April 2016 Conchshell Chronicles
“I don’t try to figure God out anymore. He doesn’t fit neatly into any of my boxes. So now I simply start the day off by saying to Him ‘Lord just amaze me today with your presence in my life and the things you do with me and through me.”
I thought that was very insightful and brilliant. The next morning I awoke and said: “Lord, amaze me in the things you do and in your presence.” What was the result of that prayer?
An hour later Laura began reading our emails and read a notice from the bank that our account was overdrawn. We had insufficient funds. I had just sent a wire transfer to Nicaragua for our teacher salaries and suddenly we were overdrawn.
A few hours later our office manager Lanie sent a photo of a check she had just received in the mail for more than the amount that we had just transferred to Nicaragua — thousands of dollars!This was a gift from friends whom we had not seen or heard from all year. Suddenly we had enough money for the next month’s salaries! I was amazed. I finished the day lying in bed thanking God for answering my prayer. Ever since then, I am often prompted to pray for God’s Amazing Presence in my life.
There are so many issues that pile up and overwhelm me, and it is easy to get distracted and in an emotional hole. That’s my life anyway. It’s personal issues that raise their head at the most inopportune times; relational issues that suddenly erupt; and business decisions that don’t seem to pan out. Yet in the midst of these intense moments, I often pause to ask for God to take charge of the situation. Then what usually happens is there is suddenly a need that arises and I find myself focused on others rather than myself. Everything changes. Things smooth out. Why don’t I live each day this way?
Our trip to Maui was one of experiencing God’s amazing presence. We enjoyed so many of our friends whom we have know and lived with for years. They loved us; they spoke into our lives; and they took very good care of us. We had an open door to share many of our ministry experiences through our Echoes Into Eternity sessions on four Tuesday nights at Hope Chapel. So many people came, we were amazed! Laura and I worked together well, each of us sharing many experiences and life lessons.
God kept showing up in the natural beauty of the island: Magnificent sunsets; manta rays and turtles swimming around our SUP boards off of Kam 3 beach; A humpback whale swam right up to our boat one day off Lahaina- he was literally 10 feet away from us and looked us in the eye. Nature is a huge signpost for God, and Maui has many such signs.
Now we are back in Vero Beach, and we have only a few weeks until we have to get ready to go to Utila for the summer. Much is going on in the café ministry. Laura and I are raising up the next generation of leaders within our ministry team. We are adding ministry opportunities to the café schedule, while not letting the busyness get in the way of what we are really here for.
We have many pilots from the Middle East who are coming to the café. What an opportunity! Today one of them had his first solo. I gave him a double shot of espresso to celebrate. That opened the door for conversations with him and his friends, and soon they were back looking at the roasting machine and the photos of my Navy jets and Missionary airplanes hanging on the wall. A door was opened today with these new friends– All because of a little hospitality.
We have a multi-national team working with us on Utila and here at the café in Vero Beach. Visitors are coming every day for drink, food, and conversations. How natural to show God’s love through simple service and friendliness. It is a brilliant strategy that I cannot claim credit for. It’s His idea.
We have just purchased a pallet of coffee from a ministry in Ethiopia that has sent out over 200 Ethiopian pastors to start churches in predominantly Muslim villages. We made a huge contribution to their ministry through the purchase of this delicious coffee. When we roast it and sell it we will send money to our schools on the Rio Coco. 1608 kids will be impacted! We love allowing our business to support an effort that will send many Echoes Into Eternity.
By Laura Bagby
I enjoy being in the kitchen cooking.
I start off with great designs to be like Chef Daryl who trained in New York and has worked successfully in restaurants and teaching Culinary Arts for a high school. Daryl now runs his own non profit with his beautiful wife Johannah (mother, singer, song writer, author, amazing person) called “A Soldiers Child”, where they give birthday gifts to the children of deceased soldiers. A noteworthy cause.
Daryl has helped to train us in the kitchen and has helped us to make up menu items for the Rio Coco Café’s in the very beginning. When He came to visit us four years ago, he taught us to make a few things that would do well in the café. However, upon leaving the café he said to himself chances are we would never make it as a successful business….our location is terrible and out of the way and we were a few people…like Michael and I and our children and a few others who had no clue exactly what we were doing, but we knew we would try our best. Daryl later told us that 75% of all restaurants fail within the first year…He gave us a few months at best.
Four years later, Daryl and Johannah and family visited us and were surprised that we were still operating and thriving.
We always say it is a God thing because it is true and we are sure without that main Ingredient we would be easily one of those failing statistics.
Back to the kitchen….. where I start off trying to be all neat and tidy cleaning as I go like the Chef taught me….tries to drill it in me (he was in the military too). I still find myself in the middle of madness once I begin the process of making a couple of dishes at a time and easily confusing myself…Before I know it, it is a big fat mess and it doesn’t look at all how I want it to at all. When that happens, I usually say, “I gotta get my act together.”
The other day Arielle was in the kitchen with me and I said out loud, “I really need to get my act together here….look at this….my act is totally not together!!! Yikes! So lame!” She said in her usual calm self:
“No one’s act is together.”
I thought, “Yeah….right…..” I don’t know why that comforted me so very much just to hear those wise words of truth. Only One Perfect One in the entire universe. He has His act together and life is dependent upon Him not me. The reponsibility, abililty, and capability all rests upon His shoulders…not mine.
Whew!!! The pressure gets taken off big time. I can relax & enjoy!
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. And all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:23-24
There is now no condemnation…only the freedom to increase in my level of service and effectiveness for Him. He helps me in times of my need and trouble. He makes all things possible even all of our lameness and inabilities. We need only to choose Him and His way and all else will fall into place…even the success or failure of whatever it is we are called to do. We only need to walk forward in our parts and allow Him to do the rest. I am learning to be responsible to Him and His voice and to obey what He says…I am safeguarded when I stay in that place of safety and impossibilities.
But Jesus looked at them and said, “ With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
2) Tom & Nutie Keogh are serving at the Rio Coco Café Utila with Rachel Johnson and Drew Dillon. Many are coming into the café and we are having special moments with many.
3) Laura & Michael are heading to Virginia to help their friends Joe & Karen Johnson open a café near Virginia Beach.
4) Rio Coco Beans has just purchased some very special Ethiopian Dry Natural processed coffee from New Covenant Ministries who are using their coffee business to plant churches in Ethiopia. You may order this “Special Reserve” at riococobeans.com and help educate the 1400 Miskito students along the Rio Coco in Nicaragua and be part of planting churches in Ethiopia.
How Can You Help This Month?
- Become a school sponsor. Support a Seek The Lamb missionary serving in Central America and the U.S.
- Purchase Rio Coco Bean Coffee at www. riococobeans.com. Our profits go to the school project!
- Pray for us! Check out this month’s Spiritual Arrows
You may use the enclosed envelope or donate online at seekthelamb.com—”Give”. Thanks!
Spiritual Arrows: Your Prayer are Powerful!
Please pray that:
1) Good Health for our team, Truman, Michael, and our missionaries. We have needs.
2) God will send us more missionaries for the Café ministry.
3) Allow us to purchase needed school supplies this month.
4) Michael will be able to do all his writing and office work.
We appreciate all your prayers.
Rio Coco Beans
You may order some of this delicious Ethiopian coffee that we just received from New Covenant Ministries. Go to riococobeans.com and select “Rio Coco Reserve”. You will see the Gwangwa Abaya and the Harrar. The Gwangwa has distinct blueberry, vanilla, and honey notes and is very berry. The Harrar is slightly less intense in its flora nose, with very sweet vanilla and blueberry tones. These are special coffees and we are helping two projects in two continents through their purchase.
P.O. Box 2151 Vero Beach Florida 32961 / firstname.lastname@example.org / tel: 772-226-5760 / www.seekthelamb.com