July 2015 Conchshell Chronicles
They walk in every morning from Europe, Australia, Israel, Canada, the United States, and Utila. Most are scuba divers here to learn or teach. Others are here to enjoy the clear cool water and coral scenery. Some are here for the continuous party that offers all the pleasures that many look for. Still others are here working, trying to make enough to live.
And then there are the volunteers at the Rio Coco Café. We are here to serve a Cup of Life!
A few days ago, we were paid a big compliment by our Israeli friend Gal. She is working here on Utila as a divemaster and has been coming into the café for these past many months. I became her friend over a cup of Turkish coffee that I made for her and another Israeli- a lady named Gil. Yes they joked to me: “Gil-Gal”, a Biblical place.
Gal told me that she has been coming to the café for many months on her days off because it is a place where she can feel peace and relax. She knew that we had an education project along the Rio Coco, and that made it even “mo’ better” for her. Besides, the people at the café were very nice to her, and made her feel welcome.
I told her that we all were Followers of Jesus. She was surprised!
“I didn’t see any crosses or pictures of Jesus. I didn’t know that you were Christians.”
“Well Gal” I said, “that is the way it should be. You should know about our love for God because of our love for you.”
She smiled. Gal doesn’t think too much about God. In her Israeli culture, those Black clothes-wearing religious Jews have given God a rather bad name. That is sad. But here on Utila, Gal is hearing about the God of Israel, and the Messiah Jesus not only from us, but also her dentist. God is doing something in her life! Pray for her!
T.D. is a young man who has been here all summer on a dive study course. We have seen him many times drinking coffee with his friends, and on our SUP boards early in the morning. We have noticed that there is something special about this kid, and today I had a long talk with him. He told me that he was a missionary kid in Ecuador, where his mom became ill and died. That was over a decade ago, but it set him back. Then there was tragedy and deaths in his school with classmate friends. That too caused him to wander in his faith. But God is faithful, and bringing him step by step back. Today I think TD hopped a few hurtles.
Freddy is one of my oldest friends here on Utila. He is a dive master who came to Utila a few years ago and stayed. I have grown to really love him. He told me last year about his bad experiences with the church, and that he has already made up his mind that Christianity is not for him. So he, along with many others, are on our prayer board. We know that God wants to reach Freddy, and others like him. It will be a supernatural event in their lives, just like it was in mine. I know that God is doing some thing in Freddy’s life! I’m patient and enjoying his friendship.
Almost every morning we have a group of local boys come in for coffee and breakfast, and they stay for hours. These guys are born and raised here on Utila, and we know their families from many years ago. It is so interesting how God is bringing us into relationship with them. Most Utilians have been brought up in a religious atmosphere, with the various churches having their own traditions, which sometimes have nothing to do with Scripture. Whether its wearing long pants or not drinking coffee, these traditions often keep sincere seekers from really understanding the reality of a personal relationship with The Creator Jesus.
How do we explain Biblical Christianity and break through the religious strongholds? Its really one cup of coffee, one conversation at a time. These guys feel love and acceptance from us like they never have from other Christians. We are so enjoying our time with them!
In all these conversations, I find myself talking “to myself of many years ago”. I had my opinions. I didn’t want anyone to challenge the rationalizations of my ungodly life style. Life was good, or so it seemed. Yet in the deep recesses of my consciousness, I knew that there was something much bigger out there and that at some point in my life, I would be connected to the biggest and best thing going on in this world. It was in 1981 that I discovered His name- Jesus Christ. It has been the Great Adventure of Life!
I’m trusting that many of our friends who walk through the gate of the Rio Coco Café Utila each morning have that same process going on in their lives. In the meantime, we serve them really good coffee and frozen drinks, delicious fresh baked goods, savory breakfasts and lunches, and ourselves in the process. There is a cost, but in the end, many will come to know the Lord of Life Himself- Jesus.
I have never felt as much opposition to our presence as I have this summer. It feels like a brick wall of oppression on us at times. We have had skin infections, injuries, headaches, and stomach issues. We feel like we are slugging through a swamp sometimes. Yet the light is shining, and God is doing many things among us. MB
Lamb Bleatings by Laura
A friend of the Café asked us if we wanted to be a part of the huge Lion Fish Derby which entailed a cook off of filets of Lion Fish by the various “restaurants” in town. (The purpose of the Derby is to remove these harmful predator fish from the Caribbean reef after they were accidentally released from Florida over 20 years ago.) Arielle stood by me and said “Yes, mommy do it. You can win.” For me that was enough to have the vote of confidence from my child. I thought why not…being a chef has been looming on my list.
I went into prep mode which means I begin asking My Boss for guidance and help. The thing about bucket list items is that they are things one has never tried or done before. This great adventure we live seems to be lined with experiences that are new and we have not much ideas of how to do it. That is what makes it exciting.
I have never tasted or worked with Lion fish either so I was in trust and enjoy the process mode. . It took a day and a half of Prep and execution. Our team was right along side to help with set up and presentation. It was a fun time and I felt happy and accomplished. Very grateful for the experience and the inner reward I felt .
Through all the prep, buying, and hard work, I kept thinking, “Wow, this is what a chef has to do everyday, all the time. That’s hard work. So glad to just be pretending right now.”
My moral of the story is that, there is great privilege and excitement to live out God’s call and purposes in my life. So many facets to His goodness and mercy that He bestows upon those who seek His Kingdom and His righteousness first. All these things can be added unto us. Following God and His leading is the key to experiencing every bit of our bucket list and plans that we didn’t even know were there in our hearts.
(Editor’s note: By the way we finished 2nd in the voting only three votes behind the restaurant that shared the table with us that won! It seemed to me that as the voters were sampling many thought Laura’s platters were the next competitors’, due to the positioning of their sign on the table, while our was taped to the side, which very few saw. I think that Laura actually won the event, but that’s just me…)
Rio Coco News
Through the generosity of some of you, we were able to purchase two new outboard motors last month in Puerto Cabezas Nicaragua. Our entire leadership team was there for meetings with our lawyer and discussions of our strategy for these next year. They were so overjoyed at the prospect of having new efficient motors to conduct their supervision and training trips downriver each month! Having a motor break down miles and miles away from civilization is a bummer!
There was a delay in getting the motors back to Waspam. It seems that the driver of a heavily loaded lumber truck refused to off load his cargo before crossing the very fragile wooden bridge at Sinsin.
As a result, the center section collapsed and left the truck hanging over the river. For almost two weeks, no vehicles could cross the broken bridge. Bus passengers had to walk across planks to another bus for the trip to Waspam. When I spoke to Truman after 12 days of waiting, he was really missing his wife Myrna!
The lesson for me was one man’s willful mistake affected an entire region for an extended time in a very negative manner. Something I have been thinking about ever since.
Thanks to you who contributed to these essential tools for the ministry on the Rio Coco. Now please begin praying about our 10 year old Toyota pickup that is slowly coming apart… We appreciate your prayers! MB
How Can You Help This Month?
- Pray for us! Check out this month’s Spiritual Arrows
- Sponsor one of our Seek The Lamb missionaries; We all are volunteers who trust God to provide all our travel and living needs.
- Sponsor a teacher or one of our schools on the Rio Coco! Your donations pay all the expenses of our education project which serves 8 communities and 1300 students.
- Purchase Rio Coco Bean Coffee at www.riococobeans.com!
Spiritual Arrows: Your Prayer are Powerful!
Please pray that God will give us:
1) Inquiring minds that will come into the cafes.
2) Complete Healing for Laura’s dad Ronald, and Laura’s very sore left elbow.
3) More Missionaries for the Café Ministry in Vero and Utila. The fields are ripe for harvest!
4) A location for the Rio Coco Café in Radford Virginia which we are hoping to open this fall.
We appreciate all your prayers.
We roast some of the finest coffee grown on the planet! Our coffee business support the school project on the Rio Coco in Nicaragua, and we can deliver it right to your door!
Please support our school project through a purchase of our High Altitude Slow Roasted Specialty Coffee!
Please contact us at the following places:
P.O. Box 2151 Vero Beach Florida 32961 / email@example.com / tel: 772-226-5760