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Take heart

23/06/2019

So many things happened in the month of May, that it is hard to choose only a few to share. 

Life as a family of four is a very busy life.  Our little Erin turned three months, and she has gotten sick already twice.  The first time, was after she got some vaccines and the second time… We are not sure.  What we do know is that it was very difficult to see her sick, and not being able to give her medication or to figure out what she was feeling.  She had temperatures that kept going up and down, watery eyes, a very strong cough and the saddest of all symptoms:  She didn´t have enough voice to cry.  Oh!  It was so heartbreaking to see our baby girl suffering.  There were some days when she didn´t even want to nurse. 

As we were trying to help her feel better and take care of her, I also got sick and that made it extremely hard for me to take care of her and myself.  Those were two very difficult and long weeks, but thank God, both of us are doing excellent now. 

We have only been parents for almost three years, but one of the things that we have more clear today is that God may seem silent sometimes, but he does care.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.

Ever since we started working with Vine, we have seen how God brings people to us with a need that can be filled by something in the warehouse.   One day we received a phone call from a partner who had their director from the US here, and they wanted to visit Vine´s warehouse.  He told us that recently they donated some exam gloves and isolation gowns to Vine and he was happy to discover that some were here in the warehouse already.

Days later, their Director for Guatemala told us that he knew some people in need of wheelchairs and one of them had spoken to us before, but she had been trying to find a way to come to the warehouse and pick up a few wheelchairs; one for her and her husband and two more for students of a computer school for people who need to work and lack formal education.  We were surprised to see that they knew each other.  He also brought other people in need, and his dad, a pastor/dentist who serves providing dental clinics for people who can´t afford care.

Silla de Ruedas Esc Informatica

A few days before, we heard about a young man who had an accident and broke some of his teeth.  We were worried because his job as a security guard does not give him sick days. We were happy to put both in contact.  Days later, the young man received free dental care and thank God he is doing much better today.

One of them was a gentleman already in a wheelchair.  He was there because one of his friends was unable to walk due to a stray bullet.  He was very grateful for the wheelchair.  Jason told him that God is the provider of these wheelchairs and that even though we don’t know why bad things happen, we know God deeply cares for us.  He gave him a hug and this gentleman left Vine with tears in his eyes. Later we found out he didn´t believe in God.

I have to say that I understand how this man feels.  It is horrible to deal with physical problems, with health issues and sometimes it doesn´t make sense why bad things happen.

But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

Even though we don´t understand why suffering exists, why some of us have the blessing of walking and others don’t, all we can do is to remember that God is with us, even when we can’t see his purpose.

We also heard about José, an 8 year old who was being carried by his mom to school every day.  She was putting him on her back and she would walk 2.4 miles with him every day.  One of his teachers contacted us and we were happy to provide him with a wheelchair.  His family is extremely happy and grateful.  We always tell people that the wheelchairs come from God.  He touches the hearts of Vine’s donors and they give as to show the love of Christ.

silladeruedas8yoldkid
Jose posing for a picture in his new wheelchair at his school.

It is our prayer that no matter what tribulation you are going through, you take refuge in the Lord and remember that problems are temporary but he will never forsake you.

Please keep praying for God´s wisdom and provision for our family as we work for Vine.

God bless you,

 

The Ryders

Step by Step

23/05/2019

Hello everyone!

We are the Ryder Family.  Jason, Lilivet, Kristen and Erin.  We moved to Guatemala in December 2018 to serve with Vine International in Guatemala.  Jason is a BMET and served in Guatemala 12 years ago.  I (Lilivet) was born in Guatemala and have experience working for non profit organizations here.

We had the blessing of having Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon as our guides to get to know the work at Vine International.

We have been married for almost 6 years, our daughter Kristen is 2, Erin is 3 months old. 2019 has been a year of new beginnings, and we are working step by step trying to do our best job at Vine International.

We would like to continue to share some of the work we do through this blog.   We hope God inspires you when you read the stories we will be posting here.

Bendiciones (Blessings),

Jason and Lilivet

 

April 2019

35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Mathew 25:35-36

Guatemalan’s health is among the worst in the Western Hemisphere.  High maternal and infant mortality affect primarily poor and indigenous populations in the rural areas. Public health services, limited resources, inadequate infrastructure and non-existent supplies of medicines are some of the challenges faced by Guatemalans, especially for those living in remote, rural indigenous villages.

Your gift has enabled Vine to distribute fortified rice-soy protein meal packages to our partners.  At the beginning of April, we started the distribution of the AVA project.  AVA stands for Antibiotics, Vitamins, (prenatal vitamin care) and Albendazole (deworming medication).

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This month, in addition to delivering the AVA supplies, we were able to provide two “PET”- carts (see image below) to one of our partners, a special needs orphanage.  This picture is of an 8 year old resident that suffered years of abuse before moving to the orphanage.  The abuse left her with the inability to maintain balance, requiring a helmet to protect her brain from the frequent falls.  She is absolutely thrilled to be able to move by herself now.  The joy of having some mobile independence is obvious on her face.  The children served by this ministry are using these “PET”- carts.  They call them their “motorcycles”.

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You can see that there is a great need in Guatemala. Jason and I are able to serve a need    that starts with donors like you who want to be a blessing to Guatemalans. It is a beautiful expression of Christ’s love for people who need  it and we are grateful  to be serving  the   Lord here.

The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

 

 

some of the ministries we serve….

14/02/2019

We have four containers come in rapid succession.  Three were shipped before Christmas and the BURROcracy held them up but finally they have been released while the fourth one came through fairly standard fashion.

Nice to have strong friends

We are tired!  But happy!

 

The last container had 1155 boxes of rice weighing about 35 pounds a piece floor loaded.  We assembled a group of men, friends of ours and off loaded by ‘bucket line’ onto pallets.  Here is a photo of that crew.

We have purchased a new phone and I haven’t figured it all out yet so here is the ‘accidental selfie.’  Didn’t want to waste it!

Here is  a photo with the team from Hospitalito Espiritu Santo (Holy Spirit Hospital in English).  They come a few times in the year.  Vine International (https://www.vineinternational.org/) helped start an onsite clinic some years ago.  I have preached there before. They do so much with a little.  They collect bones from local butcher shops, scrape them and boil them in order to add “meat” to their soups.

Hospital Espiritu Santo, taking photo of the photographer – me! This group does a lot with so little.

It is a group I have spoken about before.  There are about 100 men in various stages of recovery from drugs and alcohol.  They are divided in to about 12 teams.  Every hour one of those teams is praying and Vine International is daily mentioned in their prayers.  Humbling.

 

Jason Ryder opening his first container in Guatemala

Jason and Lilivet Ryder have been busy.  Jason has been learning the ministry and they have manage to deliver their brand new little girl, very rapidly in  the middle of the night (no traffic) Lilivet timed it so that she delivered as Jason was parking the car! Welcome to Guatemala Erin Joy Ryder.

 

 

In one of the container was a few boxes of sunglasses.  A blessing for this subtropic region.  Sun is often an issue.  So we would photograph the crews in glasses that we have served recently.  Below you see the ‘gangs’ from ASELSI (https://www.aselsi.org/ Translates to Equipping the Saints in English) They teach local pastors and have a very successful clinic, a huge ministry to pregnant women, mothers and children, and the finest physical therapy program I have seen in the developing world.

The group on the right is the Fickers, well a small portion of the Ficker clan.  They started years ago serving in an orphanage.  They then started Adonai International Ministries (https://www.adonaiinternationalministries.org/) They have built a free standing hospital and with DOCS For Hope (https://www.docsforhope.org/) are moving towards 24 hour service in an underserved area of Guatemala.  They have a very active program, sharing Jesus with each clinic, every day.  It is a blessing to serve the LORD in Guatemala with brothers and sisters such as these.  Check them out, links provided.

the “Pirates” from ASELSI.

AIM Adonai International Ministries – Hospital Adonai in Canilla

It comes in by container and goes out in multiple trucks, vans, cars.  I have even loaded a wheelchair on a motorcycle before.  I asked that guy to check in when he got to his grandmother’s house.  If you have seen the way motorcycles cut between cars here, you would understand why I thought he might not make it.  We have served clinics and hospitals in rural Guatemala from the border of Mexico, the central hi to the northern border with Belize and to the south near the border of Honduras.  And that was just the last four days.Thank you for your support.

In Christ,

Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon

January 2019 Change is in the air, meetings and a chicken coop

27/01/2019

Jason, Lilivet and Kristen Ryder are here in Guatemala.  They will be the new directors for Association Vine International Guatemala, replacing Cindy and I.  They get to cut their teeth on three containers that will soon be released.  Jason is from Michigan and a trained biomedical technician with mission experience.  He has worked with TrimedX and GE in the recent past.   Lilivet has jumped into the ministry and done some excellent translation work for Brady “Chepe” Green/Vine already.  She is Guatemalan.  They are expecting a baby in the next couple of weeks.  They have moved into a house close to the bodega/warehouse.  Poor Jason was getting up at 4:30 in order to get across the city to be at the bodega by 9:00.

We have done some training on the administrative issues.  Assembled and tested all the PET carts as you can see in the photo.  Kristen was delighted.  They are working on residency papers for Jason.  Some of the legal paperwork for transfer will have to wait until we have documents properly prepared.  Burro-cracy!

 

Our home fellowship is going well.  Psalm 45 and 46 next Sunday.  The teaching we do at Pavon Prison is on hold due to a violent act among the prisoners.  We have been checking but as of now no date is available for us to renew that ministry.   Appreciate prayer for this part of the work here.

Jason Ryder & Brady Green in discussion with Dr. Estrada

Brady our CEO spent most of this last week working on administrative issues here and speaking with some of our physicians in ministries. We are hoping to improve supply to some of the works that care for the health issues of the poorest in Guatemala. We had good talks with Dr. Eric Estrada and Dr. Sergio Castillo.

Dr. Eric Estrada

 

Dr. Sergio y Veronica Castillo

 

 

My apologies to Dr. Estrada.  I tried three times to get a good photo but missed each time.  NO he is not asleep, I just caught him in mid blink.

Also while praying please pray for three containers that are being held up by customs.  I just got word one of the medicine containers is pulled for a full inspection by SAT/customs, and this after the Ministry of Health took over four weeks to issue a certificate allowing us to import.

If you ask Woody Woodson about the beginnings of Vine he will tell you of the original office being in a chicken coop in his backyard in Knoxville TN.  Well Woody this is just for you.  I have ‘harvested’ wood from a variety of crates and wheelchair containers and with Jason Ryder, David Mollinedo, Ignacio Sanchez, Cindy and I we have built our neighbor a chicken coop.  I though you (Woody) might get a kick out of that.  It will be used to house Lilly’s chickens (some of which are progeny from Cindy’s flock) to add eggs and meat to her table.  Hopefully sometime this next week we can finish the run and it will be occupied soon.  See the photos below.

Thank you, all of you, for your continued support.

In Christ,  Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon

First Vine Project in 2019

17/01/2019

Our founder Woody Woodson, messaged Cindy and I and asked us to help Dr. Alex Vasquez, a Guatemalan heart surgeon who practices in Alabama, USA.   The son of his mother’s housekeeper lives 10 km from us in Guatemala and Dr. Vasquez asked for help.

Ricardo was shot about three years ago and stayed much of two years in a local hospital.  The gunshot was low abdomen and spinal causing paraplegia and leaving him with colostomy.  Ricardo suffered the complication of extensive sacral and buttock decubiti.  He is 21 years old now, with a complex set of problems.  He is bed ridden in his current situation, pale, and sickly looking.   Dr. Vasquez came and visited Ricardo with us just before we went to the states in December.  Guatemalan doctors are looking again at the pressure sores doing debridement and encouraging healing.

Upon our return from family visit in USA Vine staff (now with addition of Jason and Lilivet Ryder) met Dick Rutgers at the bodega.  We collected wheelchairs and padding and met at Ricardo’s mother’s house in El Manzano.  It is always amazing to watch Dick Rutgers at work.  He has a tender heart and skill that comes with years of work.  He also brought his posse – two sibling groups that are fatherless.  We replaced the chair Ricardo has with a chair in which the leg and feet are adjustable.  Encouraging him to stay off his buttocks to allow for continued healing we will follow and when healing is complete will return for appropriate fitting/padding and try to help gain more independence.  Nutrition was discussed and we will return to fit his bed for a trapeze soon.

This set of health problems is difficult no matter where you are.  In the developing world, house on a steep mountain side, cobblestone street, no sidewalks, 85-90 $ a week in transportation costs, nutritional add on to the diet without insurance creates a huge financial and personal burden on a family.

Jason Ryder and our friend David Mollinedo both helped with translation – in fact so many different conversations were happening it is hard to imagine how we could have handled this initial fitting without both brothers there.  Maria – Ricardo’s mother asked how much this service was going to cost…. I have been giving away Vine resources for ten years.  I love that look when they find out it comes from Jesus.  It’s free.  Dick Rutgers led us in a beautiful prayer.  This story is not yet complete.

Jason and Lilivet Ryder are moving into a house very close to the bodega, we pray next week.  We will soon have three containers on which they can cut their teeth.  Lilivet will soon have their second child and is quite busy, making a nest, taking care of Kristen and the new one on the way and learning a new ministry.  They will be a good asset for Vine International and the work as it goes forward.

While waiting for the containers to be cleared we are not letting any dust collect on our shoes.  We are meeting the occasional ministry in the bodega.  We are helping our neighbor Lilly by building a chicken coop for protection of her hens, source for eggs and meat for her family.   We continue to work in Pavon prison with El Barrios para Cristo and Pastor Nacho teaching in Genesis.  We started on Abraham’s life stories yesterday.   And on Sunday’s the Bible study group that meets in our home is moving through the Psalms.   One of our teenage neighbors opened her note book and shared her outlines and study notes done over the Christmas break.  It was obvious she had worked through the psalms for herself and we were all blessed, especially me!

Please be in prayer for the Ryders as they prepare to take the reins of Vine International – Guatemala.  There are many details to be covered.  Pray specifically for their new baby, new house arrangements and financial support for this important work.

Thank you.

In Christ,

Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon

A Neat Wheelchair Story.

03/11/2018

Pastor Nacho asked for a wheelchair.  We have worked with this brother since our first days here in Guatemala almost ten years ago.  We know that where Nacho goes Jesus is shared, so of course if we have it, we give it in this case.

The recipient is dad to one of the group we are teaching the Bible to in a local prison.  I don’t have every detail but I believe it has been over 20 years since these two men have seen each other.  The gift of the wheelchair triggered a desire for reconciliation.  Dad was able to be transported and an awesome visit ensued.  They talked,  They ate together.  Our brother in prison got down on the level with his father and said, “over the years I have never asked you for anything, certainly not since I have been in prison.”  He explained since being here he had come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and proceeded to tell his dad about the Gospel Truth.  At the end our brother said to his dad, this one thing I ask of you, that you would pray with me to receive Christ as your Savior.  And he did.

Go God!

That wheelchair came from an unknown donor through Joni and Friends Ministries ( muchas gracias J&F and original donor).  It was refurbished by prisoners in the USA, transported in a DOLE container, by Vine International, unloaded by ex-cons and friends in Vine bodega, then given to El Barrios Para Cristo to be given at the home of an old man who had more than a simple physical need.  There is no way to count the hands on that chair, the funds that it took to get it here, but I know we made the Accountant of Heaven smile.

Pray for us as we continue to teach the Scripture in Pavon Prison.  I so wish we could share photos of this group.  But we are stripped of all devices, belts, keys, shoestrings, etc.  So no photos, smile, wink.

Next story.

Ratoncito and Cindy’s red sweater

See photo of Edwin, grandson of our groundskeeper.  His nickname is Ratoncito (Little Rat or Mouse).  He is always moving, always climbing and exploring.  He helps when we unload a container.  He is very

good help when wheelchair containers come.

The red sweater is a work of Cindy.  It was once her size and took weeks to make.  She wore it the first winter after handcrafting it.  Nice and warm but it shrunk too much for her to wear after first washing.  It is now a gift to Ratoncito and is much appreciated as it is very warm and winter is getting close.

 

 

 

 

Containers – We are currently in a struggle.  In our ten years here and in the 25 years of Vine Internationals service to Guatemala we have the two worst containers in our history back to back.  Container 242 and 243.  The problems are complex.  Some of the delays are ludicrous (putting a space between each line on one set of documents – a first in 25 years).  Our friend David Mollinedo and I went to the port on 242 and sorted the whole container to comply with the SAT inspectors demands.  A tremendous amount of work, all of which was undone when SAT warehouse staff reloaded.  We are very frustra

Tiva filters to Health Talents near Chicacao

ted.  The delays equate to dollars ultimately.  And these have been expensive.  242 was released about 10 days ago and is largely disbursed already.  TIVA water filters delivered.  Medicines to Salud y Paz a designated project.  Joe Leier is coming this next week for his stuff, etc.  243 is still held hostage…. Prayers deeply appreciated.

Next story:  Jason and Lilivet Ryder are landing in Guatemala Dec. 4 to begin a time of transition for Vine International.  We need younger blood!  They will take over Vine in Guatemala in time.  We will help make a smooth transition.  Lilivet is Guatemalteca and having that language skill will be a blessing for our ministry.  Jason is a trained and qualified biomed tech and what a need that is for the Christian medical community here.  It has been a long, shall I say LLLloooonnnnggg prayer of mine that Vine International could add repair and maintenance of equipment to our service.   We are looking forward to their arrival.  For what is going to happen to the McCutcheon’s you will have to wait.  We are not leaving.  We are not retiring.  WE are older and slowing down.  Until Jason and Lilivet can say “We got this”, we will not leave Vine International.

 

And a lighter note… the view from a seat at our favorite comedor Adelita’s while eating lunch.  I suspect we are looking at breakfast and lunch tomorrow.

In  Christ,

Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon

Every pastor has those moments…

13/08/2018

…am I getting through to the people God has given me to teach?  Is there visible effect of His Gospel, His Word in these I serve?  We who preach and teach God’s Word pray for signs, for visible transformation.  We hunger and thirst for those moments.

Cindy and I have started a fellowship in our home with the goal to reach into this neighborhood for Christ.  Lilly our closest neighbor is such a blessing to us from the moment we moved to this house.  She has had a rough life.  I will leave it at that. We believe her to be a jewel, our equal and want to be used by God to reach her and her children for all eternity.  She is among the first we have invited to this fellowship.  Gently.  Not pushing.  Living the Life of Christ visibly before her.  She has started coming as we are early in the Psalms.  Yesterday it was Psalm 19 – here you need verse 10 for this story.

Psa 19:10 (the ordinances/law of the LORD) More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the droppings of the honeycomb.

and in Spanish:

Psa 19:10 Deseables más que el oro; sí, más que mucho oro fino, Más dulces que la miel y que el destilar del panal.

for my English speaking friends “miel” is honey.

I challenge the friends gathered here to read ahead each week as we know after 19 comes 20, 21 etc.  I promise the Holy Spirit is a better teacher than I.  I ask to hear what they have learned during the week.  So Lilly comes to our door after dark tonight with her open Bible with her youngest daughter.  She wants to confirm that she has the right passage – she is limited in her ability to read, so her children read to her (God is so good).  With our limited language abilities with which Lilly is so patient, we make it clear yes 19 is what we covered yesterday and yes 20 and possibly 21 will be next Sunday’s lesson.  Lilly touches the pages with two fingers, puts them to her tongue and says MIEL…..

Cindy as always walks them halfway home (not far) and as Cindy comes in the door she is saying, “Well Dennis McCutcheon that should make you smile!”

Answered prayer can break discouragement in a moment.  Father, Your Word is sweeter than honey or the dripping from honeycomb, thank You LORD.  I was in the kitchen crying.