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El Barrio 4 Christ Retreat…


Ignacio, Sandra, Jackie and Nehemias came early Saturday morning.  We hauled the gas grill out of the backyard and loaded it into the van along with drinks and cooler.  Food went into the car.  Off went Ignacio to pick up several friends for a cookout, fellowship and a teaching on the cross of Christ.  Cindy, Sandra, the kids and I went to the bodega to meet a Vine appointment.  The beginning of a busy but beautiful day.

As you will see in the photos (linked below), several of the couples brought children and we went to a local park.  Some rode horses, most of us rode in a trailer around the farm/park.  We came back and Cindy and I cranked up the grill.  Pastor Ignacio got a soccer game going.  We cooked half a ton of chicken in this mustard marinade that was killer… trying to talk the Sanchez’ out of the recipe.  Chorizo is a local sausage and we cooked about 5 pounds of that.  We grilled onions, warmed tortillas and refried beans.  I don’t know how we got it all on one grill.  Sandra pulled out rice and homemade picanti sauce.  Cindy had made two cakes the day before and wouldn’t let me taste test them.  It was obvious that all had a great relaxing time of food, fellowship and Cindy’s sunburn doesn’t hurt that much.

Ignacio is a friend of Vine International.  We are privileged to be able to help in his ministry into prisons and the gangs in Guatemala.  Some friends that he disciples are wheelchair bound due to gunshot wounds.  He provides  adult diapers and colostomy supplies from Vine’s warehouse.  Recently an oxygen tank was donated for a special need.  But the ministry Barrios for Christ is much bigger.  The violence between gangs is so fierce that prisons are set up so that gang members go to their own prison.  Gang leadership even if inside has the ability to control actions outside of prison.  Innocent family members (mothers) are sometimes arrested and held in order to keep gangs under control.

Ignacio goes into the prisons and barrios and shares his testimony and listens to those inside.  He has their respect.  Few publicly profess Christ inside.  If you are a gang member you are ‘family for life’.  Of course once saved from a life of sin and to a life with Christ, you have a change of family.  The leadership of the gangs will have a meeting to see if the one who now professes Christ will live or die for they have betrayed the family.  If church members in the USA were confronted with this truth our churches would be much smaller and much more effective in my opinion.

What do the last two paragraphs have to do with a Saturday Barbecue, you ask.  There were two rival gangs at the table.  Gangs that on the street don’t get along.  Yet here we were at a family reunion.  Packed into a trailer, helping each other with the babies and making sure everyone is secure in their seat.  Smiles, jokes, no threats, no disharmony.

Jesus transforms hearts and minds.  Totally transforms.  I was a witness to that on Saturday.  You see while men and women on the inside of prison here may not publicly profess Christ due to the dangers involved, my brother Ignacio invests time, takes risks and continues to share Jesus.  Then that day comes and a phone call, “I’m out and I need to talk to you.  I can’t continue this life I lead.  I need what you have.  I need Jesus.”  And Ignacio is there when the Holy Spirit claims another soul for the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.  El Barrio 4 Christ is so effective that Ignacio gets death threats.  Do you want to know how transforming the salvation of Jesus Christ is???  Two of the brothers in our group on Saturday were sent to kill Ignacio.  Instead of dispensing murder they gained redemption.  Friends, God’s grace can come like a tidal wave and wash over you and cleanse you of your sin.  Jesus is in the business of transforming from death to life, if you will believe.

Photos for this past weekend’s retreat are linked here.  Please pray for the Sanchez family.  In my opinion, they are taking the battle to gates and walls of hell and claiming Jesus promise that the gates of hell WILL NOT prevail.   We are praying for the revealed will of God whether to repeat what we did this weekend, can we use this to disciple and counsel these young Christians.  We will wait and see what comments come back from those we served this weekend.

In Christ

Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jim permalink
    22/03/2010 19:01

    Love your stories! Of course I am sort of bias.

    Please tell Cindy that Kathy was here the weekend and I told her she had made a good nurse. She couldn’t get my bicycle pump going. I asked her if it was plugged in and she got miffed. I was then called a “butt”.
    She will do well in healthcare.



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