December 2020 Conchshell Chronicles

A Merry Christmas on the Coco River

We are celebrating a most favored holiday this month– Christmas. It is the day we remember that God Himself took on the form of a human and arrived in this world not only to show us who God really is, but to take care of the sin issue that had separated mankind from him. God’s greatest gift to us is a personal relationship with Him, and life with Him for eternity. What a great reason for  celebration!!! And as our tradition, we chose this month to give gifts to each other as a remembrance of the greatest gift He has given to us!

As you remember from last month’s newsletter, our school district in northeastern Nicaragua had suffered  terribly from Hurricane Eta, a category 4 storm that passed south of the Coco River, bringing strong winds, rain, and flooding to our communities. Two weeks later, Hurricane Iota passed along the same track with the same category 4 strength, amplifying greatly the damage that Eta had inflicted. We feared for the lives of our families as well as for their homes and food supplies.

After talking with our project director Danilo Cunningham, we decided to purchase as much food as we could, fill our boats, and head down river. Danilo left last week, and I finally got a call from him yesterday. His report was not good.

Although there was no large loss of life, many of our school buildings have been damaged as well as many homes in our communities.  The flood levels were higher than many of the elevated homes (all houses are built on high posts) and the river water ruined stored rice and bean food reserves. Families have lost cattle and their farms have been wiped out.

Photo: One of two cargo boats filled with food supplies


Danilo sent me photos of our two boats filled with food and scenes of distribution in our eight villages. He also sent photos of the damage to our school buildings.
Photo: Our school building in Klampa missing roof panels and window screens


Our teachers are all involved in supervising this relief effort in each of our communities.

Photo: Danilo Cunningham and Eusebio Manister with food for Klampa


Photo: Danilo with Jon Dino with food for Boom


Photo: Our Sawa teachers distributing beans to each family in Sawa


Photo: Food for Livinkrik families


Photo: families waiting for food in Sawa


Our next steps are to purchase seeds for planting. We are arranging that this week, as well as the purchase of more food.

Soon we will begin purchasing roofing panels and screens to repair the school buildings.

Thanks to all you who have become part of the relief effort.

If you haven’t yet, please consider joining our relief efforts to provide for our teachers, students, and their families. Here is the link to our giving page.

These are communities that we have been working with since the mid 1980’s. We have long history with them and with your help, we can make it a Merry Christmas for them.

Danilo also sent me many “thanks you’s” from many of our friends there.

 Merry Christmas                    Michael


 Lamb Bleatings

 “We are very peaceful people!!!”

I shouted this very loudly and angrily at a guy who was being unkind to us at “Grandmas”  in Kula as we tried to go to one of my favorite spots to have some coffee. He was outside of Grandmas painting something and pretty much gave us the stink eye telling us to just leave and why in the world would we even dare pull up into the parking lot .  He was mean and I reacted poorly and by no stretch PEACEFULLY.

 I wrote about my crazy lady episode a couple of months ago. We are still laughing about it.  Funny not funny….

I have  countless people in my life who are  truly struggling.  We recently lost a great man of God, Hal Jones, our friend, family, inspiration, “Challenger”, example of giving his life away around the globe to make this world a better place and to send as many people as possible where he resides in Heaven right now.  He leaves his beautiful wife Lana and 4 children who are creating a legacy for their children. The struggle is real.  I pray for God’s presence for loved ones left behind..  I know Hal is resting in peace...yes, finally totally resting . Never knew anyone that traveled and did more than we did….until Hal and Lana.

We have our friends on the Rio Coco who have been devastated by Eta and Iota and we will take years to recover from the destruction of these Hurricanes.  We pray for His peace that surpasses all comprehension and the hearts of many to help us on their behalf.

I have a friend who I met a month ago. I did her hair and felt we were going to be friends.  On Friday I attended her son’s (26) memorial service. He feel asleep on the wheel coming back from hunting early in the morning. He ran into a tree. His father normally goes with him on these trips but not on that day. My heart and mind still can’t wrap around such struggle and tragedy.  I start crying every time I think  about it and I pray for Peace and his powerful presence to fill my friend and her family.

On the Friday that I returned to the Café from my memorial service still shaking with sorrow and disbelief, Michael walked in and I asked him if he was okay (He looked a little pale). He said our neighbor just hit his little girl on her bike and she flew 20 feet .  She and her sister were racing down another driveway with low visibility because of plant and foliage blocking the line of sight .  Her dad happened to be driving as his daughter raced right in front of him.  There was no way he could have anticipated her flying out in front of him. 

All of us went to the God of all peace and healing and in the middle of the madness and screaming, God again showed how He is in charge, always has been ever will be.  We all went into beg mode asking God to intervene.  His peace fell upon our friends powerfully and as bleak as it all appeared, God descended upon the men interceding and indicated that it would all be alright. Olivia got into the helicopter and went to a hospital.  Her dad and friend that were praying together thought it best to go back to the house  and tell the other daughter who was racing with her on their bikes  that everything would be alright.  However, before they could say anything to them she said, “Daddy I know everything is going to be alright because God told me it was.”  Olivia went from bleeding internally on the brain with one more    option of a certain medication to stop the process that would lead her to          imminent death.  We all prayed for the God of all peace and healing to show up .  He did and she miraculously recovered.  I realized through all these and many  other incidences that WE ARE INDEED CALLED TO BE VERY PEACEFUL PEOPLE.

Peacefulness comes from one Source and One source alone. The One and only Perfect, Stable, dependable, All Knowing, Omnipotent, Almighty, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, Lover of my soul and all of mankind that He Himself Created and knows intimately.  The more I relate my all to Him, for Him and by Him the more at peace I remain within and without.  My outward circumstances will always be laced with unrest, chaos and evil.  There is a Evil  force at work which has always been since the beginning of time...the prince and power of this world.  It appears that the manifestation of evil continues to express itself outwardly more and more.  But He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world and I know that the Victory belongs to the Lord that I serve . 

I look to the God who is in total control of all things . He is the Alpha, the  Omega and knows it all .  My inner man is strengthened only by His presence of eternal peace which springs up from within as I practice moment by moment His reality .  It is a habitual  manner of life and living, a choice of laying down my thoughts, my words, my attitudes, my beliefs and every action unto this Perfect Being of Peace that longs to be intimate with me and allows me this eternal privilege of knowing Him. 

It is beyond the scope of my understanding, but my heart is pierced by a deep undergirding of gratefulness that He chose me from the beginning of time to be a part of His eternal plan .  I have the privilege to carry the God of the universe  within my being and to watch how He does things is beyond my comprehension, but when I see him in action  which is as frequent as my giving myself over to Him, I am in awe and wonder at His detailed love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,   goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and his everlasting control over all. 

Nothing shall be impossible with God.  Not one thing. 

I am amazed often by my own stupidity, but it causes me to run to my Perfect Place of Peace, refuge, strength, wisdom and I am able to rest and walk out my life with a kind of security that does not rest on my circumstances or even on   myself, but on a advanced form of Life that is able to rock my soul, fortify my faith and have the ability to give in a way that I can never take credit for because it is way beyond my ability to conjure up such Peace, contentment, elation and all the accompanying Passions that hit me so hard as I pass through this life.

Pray without Ceasing. 

I have learned to talk to my Heavenly Father more during this tumultuous  season than I even have. It has become a fine habit to develop more and more.  It is time for all to step into God’s throne room of Grace, Peace and Mercy and be set apart for His divine purposes.

May this be a season of Peace for  us all!            Laura


Prayers Needed!

1) That God would continue to provide food & shelter for all our families in Rio Coco and direct our relief efforts.

2) That God will infuse each day with the true meaning of Christmas

3) That the evil will be overcome by our good deeds & righteous living and we would pray for healing in our country.

4) That God will provide for all our needs.

Thanks for your prayers. They are effective.


Rio Coco Beans

This month we have a special Christmas Blend of Honduran, Sumatran and Colombian coffees.  You may order yours at





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