April 2023 Conchshell Chronicles
Rio Coco Adventures
A riverbank showing of the Jesus Movie in the Miskito language.
This past month, Nutie and Tom join a Bridges of Grace team to show the Jesus movie, teach and sing with our communities along the lower Coco River. Bridges of Peace is a ministry from Atlanta whom we have been partnering with these past years for evangelism and discipleship.
Imagine seeing a movie on the big screen in communities where people rarely see a motion picture, where electricity, running water and the internet are non-existent! The Jesus movie always has an impact since we first showed it in 1992.
The Miskito culture is very spiritual, with a host of spirits that affect every area of life– fertility, rice and bean harvest, weather, relationships, and health. Most of our students know the spirits by name and each community has it’s spiritual connection guide called a “sukia”, who helps individuals manipulate the demons for blessings and curses.
Christianity first came to the Coco River in 1926, and since 1984 we have been the second phase of introducing many in our nine communities to the person of Jesus. We have done this through our primary and secondary schools, through our pastoral training conferences like we had in February, and through the personal teaching and worship ministry of Tom and Nutie Keogh, who are very effective in communicating the essence of the Gospel through teaching and worship.
Tom teaching about the Armor of God
Tom was a Peace Corps worker who came to the Miskita in the late 70’s as a school teacher. He is gifted in languages and speaks and writes the Miskito language as good or better than most natives. Tom is a graduate of the Great Commission Bible Institute and has served on the Pastoral Council in Waspam Nicaragua for many years and is a welcome Bible teacher in many churches along the Coco River.
Nutie is an award-winning recording artist from Maui who now sings in Spanish and Miskito– she is a rock star in our communities, and people love it when Nutie breaks out her guitar. She always gathers a crowd.
We are seeing some definite fruit from our 39 years of ministry among this indigenous people group. God is doing something.
We thank you for being with us! Michael
Help us this month with our schools on the Rio Coco.
We enjoyed a process of preparation and completion of our first wedding of Paul and Arielle Ritto. Each moment was a joy to me because I find my relationship with these two to be special in many ways. I enjoy them and the people that they are and are becoming. They are truly beautiful from the inside and out. I really love them and like hanging out with them. I also enjoy and like hanging out with the many friends of theirs that came together from near and far to take part in the celebrations.
The culmination of all the preparations was nothing short of a true miracle and the hands of many that came to help with the details. Gifted giving friends that delighted in using their talents and time to help make it a magical evening to remember. We have been in relationship with many of these friends for years. And of course the joy of having our family altogether in one place sharing a joyous common experience is an incredible blessing we cannot even begin to describe. It was a miraculous process. All the details have given me deep appreciation for the Superpower at work to make things happen in such rightness and ease.
God our gracious Heavenly Father stopped the rain literally minutes before Arielle made her entry in white, cleared the skies as requested and gave us beautiful cloud cover to keep us cool. We were all wowed on many occasions and there were moments especially when our new blued eyed son gave his vows to our daughter (photo below) that I got lost and totally mesmerized by the words he spoke to her.
Michael had to call me back from a cloud and let me know it was time for me to bless and pray over the newly married couple. I felt like I forgot where I was and what I was supposed to be doing. It was so weird, but I do know that the WORDS we speak to one another has lasting and profound effects not only on the ones speaking to one another but also for those that get to hear. I was a blessed hearer and my inner joy continued to the place where I didn’t have the words , but only a deep radiating gratitude that didn’t find its way out…until the music started and we danced the rest of the evening with joy and celebration.
I am learning to choose my words and what I talk about more wisely and intentionally. Perhaps because I realize how many useless and even detrimental words I have spoken out loud wasting my time and taking up valuable air space with such uselessness. I am purposed toward relationship with my eternal Hope more firmly during my many moments of uncertainty on so many levels…in the world, in my own head and heart, and with my friends who are struggling with life and death situations. Before my dad left for heaven to be with His Maker and all the saints that have gone before us, I used to worry about him, his health and how he is doing in his struggle to live here on earth. One night recently, I awoke at about 3 am going to the usual place in my head over my dad and how he was doing, feeling, etc….I had an epiphany of how much time I spent on this type of worry when I realized “Oh wait, Daddy is not even here struggling anymore with his life. He is with Jesus enjoying the relationship he lived for while he was here in his mortal decaying body. Wow, what a relief!!!”
We had an incredible Celebration of Ronald’s life at Moanalua Gardens Missionary Church where Michael and I married on Oct 1, 1988. The entire Uyeda Clan, Children, Grandchildren, and Great-Grandchildren, was there.
Thank You Jesus for dying, resurrecting back to Life and giving us the opportunity to have eternal relationship with You. I am going to see daddy again along with my mom and the rest of my loved ones who have shared this wondrous Hope with me. This hope drives me in all relationships I am a part of…my kids think we are intense and somewhat fanatical. I am and will ever be because I understand the depth of how lost I felt and the longing I had to be found, loved and cherished forevermore in an eternal relationship with my Creator.
Remembering where I have been causes me great compassion on those around me. While on Maui, the place we consider to be a huge part of our spiritual Roots with our many relationships we have had most of our lives, we get to spend time with Craig and Kathy former pastors of the Hope Chapel (the church Michael and I met at).
One day Michael, Craig and I, walked down to the beach right by his house.
As we entered through a narrow path, Craig saw someone that he knew and introduced us to her and she in turn introduced us to Sarah who was sitting on the sand on a towel. When I saw her, I noticed her tattoos and mentioned how our kids had some body art as well. I was drawn to the fact that she reminded me of myself back in the day and realized that she was in the search mode as I had been for years. She was into reiki, yoga and anything that felt right to her.
I related to her Buddhist vibe by remarking on where I had been in my beliefs growing up as a Buddhist and then my experience of researching Jesus at the library with historical documents and books and deciding that He was who He said He was and beginning a relationship with Him, the Creator of the Universe.
During that time, Sarah was resonating by her tears and her empathy and just as I thought I wanted to reach out and hug her , she said, “ Can I please hug you??” . She stood up and came over to me and I began just talking to God and blessed her and then asked if she wanted to Pray with me to ask Jesus to come in to her life?
With tears in her eyes, she said “ I want to marinate over what you said which I really appreciate.” We exchanged numbers and I invited her to Hope Chapel since Michael was going to be speaking. I have been praying for her ever since. The sensation of inviting someone into my most meaningful Relationship I have in Life has lingered long for me as being one of my highlights of my whole trip back on Maui.
There were many highlights during this trip, but this encounter of introducing someone to my Creator and eternal Hope, Love and purposeful Joy stands out in my heart and resonates as a profound joy unspeakable.
I plan to check up on my new friend very soon. Laura
Rio Coco Beans Coffee
We are roasting plenty of Java, Sumatra, Honduras Blue Mountain, and Colombia Golden Honey (honey process), as well as our new Nicaraguan Organic Altisimo coffees.
Here is where you can purchase some fresh roasted this week and delivered to your door.
Rio Coco Single Origin and Blended Coffees
I hope you have been inspired at what God is doing- He is moving in so many places these days.
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