August 2019 Conchshell Chronicles

Sea Creatures

Utila is famous for those who dwell in the sea. Here are a few of the sea creatures that we encountered on this trip.

Whale Shark




Building Community

 Tonight, our friend from Firenze, Italia is cooking for us. He is making Pasta Bolognese. We have invited our Aussie dive instructor mate to join us. The English soccer player/dive instructor will also be there, as well as the former pro skier now high school history teacher and recently divemaster. There may be a few others.

We have come to really love all of these characters, who seem to like us for more than the good food and coffee that we serve them. My family has become their family here on Utila, and they are being touched by God, through our hands, words, and hearts. In a few days we will part ways, for a while, but we know we will see these guys again - probably in Florida or here again in a few months.

With all that is going on in this world, we are sometimes overwhelmed with despair and a feeling of helplessness. What possibly can we do to change anything? It seems like our culture is in a phase of “temporary insanity”, and the rapidity of abandoning the Biblical values that has made Western Culture one of the greatest in history is astonishing! Value for human life seems to be miniscule among some groups. Moral compasses point in ALL directions, with God’s values pushed aside for trendy liberated thinking. Family units have expanded from the traditional “husband, wife, & children” to multiple combinations of humans of all genders. Political figures indulge in corrupt practices and shrug their shoulders as if nothing is wrong. Hatred takes hold of rational people, and verbal and physical violence is the order of the day.

Is this something new? No, as Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes,

Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes. The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again. The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles. Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea. Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.

History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. 10 Sometimes people say, “Here is something new!” But actually it is old; nothing is ever truly new. 11 We don’t remember what happened in the past, and in future generations, no one will remember what we are doing now. Eccl 1:4-11


What is happening in our time happened in Solomon’s time, as well as in Peter, John, James, Matthew, Luke, and Paul’s time. It’s no different.

How did they respond to these similar circumstances? According to the Biblical account and church history, they trusted that God was ultimately in control, and that He was the solution to all of life’s problems.  All they had to do was follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, live their lives following God as best they could, and show themselves to be friends to the people around them. When the Holy Spirit nudged them, they spoke God’s words, and lives were changed. Families were changed. Communities changed. Entire cultures changed.

You see it over and over again in historical records. The key is to be involved in building community.

This is our strategy through the Rio Coco Café ministry. We are showing hospitality to strangers every day, and many of them become our friends. Some become our family. Being in community with those who truly follow Jesus is a breath of fresh air for many.

When they see people caring for one another, something changes, especially when they are on the receiving end of that care. Once they connect that care to the hand of God, then things begin to change.

We are all about reaching out to our new friends, one at a time.

Imagine if many of us did this.

As we live in community, it is inevitable that we encounter people who rub us the wrong way. I know this because I was one that did some serious “rubbing the wrong way” in my days before my encounter with God. I have learned to try to enjoy these relationships with a degree of hope that they too will encounter the Living God in a life transforming moment. But I often fail, and find myself back to old habitual reactions. This happened last night.

Rick is a local Utila boy who stole our golf cart a few years ago. He said he found it at one of the bars early in the morning and was bringing it home to keep someone else from stealing it. Rick has a loud voice and loose lips coupled with an obnoxious attitude. When he is driving his moped down these narrow Utila streets, he usually has a running monologue going on how each person or driver he passes should be walking or driving. There have been many times that I had the urge to run him off the road…….

Last night I was walking home from the bakery with two baguettes in hand. I head Rick coming up behind me, making comments to anyone and everyone as he approached. I had a thought: “A baguette across the forehead would not hurt him very much.”  Then I thought about those kids who were playing on the street a few feet in front of me. I would hate to see Rick’s moped hit them.

I clutched the baguettes with both hands and let Rick pass, ignoring his comments of how much closer to the side of the road I should be walking.

Rick is a lost soul, just as I once was. He needs Jesus, just like the Italian chef, Aussie Dive Instructor, English soccer player/dive instructor, and all the others who walk through the gate of our café. My thoughts about Rick reveal my deep need for Jesus! May I feel more empathy and compassion for him, and others who sometimes rub me the wrong way.


Photo: On a clear day you can see the 8000 ft mountains on the Honduran mainland 18 miles away. It is spectacular. The historical flag on my shirt is from the old Bay Islands Colony that was part of the British Empire in the 19th Century.


Lamb Bleatings

 On Utila, I am hardly surprised when I experience some odd physiological adventure on my body.  Honestly many times we have literally felt “attacks” upon us by an unseen force that sweeps through and tries to take us off course or simply distract us enough to make us ineffective.  On this trip, I acquired a few bug bites on my body and then as I scratched to solve the itch, they turned into a full-on rash which itched me so much it felt like torture.

 There was no sign of relief for a few weeks. It was an awful distraction in my life.  It didn’t stop me from living but it served as a major annoyance as I worked through the day getting hot, sweaty and itchy like crazy.  I had to master a whole other level of discipline and focus. 

One day, I felt like the Lord spoke to me in his still small voice regarding my condition, “Just because it’s itchy, you don’t HAVE TO SCRATCH.” 

I thought that went against every local stitch of pigeon English logic if I ever heard it…My thought is ALWAYS, “EH, IF ITCHY, SCRATCH EM.”

 Isn’t the goal in life to “relieve ourselves for the purpose of comfort and happiness????”

I began to meditate on what I felt like the Lord had said to me and concluded that I have lived a lot of my life especially in my marriage to Michael constantly scratching every itch as it came up…a need to fix every problem, or sin or anything that could be better…I need to make it better, more improved.  The problem is there will always be something wrong, dissatisfying, disappointing, offensive, sinful, but I do not have to SCRATCH EVERY ITCH .   I believed that I was obligated to scratch the itch when it came up.     

 I felt this was insight from the Lord I needed to heed.

“The prayer of a righteous man avails much.”    I used to say this to myself a lot through my life as I have encountered impossible situations which could only be remedied by some miracle or two.  After my insight from God, I asked Michael to lay his hands on my sides which were my most irritated area with bumps, redness and extreme aggravation.  After he prayed, I amazingly felt better and immediately noticed the bumps were smaller and not aggravated. 

Wow.  I felt like I was on a right track. 

I am an easily distracted person.   I have to engage my mind toward one thing at a time or I can start many things at once and get extremely discombobulated in the process.  I make myself mad whenever I start a process …say food prep in the kitchen in order to serve breakfast and lunch….I can start off so neat and clean but somewhere in the middle of it all it just goes to pot and I want someone to come behind me and clean my mess as I make it.  I am in the process of working on this skill of cleaning as I go, but still so far from my goal.  My annoyances and irritations are either with myself or with other humans 

I used to think I needed to handle these annoyances out loud and in the open especially with the people I live with and have to do life with.  I am attempting more and more to handle it by bringing myself and whatever annoyances I may have and talk to my Heavenly Father…the Only One who can actually see it all and do what is best for all involved.  I think at the heart of every person is a desire to “Play God” or at least act like him in ways of control and wanting things our way.

We have an innate desire to want to SCRATCH EVERY ITCH and resolve anything we think shouldn’t be.  I am attempting to lay aside this thing I do and instead present myself and whatever may be my current itch and give it to God who is able and Perfect in every way.  No one else can relieve me and anyone else around me, but the One who sees all, knows all and can do all.  I give up and do not want to be in charge of change in anyone but myself and God knows I have so much I am working on….

There will always be those annoyances and distraction of that ITCH, but I do not have to always scratch it.

 I have discovered that often, my scratching often delays the process of healing. 

It’s my prayers that have its Perfect Effect for change and improvements.

Laura with the rest of the Bagby Family 
(Lukas, Laura, Mikaela, Michael, Arielle, and Moselle)

Let’s Give Thanks!

1) For a very successful summer season on Utila!

2) For the 1763 students in our schools on the Rio Coco.

3) That we are able to pay our teachers this month.


You may donate online at       Thanks!


Fire Your Spiritual Arrows!

Please pray that God will:

1) Allow us to give our 43 teachers a raise this month.

2) Bring many into the Rio Coco Cafes this month.

3)    Allow us to open a café on Maui next year.

                                 Thanks For Your Prayers!


 Rio Coco Beans Coffee

I was in a gourmet grocery store this week, and I took time to look at their coffees. I saw a famous Portland coffee, as well as a very famous coffee from Raleigh. There were other "famous" labels as well. I noticed the roasting date. Most were roasted three or more months ago. I thought, "I am soooo fortunate that I get to drink coffee that was roasted this week, or last."

I'm a fresh coffee fan.

I did catch a surprise when I arrived on Utila in June. We had a bag of Colombia Mile High coffee that I roasted last July. The coffee was almost a year old. With very little  expectations, I opened the bag, and out wafted a sweet smell! I made a pourover in a Hario V-60 holder, and to my pleasant surprise, the coffee still had incredible flavor. I guess it is because we bagged it right after the roast, and the escaping CO2 from those hot beans must have flushed all the oxygen out of the bag through that one way valve. That is the benefit of bagging right out of the roaster. We used the entire bag in the next few weeks, enjoying every cup.

We are almost sold out of our Maui coffee! It has been so popular that one lady asked to purchase all that we had!

I just tasted some very delicious Timor coffee today. I savored every sip, as this brew is loaded with flavors and tones. It is an exquisite cup.

My current favorite light roast coffee is the Ethiopia Harrar. Sweet vanilla, honey tones with a background of complex richness. It is easy to see why this is such a world famous coffee!

Place an order an have these and our other coffees delivered right to your door. Remember each purchase helps us pay the expenses of our school project.

Order Rio Coco Beans Coffee here.

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