December 2018 Conchshell Chronicles

End of Year Already?

 Its December! The year has flown by, but much has been accomplished.

 As we celebrate the reason for this season– Jesus, and the free gift of eternal life that Hebrings us, I am reminded that all that He gives to us, we are to extend to others. This is the season for giving, as our Heavenly Father has given to us,this message of Hope, and Relationship with Him.    

May I share some updates that will encourage you as we end this year 2018?

Project Ezra on the Rio Coco in Nicaragua

Final exams are graded, and all reports are in for the 2018 school year. We had over 1600 students enrolled this year, and in spite of the civil violence on the Pacific side of Nicaragua, we finished the year with no interruptions or incidents. It is one of the few benefits of a school district located in the most remote region of Central America, if not the Western Hemisphere.

Bares Florencio teaching in Sawa, Rio Coco

Our team of supervisors has been very busy, spending 3-10 days each month downriver,training our teachers, talking to our students, and meeting with the community leaders. It has been 32 years that we have been the community school here onthe lower Coco River, and all the adults under age 40 attended a Project Ezras chool. Almost all of the teachers, pastors, and Sunday school teachers are our former students. Augusto Vicente, who is the teacher who asked us for help to start a school in 1985, continues to lead the teachers, and supervise the eight schools. Onofre Zamora continues to lead our pastoral training conferences, which many of our teachers attend. He is almost finished with his translation of the New Testament into a modern Miskito language.

Project Ezra Team
Nutie, Tom, Rodolio, Onofre, Augusto, Carlos, Danilo, Laura, & Michael

DaniloCunningham, whom we sent to high school in Washington, The School of Worship in Jerusalem,and to work as an intern at Hope Chapel on Maui is leading our project, and doing an exceptional job and all the preparation is now paying off!

 Tom & Nutie Keogh have been there to oversee the ministry, and focus on pastor and teacher training, which has been the “icing on the cake” that has made our efforts so successful these past years. They have incredible favor on the Coco River in all our communities, as well as in Waspam, where Tom serves on the Waspam Pastors Council.

We are starting anew “Sponsor A School” program in January to raise the funds necessary to finance the school project in coming years.  We will encourage many of you todirect your support to a particular school, and you will become recognized as one of the “sponsors” of that school. Our annual budget for 2018 is $300,000.

More information on the Sponsor A School will be forthcoming next month.

Rio Coco Café Ministry

Our first two cafes opened in 2011 on the Honduran island of Utila, and in Vero Beach Florida. Now we have a second location in Vero. Many Europeans, Australians, Middle Easterners, and North & South Americans have become regulars at our cafés where we serve them good coffee and food, and provide the atmosphere where significant conversation about life have taken place.

Rio Coco Cafe Utila

Let me give you just one example:

 Two years ago an Australian computer engineer named Patrick came to our Utila café. He was on the island for seven days of scuba diving. We had a long conversation the day before he left, as I felt like God was doing something. I gave him a copy of my book Echoes into Eternity, which he gratefully received.

 Out of the blue this past August, I got a phone call from Patrick. He was back in Australia after two years of travel through South America and Asia. He told me “I’ve been wanting to call you to tell you how much you and your family impacted me when I was on Utila. “ We spoke about many things in the next 20 minutes. I finally asked Patrick if he had read the book. “Not yet, but I want to tell you that many times I emptied out my backpack to get rid of unnecessary things, and I never could throw or give it away. I’ll read it this week.”

We have had many instances like this of the effects of our café ministry on the travelers who come through our café on Utila, as well as the European, Asian, and Middle Eastern pilots who come to Vero Beach for flight training. This week, two Swiss Air pilots who did their training here last year came back to spend a few days with us.

Moselle serving at the Utila Cafe

We also have impacted the locals on Utila as well as here in Vero Beach. Many in this generation consider their coffee store their church. Coffee is the friendship drink. God is using the café ministry to touch many.

Seek The Lamb Missionaries

Laura and I continue to be the volunteers at the café; she cooks and I wash dishes. Our ‘wages’ are the good coffee that we roast and drink. When asked by many how we are supported, we tell them that from the beginning, we have been volunteers, with a team who provides for our travel and living expenses.  

Tom & Nutie Keogh are serving in Nicaragua as we are– volunteers. They guide our Project Leadership Team, and conduct teacher training workshops with our teachers downriver. Nutie is a star. Anywhere she goes with her guitar, worship breaks out. Tom has been working with us since 1987, and Nutie joined our teamin 2002. These two are extraordinary missionaries.

Nutie and Tom spend a lot of time on the Coco River

 A new couple has joined our team as missionaries to the café ministry on Utila– Ali &David Cudd,whom we met in 2014 in Colorado. Thank you for praying for more team mates for the Utila café.  I met David at a ski shop when he was tuning my skis. His wife is a graduate from Azusa Pacific University with a degree in anthropological studies. These guys rode their bikes from Seattle to San Diego a few summers ago. They are true adventurers!  They came to visit us on Utila in 2014, and worked here in Vero Beach in 2016 and this fall. They bring many talents and maturity to our team, and all our guys love them. That is important.

Ali & David with the Bagby Family

Thanks to all of you who on a regular basis contribute to all our support. We are very appreciative of you being a big part of the ministry that we share. Our needs are always there on a monthly basis, and it always seems like its month to month for us as well. We know that God is the ultimate provider, and that He uses you to be His hands. He says that one day we all will be rewarded for the things we did with His resources. This is not a motivation for us, as we are compelled in our hearts to continue in sharing His love, but it is reality.

This important principle is expressed by King David as recorded in 1 Samuel 30:21-25, after his town in the Judean Wilderness had been attacked by desert raiders, and their families and possessions stolen. David and his men pursued the raiders, and at one point left 200 men with their equipment & baggage at a river crossing so the others could move faster and catch up with the enemy. After defeating them, and recovering all their families, flock, and the spoils from the raiders, some of David’s men did not want to share the rewards with those left to guard the baggage. David replied and expressed a principle still in force in the Kingdom of God.

Who will listen when you talk like this? We share and share alike—those who go to battle and those who guard the equipment.”  From then on David made this a decree and regulation for Israel, and it is still followed today.                         1 Samuel 24-25

Thank you for sharing with us,  our teachers, our students, and the families on  the Coco River.  

In the Judean Wilderness

Merry Christmas!                                                                    Michael

Lamb Bleatings

Life spins out of control for all of us in some way or another.  No person, place or thing can satisfy us entirely. We ourselves can’t even give to our own being what we need or want at times.  I for one don’t even know what Iam doing half the time, but I am constant in my trust of One who does and isable to figure it out and make a way plain and relatively clear to me.  Enough so I can take a step forward.

Our lives have been dependent but secure….emptied, but filled with what is needed…Uncertain, but somehow with enough faith to know that we will come to a place of knowing and having the wisdom to press forward at least to the next step.  God, my Creator, the One I relate to with the most confidence and intimacy is my Heavenly Father that does not let me down. 

The Bagby Family at the beach in Caeserea Israel

I have been given the blessing of knowing Love from above, a Perfect Source and Place of reference from whom all blessings flow. I am blessed to have the love of three of the most significant men in my life…my own Father Ronald, Michael’s father, Pop (who is in heaven), and my husband who loves me and each one   approves of me.  I have received a great foundation of Love from parents who stayed together until my mom left forheaven.  We have children that love us and respect us and for this we are constant in our gratitude, thanksgiving and deep appreciation. 

 Michael and I both have siblings that we love and are loved by.  We take none of this for granted.  We have a team that we get to work with at the Café’s we are responsible for that we love and enjoy and sense that they feel the same about us.  There is deep gratitude for many of the relationships that we possess in this life and if you find yourself reading this ….you are one of those people that have come alongside of us on the journey and we are so grateful for you!!!

One of the great needs we have at the moment is our concern for Mirna (Truman’s wife) and some of our other aging leaders that have many medical issues and do not have the means to get the attention they may need. Issues that are often life threatening. Our friends do not have the means financially to do what needs to get done. 

Our other area of deep concern is being able to raise $21,000 this month to be able to pay our teachers salaries according to the laws of Nicaragua– the “13th month” extra salary. Our usual amount per month is about $7,000- $10,000, but December presents us with double duty.

For those of you in Vero Beach, we have a Wall for people wanting to donate to the Humanic causes we are involved with. Bring your business logo or card and become a part of the support team with your donation…We will put up a “Coffee Bean Card” with your name on it indicating your effort to reaching our goal for our Humanic fund of $300,000.     Humanic means bettering the quality of Life of people all over the world. We are charged to help all those that God sends our way. 

With your help and support, we hope to be able to meet these real life needs of our friends.  Would you consider sharing your resources andprayers for these times of need.                          Laura

How Can You Help This Month?

1) Pray for us!

2) Support one of our missionaries;

3) Help us sponsor a school for the 2019 academic year.

You may donate online at—”Give”.  Thanks!

Spiritual Arrows:

Please pray that God will:

1) Provide the teacher salaries for this month;

 2) Keep Mirna Cunningham in good health;

3) Guide us in our café ministry in 2019.

Your prayers are power spiritual arrows!


Rio Coco Beans Coffee

Check out our new website with many photos, stories, and new blends that we are offering to honor our friends.

We have “Sky Larkin” named for our friend and inventor/pilot extraordinare Keith Larking, the founder of Plantronics, who sold it all and became a Third  World missionary. 

Keith Larkin with Michael

You can order Sky Larkin here.

“Papa Jack” honors our friend Jack  Dyer, who was a very successful engineer before he sold his business and became a missionary leader and pilot. Jack is the one who gave us our first airplane and taught me how to  be  a successful bush pilot.

Papa Jack Dyer with Laura & Michael in Waspam Nicaragua

Order “Papa Jack” here.

Java Jake” is for my Bible teacher from Hope Chapel Maui, Jason Spence. Jake & I had many conversations at the Coffee Store in Kihei, and it was he who taught me coffee ministry.

Cassie, Toni, & Java Jake

Order “Java Jake” here.

Read the complete stories of these heroes as well as other at

Rio Coco Beans

Thanks for taking the time with us this month.

Merry Christmas!

Utila Sunset December 2018

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