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Back in the Saddle, err Guatemala…


We are back in Guatemala after THE WORST TRAVEL day in my experience.  I’ll spare you, except to say we got $400 in travel vouchers and they are NOT ENOUGH!  Ok, I’m back.

We had an incredible visit (photos) with our family both in North Carolina and West Virginia.  We got to our daughter’s house about 24 hours before 14 – 18 inches of global warming (for snow check out Snow on Arrival) hit us.  We were so looking forward to going to our home church but services were canceled for safety reasons.  The snow was beautiful and lasted over a week, so we had a white Christmas.  Visiting my parents and siblings was a special treat as we got to help in the construction of my brother in law and sisters new home.  It was so beautiful.  We were sorely grieved to find out on our first full day back in country that this home burned completely.  They were not living in it yet and no one was injured.  From what I am hearing I will get another chance to help… (apparently I am a professional fiberglass insulation cutter and they want me back).

We spoke in 4 churches, sharing our work here with Vine InternationalCalvary Chapels of Asheville NC and Greenville SC are sending a joint team of 14 May 15th to 22nd.  Our youngest daughter will be part of that team.

We met our boss at the Iron Horse Restaurant in Hot Springs (’bout half way between Asheville and Knoxville) when there was a break in the snow.  We had good food and an excellent team meeting and shared a lot of information.  Cindy asked Woody when the next container was coming.  Woody has a wicked little smile and a great ability to inject that pause in the conversation… we have FIVE containers in the pipeline tentatively by the first week of February.  We finished the year setting records for the ministry and now we are starting at a record setting pace.  Since that conversation the tragic earthquake in Haiti has occurred.   We  desire to help in Haiti and are designing a project that may cause us to juggle the containers a bit – we will see.

About 40 % of you will have a strong desire to help in Haiti.  Will you allow someone with over 30 years experience in medicine and 15 years in medical missions to give a little advice?  In regard to time, think of relief in Haiti in 18 months to 2 years at least.  You will have time to physically help, you don’t have to do it today.  Some good hearted people go in early and can’t even find their way off the airfield, adding to the chaos.  If you have special skills in rescue and recovery by all means find a team that is hooked up (has means to travel and return, equipped properly, translators, can sustain their own needs) and GO!  Most of us do not qualify to be in this first wave.  I have read a report that an estimated 10% of early volunteers freak out and become liabilities consuming scarce resources.

In regard to material support – take a deep breath, know that I do not have the least desire to offend.  There will be people who send winter coats, high heels and thong underwear to Haiti.  In these early days send money to trusted organizations.  There are a bunch of Christian organizations that I trust that have established long term presence in Haiti, that speak the language and know the culture.  Some that are qualified and have teams on the ground early are  Harvest International has feet on the ground life long missionaries in Haiti; Samaritan’s Purse; CURE International, has some excellent teams on the ground being supplied from Dominican Republic. One 18 person team moved a hospital into the only safe structure left on the compound, set up 3 operating rooms in the hall and x-ray room, and did 300 surgical cases including 40 amputations, over 100 casts in 48 hours… these people are beyond the news cameras and until CNN, Fox etc. can get their satellite equipment and their make up staff there you are not going to hear these stories (waugh don’t get me started).  There are others serving radically and sacrificially and one of my favorite is being managed from a small in home office near Midland Michigan.  Technical Exchange for Christian Healthcare, Inc. is providing a very active networking source to help get people, money, transportation, supplies etc. together.  Check out the network site here!

Haiti needs orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurse anesthetists, scrub nurses, medical supplies, food, water, diapers and a thousand other things.  All I am asking is co-ordinate your efforts to get the most out of your gift/your time.  Donating a bottle of water sounds good until you realize it costs $7-10 or more to get it there, when your $10 donation can go towards a filtration system that would provide water now and for months to come.  Unless you have some of those coveted skills above and in acute rescue, still, the best donation right now may be in your hip pocket.

If I can help in some of your decisions or help direct you to a ministry please contact me.  Please, please watch the news with a grain of salt.

If you are not inclined to give to Christian organizations, President Bush and Clinton have the
In Christ

Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon

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