September 2016 Conchshell Chronicles
We wrote this September letter before we left for Nicaragua on September 4th. We returned on the 14th and a few days later I was hit with either malaria or dengue, or something else. Sorry for the delay in posting this online. Please let me begin by giving you a
Cunningham Family Update
We returned from Nicaragua on September 14th after a successful time with the Cunningham Family and a meeting with our teachers. Since the sudden death of our project leader, Truman Cunningham, there are many issues to resolve.
When Truman had his heart attack and dies on August 2, people came from all over to pay their respects. Politicians came from Managua and Puerto Cabeza, and many of our teachers from downriver. The main street in Waspam in from of the Cunningham house was closed off, and for the next three days, 800-1000 people were crowded onto the property. Mirna and her daughters had to feed them all, two meals a day! There was no casket big enough for Truman in Waspam, so one was purchased on credit in Puerto Cabeza.
The result of this massive funeral is all the Cunningham Family members spent most all of their financial resources. ThMirna needs financial help to get through these next months.This week, Mirna is in Managua with doctor appointments and treatments, as she too has heart and diabetes issues. Her son Danilo is also there being treated by a cardiologist for some heart issues.
If you have ever spent any time with us in Nicaragua, you understand the needs.
We have a special donation page set up for Truman’s family. If you would like to help, you may do so here.
I will have more details in October’s newsletter, which should be out in a few weeks.
Every day, Australians, English, Europeans, Canadians, Argentinians, Brazilians, Malaysians, Americans and Israelis walk into the café on Utila. They come looking for coffee and tea, breakfast and lunch as well as some of our famous baked goods. They also come for Laura’s lunch specials. She has become famous for delicious healthy plates.
Most of our guests hold a Secular world view. Many don’t believe that a God exists, nor care to find Him. Among this crowd there is very little knowledge of the Bible or Biblical morality.
Emilio is a chef from Avignon France. He is a nice kid who made us delicious desserts! We were talking with our Israeli team mate Gal about a good restaurant in Joppa, and I mentioned that is the place where Jonah left when he was fleeing from God. Gal nodded but Emilio had a blank stare. “You remember the story of Jonah being swallowed by the big fish…” No, he didn’t. He never heard that story growing up in France. “I’ve never read the Bible” he said. Then after a pause he continued: “But I may read it soon.”
Another friend just graduated with a degree in Latin American History, and we had some things to talk about. Finally one day we began to talk about the Bible and God. Joe has no familiarity with the most published book in History. He doesn’t accept anything from the Bible as truth. He has no desire to know God, but is more concerned about the environment and animals.
We met a few scientists. Two came from New York for the divemaster course and came in the café often. I discovered that one had grown up in a Christian family but went to college, became a scientist, and is now an agnostic. He said his abandonment of his faith caused many problems with his familiar relationships, but he is now comfortable with his disbelief. We talked one morning for over an hour about science and creation, the Big Bang, the and the Origin of Life. He got pretty animated. His fellow scientist walked in at that point and I asked him what he thought the origin of life was. He replied: “Bacteria from a passing comet or a bolt of lightning in a primordial swamp.” At that point his girlfriend who was standing beside him said: “And then there is Creation” to which he added “Yes I am considering that one now”.
Suddenly I felt the prayers of their family, and that I was part of the answer.
One couple from Vancouver ask us after 10 days of coming to the café why our two daughters turned out as they did.
They have been married for three years and are ready to have their own children. Laura and I told them how we trained them according to principles in the Bible, and worked hard at being Godly parents.
Then Laura asked them: “Are you spiritual? Do you have any connection to God”.
The husband answered; “ You are not going to like my answer, I was raised in a very strong Christian home. In fact my parents are missionaries in Nicaragua, but when I went to college I learned that science has the answers to life, and I am now an agnostic.” His wife was originally from Russia where she grew up in a scientific community in Siberia where there was no talk of God. We could feel the prayers of his parents!
There are Two Principles or Commandments that personally guide me in this ministry to these people.
#1 You must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. 1 Peter 3:16
What is our hope as followers of Jesus? An exciting productive Eternal life; The presence of the Holy Spirit in this life; That our prayers are going to have an answer; That God will guide us through this life which will be abundant and exciting.
How do we do this in a Gentle and Respectful manner? By developing the skill of listening and displaying genuine affection and care.
#2 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. 16 Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior. 2 Timothy 2:15-16
The Biblical message in its pure form is simple and direct. Sometimes when we read it through our own cultural eyes, and in English, we sometime can come up with a very different interpretation. One of the most obvious misunderstanding of the Scriptures for Israelis is found in Exodus 23:19
“You shall bring the choice first fruits of your soil into the house of the Lord your God. “You are not to boil a young goat in the milk of its mother. Exodus 23:19
From this commandment not to cook a kid in its mother’s milk religious Jews have develop the Kosher dietary laws- never mixing meat and dairy. That means two refrigerators, two set of dishware, two sets of silverware -No cheeseburgers. From the context this concerns offerings, not diet. Egyptians and Cannanities offered their gods dead lambs which were killed by boiling them in their mother’s milk, and the entire family drank the broth. This would ensure a fertile herd and productive mating season, and wealth. Miskito Indians do a similar thing by killing a chicken and sprinking its blood around the edges of their rice and bean fields to curry favor with the gods whom they think control the harvest. God says to His people “Don’t do that. Trust me”.
On our last day, our friend Cassio came by to say farewell. He told us that he and Joe were walking on the street one day and asking each other “Why are the guys at the Rio Coco so kind to us?” (Kate, Joe & Cassio in photo)
I answered: Because we are followers of Jesus and He tells us the most important thing is to Love Him with all our Heart, Soul, and Mind, and to Love the people around us. If we don’t extend ourselves to you and care for you, how can we say we are truly followers of Jesus. Besides, Cassio, you are easy to love; so is Joe. You are classy guys. We really like you.
That answer is true, and it seemed to hit home with Cassio.
Why are we attracted to these kind of people? Probably because Jesus was. He hung out with the sinners, prostitutes, and other low life. There is a list of behavior in 1 Corinthians 6 that many people get upset about, probably because they don’t read the entire passage and maybe they are not being honest with themselves.
Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.
Of that list of 10 behaviors, how many can you identify with? It’s 5 or 6 for me. But here is the one of the most significant verses in the entire Bible. Remember Paul is writing a letter to the elders of the church at Corinth:
“Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
That’s the Gospel Folks. People who are far from God and doing what they like which will result in severe personal consequences, who at a point in time get to know Jesus, and make a decision to enter into a personal relationship with Him as Lord and Savior, who are forgiven, redeemed, and now have an eternal future as members of God’s Family.
Thanks for being with us in spreading this message. It means a lot. MB
TRUSTING GOD IN THE GOOD AND IN THE BAD AND APPRECIATING BEING ABLE TO HAVE A PERSONAL CREATOR BEING TO GIVE MY LIFE, MY GRATITUDE, MY 100% TO….and the power of being able to have the faith and confidence that I will someday be with Him and all those that have gone before me.
This is HOPE, FAITH AND LOVE…the greatest being LOVE…Many who we love and care for have gone on to be with Jesus. Truman being the most recent to have departed this earth. We believe He is in the heavenly arms of the One He so faithfully served.
We miss loved ones. It has been two years since my mother passed on to be with Jesus. The missing never really goes away, but the longing for the other side grows as time passes.
We have the privilege everyday to love people into the Kingdom …to raise the standard of His Life, His Way, and His Truth in us and through us and our everyday actions towards others. By laying ourselves and our own agendas down, God is able to pick us up and breathe His very breath through us in a word or an action or even a prayer. How great is the fact that God is limitless and all powerful and is able to do all things well? What a blessing to have such a powerful eternal Force operating in our midst!?
Everyday brings a new astonishment and marveling as we see the lives He is able to reach….Lives that we get to enjoy, love on and serve. We are so grateful to be able to do all that we are…
This week we go to Nicaragua to be with our Miskito family, teachers, and leaders. I have been praying that God would give us the strength, wisdom and encouragement to bring His heart to His people. I have been crying with my dear friend Mirna from a distance and now I get to go be with her and cry with her and her children. May the God of all comfort and provision be upon us. Love has carried us all.
How Can You Help This Month?
- Give to Truman’s honorary fund. Here is the link.
- Support a Seek The Lamb team member serving in Central America and the U.S
- Contribute to the Utila Café building project. Utila Construction
You may donate online at seekthelamb.com—”Give”. Thanks.
Please pray that God will:
1) Provide for every need for Mirna Cunningham and her family in extraordinary ways;
2) More team mates for the Rio Coco Café ministry .
We appreciate your prayers. They Change Everything!
Rio Coco Bean Coffee
Support our school project by purchasing our freshly roasted coffee that is delivered to your door!
Thanks for spending time with us this month!
P.O. Box 2151 Vero Beach Florida 32961 / firstname.lastname@example.org / tel: 772-226-5760 / www.seekthelamb.com