this elderly female patient walk in using a cut off piece of broom stick to help her ambulate. They took her broom stick and gave her a cane collected in Ohio by Wheels of Hope They collect from local private donors or some relationships with companies like Invacare. Vine International ships their goods to Guatemala and distributes to over one hundred ministries and humanitarian aid groups that serve the poor of Guatemala.
So back to this precious grandmother. She was obviously happy with the gift of the cane. The doctor and nurse said she walked into the waiting room, drew herself up to full height and with a big smile announced loudly to the waiting room, “Now I am elegant!”
I do not understand all that is going on in the states but regulations from agencies that no longer answer to congress are interfering with donations. Apparently large companies like Invacare must now send their product to an EPA approved recycling center for destruction instead of re-purposing to ministries like ours. It is sad. If true it is immoral.
Thank you for your continued support.
In Christ, Dennis and Cindy.
NOW it is NOT the first container… Actually it is 165th container and that doesn’t count the buses and van loads of medical supplies that preceded that first container in the last 20 years. BUT it is the first SPONSORED Container of the SKIP program. SKIP is Woody’s attempt at an acronym and stands for Sponsored Kontainer International Program and yes the spell check rejects it. This was a suggestion from friends of Vine late last year in order to try to increase interest and support for shipping containers of medical supplies. SO this is our first. And we are grateful. There will be a later report to show where some of these supplies end up and the patients they serve. See photos of delivery process linked here.
Your church, Sunday School class, civic organization, family or you personally can sponsor a container. The process is outlined on our website. Go to the main web page and scroll down til you see the proverbial Thermometer…www.vineinternational.org This first container funds are complete. It is a medical supply container on average taking $8,500 to pay shipping fees (fuel, road use taxes, container ship fees, drivers, sometimes security guards to ride shotgun just like stage coach with John Wayne). Often it takes another $3,000 for procurement issues. While on our website sign up for the newsletter and check out our history video.
Bruce Allsop will be joining with a few medical associates for the second container. You will notice that it is more expensive $14,500. This is due to fees needed to obtain the medicine and extra fees on this end to get it thru customs. This second container has a long way to go at this posting. Dr. Allsop is one of our board members. I have seen him at work – he is a treasure to the children he works with here in Guatemala. A couple of the photos included in the project page are from a trip I did with him. If you know Bruce and want to join in on the fun, read the instructions and consider a gift towards helping the poor of Guatemala. The link is here at Dr. Bruce Allsop Container
We thank you, all of you for your continued prayer and financial support. The discipleship group is growing by new professions of faith and BY BIRTH. Yea!
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon