Medical project? Really?
I am not sure now how Kristopher Hatchell Consulting Engineer at Lipscomb University got Vine’s information but I received a note from our boss Woody Woodson to communicate with Kris. We were going to ship bridge decking for a mission project for Lipscomb University, Raymond B. Jones College of Engineering, Peugeot Center for Missions Projects. (raised eyebrow, a shorter name would be good – evil grin. LU from now on). Conversation by email begins. Behind the scene I ask Woody how does one translate bridge decking into a medical project? Vine International pretty much holds to its calling to support medical missions in Guatemala. Well here is the old bridge. This community is isolated from outside resources, grocery stores, medical facilities (Aha! the medical connection). During the rainy seasons the bank on the left potentially will continue to fail and what is now unsafe would fail altogether. And here in Guatemala some would use it until it failed with someone on it!
LU team engineered the bridge and the supports on either end. Working with a local ministry Association ADICAY the base supports were poured before the team from USA arrived. Meantime back in the USA, the team designing the structure decided on a reinforced plastic decking that needed shipping to Guatemala… Vine International handled the shipping. With the scandals in government and customs in Guatemala, delays in port are the norm now. It worked out that we were able to load the pallet of decking on ADICAY staff member pickup on Saturday morning and the team came on Sunday, work began on Monday. Calling it that close gives us grey hairs!
LU team worked with men and women of the local village and the ADICAY team. Cindy and I love groups that include locals and build relationships like this team did. Prayerfully some of those relationships will last, in a meaningful way, longer than the bridge.
So medical? Bridge? Really? Yes really! It opens the community to transportation to larger towns with medical resources. Improves access to potable water and improve food supply for nutrition of children and adults. We at Vine International look forward to ‘doing it again’! Thanks Kris for thinking of us.
Here are photos of completed project. The wooden scaffolding is not holding anything and will be torn down by the people in the village.
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
Well Cindy and I left Guatemala in the dry season and I returned in the wet season – it happens that fast. We left it was brown over a little green, the grass was dormant and big dry cracks in the yard. Now everything is bright green. The jasmine is in full bloom and fragrant. And then there is the lightening – it hit on both sides the house in seconds last night. The fresh smell of nitrogen after the flash of lightening let you know how close it was. I went to sleep with the sound of rain on the roof.
Got to get to work. Exchange money to pay rent. The refrigerator is empty, must deal with that! We are waiting on a truck driver to be found to bring container to the bodega. (PLEASE pray for this one as we have a couple projects that need their stuff so their teams aren’t twiddling their thumbs.) Always the need to connect with friends when one returns. Catch up on the news, some good = some bad, like the neighbors dog Bobbie very friendly, not much of a guard dog except against strange animals was clubbed to death while we were in the USA. Cindy and others that stayed here and met this gentle beast are very sad.
Returning is more than remembering the two hours time difference, must once again remember not to drink from the faucet, where the toilet paper goes, to wear shoes when outdoors, and indoors. and the cat – for 11 days I have to remember the cat. Then Cindy is back and I won’t have to remember Misha (which in Mayan means “CAT”). Cindy remained behind to celebrate Peggy’s 25th birthday and get some things done around the house.
Returning means I can rest for a couple days. Our trips to the USA are filled with meetings, many days multiple meetings, speaking at churches and with friends who support us financially and with prayer. Trying to encourage others in their calling. Visiting family which we cannot get enough of, hugging necks, eating and fellowship. We never get to everyone we would like to but we wear ourselves out trying. Being ‘home’ is never a vacation for us. Window and plumbing need fixing, cars maintained, grass trimmed and poison ivy sprayed to try to keep it from taking over. Back to the eating and fellowship – always a blessing only one curse – I come back weighing 10 – 12 pounds more than when I left Guatemala!!!
Those of you we got to see, it is always a blessing (Jim Clemens – the next time I will buy pizza and come to your shop). For those we did not get to see, our apologies, perhaps the next time.
Back into the saddle in Guatemala, projects here always amaze me. We have reading glasses coming – they won’t gather dust. A new to us ministry has shipped decking for a bridge to an isolated village in Coban area to improve their access to health care, pure water. (that is the one we need to pray this container into the bodega for. The decking needs to be delivered this weekend as their team arrives on Sunday). A tubing bender for wheelchair repairs, the usual medical support materials mostly designated to some of the ministries that use our shipping services.
Thank you for your support. We are having a typical first quarter with giving down after Christmas, but are confident that it will pick back up. Please let us know if there are prayer concerns for your family or business. It is a way that we can return the support you give us by praying for your needs. Bless us with the opportunity to pray for your needs as you do for us.
As I was getting ready to press send/publish news came that the container will be in our bodega this afternoon. You who pray for us do some mighty good work. We get answers before you ask!
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
Hello friends in Asheville area,
Cindy and I will be presenting our work with Vine International in Guatemala at Sunday service on May 1st at Calvary Chapel of Asheville. The official address is 5516 Boylston Hwy., Mills River, NC 28759. It is out past the airport towards Brevard. Service begins at 10 – 12. We would love to see you there and give you the latest update.
Come see what we do with your faithful support.
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
Jesus came off the Mount of Transfiguration to a mess. The disciples left in the valley had tried to heal a boy to no good end. The father dropped to his knees in front of Jesus asking favor for his son. Dad went to the source of the Fountain. Jesus rebuking His disciples healed the child. Children play an important role in many of Jesus’ teachings in chs. 17-19 in Matthew’s Gospel. Later in this chapter Jesus points out the special privilege of the children of the king to not pay tribute.
The disciples likely arguing of their self-importance were rebuked by our LORD when He simple pulled a child into their midst and said, “.. except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little chil, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in My NAME receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believ in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (18:3b-6)
Then being slow learners, like me, the disciples tried to chase the mothers and their children away in ch. 19. Once again they garnered a rebuke from the Master. 19:14-15 ‘But Jesus said, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto Me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” And He laid hands on them, and departed thence’.
In Guatemala a family is burying an 11 month old today, latest tomorrow. The child died in its mother’s lap while in a waiting room of a medical facility, no meds, no…
We come to the source of the Fountain = 0ur Father in Heaven, and Jesus help us change these stories for Your glory and honor, amen.
With tears, that is all I can say.
In Christ, Dennis and Cindy
Our Vine staff of four does have a huge upside. It’s productive, efficient, and we have a lot of experience under our belts. But there is also a downside we are having to embrace. We’re all getting older. For many reasons, we are convinced that this God-built model needs to develop and increase, which means we have to begin considering how to pass on the torch to younger, long term help. So do we have your attention? Good!
Vine International started in 1993 in Knoxville. Woody thought they had saturated medical missions in Guatemala the year they helped 30 ministries. Dennis and Doris Rice ran this ministry from 2004 to June 2009. During that time the work more than doubled. They turned it over to us in 2009 and helped smooth the transition. It has once again almost doubled under our seven years of care. Vine International has gone from helping a few medical ministries – to ministries (that’s safe to say) depend on the shipping service and supply that Vine International brings to Guatemala. We are at a rate of 20 containers per year. Woody Woodson our founder, Bruce White manager of the US collection center, and the McCutcheon’s here in Guatemala are being stretched.
I am now 63 y/o (Cindy is much younger) and the physical work of unloading 40 ft. containers and moving the boxes multiple times is getting to be more than we can do. So we are asking – first in the community that has supported and befriended us over the years – to prayerfully consider whether working with Vine here in Guatemala could be a calling for you and your family. Of course, that “match” will ultimately be the decision of Woody and Vine’s Board of Directors.
Some important points:
I believe that Vine International Guatemala will continue to grow. The need for our service exists in a major way. The national healthcare system may improve under this administration, but will not be able to meet the need.
We serve over 100 medical missions currently. Some of the old ministries are expanding. There are new ministries bringing exciting projects to fulfillment. All of these are increasingly dependent on the donated medical supplies and medicines that Vine International ships to Guatemala. The need for Vine’s services will expand. Two families here would be necessary within a year or two.
Just as Cindy and I have done, this work means raising your own support. It is a mission. It is a mission where not all churches see the value of logistics and distribution… making it difficult to raise funds. But I assure you Christ is glorified in this work. I assure you He provides. We know first hand.
Over the next few years, Cindy and I will continue to be here managing the overall Guatemalan operation, but we will be ‘aging out’. However, by addressing this now, our helper(s) would have time to do language school and slowly transition into the work of the ministry. Parts of it are easy, incredibly gratifying, and will make you smile. Parts of it (working with government agencies) can be frustrating and take a bit of a bulldog personality. It is our goal to reduce our physical labor in Vine by June 2017 and to continue after that in a support role and administration – which means Cindy and I could help cover for the new folks when they’re away for family issues or vacation.
As a humorous aside, after the Rice’s left, in that first 6 – 8 months every office that we dealt with, (that Dennis Rice gave directions and drove with me, went in and introduced me to the people I would deal with) MOVED. One of those offices moved twice!… smile… I was shouted at for going wrong ways on one way streets. An interesting time that was.
We will be in the USA/Asheville area and WV the last two weeks of April if you are interested in talking about the opportunity to serve Christ in this unique ministry. Those weeks will be busy but this is important and we will make ourselves available to answer all your questions.
Those who are faithful to pray with us, please join us in this issue. We love the work of Vine and want to see it continue into the next generations, until He comes.
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
Cindy and I are blessed to have company these past two weeks. Woody and Dianna Woodson the founder of Vine International plus Cindy and I left the Barcelo with Katie Pace, Kathryn Hearns from MAP (Medical Assistance Program) to do site surveys here in Guatemala. MAP is our supplier of medicines. They are generous to us and need to see the fruit of their labors in Guatemala. It is easy to show the warehouse/bodega. It is cool, inanimate, containers come in and stuff goes out — it would be drab if you did not know what happens to ‘the stuff’ in the hands of doctors, nurses and others at the end of the pipeline. The simple analogy of ‘pipeline’ defines Vine International.
One of the Vine Family’s great frustrations is that the work of Vine is easy to ignore. Take a chair and watch a pipeline. Sort of boring – all you see is pipe. No motion. It doesn’t change color. The visible work occurs on the ends and inside. Collection – in our case occurs in ministry partners like Joni and Friends, Samaritan’s Purse, Wheels of Hope, MAP, and our collection center in Knoxville TN area. The materials pour into the open end of the Vine Pipeline, strangely looks like a container instead of round pipe. Shipped by tractor trailer to port, often Mobile AL, placed on container ship then offed in a port in Guatemala, trucked to the warehouse and off loaded (wash rinse and REPEAT). We help a lot of ministries and most in their newsletters never mention the issue of shipping – we are that boring.
On these trips, I so wish you could hear all the expressions of gratitude, the stories of how the medicines, materials, equipment have helped so many. Cindy and I get tired moving boxes and pallets. We recognize the fruit is NOT in the bodega. MAP is a larger organization and has staff to analyze their service. They work at identifying the process and seeing the fruit of their collection and distribution. Their pharmacists on staff estimate a single container provides medicines for greater than 62,000 patients. The joy in this work is seeing the fruit. So off to see some of those 62,000 patients and their care givers.
Cindy and I discussed a cross section of our ministry partners in Guatemala, choosing rural/urban, national/expat supported works, and off we go. We saw about a dozen works this trip. The MAP crew always had their notebooks in hand and Katie had her camera (which she would not trade for mine). Because of the failure of the national health system, expat missionaries, local churches, those with a humanitarian heart see a void that needs filling. Doctors, nurses and pastors step into the lives of the wounded and hurting and offer aid. There are many Guatemalans with hearts the size of Texas who help their fellow citizens. Some ministries are better funded than others, some with skilled personnel, some that do basic low level clinic care, and volunteer EMT/firemen called Bomberos here in Guatemala. We saw a cross section. There were similarities. The common chronic issues, diabetes, hypertension is seen as on the rise with change in diet (soda, hamburgers), the dependence on corn tortillas, beans and rice as the large percentage of diet. There were differences. Rural ministries see hernias and machete injuries. Ministries close to roadways see increase in automobile wrecks, pick-up and bus wrecks often with multiple catastrophic/multiple trauma.
On this road trip we heard the gratitude for the assistance that Vine International provides. Some state they could function except that Vine is here to help, all have expanded their ability to serve because you our supporters keep us here. Lives have been saved, sick bodies healed, souls brought into the kingdom of Christ because of the work here. Without the multiple supporters, financial, material and prayer partners on the USA end we would have no success. Equally without those who coast to coast and from sea marsh to mountain top in Guatemala with a desire in their heart to serve the poor and under served we also would have no success. Servants, all of you we thank you.
A rather extensive photo album is linked here on our Smug-Mug blog site. Enjoy.
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
Angelita, a jewel to all who held her, smiled and I got to see it. That memory will be a lifelong treasure.
Hope for Home is a ministry of the Fulp family… they would tell you it is a ministry of the LORD’s. Both statements are true.
“Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them.”
You see the Fulp family is a work of art of the very hand of God, in Christ for a purpose on this earth, from the mind and heart of God from eternity past. They do the thing that is on the heart of God and this week it was to attend a precious special needs child as she left all deformity, all pain, all sorrow behind her on this earth and got to see Jesus in all His Glory. What a blessing this family is to the children in Guatemala…
Angelita died last night Monday 25 January 2016. As is normal in Guatemala her funeral is today. I go back to a recent blog post about weeping and rejoicing in such proximity of place and time. While knowing life was hard for this child, I cannot address Angelita’s history well. I only knew her a few months. The Vine family saw an expressed need and put Hope for Home in touch with friends at Esperanza Contra Esperanza. A high pressure shunt was placed and Angelita woke up literally smiling… soon though she seemed to return to her prior state. We did not see the prolonged recovery everyone desired. Feeding tube was necessary and recently a decision for a PEG tube was done. Her little body tired of the fight and she went home Monday night.
We do not know what will come. But, Angelita has left a desire in those who were touched by her life, a strong desire to serve challenged children in a real and lasting way. Guatemala is a beautiful country and has a beautiful people, but ironically it is a country hard on women and children. God has given us a command in Scripture to care for widows and orphans… The Fulp’s with a few others, already shine in this category. May the LORD light a fire under the rest of us.
Please pray for the Daryl Fulp family in this time…
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon