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Always learning


Cindy and I were blessed to be able to home school our youngest child Peggy.  Not only did she learn but we learned to value learning.  It is a life long privilege.  I learned a couple of weeks ago to use heavy cream to replace lard or shortening and mayonnaise (my former secret ingredient) in the biscuit recipe used for the last several generations in my family makes a better biscuit.  Who knew?!?  3 cups of all purpose flour (self rising not available in Guatemala) pinch of salt (remember I have big fingers) and a couple tbsp of baking powder plus enough cream to make a dough – cut ’em out and place on a greased sheet in a preheated oven at 425 F for 20 -22 minutes.  Look at them if no tan color on the tops leave ’em in for another three minutes.

Give it a try.

Always learning something new… is the point.  Vine International is a support for Christian and humanitarian medical missions in Guatemala.  Language skill has not come easy for Cindy and I so that limits the ability to actively witness, preach and church plant.  But the philosophy behind Vine has always been the support of active medical works in Guatemala.  Medical ministry done well, is a great medium to share Jesus and the Gospel.  Medical ministry done well is expensive and Vine reduces expenses for our friends here substantially allowing expansion of the numbers of patients served.  The official medical system in Guatemala is a government based social program.  And it is for the most part a failure.  The rich have developed a private system that has some jewels of service, but unavailable to much of the masses.  In the last several months many hospitals have closed or severely restricted services, pharmacies are empty, no masks and gloves for surgeons, infection rates in those settings approaches 100% so families are sent on a treasure hunt for antibiotics and on and on it goes.

In this mud pit Vine sloshes around trying our best to help.  Always learning something new – does not necessarily mean a good thing.  I have held a child in a national home clearly hydrocephalic and had the care givers tell me she is normal and they have a doctors report proving it.  The truth is the home is at twice capacity, the forms get filled out in order to comply with legal documentation but they cannot find a staff doctor to keep up with the almost 1,000 children there… so check normal on the d**n form.  No money for propane so beans and rice are half cooked going through the child instead of providing nourishment.  Instead of changing diapers when appropriate you can only change them three times a day or less, the money to buy more is in some corrupt politician’s account.  Always learning something new…

It is Christmas.  I held 50 kids on my lap last night and laughed.  Tomorrow Cindy and I will help a wonderful team of Guatemalan’s to feed about 650 kids.  I will make most of them smile because I will be in a Santa suit.  The contrast between the healthy 50 last night and the ones tomorrow will be heart wrenching.  But the beans, rice will be done and full of flavor, as the guards say, “cooked with LOVE.”  while these kids smile, I will be crying.

Esperanza Contra Esperanza (ECE) is in planning stages to start a very good work to serve children’s homes and their health needs.  In the research for this project is where I am learning literally almost every day.  Deaf, blind, disabled children and adults are woefully underserved in the developing world.  ECE is going to dedicate a significant amount of resources to developing services and education to tackle this issue in Guatemala, but can I tell you something I have learned CHURCH… the disabled may be one of the largest ‘unreached’ groups in the midst of us in the USA… for now I will leave it there…  I encourage you to read available as a Kindle Book, The Church and Disability by Jeff McNair Ph.D.   I have not finished this book myself but stand convicted by recent events and by Dr. McNair’s writings that we the church are not to ignore this community.

Learning a new way to make biscuits is a simple metaphor that doesn’t hold a candle to learning about health issues in the children of Guatemala or the dire needs of the special needs community here.  So, you can’t participate directly in Guatemala, let me challenge you in Asheville NC, Knoxville, TN, SC, TX, WV, Ohio, PA wherever our supporters are to pray about and to start looking into their family and friends to see is there someone who avoids our churches because they believe we would not accept them – let’s bring them in and watch God honor His outreached Hand through you.

What have you learned new recently? – let us hear from you.  And feel free to share our blog.

Merry Christmas – Feliz Navidad

In Christ,

Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jon Williamson permalink
    02/01/2016 08:09

    I’m with you brother… always learning. I’ve been blessed to be able to learn a lot from you and I’m looking forward to seeing you this summer!


  2. Jennie Wood permalink
    04/01/2016 09:09

    I’ve been using cream in biscuits for years! My downfall is not having the big ol’ green bowl. I love you both dearly. You, are amazing!


    • 04/01/2016 09:21

      Thanks sis. Really working on being at TECH conferences this year. If it works out will be bringing new member with me.


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