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Ixil, Quiche…


I spent this week in the central far north of Guatemala.  Our dentist, a Christian with heart’s desire for using the skill God has given him for mission work among Guatemalans, has invited me on several occasions.  Finally we were able to make our schedules match.  While I will start with our dentist, there will  be two or three posts on the events of this past week.

Victor and Evelyn Borrayo stepped into the Vine International warehouse over two years ago with Pastor Ignacio/El Barrios for Christ.  We help the Borrayo’s ministry Sonrisas de Amor (Smiles of Love) as the LORD provides.  They work in orphanages, barrios and with El Barrios for Christ in the work the Sanchez’s do.  They intentionally set aside 5 working days each month for ministry.  This does not count the patients they work into their day to day schedule.  Victor reported to me that the private practice at 20 days a month is more profitable this year than when he was doing it 25 days a month.  (God is weird- see below) Victor and I went with Dr. Eric Estrada and team to Ixil area this week.  About 8 hours of driving to get there.  We counted 152 speed bumps between the turnoff from road to Xela and our first night’s stay in Nabaj.  Mix the potholes, dirt roads with the tumolos (speed bumps) and my kidneys are somewhere in my… well we must go on.

Our first day was on a large coffee farm Victor worked all day there and did a fantastic reconstruction of three teeth for one young lady.  Next morning we were in Chel where Victor examined patients on the porch of a church.  A group of ladies prayed loudly in the church for much of our morning.  There is no doctor or dentist anywhere close to these areas.  it is over two hours to the closest government hospital.  Fer de Lance and Coral snake bites are usually fatal.  We saw a coral snake over three feet long on one of our side trips.

In Chel there is an active pastoral training and evangelical youth group training going on in this church as well.  It is good to see this kind of cooperation between churches.  This is not true in many areas of this beautiful country.

Possibly the greatest blessing on this trip was the time Victor and I had to talk.  I don’t speak Spanish well and his English is limited but with time we communicate well.  Victor’s testimony is challenging both in the eternal and physical realm.  He knows God saved him and he is God’s to do with as God pleases.  It shows in his speech.  We don’t get very far before Jesus comes into the conversation.  Victor gives credit to God not only for his salvation, but for his faith, work, wife, family and desire for missions all comes from God.  Recently he had car problems and we put out a call for help.  A group from Nashville TN responded by hand carrying a bizarre shaped part and special lubricant for our brother.  Tommy Sanders (Shalom Foundation) and friends did more than they know.  Victor has not been impressed with gringo missionaries.  Dentists come and pull teeth because they are not here for long and don’t have the resources to do restorative work.  It took a little time before Victor started opening up to Cindy and I.  But it has been a growing situation for both parties.  The Borrayos are a tremendous blessing and gift from God to the McCutcheon’s.  And then our friend Tommy Sanders steps in and helps and Victor was humbled at how God uses all of us.

I laughed out loud at Victor early in the week as he pointed out that sometimes, “GOD is weird”.  My brother is right.  God is beyond our understanding.  We struggle to know God and when we think we got it locked, He does something weird in our lives.  God gives us tattooed friends with a dentist who doesn’t care for gringo missionaries and puts us together with changed hearts that care for each other in deep ways and puts precious people in dire need of help and then gives us the desire and resources to work all this out.  Inner city barrios, gangs, red neck south, clean shaven, tattooed, bearded, barely speaking each others languages, yet God makes it all work.  Most of the people above would not have sought the others out in our old way of life.  But God put us together.  Victor’s right; God is weird.

We talked at length about how to make this work better.  Two very full days of driving for two days of work is inefficient.  ‘Gloriously inefficient’ as my boss says.  There are times in Christian ministry that glorious inefficiency is what God calls for (leaving the 99 to search for the 1).  But we also can improve our service and that is clear to both Victor and I.  So pray for us as we work out that high calling that God has for us here in Guatemala.

More later about the rest of the team and other aspects of the work and I will tell you some too of the area around Ixil.

Photos for this blog are linked here.

In Christ, Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon

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