Ed and Heather Dina friends from Calvary Chapel of Asheville, NC, support us in prayer and finances for which we are grateful. Got a note this week saying it had been a long time since they heard from us. I just looked – end of July 2016 to be exact. My apologies to all.
I am disturbed (OK Carroll Sue take your best shot on that one sister – grin). Disturbed that I can ignore doing a newsletter to our supporters for six months and looking back I can’t account for the time. Disturbed that I can’t physically keep up anymore and see trouble ahead if the LORD doesn’t intervene. If it had not been for some friends here in Guatemala volunteering extensively in the warehouse it would be a mess. Oh I can assure you that we had intentions of sending out handwritten notes… were going to do that the two weeks we were in the states early November but then there were the 2500 miles of travel, more meetings than days and we brought the note cards back with us. Disturbed that we missed a niece’s wedding we were planning on attending… finances and two containers. Disturbed when high winds took out a tree top with live electric lines and closed our driveway had to call Daryl Fulp and others to reschedule bodega visits. Three days without water… probably more disturbing to Cindy than me (evil grin).
There is the flurry of containers that come the end of the year, five of them went well. Two are in line in port, in a very long line, very slow moving long line in port racking up charges like you wouldn’t believe. Burrocratic constipation. Everything in our control is done. Done efficiently. It is the things out of our control that raises the blood pressure. Just wait upon the LORD! You know, I understand the concept but do we abuse this phrase to cover laziness or ineptness? AAAHHHGGG.
OK – start off the new year with some numbers. I think we did 17 containers this year and had 202 visits from medical ministries in Guatemala in the 23-24 years of Vine ministry in Guatemala by my calculations that makes it 4th most productive. But the numbers tell only a ghost of a story. There are expansions of existing medical ministries going on, some new works (literally one today), very few have closed their doors. Due to the dismal national system the need for medical missions will remain for the foreseeable future. We will continue to work towards improving quality of donations. I believe we will do about the same volume this year and then as some of the missions mentioned above come to maturity in the following years the need for Vine International shipping services will actually increase.
If you have seen Cindy’s facebook page you will see a new chicken coop in the front yard. Hopefully the run will get done in next few days and the crew will get to move in. (Don’t ever let anyone give you THREE ROOSTERS).
So we don’t end on a DISTURBING Note… I got very ill this past weekend, nausea, headache, high fever (103.8) and if I had made it to Jessica’s wedding I may have negatively impacted their plans this week, so (deep sigh) thank You LORD for the fact that we needed to cancel. And the electrical lines keeping us from meeting Daryl Fulp and others at the bodega that day, may have saved a child’s life that morning. Hope for Home and the Fulp’s are engaged in the Harvest and worth checking out. Blog linked here and website linked here
So the LORD is in charge of the details of life. I will try to improve on newsletters. But I have had 15 requests for appointments at the bodega in the last three paragraphs… try to finish a newsletter with that many interruptions. Please pray for our support. Mostly for a family that will partner with us here. I must run.
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
This blog post is going to touch on financial issues. First, know that God takes care of us. We do not beg. We do match the ministry to the financial resources available. Our bank accounts are never large. Sometimes we can do more/sometimes we do less. This year has been a very slow recovery from the annual downturn that occurs after Christmas. The purpose for this blog is to call attention to some ways to bring in ‘found money’, you know the quarter you pick up on the street, the penny that has been run over 20 times in the parking lot – found money.
We have one young man, I think he was 8 or 9 y/o and he would empty his pockets of change into a jar and send that to us when it was full. Deep sigh… we are humbled by such stories. Some of you have supported us with a monthly donation for the seven years we have been with Vine International, some for years prior to that while we were with MedEquip Missions. Grateful doesn’t cover what we feel about you. You keep us here.
But there are some resources out there that you may not know about that can increase financial resources to Vine International. We take each donated dollar and convert it into $40 – $80 of medical aid here in Guatemala. That in turn is visible in the lives of mothers, children saved during birth. Children that live through attacks of disease, Christian hospitals and clinics that expand their services, souls saved because the church based clinic can intervene in a compassionate way.
Here are some of the things I do. I use https://smile.amazon.com/ My family got a Kindle for me a couple of Christmas’ ago. I order books frequently. After signing up for SmileAmazon there is a window that comes up to allow you to support a ministry. Vine International Inc. is registered with them. Amazon gives I think 0.5 cents per dollar of purchase. If you use Amazon Prime, do Christmas shopping on line this amount gets totaled up and sent to Vine every year. While it seems small, if most people on our list did this it would add up.
I use Goodsearch http://www.goodsearch.com/ instead of other search engines. I find the process is very close to the quality of Google Search. They give a penny for every search. With investigating new ministries, researching medical equipment, finding repair parts, many other things that I use searches for accounts for 7 to 10 dollars a year. Small amount but if your college and high school student doing research for term papers used this instead of Google it would add up. GoodSearch/GoodShop have put 12.4 million dollars into nonprofits in the US since its founding, a penny at a time!
I also use GoodShop http://www.goodsearch.com/goodshop . If you do online shopping check this out. Today as I write this Good Shop and Hewlitt-Packard are offering 25% off of their laptop line for back to school. There are hundreds of namebrand stores on this site. They give a percentage of purchase to the ministry of your choice (Vine International perhaps??). When you set up the GoodSearch account you simply put Vine International in the box.
Things that I don’t do but you might qualify for! Who do you work for? 65% of Fortune 500 companies match your contributions to nonprofits. The parameters are too many for me to list. Some companies insist that the nonprofit serves in their local region, in which case we may not qualify. But I encourage you to check it out with your human resource department. Some of these companies give substantially matching $5K -10K – even 25,000 dollars per year.
40% of Fortune 500 companies give to nonprofits with which you volunteer your time and skills. Some ask that you give 5 hours or 500 hours in a year’s time, but they give $15 an hour or more depending on the company’s guidelines.
There are many unique ways companies give; BP (British Petroleum) gives $300 to employees choice of qualified charities; Nestle (yes chocolate) only matches 50% of your gift but if you give a day’s salary to a charity they give you TWO VACATION DAYS!; RealNetworks, matches up to $10,000, gives $15 per hour of volunteer time to charity of your choice, and have a loyalty clause – if you have worked with them for 5 years they will give $500 to charity of your choice; CarMax is now matching employees dependents donations until the 26 yrs old.
Many companies not in the Fortune 500 do this as well. Companies find they can attract and keep a certain kind of desirable employee by offering such programs. If your company has this kind of heart, take advantage of it. Quite obviously these programs can change without warning. Some of the information gleaned from a search using Goodsearch (claimed about 4 cents) could be dated so you would need to research the parameters your company has set up.
Finally, some companies give product. Food pantry in Asheville NC would fold if it were not for the local industry giving food to them. Food is not our need – it would be things medical, and that can be very broad subject. Do you have ideas or questions? Please share with us.
We are grateful for your support. On Thursday the 200th container gets loaded and pointed towards Guatemala. Please pray for rapid approval in customs. There are two anesthesia machines from Metropolitan Medical in Asheville, for Hospital Elena in Cobulco. We really want those machines in that hospital before their next surgical team and it will be very tight. We are always looking for sponsor for containers – check out the process on our web site.
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
I am having quite an experience sitting in our ranchito (small covered patio) studying Psalm 29. I challenged a group of friends this morning to spend their prayer and devotion time this weekend to NOT asking for blessing from the LORD but rather to offer praises to the LORD only.
While the Scripture encourages us to ask of the LORD for ourselves and others, it also teaches us to PRAISE the LORD. So here I am reading and studying Psalm 29 (ASV ).
Psa 29:1 A Psalm of David. Ascribe unto Jehovah, O ye sons of the mighty, Ascribe unto Jehovah glory and strength.
Psa 29:2 Ascribe unto Jehovah the glory due unto his name; Worship Jehovah in holy array.
Psa 29:3 The voice of Jehovah is upon the waters: The God of glory thundereth, Even Jehovah upon many waters.
Psa 29:4 The voice of Jehovah is powerful; The voice of Jehovah is full of majesty.
Psa 29:5 The voice of Jehovah breaketh the cedars; Yea, Jehovah breaketh in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
Psa 29:6 He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild-ox.
Psa 29:7 The voice of Jehovah cleaveth the flames of fire.
Psa 29:8 The voice of Jehovah shaketh the wilderness; Jehovah shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.
Psa 29:9 The voice of Jehovah maketh the hinds to calve, And strippeth the forests bare: And in his temple everything saith, Glory.
Psa 29:10 Jehovah sat as King at the Flood; Yea, Jehovah sitteth as King for ever.
Psa 29:11 Jehovah will give strength unto his people; Jehovah will bless his people with peace.
Verses 1-2… Ascribe (Give, attribute) is a command to ‘sons of the mighty’ those who have royal blood in their veins. Those who are used to being given glory and honor are to GIVE unto the LORD/JEHOVAH. David uses the term for God that his country men believed so holy they would not allow it to cross their lips. One sees this honor today in Jewish writings in the word G_d. Was David seeing ill-discipline in his sons? Did he see his boys receiving glory that was not theirs to hold on to? Give glory to G_d that is due Him. This is true worship. In our era we count all things as worship, music, preaching, good works, sweeping the fellowship hall after a meal or youth fellowship. OK, maybe? Maybe not!
Do I ever take time to glorify Him and Him alone? Do I ever take His glory? Maybe there is a blessing in trying to see G_d with this kind of respect, a name so HOLY that one such as me cannot speak it. In the verses 3-9 the clause the ‘voice of Jehovah’ is used 7 times. One of the Jewish commentators believes David uses this as a reference to THUNDER. Now go back and read those verses putting thunder in place of the clause! As I write this, a large storm is forming to the south. It has been moving closer for the last 30 minutes. The wind moves the leaves covering the ranchito and the trees. Lightening (v7 flames of fire) is visible. POWER in the lightening and in the thunder, the very floor under my feet shakes…. How can the Christian not think of the glory of the LORD? There is judgement and destruction in those 7 verses. There is power. There is majesty.
In the pasture below my mother’s house stood a gnarly deformed barely alive locust tree. Cousins, Jimmy Ray and David Fitzwater, and I would run to it in a storm. We stood in the hollow place in the trunk. Our adolescent clueless selves could stay out of the rain and laugh and listen to the thunder. It sounded like the inside of a drum. Grandma asked one time where we went to stay so dry. We told her. The next time I came to the farm that tree was gone. That tree had been struck by lightning on many occasions. Grandad thought if lightning strikes there, that would be good – less likely to strike home or barn. Grandma’s mind went to dead grandson – ‘tree goes Buddy!’ There is power in the words of a grandmother. There is power in the “voice of the LORD”. Power to create, “the hinds to calve”. Power to destroy – “breaketh in pieces the cedars of Lebanon”.
Finally the last two verses. While judgement may come to the earth there is comfort for G_d’s people. The “I AM that I AM” Jehovah, sat over the Flood in this case most likely all waters in the heavens not a reference to Noah’s Flood and gives strength to His people and will bless us with peace. With all that is happening in the world, I take comfort in David’s words. Believing those words came straight from G_d I choose to praise Him while the ranchito shakes under to power of His Voice. Well, actually like a chicken I am beating feet for inside!
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
This is a letter from Maureen Casey Founder and Director of Los Gozocos in Chimaltenango. They are in an area surrounded by gang influence, have had robberies and threats, yet they continue fearlessly to serve Jesus Christ. Her letter is quoted here without editing.
“””This is Nicole. She was left on the street at a couple days old by her family because she suffers from Epileptic seizures. Her birth certificate has a long line of numbers in place of her name and the address of the storefront where she was abandoned After a month in the hospital she was sent to an orphanage that has lots of babies in line for adoption.
We are studying the book of Matthew in our Wednesday night Bible study. Over the years I have met people that do not believe the Old Testament is the word of God. They may except the Gospels as ‘golden’ but question the rest of the Bible as the word of God. I think the Apostle Paul would be surprised and angry to find courses taught on Pauline theology in contrast as if different than Jesus Christ’s theology.
We have just passed the passages about the “Triumphant Entry” and testing by the Pharisees and Herodians… going to jump in the next session about the Sadducees. At this moment I am in North Carolina getting read for a whole slew of meetings. But in reading and meditation on these Scriptures the timing is fascinating. King David rode a mule (we would laugh at this in our day), Solomon brought horses in large quantity to Israel – now that is what a king should ride in that day and in the day of Jesus. Yet he rides a colt of a donkey… No one laughed. The crowd had King and overthrow of Rome on their mind. We have no record of Pilates thoughts but I suspect he had little fear of a Jewish peasant who could not even afford His stallion!… Is that laughter I hear Pilate? The religious leaders hated Him and tried to trip Jesus up over the next several days. They could find no weakness, no blemish in John the Baptist cousin from whom we heard the cry, “Behold the Lamb of God…Who taketh away the sin of the world!”
I have a question. What was Jesus thinking? Was He thinking I am king? I think not. Jesus was thinking Passover, He was obeying His Father by being that perfect Lamb.
This is likely in the Jewish Calendar the 10th of Nisan (the 18th of April this year) when he entered Jerusalem, Passover being always on the 14th of Nisan. (this year is a shanah meuberet – a pregnant year when a month is added in the Jewish lunar calendar to keep Passover in the spring month.) If any of my Jewish friends want to correct me feel free. I do get a little confused as I research this.
NOW read about the choosing of a Passover lamb in Exodus ch 12. The passover lamb or kid a one year old in perfect health was brought into the house and observed for four days. This lamb was killed by the patriarch in the house and the blood placed on door posts and lintel with a bundle of hyssop to mark the house. The lamb was roasted whole – no bone broken. Totally consumed. We take the bits and pieces of Jesus that doesn’t offend our soft view of life, but the type of the Passover Lamb is we consume all. Lord help us to understand You as You require, not as we would like. Help us to put Your WORD in authority over our lives and not fall for the pablum that comes from mere mortal philosophies. The Old Testament fulfilled in the New Testament precisely and this just one of hundreds of examples.
This post was started some weeks ago, but life and schedule got in the way of completing and posting it in a timely fashion. So we leave it here. Cindy and I are back in Guatemala obviously. We have in the warehouse a great donation from Global Health Ministries out of Minneapolis MN (www.ghm.org)… 2,400 boxes…about 4.5 more pallets to go before all is in order. A TIVA water filter container that will come prayerfully on Friday and be out in less than a week or ten days. That is a lot of work. We are older, the boxes keep getting heavier, repetition is hard on the back, hips and knees. There is a younger couple out there that will soon be called to come partner with us I am sure.
Port/import issues are still shall we say ‘constipated’ due to changes in government and I believe a true attempt to rid the system of some of the prevalent corruption. Without our friends at Agencia Aduanal Tejeda-Harris, I would be in a long sleeve white coat drooling in a rubber room about now. Please continue to pray for Guatemala and our role here.
We watch and help as the LORD allows with several projects, remodel of Hospital Santa Fe in Chocola (pray for success in procurement of a portable ultrasound for Dr. Sergio – a project that Matt and Judy Hardy started some months ago), new builds of surgical center with Exodo Foundation to serve needs of Mayan tribes grossly under-served; Clinic, Hospital, nursing school in Canilla with Adonai and DOCS for Hope, and other projects. As these expand so does the need for the shipping services/supplies/medicines and equipment that you support through Vine International. Souls and lives are saved and churches strengthened by the medical missions we support here in Guatemala.
Thank you for your support, prayer, financially and materially.
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon
Medical project? Really?
I am not sure now how Kristopher Hatchell Consulting Engineer at Lipscomb University got Vine’s information but I received a note from our boss Woody Woodson to communicate with Kris. We were going to ship bridge decking for a mission project for Lipscomb University, Raymond B. Jones College of Engineering, Peugeot Center for Missions Projects. (raised eyebrow, a shorter name would be good – evil grin. LU from now on). Conversation by email begins. Behind the scene I ask Woody how does one translate bridge decking into a medical project? Vine International pretty much holds to its calling to support medical missions in Guatemala. Well here is the old bridge. This community is isolated from outside resources, grocery stores, medical facilities (Aha! the medical connection). During the rainy seasons the bank on the left potentially will continue to fail and what is now unsafe would fail altogether. And here in Guatemala some would use it until it failed with someone on it!
LU team engineered the bridge and the supports on either end. Working with a local ministry Association ADICAY the base supports were poured before the team from USA arrived. Meantime back in the USA, the team designing the structure decided on a reinforced plastic decking that needed shipping to Guatemala… Vine International handled the shipping. With the scandals in government and customs in Guatemala, delays in port are the norm now. It worked out that we were able to load the pallet of decking on ADICAY staff member pickup on Saturday morning and the team came on Sunday, work began on Monday. Calling it that close gives us grey hairs!
LU team worked with men and women of the local village and the ADICAY team. Cindy and I love groups that include locals and build relationships like this team did. Prayerfully some of those relationships will last, in a meaningful way, longer than the bridge.
So medical? Bridge? Really? Yes really! It opens the community to transportation to larger towns with medical resources. Improves access to potable water and improve food supply for nutrition of children and adults. We at Vine International look forward to ‘doing it again’! Thanks Kris for thinking of us.
Here are photos of completed project. The wooden scaffolding is not holding anything and will be torn down by the people in the village.
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon