February 2019 Conchshell Chronicles
The State of Seek The Lamb
Our President recently gave a “State of the Union” address to Congress. I would like to give you all a “State of the Seek The Lamb Ministry” report, starting with;
Project Ezra— Rio Coco Nicaragua
Boom Rio Coco
Next week, we begin classes in eight communities along the lower Coco River. This remote region is accessible only by boat, with swampy terrain on both sides of the river. This will be our 33th year educating Miskito Indian children, and all of our teachers except Eusebio Manister and Oswaldo Espinoza are our former students. Our founding school superintendent, Augusto Vicente, is still directing the teachers, although this week he is in the hospital in Puerto Cabeza with a sever infection of his leg.
Many of our founding members are in an age where they need medical attention. Through your gifts toward the school project, we are able to help cover many of their medical expenses.
The political situation in Nicaragua is not getting any better. A recent resignation by a Supreme Court Justice and close Ortega ally has rocked the government as they continue to arrest protesters, and shut down independent journalists. We hope it just a matter of time before things change for the better.
Each year we spend about $6 per student on school supplies, and $25 on supplies for each teacher. Enrollment this year will exceed 1600 students, with 53 teachers and administrators. That’s about $11,000 for the paper supplies and pencils they all need. Our goal this year is to pay an average monthly salary to our staff of $300 per person. That comes to about $16,000 monthly. Each month we purchase between about 150-200 gallons of fuel for our outboard motors and two trucks. Hauling school supplies down 50 miles of river each month, along with our supervisory team is a big part of our budget. Currently in Nicaragua in our corner of the country it is about $5 per gallon. That will cost us about $1000 per month, or $12,000 for the year.
Nutie leading a worship session with our teachers.
With our four to six training conferences each year, our outboard motor and vehicle maintenance, school building repairs, and sidewalk projects, our annual budget is over $260,000.
Our goal is to raise $300,000 this year for the school project.
Sponsor A School
For years, we conducted a child sponsorship program to connect some of our students with many of you. We always encountered a cultural barrier within the Miskito communities that places an emphasis on families rather than individuals. It was evident each time I went to take photos of the sponsored children. Those not sponsored understood they were being left out of the photo shoots, and did not receive some of the letters that other did. As Tom Keogh worked with our sponsored children in the past years, he continued to suggest that we change our strategy and not single out individuals.
Photo: A child sponsor photo shoot
After many discussions with our team in Nicaragua, we have decided to focus on communities rather than individuals. We are taking all the child sponsors in each village and listing them on our website as “School Sponsors”. We hope to build a team of sponsors for each school that will cover the expenses of each school (Klampa, Boom, Sawa, Urang, Sih, Livinkrik, & Utlamahta) for the year. Our soon-to-be published website will show the list of sponsors, along with updated photos, and reports from all of us who work and travel there.
Please join our “Sponsor A School” team! You may contribute $25 or more each month to be on the team.
Tom & Nutie Keogh provide very wise and mature leadership for our team in Nicaragua. Many of you have been their supporters over the years, and we encourage you– Continue!
Danilo Cunningham has become our project leader now, two years after the death of his father and our dear friend Truman. Please continue giving to him.
Photo: Danilo & Michael
Lanie Bishop has served as our volunteer office manager for 20 plus years, taking care of all the donations, bills, and reports. She also serves on the Seek The Lamb Board of Directors.
Laura Ruleman provides us with much volunteer administrative help with Seek The Lamb and the Rio Coco Café ministry.
We, Laura and Michael, are still volunteers for the school project and the café ministry, receiving no salaries or pay from the cafes. Thanks to many of you who have allowed us to do our jobs, travel to the ‘job sites’ and be a blessing to the ministries that God has called us to.
Rio Coco Café Ministry
Photo: The Swedes and South Africans at the Rio Coco Cafe Utila
Our coffee business gives each day with each sale to the school project. Radford Coffee Company, Rio Coco Beans, and the three Rio Coco Cafes combine to provide about 30% of our school budget now. In addition, the cafes provide the atmosphere where much ministry takes place, and God freely moves through our staff to touch those who walk through the gate (on Utila) and the doors (in Vero Beach and Radford) each day.
Throughout the week, many Bible studies are held in our cafes, as well as impromptu discussions. We have become a “community center” for many.
It is a Holy Spirit strategy to reach this generation. MB
With our Rio Café Ministry going strong, I find myself creating new recipes for fun, flavor and for taking care of my team. I love eating and sharing my food with people I love. All of my children are trying very hard to eat better and function as successful effective people in this world. We are all trying to eat “cleaner” and healthier. However, we were discussing how very “versatile” we all are in the the world of food and ever in search of the “best” burger, fries, salad with the most texture flavor & umpf factor, most scrumptious dessert, the next “star” mega vegetable of all... We are grateful to enjoy such freedom….and we try to “Live it up” and Level Up in every way possible. Life is short.
Someone said today,
“You are the healthiest unhealthy people I know!”…Ha ha….I thought that was funny. Thanks Austin…we received that as a compliment. We all go hard in whatever direction we find ourselves. In the moment...
When I got home, I greeted Michael and noticed our two Cats, Conner and Peppi on the chair who were affectionately giving each other a “bath” and so I took a video of them and sent it to the kids. Mikaela texted and thought it was so cute and then said, “They are cleaning each other”. Arielle took a close up photo of their paws right next to each other and said, “Every time we touch”…little heart sign…
Photo: Conner & Peppi
I thought, “ Yeah” that’s what relationships do….super touching as we “clean” and exhort each other. We sharpen , inspire , be more, give, serve, love , and be there for one another…doesn’t always feel touching or cleansing, but reality is we all need one another….
Many of you have been a part of our lives as individuals, as marrieds and as a family. You have watched us go through our variety of phases of life. We have history and many of you have chosen to support us, pray for us and give to us in this process of life and we are so very grateful for you.
Thank you for keeping us in your lives, being by our side, and helping us be “clean” and accountable to our calling in helping and serving our Miskito Friends and Rio Coco Kids. Thank you for many of you who support us personally in our endeavor to reach our world with the Good News and to train those that come along side of us to serve in the Café Ministry. It has been quite far reaching because of your efforts. Our family is so thankful to have many of you loving us as you do. WE are deeply grateful for the relationship we have with you and thank God often for you and your extension to us. We pray you will remain in “clean” and right standing and ever blessed by God.
Thank you. The older we get the more we realize the deep need we have for relationships …both old and new. We invite you to join us for the next 20…so much more adventure to be had!!! 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 use the enclosed envelope
or donate online at seekthelamb.com—”Give”. Thanks!
Please pray that God will:
1) Protect our team in Nicaragua during this political unrest.
2) Bring many into the Rio Coco Cafes this month.
God provided two new team mates for the Utila Café. We will open this month! Thanks for your prayers!
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