August 2022 Conchshell Chronicles
The Journal of Seek The Lamb and Rio Coco Cafe Ministries
Rainy Season on the River
Flood time. The Rio Coco fills up and overflows its banks, filling up the low lying areas behind the riverbanks, which are the highest land. Swamps form, bugs hatch, and swarms of mosquitos suddenly appear. Chickens and pigs often huddle on some higher ground beneath the houses (built on poles), waiting for the waters to recede. When that happens, the communities are covered in thick mud, mixed in with the cow dung.
School attendance drops off for a few days, and schools that were flooded get cleaned up. Classes begin again, as if nothing extraordinary has happened.
It’s not extraordinary- it happens every year at this time.
Its part of the cycle of life on the lower Coco River. The floods bring rich silt from upriver, which is good for the next rice and bean crop. The mosquitos often bring malaria and dengue to our communities, which is serious when there are no medical facilities. Life goes on.
Its our 37th year educating Miskito children in Klampa, Boom, Sawa, Uran, Sih, Living Creek, Utlamatha, and Plankira. All of our teachers except for three old-timers were our students back in the 80’s. 90’s and 2000’s. In some families, we are now in our third generation. Who would ever think that a two-week trip from Maui in 1984 would lead to this?
Because of the gifts of many of you, we have had an impact on the culture of the lower Coco River, one of the most isolated regions in all of Central America, if not the Western Hemisphere. It takes a 2 hour flight from Managua to Puerto Cabezas, a four hour truck ride to Waspam on the river, and then a 3-4 hour boat ride to our school district. Living conditions are primitive.
Our first graders are learning to read and write. Second graders are learning to add and subtract. Third graders begin leaning Spanish as a second language. Fourth graders learn about the history of the region. Fifth graders study about family, culture, and community life. Sixth graders begin expressing themselves through their writing. High school students are learning skills to prepare them for professions.
All grades are learning a Biblical morality that directs personal, familial, and community relationships.
Many of our teachers are also teaching our children on Sundays in the churches in each of our communities. They have great care and love for our students- many of whom are family members. There is a lot to learn from Miskito culture. Laura and I have been very fortunate to live among this indigenous culture- it has been one of the grand experiences of our lives.
Photo: our teachers receiving school supplies.
Please consider making a gift this month to help us with our school expenses. We have teacher salaries, school supplies, building repairs, gasoline for our outboard motors and trucks, as well as fees we pay into our teachers’ retirement accounts.
The needs are great this month, especially with our dear friend Mirna Cunningham, who is suffering from diabetes related illness. She is in serious condition at the hospital in Puerto Cabeza and needs an operation. Mirna served us many meals during those refugee days during the war, when everyone was skinny and in survival mode. She and her husband Truman became our family, and we have worked with her ever since. She's a good lady.
Photo: Mirna with her daughter Anna.
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From all of us at Seek The Lamb, thanks!
The meditations of our heart need to be guarded diligently and fervently. All that we believe and think about has a Source of reference. We live in a confused and perverse generation of great confusion and chaos. I watch myself go to and fro and that is enough to make me nauseous just dealing with my own inner turmoil and outer misbehavior. The necessity of keeping myself ever before the Truth, Way and Life of my Creator as a Center Entity of Focus and is more prevalent now than it ever has been.
God has been straightening out my crooked pathways and the things that I so easily get entangled with and bringing me to greater spacious places of love, liberty, peace and joy. I rest in the silence of my prayers to my Savior who alone can meet me. I have reckoned that my only Hope is in God. My conversations have been more greatly inward to the Only One who can do the impossible. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. My extreme desire is to please God and do what He wants me to do and when I am engaged in doing what He wants me to do, little else matters. Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of God. I have been asking the Lord to sensitize me to His voice, precepts, wisdom and will. I want to walk in His pleasure and feel His joy as I live right before him.
I am quicker to be convicted of my own ways that do not line up to him and to more quickly go to 1 John 1:9 where I confess my sins and know that He is faithful and just to forgive me of my sins and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. The practice of praying without ceasing is far from me, but I am more and more aware of the opportunites and try to take them. Practicing appreciation and what the Word says about “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.”
The battle is upon us and we must be savvy in our weapons of warfare which are not carnal, but we will be used to breakdown stronghold with the Lord’s Word and His power and might. He is the Victor and we must align ourselves with Him.
I was encouraged by a few verses this morning and wanted to share just a few with you.
And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience: bearing with one another, forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love which is the perfect bond of unity.
And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts to which indeed you were called in one body, and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed do all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Col 3:12-17
The art of practicing His Presence, living in the moment with intentionality, keeping my priorities straight and not allowing the distraction of any person , place or thing mar my relationship with the One that I am serving. Compared to That Eternal Relationship everything else fades like a little speck that I need to flick off like a piece of dust and get my mind in order with what God says, thinks, believes. I want to stand and practice His Truth and His World view. It is the Only Way, Truth and Life.
So much to be thankful...Let our minds dwell on those things and give thanks continually for all the goodness in our lives. In this world there will be trials and tribulations, but Jesus said I have overcome the world. I believe you Lord our Supreme Commander and Chief who is in total control and dominion . Laura
Our New Addition
On July 20th, we all witnessed a marriage proposal while our entire family was on Maui: Paul Ritto asked our daughter Arielle to marry him. It happened on the beach in front of the Mana Kai hotel where I worked in 1982-83.
Paul had a surfboard made for the occasion with embedded flowers and the words “Marry Me”.
We had placed the board on the beach while they took a walk. When they got to the board, Paul said “Here is a present for you.”
Arielle initially did not believe him until Paul dropped to his knee, produced the rings, and asked her to be his bride. She was incredulous at first, saying “You’re not serious!” over and over, finally throwing her arms round him.
We all witnessed this while hiding in the bushes, and celebrated with them afterwards. We had a prayer over them.
It was a moment!
The New Extended Family: (L to R)
Mikaela, Lukas, Moselle, Sheri, Paul, Arielle, Michael & Laura.
Israel Study Tour 2023
April 25 - May 5, 2023
Photo: Randy teaching at the amphitheater at Caesera Martima.
After many inquiries, we have scheduled a time in 2023 to go to Israel with our friend Dr Randy Smith and study Biblical Culture, visit many Biblical sites, all the while asking the question “What did they hear Him say? What is the Bible really saying to us in this 21st Century?”
We will enjoy moments of meditation of the greatest event in history as we sit in the airspace, marveling what God has done in history, as well as or lives.
We have been with Randy on at least 10 study tours to Israel, and others to Italy, Greece and Turkey. Dr Randy is the very best teacher to walk a Biblical site with.
All is information is on a downloadable pdf which you will find at https://www.seekthelamb.com/pages/biblical-studies
Call Joan or Larissa at Christian Travel Study Programs to get your name on the list. Our space is limited.
email@example.com tel:800-371-4485 www.studytrip.info
Rio Coco Beans
Help us fund our school project by purchasing our fresh roasted Rio Coco Bean coffee which we roast in Vero Beach Florida.
Have some delivered this week to your door!
Thanks for spending time with us this month!
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