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Woody Woodson, Dave Russell and Bruce Alsop …


of Vine International came Sunday a week ago.  We visited for the afternoon, and then went to Manolo and Vilma Benfeldt’s home for supper.  Manolo is a board member of the Guatemalan Vine organization and a superb paella chef.  Good food, good fellowship and a good night’s sleep before picking up Kip Branch and Scott Ruschak of MAP International on Monday.  The race began.  We visited the bodega (warehouse) in San Jose Pinula so Kip and Scott could see where we receive MAP medicines and supplies.  David Huitz, friend, doctor and medical missionary met us and talked about his ministry and how Vine was instrumental in his ministry with rural poor in southern Guatemala.  The team came by our home to see where we live and ate some of Cindy’s Key Lime pie.  Then back to the city where we met, ate supper with Duane Ficker and discussed a new hospital start up in Quiche a state north of the capital city.  The theme of this ministry serves more people and provides better service because Vine International’s presence was repeated over and over at each site.

Up early on Tuesday to beat the city traffic we headed toward the Pacific Coastal Plain where we visited Clinica Ezelle the work of Health Talents International.  They had a team of orthopedic and eye surgeons. The dental clinic was in full swing as well.  I sneaked off to see Carlos and Sylvia Baltodano’s newest addition, a daughter with more hair than I have.  Cindy was sorry she could not go with us to see the baby.  Back in the van and on to Hospital Santa Fe and visit with Sergio and Veronica Castillo.  With visible servant’s hearts, this family does so much with so little.  We were once helping Sergio pick out supplies and load the truck at the bodega and did not notice that Veronica had disappeared.  We found out later that she had swept and mopped the bathroom and office.  It was a modern day demonstration of Jesus’ washing of the disciple’s feet on that last night.  We left Scott Ruschak in the Castillo’s care.  Scott was evaluating the ministry and is going to recommend Hospital Santa Fe for a grant.  (YEAH!).

On to Xela (pronounced Shaa la) in the highlands and a visit to Roger and Vickie’s new clinic and training center, where we watched adobe blocks being made by hand.  It is a beautiful building and makes me think of a dear friend Dale Slusser who is always designing buildings.  (check out the photos Dale).  We traveled down to Xela proper (at 8,000 feet) for the night, where John and Alma Diehl met us.  The team was up and running the ridge top of Guatemala, then north through Chichicastenango to visit Kathy Hartle at ASELSI to see their new digs.  Kathy could be the leader of the Vine International Cheerleading Squad.  After the tour and pep rally they shared a video that I will try to upload and see if we can link it on Vine International Facebook page.  ASELSI got our applause.  Then we ate lunch with some of the folks.  They do pastor training here.  We met and prayed for about 10 pastors who between them have planted over 100 churches in the highlands of Quiche.  Some of these pastors started churches while essentially being illiterate and are now sponges soaking up reading and Bible study skills.  Way to go ASELSI you deserve our applause.

Back to Panajachel where we scrambled to find a hotel due to an error in booking, and as a blessing from the LORD I took my favorite landscape shot from my hotel balcony at sunrise…So many contrasts in Guatemala.  It is beautiful and dark at the same time.  We shall procede or else we will be going down a rabbit trail.

I had set an 8:30 start time, but shopping, breakfast with entertainment from two young street vendors and a visit to the Pink Hotel gave us a 10:30 start… no problem until the end of the day where my friends were introduced to Guatemala City traffic at rush hour on San Juan/Roosevelt/Tre Bol streets.  We did six miles in an hour and a half.  But before this we visited Casa and Clinica Angelica.  The founder interestingly had missed her plane the day before and we were blessed to be guided over a beautiful childrens home.  Vine has the privilege of sharing medical materials and medicines with the clinic, which in turn serves the children on the compound and ministers to the local community.  This facility literally saved the lives of some villagers attacked by killer bees recently.  Their diabetic program has been greatly improved because of MAP providing us with Metformin.

Then the back road (some of which we traveled twice-we were not lost, just befuddled for a time) to San Raymundo to visit Hospital Crisitiano and Joy Gring a dear friend of Cindy and I.  She gave a tour to the team and I went with Joe Leier to check out his work.  They have a dental team in and have plans in the future to have enough dentists and equipment to see 800 kids in a week.  This is NOT an extraction marathon, but they are full service doing restorative care and hygiene training.

Friday we were guided to Proyecto de Salud Sangre de Cristo.  While still “in” the city it is amazing how quick rural villages appear.  Kip was called on to give out vitamins in a women’s health training setting.  And we ran out…  One of Woody’s first medical teams in Guatemala 20 years ago now, they ran out of supplies and meds.  Woody acutely remembers standing on the porch in front of “a million women and children” remaining to be seen and telling them the clinic was closed.  In his heart he heard, “Don’t you ever forget this”.  He hasn’t.  Well Kip got his taste of running out and it really affected him.

At the end of our board meeting Saturday morning Kip asked to speak to the board.  His speech was very moving and he was obviously moved.  He recounted looking into that empty bag and looking up at the women who had patiently and politely let their sisters go first.  Friends of Vine and we McCutcheon’s I can try to describe what is felt in times like this, but being there, being the one responsible to deliver the goods and you can’t – you will never get over it.  Kip, like Woody, will never forget.

When the ministries we serve/supply are able to reduce disease, save a physical life at each of those patient points we generate 2 willing listening ears for the Gospel.  Never forget that.

Thank you so much for your support.  Photos LINKED HERE if you missed the link above.

In Christ, Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon

6 Comments leave one →
  1. joe permalink
    24/03/2013 17:43

    Wow, I did not know where all you had gone. I had seen Sergio and Carlos just last week. What a hoot.


    • 24/03/2013 17:55

      Hey Joe, yeah it was quite a trip. I need to go that route from San Lucas to San Raymundo again. We got turned around in a couple of spots. Let me know about Sergio’s electrical project and put it on the schedule in June probably.
      Thanks for all you do brohter.


  2. 25/03/2013 07:33

    Seems like there was a lot of eating going on. Any work? 🙂


    • 25/03/2013 08:05

      LOL, you have done these trips brother and you know work happens around food. They all gained 5 pounds and we sent them home. When we work I can’t take photos. Like bar hoppers need a designated driver, our teams need a designated photographer. When are you back in Guate?


  3. 25/03/2013 08:33

    My schedule is the Lord’s. He blows me around like the wind and I rarely know more than 2 weeks out. If I’m headed that way, I’ll let you know. Did you ever look at that map (prototype) of real-time disease monitoring? Once the clinics start using this new version of the software, I will put a non-prototype up.


  4. Doris permalink
    26/03/2013 13:36

    Sounds like a great trip with great company and lots of seeds planted as well as much accomplished! Hallelujah! To God be the glory!


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