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APPROPRIATE! the adjective

27/06/2016
Suitable for a particular person, condition, occasion, or place; fitting — so Oxfords tome of English words defines the adjective APPROPRIATE.
There is a statement that makes me cringe.  “Missionaries can use anything!”  Let me say missionaries (listen up) are guilty of fostering this bit of heresy.  We never say no to any donation afraid we will offend the donor.  Plus we become masters of making things do that which they were not intended to do, making it appear that we can use anything.  You may have heard me speak of used tea bags.  Skip to next paragraph if you have …  The names have been changed to protect the innocent and the idiots.  (Mom is going to say something – so here is my answer, “But mom, they really are idiots!  And no one on our list of donor would do this”).  Yes, I know of two cases, one family and the other dear friends.  Just one of those stories – Go to customs in Fiji to collect a donation.   They bring what looks like an old wooden nail keg, smells a little musty.  Can’t look in it until you pay the customs fees.  They assign a value if donor did not, so taxes are always interesting.  Take nail keg home.  Open.  Musty smell a little stronger and unusual hair like substance is all that is visible.  Start gently fingering through upper layer.  Looks like dirt under the hair.  Finally folded paper with staple around fine string and barely legible word on piece of paper says “Lipton”.  Someone who calls this couple friend, brother and sister in Christ sent their collected used tea bags because the missionary can get a second cup of tea out of that bag.  In the tropics, if it is damp it grows mold – the hairy kind of mold.  I like tea.  But not hairy tea!  APPROPRIATE – Donor buy two boxes of tea.  Send one to your missionary friend.  Use your tea bag twice/I guarantee I will.  Same expenditure and so much more joy!
Why, you ask, am I bringing up APPROPRIATE?  My family and friends are in the center of those 44 counties declared a disaster area in West Virginia.  There are about 20 families dealing with unexpected deaths.  Countless families dealing with loss of house, vehicles, businesses, crops, roads, the list goes on.  There will be an outpouring of aid.  I love West Virginia.  The people are strong and independent and they are already making sure the little old lady across the stream whose bridge has washed out is safe.  Every back hoe/bulldozer/trucks and gravel crushers are running well into the night.  But in the rush to send aid there will be people that send their grandmothers mink coat that has been in the closet since she died in 1985.   Please communicate with friends and family there and send what they NEED.  There will be many ministries that respond such as Samaritan’s Purse (www.samaritan.org).  SP’s chaplains are already in White Sulfur Springs and their disaster relief surveyors are on the job, relief teams will come in this next week.   Marathon Ministries (www.marathonministry.org ), Rev. Phil Cooper is recovering from some health issues but has a staff that will be assisting in southern WV and VA areas.   There will be collections going on at many of the town centers/fire stations and churches.  Lookout Baptist Church (www.lookoutbaptist.org) is in the heart of this area and is a collection center.  Do your research.  Some organizations use tragedy to make money.  Money is an easy commodity to give and for the receiver to exchange for needed materials (good), but it can also go into a pocket (bad).  Find people and organizations with integrity.  If you have skills, diesel mechanic go help keep those machines running; carpenters, man will you ever  be needed for weeks to come.  But work with the locals, don’t overwhelm them with the initial response and then in two weeks just disappear.  Now you see why the word APPROPRIATE keeps coming up.  The need is great.  It will be great for an extended period of time.  Prayerfully respond in great and APPROPRIATE ways please or I might add you to the used tea bag story collection.
Father we pray.  Help us to help these friends and families in the heart of WV and in our hearts.  Some are grieving the loss of loved ones who tried their best to escape but could not.  I think of the police office that tried to get to some only to have them snatched from him in the dark.  Only You can comfort that man.  Loss of home, those irreplaceable photos and things of remembrance that are gone will bring tears to many mothers and daughters, the men too.  Long Looong hours of working to clean up, machines to shovel away the debris and to repair roads help keep these tired backs and minds safe Father.  Let those of us close help with time, skill and materials… those of us from a distance let us help with finances in appropriate ways.  For those that use this time to steal, remove them LORD.  In Jesus name we ask this Amen and Amen.
in Christ,
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon

The precision of Scripture fascinates me…

01/06/2016

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.

In Christ,

Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon

Woody and medical projects in Guatemala

22/05/2016

A bridge?

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 prettyOld Bridge 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!

bridge decking to CobanFrom here on it was out of our hands – we simply ship (smile).  Kris kindly kept us in the loop and sent us photos of completed project.

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.

New Bridge - Success!

New Bridge – Success!

In Christ,

Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon

back in Guatemala

05/05/2016

Well Cindy and I left Guatemala in the dry season and I returned in the wet season – it happens that fast.  We left it was brown over a little green, the grass was dormant and big dry cracks in the yard.  Now everything is bright green.  The jasmine is in full bloom and fragrant.  And then there is the lightening – it hit on both sides the house in seconds last night.  The fresh smell of nitrogen after the flash of lightening let you know how close it was.  I went to sleep with the sound of rain on the roof.

Got to get to work.  Exchange money to pay rent.  The refrigerator is empty, must deal with that!  We are waiting on a truck driver to be found to bring container to the bodega.  (PLEASE pray for this one as we have a couple projects that need their stuff so their teams aren’t twiddling their thumbs.)  Always the need to connect with friends when one returns.  Catch up on the news, some good = some bad, like the neighbors dog Bobbie very friendly, not much of a guard dog except against strange animals was clubbed to death while we were in the USA.  Cindy and others that stayed here and met this gentle beast are very sad.

Returning is more than remembering the two hours time difference, must once again remember not to drink from the faucet, where the toilet paper goes, to wear shoes when outdoors, and indoors. and the cat – for 11 days I have to remember the cat.  Then Cindy is back and I won’t have to remember Misha (which in Mayan means “CAT”).  Cindy remained behind to celebrate Peggy’s 25th birthday and get some things done around the house.

Returning means I can rest for a couple days.  Our trips to the USA are filled with meetings, many days multiple meetings, speaking at churches and with friends who support us financially and with prayer.  Trying to encourage others in their calling.  Visiting family which we cannot get enough of, hugging necks, eating and fellowship.  We never get to everyone we would like to but we wear ourselves out trying.  Being ‘home’ is never a vacation for us.  Window and plumbing need fixing, cars maintained, grass trimmed and poison ivy sprayed to try to keep it from taking over.  Back to the eating and fellowship – always a blessing only one curse – I come back weighing 10 – 12 pounds more than when I left Guatemala!!!

Those of you we got to see, it is always a blessing (Jim Clemens – the next time I will buy pizza and come to your shop).  For those we did not get to see, our apologies, perhaps the next time.

Back into the saddle in Guatemala, projects here always amaze me.  We have reading glasses coming – they won’t gather  dust.  A new to us ministry has shipped decking for a bridge to an isolated village in Coban area to improve their access to health care, pure water.  (that is the one we need to pray this container into the bodega for.  The decking needs to be delivered this weekend as their team arrives on Sunday).  A tubing bender for wheelchair repairs, the usual medical support materials mostly designated to some of the ministries that use our shipping services.

Thank you for your support.  We are having a typical first quarter with giving down after Christmas, but are confident that it will pick back up.  Please let us know if there are prayer concerns for your family or business.  It is a way that we can return the support you give us by praying for your needs.  Bless us with the opportunity to pray for your needs as you do for us.

As I was getting ready to press send/publish news came that the container will be in our bodega this afternoon.  You who pray for us do some mighty good work.  We get answers before you ask!

In Christ,

Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon

Speaking…

29/04/2016

Hello friends in Asheville area,

Cindy and I will be presenting our work with Vine International in Guatemala at Sunday service on May 1st at Calvary Chapel of Asheville.  The official address is 5516 Boylston Hwy., Mills River, NC 28759.  It is out past the airport towards Brevard.  Service begins at 10 – 12.  We would love to see you there and give you the latest update.

Come see what we do with your faithful support.

In Christ,

Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon

a funeral in Guatemala…

29/03/2016

Jesus came off the Mount of Transfiguration to a mess. The disciples left in the valley had tried to heal a boy to no good end. The father dropped to his knees in front of Jesus asking favor for his son. Dad went to the source of the Fountain. Jesus rebuking His disciples healed the child. Children play an important role in many of Jesus’ teachings in chs. 17-19 in Matthew’s Gospel. Later in this chapter Jesus points out the special privilege of the children of the king to not pay tribute.
The disciples likely arguing of their self-importance were rebuked by our LORD when He simple pulled a child into their midst and said, “.. except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little chil, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in My NAME receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believ in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (18:3b-6)
Then being slow learners, like me, the disciples tried to chase the mothers and their children away in ch. 19. Once again they garnered a rebuke from the Master. 19:14-15 ‘But Jesus said, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto Me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” And He laid hands on them, and departed thence’.
In Guatemala a family is burying an 11 month old today, latest tomorrow. The child died in its mother’s lap while in a waiting room of a medical facility, no meds, no…
We come to the source of the Fountain = 0ur Father in Heaven, and Jesus help us change these stories for Your glory and honor, amen.
With tears, that is all I can say.
In Christ, Dennis and Cindy

Passing the torch…well at least flickin’ our Bic!

20/03/2016

Our Vine staff of four does have a huge upside. It’s productive, efficient, and we have a lot of experience under our belts. But there is also a downside we are having to embrace. We’re all getting older. For many reasons, we are convinced that this God-built model needs to develop and increase, which means we have to begin considering how to pass on the torch to younger, long term help. So do we have your attention? Good!
Vine International started in 1993 in Knoxville. Woody thought they had saturated medical missions in Guatemala the year they helped 30 ministries. Dennis and Doris Rice ran this ministry from 2004 to June 2009. During that time the work more than doubled. They turned it over to us in 2009 and helped smooth the transition. It has once again almost doubled under our seven years of care. Vine International has gone from helping a few medical ministries – to ministries (that’s safe to say) depend on the shipping service and supply that Vine International brings to Guatemala. We are at a rate of 20 containers per year. Woody Woodson our founder, Bruce White manager of the US collection center, and the McCutcheon’s here in Guatemala are being stretched.
I am now 63 y/o (Cindy is much younger) and the physical work of unloading 40 ft. containers and moving the boxes multiple times is getting to be more than we can do. So we are asking – first in the community that has supported and befriended us over the years – to prayerfully consider whether working with Vine here in Guatemala could be a calling for you and your family. Of course, that “match” will ultimately be the decision of Woody and Vine’s Board of Directors.
Some important points:
I believe that Vine International Guatemala will continue to grow. The need for our service exists in a major way. The national healthcare system may improve under this administration, but will not be able to meet the need.
We serve over 100 medical missions currently. Some of the old ministries are expanding. There are new ministries bringing exciting projects to fulfillment. All of these are increasingly dependent on the donated medical supplies and medicines that Vine International ships to Guatemala. The need for Vine’s services will expand. Two families here would be necessary within a year or two.
Just as Cindy and I have done, this work means raising your own support. It is a mission. It is a mission where not all churches see the value of logistics and distribution… making it difficult to raise funds. But I assure you Christ is glorified in this work. I assure you He provides. We know first hand.
Over the next few years, Cindy and I will continue to be here managing the overall Guatemalan operation, but we will be ‘aging out’. However, by addressing this now, our helper(s) would have time to do language school and slowly transition into the work of the ministry. Parts of it are easy, incredibly gratifying, and will make you smile. Parts of it (working with government agencies) can be frustrating and take a bit of a bulldog personality. It is our goal to reduce our physical labor in Vine by June 2017 and to continue after that in a support role and administration – which means Cindy and I could help cover for the new folks when they’re away for family issues or vacation.
As a humorous aside, after the Rice’s left, in that first 6 – 8 months every office that we dealt with, (that Dennis Rice gave directions and drove with me, went in and introduced me to the people I would deal with) MOVED. One of those offices moved twice!… smile… I was shouted at for going wrong ways on one way streets. An interesting time that was.
We will be in the USA/Asheville area and WV the last two weeks of April if you are interested in talking about the opportunity to serve Christ in this unique ministry. Those weeks will be busy but this is important and we will make ourselves available to answer all your questions.
Those who are faithful to pray with us, please join us in this issue. We love the work of Vine and want to see it continue into the next generations, until He comes.
In Christ,
Dennis and Cindy McCutcheon