God gives us thunderstorms to prepare us for hurricanes.
Old Florida Proverb
When we arrived on Oahu last month with the entire family and our two nieces Tara & Ava, we decided to go walking up Koko Head, a volcanic crater on the east side of Oahu. It is a .6 mile walk up an old rail trestle built by the military decades ago. It is over 1000 feet elevation gain from the parking lot to the top.
The first part is a gentle grade, but about halfway up the slope turns skyward. My children surged ahead as Laura and I stopped to ‘enjoy the view’. Higher and Higher.
I monitored my heartrate so as to keep it below 160. I noticed many others who were having a more difficult time than me on the ascent, and I realized that I was probably the oldest on the trail. I was so thankful for the many lunges, squats, burpees, and other core exercises that I have been doing these past three years at Vero Strength where Mik and Moselle are coaches, and we are all members. Had I not had these conditioning exercises, I would have been like the young red faced group from Alaska, whom I was watching as we ascended, just in case. Two of the party were miserable.
Many sweaty cardio and strength sessions with our coaches/owners Rob & Wendy had indeed prepared me for this moment.
Photo: At the summit with our nieces Tara and Eva.
California has had many earthquakes over the years. After many destructive quakes, they have instituted a statewide building code to construct all buildings to be able to withstand a Richter 7 scale earthquake. The buildings are strong.
Could you ever imagine that the NBA, March Madness, and Major League Baseball would be cancelled or put on hold? Did you ever foresee the ‘stay at home’ orders that many of us are under at this time? Could you envision 6.6 million unemployment applications? Obviously, we are being thrust out of our comfort zones. Routines are gone. Fear and Panic reign on the national media programs. What are we to do?
Welcome to the historical real world where such things have happened often in the past! Consider the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. 50 million died worldwide. 675,000 American died, including my uncle who was only five years old.
Yet God has His purposes in this. We all are being shaken, and God is showing us where we stand in our faith in Him. At the same time, God wants to develop endurance and perseverance in us.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4
In these next weeks, we will be challenged to choose whether we will believe God and his promises, or fears of this pandemic. Will our focus be on ourselves, or will we take this opportunity to reach out and help others?
Will we fight to maintain our comfort zones, or allow God to move us to a place where we can be, as our friend Craig Englert said this morning, Richter 7 Christians?
‘Comfort’ is a state of being that is naturally desired by all humans. We all strive to reach this state of ‘relief from pain or anxiety’ and be ‘physically relaxed’. In a sense, the goal of all societies is to reach this state of comfort, or at least allow someone to be comfortable, often at the expense of many others.
When you are comfortable, you are content. Contentment often is a state of being that keeps us where we are at. When there are no problems, there is no reason to search for solutions. We naturally fall into a state of ‘couch-potato-ing’ and ‘business as usual’. There is very little reason to do more than what is required.
Comfortable & Content people are not the ones who change their worlds. They are often the spectators to those who are not content and not comfortable. This second group is those innovative, energetic, dynamic, and hardworking members of our society who actually accomplish great things in their lifetimes. We call them ‘movers & shakers’. In the Kingdom of God, we are all called to be ‘world changers’. He wants us to be fit and ready for the mission! But have you noticed that historically we followers of Jesus have not done well during periods of comfort?
God is giving us opportunity to grow in endurance and perseverance during this pandemic. It is an opportunity to look for solutions that will help others around us. God wants to let the world know that He loves us, He cares, and He knows our situation. He wants to use us to proclaim this message- by our words and most importantly, our actions.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8
Thank you for all the prayers for my sister Glinda, who passed on last month. She asked us to pray that Jesus would take her home and He did, surrounded by her family. Michael
“Untouched by the Wind and Elements”
I enjoy looking at creation and nature and the variety of Life in plants, people, sea and sky. I like flowers and plants because it reminds of creative detailed beautiful Life. I love being around Life and doing Life with loved ones especially loved ones I have history with. I started a routine of bringing hibiscus buds on the verge of blooming into the house so I could enjoy their life of opening up to its full bloom. I delicately place them in water as a bud and they start opening up to its full potential…I can’t help but take photos of such intricate creativity and put them in every room to enjoy its full life which is about a full day.
A friend left a bunch of hibiscus buds on my porch for me to enjoy and I took a photo of all the blooms and sent her a photo. She responded, “It’s pretty like a rainbow. I am collecting more…I love collecting them!” I replied,
“They are incredible...untouched by the wind and elements”.
When Michael and I go walking we notice the Hibiscus plants along the road. The delicate blooms get knocked around, roughed up or ripped by the wind & sun. Our attention & care brought them to a safe place of fully blossoming showing off each intricate petal without spot or blemish.
I am reminded of Good Friday & Easter…. A season of celebrating both the Death and Resurrected Life eternal. A time to remember all that we need to die to and who we get to Live for. We have a choice for a personalized life with the Creator of the sunrise and the sunset . A moment by moment living relationship that is able to help us through and keep us safe from the elements, circumstances, winds, confusion, fear and turmoil of this world.
He came to earth ...died, rose again and lives to offer us a life of Peace and to be an eternal Source of wisdom, hope, power, love and a sound mind.
“In this world, there will be tribulation but I have overcome the world” and “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world”……”He came that we would have Life and have it abundantly”….”Be not afraid”….over and over the Bible reminds us of who God is and how he designed us all to operate.
He knows each of us individually because He designed us. He also knows the beginning and end and all that is in between and sees the entire picture. Nothing surprises Him. He remains in control and it is up to each one to choose to get under that control…protected and shielded by the winds and elements so that we can bloom to fullness of His design…with perfect peace, sound mind, clear conscience and a sincere faith.
Our circumstances will always be changing, people will always be letting us down, evil will continue to raise its ugly head in many ways, but we are called to rise up in faith, trust, hope and obedience to the One we say we follow….It is a time to examine whether we ourselves allow God to bring us under the shadow of His wing and Protection.
As I had a quiet moment gazing out on the endless ocean… I heard the quietness of God’s gentle whisper,
“As far as the east is from the west have I removed the wrongs from your heart and all those who ask… There is Eternal Hope and Power in the act of asking for & receiving Forgiveness and giving of forgiveness… one to another…
I give grace to all who come asking…there will I be. I wait and desire to give, heal, restore, protect, and LOVE….LOVE is who I am. LOVE hopes all things, LOVE endures all things and LOVE NEVER FAILS.”
I believe we are all in a critical season of realigning, prioritizing and focusing on the gift of every moment we are given to be alive.
Meanwhile, On the Coco River
Great News from Tom Keogh who just returned from the Rio Coco Nicaragua!
Onofre Zamora has been working for years on this Miskito Bible translation project that had its seed during his 1997 study tour trip to Israel, where God spoke to him that he would become the Bible teacher for many on the river. He has!
“Two days after Bridge to Grace left, Chilean Juan Carlos Letelier and his team of Canadian Gideons called Shareword Global came in, accompanied by a journalist from the television network CBN. I had done some translating for their magazine-formatted publication in Miskito of which they produced ten thousand copies and gave out to pastors and general public during a three day evangelization drive. I had also connected them with Onofre Zamora so as to include his translation of the entire Gospel of John in the issue. We were thrilled to see Onofre honored with a financial gift and 10,000 copies of his life’s work circulating among his people. Sharewood Global is committed to publishing his complete New Testament, and he retains the copyright.” Tom
Nutie & Tom Keogh
Fire Your Spiritual Arrows
Please pray that God would
1) Throw this virus to the ground..
2) Let Truth prevail in our government decisions.
3) Provide for all the financial needs of school project and our missionaries in Nicaragua, Florida & Honduras.
Your prayers make things happen!
Rio Coco Beans Coffee
We are roasting some fine coffee this month at our Vero Beach Roastery.
A new addition to our lineup is our Colombia Honey Processed Coffee.
There have been two methods to process a coffee cherry once its picked. One is the “Wet” or “Washed” method where a depulping machine separates the pulp from the seed. Then the seeds (beans) are then soaked in water for 36 hours, which removed a mucus film from the seed. Then the beans are sun dried on a concrete patio. Once dried, the thin parchment skin is removed from the bean, and it is ready for roasting. This process results in a clean flavor for the roasted coffee.
In the “Dry” process, whole coffee cherries are laid out on wire screens, and sun dried until the pulp forms a hardened skin around the seed. Then a machine removes the dried pulp shell, and the bean is ready for roasting. The wet process produces more “fruity” and “flora” tasting coffee, which works well in Ethiopian, and some American coffees.
Now there is a third process: The Honey.
Here the pulp is removed from the seed, but instead of soaking the seeds (beans) in water to remove the mucus film, these beans are laid out on a patio and sun dried. The mucus is loaded with natural sugar, which is imparted to the bean, and results in a naturally sweet coffee.
Our Colombia Honey Process is a fine coffee. We roast it medium, when the flavors are fully developed.
Order some today! Colombia Honey Process
Seek The Lamb
Our classes are in session, with 1689 students attending in 8 villages along the lower Rio Coco. The area is unaffected by the pandemic. Its not a bad place to be.
If you would like to support the school project or one of our missionaries, here is the link to our donations page.