November 2017 Conchshell Chronicles
Have you ever been in a situation where someone serves you or gives you something and you politely say “Thank You” and hear the response “No Problem”? I was taught to respond to any “thank you” offered by saying “You are Welcome”. In Spanish we can say “Con Gusto” (With Pleasure).
“No Problem” or “With Pleasure”? Which do you prefer?
I like to hear that the server did enjoy serving me. Instead I often hear “It was not something that caused me any problems”. How do you think God responds when we say “Thank You” to Him?
The concept of “Giving Thanks” appears at least, by my count, 113 times in the Bible. We are told it is a good thing to give thanks to God for all He has done. Psalm 118:1 says: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.
And how does God feel about this?
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. 4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. Ephesians 1:3-5
“El Gusto Es Mio”—“The Pleasure is Mine” says the Lord.
There is something beneficial to our mental health when we give thanks to God. We remind ourselves where it all has come from, and where it will come in the future. This is extremely helpful when we face adverse situations in this life. God is good, and He is there for us.
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; Colossians 4:2
This week, our nation has devoted a special day for Thanksgiving to God for what He has done in our lives, in the lives of our family and friends, and in the history of the United States. All we have to do is look at our coins, which proclaim “In God We Trust”.
We Thank You Lord!
We just got back from our annual teacher’s conference in Nicaragua. It was the best time with our teachers in recent memory!
This year we met downriver on Saturday in Sawa, on the porch of our building. The Sunday before our meeting, one of our teachers, Derling, had been brutally murdered by her boyfriend in a rage of jealousy. It was horrible, and our teachers were attentive to my discussion of how we prevent these types of situations. It’s all about our walk with God, and our adherence to His standards of behavior, especially in relationships.
I believe they felt my heart, as Derling had been one of our students, and was the daughter of my dear friend Sofia, who helped us start the project in 1985. I felt the loss deeply as they did.
Naming the book was worth 20 cd, naming the chapter won 100 cd, and getting the verse was worth 200 cd. There are about 30 cd to the dollar. Our 45 teachers in attendance were excited to win money, and Laura loved giving away about 2000 cds (haircut money) .It was a lot of money for them. As it turned out, our teachers who are teaching Sunday School won the most!
We made a promise to them to raise their salary in January by about 25%. We are long overdue to give them a increase, as the price of flour, oil, and other foods has climbed dramatically. We realized that we needed to take better care of our teachers, whom we entrust the most significant part of our discipleship and education project. We want to have a team of teachers who are content, and excited about coming to school each day.
We have a good group of teachers this year. They are all our former students, except for four, who have worked with us for over 30 years.
Pictured here are the teachers from Klampa. Marcos is the short one who was a kid who grew up with scoliosis. He’s not only a teacher but teaches Sunday School as well. Next to him is Oswaldo, who didn’s say much this time, as I later found out his false teeth had broken and he didn’s want to smile. He and the guy two over – in the blue shirt- Eusebio, have been working with us for over 25 years. Byron and Sheryn are in the middle, and Daniel Micky is at the right end, and he was the big winner in the Bible contest.
These are three of the teachers at Boom. Jhons Dino is the smiling one, who also is a Sunday School teacher. The guy in the Blue Shirt is Arnaldo Thomas, who has served with us since the beginning of the project, 1987 – 30 years! His daughter Nelly is in the middle.
Here are our teachers who work in Sawa. Beres is the smiling one on the left. He is also a pastor of his church, and my prayer partner. We pray for each other’s children. In the middle wearing the verticle stripes is Brenda Vicente Suazo, who is also a Sunday School teacher and married to Larry. She too won big at the Bible contest. Next to her is Anabel Washington, and cute girl we have watched grow up since Kinder days. Indira Guido is standing at the back. She is the daughter of one of our older teachers. Maritza is in the white at the end, and the daughter of one of our founders and superintendent Augusto Vicente.
The next village downriver is Uran. On the left is Lambercio, who has been our helper since he was a small child, always carrying our bags and any cargo from the boats. He has move up the ranks. Next to him is Reynaldo Hitler, who has many years of service with us. Lobres is next in the blue shirt- one of our long time teachers. In the white shirt is Alex Vicente, the son of Augusto. Dominga and Richabela are standing next, and the blue shirt at the end is a new guy who I don’t yet know.
At the next bend of the river is Sih. Denis Olayo is our long time friend, and has been a faithful teachers. Smit Rivas is on the right, another of our long time teachers.
Living Creek is one of the villages that the Sandinistas did not destroy in 1981-82 when at least 104 villages were burned and depopulated. They cut the coco trees and killed all the cows and pigs. Living Creek was the only village where there were big coconut trees when I first got to the Coco River in 1985. Truman told me that the Sandinistas had a military base there, and did not cut the coco trees. Mairus is our primary school director there, and Aurelio is another teacher. The two ladies are volunteers whom we are now hiring to teach in Living Creek.
We have our only secondary school in Living Creek. Three of our best teachers are there. Rey McCoy is in the checked shirt, and Eberto Chow is in the middle. It was his sister Derling that was murdered earlier in the week. He is now taking on care of his mom, and her household. On the right is Larry Suazo, who is the husband of Brenda. Larry won big in the Bible contest, as he is a very good Sunday School teacher.
In Utlamata, we have three teachers, and three volunteers who are asking us for salaries. The Ministry of Education appointed them to classes, but has not yet paid them for any months this year- and it almost over. Lamberto (middle) Gayetano (right), and Galeano (Left) serve there, along with the ladies, whom I don’t yet know.
We have a total of 43 teaches that we pay a salary each month. The Ministry of Education pays about 27 other teachers who serve in our schools. All are our former students and teachers, and we encourage the Ministry to pay as many of the teachers as possible. Due to a very limited budget (Nicaragua was getting financial help from Venezuela but not now!) we carry the brunt of the financial burden of the schools. We have been give charge of this region since 1991, and our teachers and student -1697 this year- are as good as any in Nicaragua, and we are in the most remote zone in the country.
Join us please as we care for these worthy servants. Your prayers and gifts to the school project go a long way. Thanks! Michael
Working in a “5th World” jungle environment with a primitive people group called Miskito Indians has served to alter my inward framing and existence and my conduct thereafter.
My driving force is a knowing that I am where I should be, doing what I should be doing and becoming more like the One I do it all for. I am often puzzled by the world around me that says, “I do not need a Supreme Perfect Being” telling me what to do …I can handle my life just fine.” The impossibilities of my life do NOT allow me the luxury of even hinting that I can handle life and all of the complexities I am faced with. One moment to the next I am often overcome with the gratefulness I possess for having a Divine Perfect Entity in my corner to guide my varied multi-faceted needy existence.
A question I am frequently asked when I come back from Nicaragua after visiting our teachers, leaders, students and Miskito friends for many years is, “How was your trip?” There are never enough words to even begin to answer such a simple question so I say, “Effective. Accomplished a lot.”
Our Miskito friends have many needs, but their needs are not like many of our needs because when you live in the “5th” world you have these true NEEDS of basic existence type of magnitude that surpass any of the pettiness of the 1st world kind of “need”. Mostly the “needs” in the first world are simply…”it would be good to have” but not “we may not make it if ….or can we feed our family” type of survival needs. True needs, not just wants or desires, NEEDS THAT NEED TO BE MET OR ELSE.
Over the years we have watched our Rio Coco Miskito children become adults, teachers, pastors, parents, contributing members to society, & grandparents.
We and many of you have become our Miskito friends economic stimuli, resource, medical insurance of getting the help that they need, retirement security, providers and givers of Hope, Love and faith. We have been with them for a long time and time has a way of building relationships that we are unable to leave and just say be well , be fed and then go on our merry way.
We want to care for our friends and the needs that they constantly bring to our attention. We need your help if God so lays it on your heart. At this season, many of our older Miskito friends are having the needs of medical care, operations so they can live longer, see properly . I cannot keep up, but this morning I asked my Father who is in Heaven to move your hearts to come along side of us to Help
- Onofre (our Bible teacher, administrator and friend) to get his eye fixed so it will work properly and not sag down to impede his vision. Cost will be about $1000.
- Mirna (Truman’s beloved) needs surgery.
- Sofia (one of our longest time friend and one of our administrators) just lost her one and only daughter, Derling (one of our teachers) to a stabbing.
There are countless other details and real needs and we are just asking if you may consider praying with us and respond accordingly. Our goal is to raise $300,000 this year for these teachers and our 1700 students.
Here is our leadership team that works with our 43 teachers to administer the project.
Nutie Melrose Keogh is our worship leader and she gets our students and teachers going with her energetic and deeply spiritual songs. Her husband Tom Keogh began working with us in 1989 for four years, and again in 2009. He is one of the very best Bible teachers on the river, and no one communicates the Gospel and Bible in Miskito like Tom- even native born Miskitos. Tom is a writer and talented artist, and one of my very best long time friends.
Next to Tom is Captain Rodolio Cunningham, one of the best boat pilots on the Rio Coco. Rodolio can navigate through debris and swift currents like no other. He also is our accountant, and takes care of the financial reporting.
Onofre Zamora is the Bible Teacher for our project. His travels to Israel and Maui for Bible and discipleship training have made him one of the best in the culture. He is doing a modern day translation of the Miskito New Testament, an very important work. He has an eye that needs attention now, and we hope to send him to Managua for surgery soon.
Next to Onofre is Augusto Vicente, our school project founder (1985) and superintendent of our schools and teachers. Augusto traveled with us to Israel in 1997, and he is also a worship leader for our project. Next to him is Carlos Zuniga, our chauffeur- one of the most important jobs in the project. Carlos delivers the cargo to the river, and maintains our Toyota Hi Lux pickup.
Danilo Cunningham is standing next to Laura. We sent Danilo to high school in Maple Valley Washington, and then to school in Jerusalem for a year. After that he went to Maui where he served as an intern with Hope Chapel. Danilo is very well prepared for his work, and has stepped in his father Truman’s shoes and is doing a very effective job. Danilo is also the director of ministry for the largest church in Waspam. He is a busy guy, and just had another baby with his wife Roxy!
As you can see, we have many good people who are on our team in Nicaragua. I hope you will pray for all these we have mentioned, that God would use them in a mighty way in this next school year, and that He would provide all their needs.
Please pray that God will:
1) Provide all the finances need by our teachers and missionary team;
2) Bring more ministers to our Rio Coco Café team. “The fields are white for harvest…”
We appreciate your prayers. They Change Everything!
How Can You Help This Month?
1) Support a Seek The Lamb teacher.
2) Support one of our missionaries;
3) Pray for us!
4) Purchase Rio Coco Bean coffee. Order your by clicking here.
You may donate online at seekthelamb.com—”Give”. Thanks!
You may contact us by calling 772.226.5760 or writing us at
P.O. Box 2151 Vero Beach Florida 32961 or