November 2014 Conchshell Chronicles
- Laura and Michael are visiting the Seek The Lamb schools on the Rio Coco in Nicaragua. They are meeting with the leadership team as well all the Seek The Lamb teachers.
- Project Ezra students (Approx. 1387) are preparing for the final examinations of the 2014 school year. Exams are given the last week in November. Each year we have seen academic improvement in all of our seven schools.
Thanks for all your help in making it happen!
It’s Time To Give Thanks!
Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away. I like to pause during this month, and take a moment to thank God for all He has done in my life since I began following Him in 1981. May I share some of these with you?
I’m thankful for my wife Laura, who continues to become more beautiful to me and essential to my life. I have learned so much from her. She is the ultimate wife and mother. As for my four children, could anyone wish for better kids than Mikaela, Lukas, Arielle and Moselle?
I cherish the friends that God has given me who have loved me sometimes in spite of my shortcomings. You have been a part of my process of growth and achievement of my Kingdom purposes for being here on Earth. You know who you are. You are the ones who have had to endure my intense personality and single-mindedness. Yet you invited me into your homes and life, and gave much to me!
I’m aware that I could not have accomplished much in the ministry that I have been assigned without faithful partners who have been with me for years. One couple was Jim and Doris Cummings. They began supporting me when I left Maui in 1984. Jim passed on a few years ago, and just last week, Doris joined her husband after a long battle with cancer. They wrote two checks every month- one to Seek The Lamb, and one for Laura and Mike. Every Month for the past three decades! Faithful!
Laura and I are volunteers. We don’t get any salary or support from the coffee or café business, other than drinking really good coffee. Having faithful personal supporters like Jim and Doris, as well as some of you, has been the reason we have been able to travel often to Central America, raise our four children, and be cheerful givers when we are presented with some of the many needs of our Miskito Indian friends each time we are on the Rio Coco. Each month when I pay my bills, and I extremely thankful to God for you who have been with Laura and I!
There have been many of you who have actually joined us for a personal participation in this adventure, travelling with us to Honduras, Nicaragua, Israel, and other places in the world. I give God so much thanks for you! We have a special connection that comes from enduring a very physically demanding environment, and experiencing together God’s move among us!
Today was an especially sweet day in this regard as we spent time with our long time friends Kathy & Bob Rexroad. We met them in 1989 right after Laura and I married. Bob was a flight instructor here in Vero Beach and helped me with my flight training. They went to Honduras with us to work with the refugees, and were the first ones we took to Utila. Kathy reminded me today that even at that very early date (1992) I was sensing that God was going to use us to do something on Utila.
Bob got a job with the airlines, and moved to Northern Virginia. When we visited them, they took us to their church where we became “official missionaries”, and received support for many years.
The mission directors were Eric and Barbara Johnson, who came to the Rio Coco in the 90’s a few times to work with us, and again in 2012 to work with the Rio Coco Café ministry. They have been our team leaders on Utila these past two years! Relationships! I love working with them again, as well as the two ladies they brought along: Laura Herald and Rachel Johnson!
Along with having the Johnsons to work with, I am extremely thankful to be working with Tom Keogh and his wife Nutie. Tom is one of my oldest friends whom I began working with in 1986.
I don’t know a better disciple maker in the Third World. I’ve known Nutie since her award winning singing career in Hawaii in the mid-80’s. To have friends like this is “spectacular”.
I constantly thank God for them, as well a my Miskito Brother Turman Cunningham, who I have worked with for 30 years this month. As you are reading this, I am in Nicaragua with Truman this week, meeting with our teachers, and enjoying some moments with Him and his family.
Least I forget, I also thank God for all the “personal development situations” where He has allowed me to learn so much about Him, and about myself. You know what I’m talking about: Relationship difficulties, financial challenges, health issues, personal safety situations, moral battles, and more…Things that are normal to every follower of Jesus. Most of these were not pleasant experiences. Many lasted for months and years. Yet I am a different man today because of these trials.
God has pulled me into deeper trust and confidence in Him, and less on myself.
Why has it taken so long to get to this place? Probably my stubbornness and arrogance.
Thanksgiving is a designated National Holiday for us to consider where it all comes from, and Who we are dependent on. It is a good time of the year!
Photo: The Rio Coco Costume Party Team
My friend once told me, “Rules without relationship results in rebellion and the religious behavior of just doing…whereas if there is love and care in the relationship, the rules become something to be practiced out of the heart.” Good healthy relationship are often inspirational to me.
The traits I have admired most in those around me all come from the acceptance of God’s love, favor, identity and His purposes being fulfilled. There is an open hearted availability and willingness and a committed and ready attitude toward God’s goals. I am profoundly affected by those who are on this playing field of committed faith, sacrificial love and honor.
The Bible talks a lot about relationships, love and caring for one another and even putting others before ourselves. Sacrifice & giving being the ultimate values that, “God gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” God GAVE and sacrificed.
In the beginning, God created….much for His own delight and enjoyment of relationship with His beautiful prized possession on earth. It would seem fitting then that we would be subject to attacks against what God desires for our lives with regard to enjoyment of one another and love & unity prevailing amongst us. In the battlefield of this life, it would appear to me that the war is always waging for relationships to be dismantled, corrupted, and destroyed. I see it daily in my own life and the many lives that surround me.
Some of us have the added protection of the divine providential hope and “knowing” that there is always victory on the other side of our trials and tribulations (which will always come if we live in this world…common to man). If we are open and committed to Christ, we know that He wins and will have His way if I can get through in submission to Him and choose to do it all His way and not our own. He cannot fail, but my fallen state has the propensity to lead me down pathways of further destruction, confusion and chaos. Trusting in His divine nature and sovereignty are the only escape for us if we desire to win the battle. All of us are in a battle whether we choose to believe it or not…the war is real. God is always vying for more of us, our time, our love, our devotion…The Bible declares that He is a jealous God and does not tolerate any other god before Him. Yet the world clamors for our attention, our flesh cries out constantly to be catered to and the adversary himself seeks continuously who he can devour (bit by bit…he is cunning and able to simply take a piece at a time). We must choose to be watchful and mindful. Ready and willing to cut him down and out of our lives. It is hard work. Feels very laborious at times, but the fruitfulness does come.
Love prevails and produces good fruit. We can only love as much as we are receiving it from our Source. As He prevails in us, we can overcome in love on our respective battle fields.
Trusting Love …knowing that our best interests are being worked out by faith….knowing that love…endures all things, hopes all things and that love never ever fails.
I am being reminded to apply grace to others as God has so freely given to me…I am reminded to take every opportunity to keep my mouth shut (: I like to open it and make sounds that do not really edify or give grace to a moment or person. I am reminded to dwell on that which glorifies my heavenly Father and not on my muddied thoughts and feelings. (Phil 4:8 things true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good report, things worthy of praise)
I have been meditating on how God has used our own openness, availability, willingness, readiness to jump off the cliffs of faith and how He has shown himself through our commitment to His plans and purposes. We are grateful for His hand upon us and all of our stumbling along as children not exactly sure of ourselves, but sure of His Love and faithfulness.
We are thankful for many of you who have been with us in our stumbling along and have stood firm in the things God has told you to do.
How Can You Help This Month?
1) Sponsor one of our Seek The Lamb missionaries ;
2) Sponsor a Miskito student of Project Ezra;
3) Pray for us! Check out this month’s Spiritual Arrows.
Please pray this Fall Season that God will:
1) Heal Myrna Cunningham’s leg: she has swelling and darkened skin;
2) Healing for a recurring infection for Michael;
3) More missionaries for the Café Ministry.
We appreciate all your prayers.
Rio Coco Beans Coffee
Our coffee business supports our school project in Nicaragua. Click here to have some delivered to your door!
Photo: “Cupping” the Nicaraguan coffee in Matagalpa. It is a time to taste test the coffee!
Thanks for spending some of your valuable time with us!