Celebrating 32 Years Of Project Ezra!
It was in 1985 that a refugee teacher named Augusto Vicente came to us asking for help in starting a school in Sawa– on the Honduran side of the Rio Coco. A war had been raging along the river from 1981, and over 100 Miskito Indian villages had been destroyed– houses burned, cattle killed, and fruit trees cut down.
Many died during this effort by the Sandinista government to control the border region with Honduras.
The result was over 60,00 refugees living in a remote swampy region of Honduras. Kids had not had school since 1980.
Project Ezra officially began with four schools in 1986.
In 1987 we had 12 schools, grades K, Ist, & 2nd. Then we added a grade each year.
When we war ended in 1990, we thought it was time to go back to Maui. All the refugees were dismantling their houses and cross back to Nicaragua.
But the new Minister of Education in Nicaragua coerced us into becoming the community school and working with the government, which we had done ever since.
Augusto still directs our school project.
Almost all of our 43 teachers are our former students. We have four teaches who have worked with us since the beginning. What an amazing experience!
We have educated an entire generation of Miskito children.
All of the pastors, community health leaders, fathers & mothers and political leaders have attended Seek The Lamb’s schools.
Thanks to many of you who have sponsored these children, teachers, and us for the past three decades!
I have small grove in our front yard. 5 trees: 2 Persian Limes, 2 Meyers Lemons, 1 Mandarin. After many years of little to no fruit, last year was a bumper crop! Sweet Lemons! Juicy Limes! Tart Mandarins!
Its February and the flowers are back on three of the trees! I’m so excited to see the fruit grow, knowing that we will get to enjoy each one with our family and friends.
The Lord is teaching me a lot about cultivation of fruit. It all started two years ago when I realized that I had to put fertilizer around the bottom of the trees. A friend told me that Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium are needed at critical stages for the flowers to form, then the fruit to develop, and reach maturity. I pondered that information.
Next my father Ron instructed me to cut back and prune the trees. He has mangos, lychee, and avocado trees in his yard in Honolulu- tasty mangoes! “You have to get rid of the excess limbs and leaves, and let the nutrients feed the important fruit.” Pruning…..I read about that somewhere. So I got my shears out and Ron helped me with cutting off the limbs of each tree. He was correct. This cause noticeable growth in the number of flowers, and resulting fruit. Ron is a wise man.
I had to get the irrigation system putting the right amount of water on each tree weekly. This ingredient was vital to the health of the tree. Yes. I need water daily as well.
Then came the weeding – Getting the area around the trees free of plants that will suck the nutrients out of the soil. That was a dirty job, and its one that doesn’t seem to stop.
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:16-23
Cultivation is a Biblical process. My experience with my front yard grove is being played out in my life. He has planted His seeds within me. He has surrounded me with good friends who help guide me, and His Word which shows me my way. As I open it, I get a dose of Living Water- sweet water that sustains me. He shows me the harmful effects of my sinful ways. Slowly (it seems!) I move away from that behavior. He is removing the things in my life that cause me not to be the person He wants me to be. I do notice the weeds that pop up. I am more diligent in not letting them grow. It has become a live long process.
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. 5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:1-5
May this be the season of cultivation of Godly fruit in all our lives! Michael
I am thankful to say that in the midst of running a school Project on the Coco River, a couple of Rio Coco Café businesses to make money for this School Project, working with an amazing can do type A Husband, being surrounded by my four incredible children (who are capable strong leaders as well) and numerous amazing friends and strangers….and all the other tasks, fun and adventures this world has to offer ….
I am still most enthralled when The LORD shows up and starts doing His thing in and around me. On Sunday, there were people healed physically and days previous we have found ourselves watching Jesus bring together plans and ideas and making sense out of our familiar chaos. We
have so many elements to consider in our equation of life between people, relationships, our responsibilities and the daily stuff of life that happens.
Between it all, I try my best to remember why I do what I do and am
mindful of how I do what I do or say what I say (and actually trying even harder to not miss that great opportunity to just keep my mouth shut)
I watch myself respond and react and am pretty constant in battling bad behavior and attitudes in myself. I have wrestling matches within my heart and head when things occur that causes a knee jerk reaction within me. My natural tendency is to push back and speak my mind. I call upon the Lord in those moments …so He could show up instead of me. He is always the better option. During the course of the week I have been given many opportunities to Lay myself down before God and His altar. Some tests especially outside of the home, I have done well and not acted on my own accord (which honestly in days past would have looked a little like a women’s wrestling match…not good) I shut my mouth and beg God to show up and take over and not allow someone’s else -#%* to get on me and ruin my place of freedom and
joy. This is tough for a passionate emotional being such as myself. God knows me and my struggle.
I am not such winner in the safety of my own home with my own flesh and blood…where I act out my feelings and thinking and do little to hold myself back. I was deeply convicted by my reactions when I walked away from a discussion I was having with my dear husband. I had to analyze my vehement reaction and be convicted of my manner of handling myself. I realized that I often act out of a hurt heart over something that has caused a seed of bitterness that I didn’t tend to before it sprouted. I have had to bring my heart to the Lord and ask him to shine His Light on the apparent dark spot of growth where my ugly reaction was coming from…then repent and confess my sin and know that He is faithful and just to forgive me of my sins and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. Wow…God shows up and clears up the fog and there is growth and more freedom and joy that comes.
This is the constant experience of Life…the cycle of growth and greater awareness of God and His ways and His enormity. I am so grateful to have this element of eternity at work in my heart and life which breeds Hope, Life, Truth, Wisdom and Love….May God be uplifted in our Lives more and more… Laura
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Thanks for all you who support the project and us!
Rio Coco Bean Coffee