July 2016 Conchshell Chronicles
We Are Building!
A few days after arriving on Utila last month, I realized that Laura and the girls were really cramped in our small kitchen baking and preparing meals for the café. We needed a bigger kitchen with more counterspace. I began considering the only possible area of expansion- our screened in backporch. Having our kitchen there would give us space to have a dining room inside, as well as a larger seating area for our team and guests. Then I suddenly had another idea: we could build two additional bedrooms for our team on top of the porch. We have been needing living space for our team since we opened the café. Suddenly I was aware of a “God Plan” that was being given to me to prepare for the next phase of the Rio Coco Café Ministry on Utila.
I began talking with our builder Robert. He has been helping us since we built out the café in 2011. He thought my plan was a good solution to our needs, and an affordable one. He came up with a budget, and it appeared that we would be able to get the basic structure up by the beginning of August.
So we began. And work as gone well.
Here is our backporch three years ago before Eric Johnson screened it in:
First we framed in the porch:
Then we cut back the roof and added the “Third Floor”:
Here is the view from the top:
Robert, his sons, and friends are doing a very professional job.
We welcome your participation!
We are purchasing insulation, electrical things, and plumbing for an upstairs bathroom. Please join us prepare for the next phase of the Rio Coco Cafe Utila ministry.
I was standing in line at the bank here on Utila last Saturday to change some money for this building project. It was a long line- I had over 20 people in front of me with only two tellers working, so I settled in to enjoy the air conditioning. After 20 minutes, a tall English girl tried to get money with her ATM card, but did not have her passport. She left distraught, knowing that the bank would close in 25 minutes. As I slowly advanced through the maze, I suddenly had a very strong thought: “Are you just going to stand here or make use of your time?” Strange, since I never had that one before at the bank. So I started noticing the people around me- ladies, men, older citizens sitting in the chairs, and a guy in front of me with a handful of checks.
Finally I was number 2 in line when the English girl rushed back in, and came up to the side of the maze. I quietly said to the guy in front “I think we just got bumped back one space.” After a few moments, the cashier motioned the guy in front to come forward, and he motioned to the English girl who went to the counter. “That was a very gentlemanly thing you did” I said, to which he replied “She was waiting a long time.”
I asked him his name and what he did: Alex—who builds homes. I told him what I did. We talked. Then he was called to the counter. A few moments later I went to the other teller, only to be told I could only change $200 instead of the amount I needed. Alex noticed, and offered to change 200 for me if I needed. Nice guy.
We walked out of the bank together, and said goodbye. A few hours later, our builder Robert told me that we needed to purchase insulation for the walls and ceiling of the kitchen and bedrooms we are building. He already got the price, and it was going to be $1469 USD for nine rolls and we needed to order it Monday so we could get it by the end of the week. I let that settle as it was not included in our original budget.
Monday I called my friend Lorena in La Ceiba, who has been a huge help to our café ministry since we began in 2011. I asked her to find us insulation. She went to a few hardware stores and then made some calls. She told me that there was none in La Ceiba and we would have to order from San Pedro Sula and pay for shipping to Ceiba. I began talking to the Lord, as this is a lot of money for us to spend.
Tuesday Robert told me we needed to buy the insulation. I asked him to check the size of these rolls, which were 10 mm thick with an aluminum layer to reflect the heat. I also asked if there was the fiberglass insulation that we use in the states, and was told “no”. Lorena also told me the fiberglass type was not available at the San Perdo store. So I climbed on the back of Robert’s motorcycle and we went to the store. As I was riding down the main street of our island, I said: “Lord, this is your money. You tell me what you want to do. ( pause) Amaze me Lord with what you are going to do.” I have been praying that one a lot lately, and He has been amazing me so many times.
We got to the store. Robert’s information was correct. The 10 mm aluminum rolls are what they have and what we need. The price is $1487 USD. I paused, asked the Boss again, and told Robert that we needed to go change money.
We stepped outside the store and I saw my bank friend Alex riding by on his four wheeler. “Alex!” I yelled, and he stopped. “We are buying insulation for our project and I need advice. Have you used insulation in your buildings.”
“Yes, but it’s a new thing here on Utila and not too many are familiar with it. You use the aluminum type for the ceiling only. For the walls you use a fiberglass type. In fact, I have an extra roll in my bodega that you can have, and I will give you the number of the company in La Ceiba where you can get all you need. So I jumped on his four wheeler and within 10 minutes we were loading a roll of fiberglass insulation. 20 minutes later he dropped it off at our house, and called the store in La Ceiba. He told the owner Victor that I would be calling him, and Victor gave him the prices for both types. I immediately sent a text message to Lorena that we could get the insulation in La Ceiba at “Polaris” and sent her Victor’s number. Then my phone rang. It was Lorena.
“Michael I was driving when I got your text message, and I looked up and I was right in front of the Polaris store so I stopped. I’m talking to Victor now. How much do you need?” In 10 minutes I had the measurements, and we placed our order. Total for three ceiling rolls and three wall rolls: $372.15 plus tax USD.
Coincidence? It was a strange thought to have standing in the bank line Saturday. It was even more stranger to see Alex driving past at that exact moment three days later. What were the chances that he would have a roll of the insulation we needed to sell us? How unusual that Lorena just happened to be driving by the Polaris store the exact moment she received my text message!
I asked my Boss to tell me how He wanted me to spend His money. Then I asked Him to amaze me in the process. He Did! We saved over $1000! I’m amazed! Michael
God is ever present and always waiting to interact with His favored Creation. His intention toward us is always and for our good. How amazing to watch Him do what he does to interact with us in the most extraordinary ways. It is a beautiful thing to choose to draw near to such a Perfect Creator God who knows all and sees all.
Everyday we try to get up to exercise and see the sun rise. Then we wait and watch the sunset as a daily ritual here on Utila. It reminds us of who is in charge of our lives and just how spectacularly creative He is. It’s good to reflect after a long satisfying work day of serving our customers and one another. We look forward to the down time and a step back from intentional interaction with other human beings. I also find it most satisfying to be able to thank the One who made the day happen and who so artistically caps it all off with a magnificent display of His creative abilities. I am so glad I have God to thank. Our relationship is personal and I am grateful to know him.
Relationships…good quality ones….take time and a lot of intentional energy. One must be determined to make the time together happen or it slips away all too easily.
(Laura and Gal are preparing delicious and fresh breakfasts and lunches)
We are all naturally bent to serve ourselves…to survive for ourselves …to make it happen by ourselves. Yet God has a natural dependency factor built into humanity…the very nature of our differences in gifts and talents causes us to “need” the input of those God places around us. For us, we are constantly asking for His input as to who He wants to place in the various positions of need we face in all that He has called us to.
There are so many parts that make up the whole of our work, ministry, cafés, family, friends, team mates etc…We are constantly in need of wisdom as we walk out the steps.
Gratitude and Appreciation are such key factors in this thing called relationship. God designed us to be enjoyed and related to, but many factors in this world naturally take us away from the actual relating and appreciating one another. Just look around and it is easy to see so many living somewhere else and not with those they are with. My son told us today that he was surprised to see how many people are playing this new pokemon game on their phone. They are not looking or relating to one another but to their phones.
I actively think about and ask my heavenly Father how best to relate to those who are important to me. Roles change, we change, circumstances change…it is impossible to keep up. Only God who sees above the time line and into every heart and change in life can guide us through the most challenging scenes with people. He is our only Hope. I trust in Him.
Early this morning, as the sun was coming up I caught a glimpse of a hummingbird and it was hovering around a trash can. I thought is strange because it didn’t belong by a trash can…it belonged by beautiful flowers to get its sweet nectar. I desire always to live in my rightful place before my Creator.
Cunningham Family Medical Update
The Cunningham Family in Nicaragua has been beset by health problems these past month. Our project Director Truman is under treatment for stomach issues and is getting better. His wife Mirna is in Managua getting treatment for “female issues”, and is progressing.
This past week I received a call from our office manager Rodolio Cunningham, who told me last November that he was having eye vision issues, and would probably need cataract surgery very soon. Rodolio went to Managua to see an eye doctor, as his vision problems is not affecting his work. He needs to get the surgery, at a cost of about $1500 USD.
A few days later I called Truman to talk with him about his #1 son Rodolio, and he told me that his #2 son Danilo was having heart issues, and at the hospital in Puerto Cabeza seeing a cardiologist. I spoke with Danilo and he told me that the cardiologist told him that he had blockages in some of the veins around his heart, and probable would need to go to Managua for an operation to clear the veins. Danilo told me that the EKG, Ultrasound, and Xray exams have exhausted his funds.
Please keep the Cunningham family in your prayers. For those of you who want to help you may give to Danilo and his family at his donation page.
How You Can Help This Month
- Contribute to our Utila building project.
- Become a school sponsor and/or support a Seek The Lamb team member serving in Central America and the U.S.
- Purchase Rio Coco Bean Coffee at www.riococobeans.com. Our profits go to the school project!
You may donate online at seekthelamb.com—”Give”. Thanks!
Please pray that God will:
1) Heal Eric & Barbara’s son Nate who has a brain tumor;
2) Give good health for Danilo, Mirna, Truman, & Michael.
3) Send us more missionaries for the Utila Café ministry for this fall and next spring.
4) Open Doors for the ministry on Utila.
We appreciate your prayers. They Change Everything!
Rio Coco Bean Coffee
We have some very special Ethiopian coffee from our friends at Dominion Trading who are doing a similar project in Ethiopia as ours in Nicaragua. The Gwanwa Abaya is “very berry” and the Harrar is “honey vanilla”. Both are incredible coffees!
We also offer our Honduras Blue Mountain, Nicaragua Altisimo, Sumatra Rain, Papua New Guinea, Timor White Star, Colombian Mile High (and decaf), Mexican Esmeralda Decaf, and our very special Maui Ono Gold.
A substantial part of each sale goes directly to the school project in Nicaragua.
Join our Coffee Club for regular shipments at regular discounts. Call Mikaela at the Rio Coco Café: 772.226.5760.
Thanks for spending time with us this month!