February 2022 Concnshell Chronicles
Swirling Waters on the Rio Coco
Thanks for all your prayers for our project director Danilo Cunningham and his mother Mirna. He is slowly recovering from his stroke in December. Mirna needs more tests and medication and is in Managua with her daughter.
Our Seek The Lamb administrator Myga Cunningham is traveling to Managua to co-ordinate our activities with the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Education. It’s a bit more complicated having to travel to Managua each month to give our monthly report in person, but Myga navigates the government waters well.
Nutie & Tom Keogh travel to the Coco River this week. There is much ahead in this season for them.
Schools are scheduled to begin this month in Nicaragua. We are planning to begin our school repairs soon, along with the purchase of school materials for the teachers and students. We have a big job this year, with more challenges than normal to overcome.
Please pray for our leaders health, our teachers and students, and us as we navigate the swirling waters of the Rio Coco.
"Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak but He is strong.
Yes Jesus Loves me! Yes Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.”
I am amazed that after 45 years of my life, I still feel, know, and live by this simple Truth of hope, faith and love. It is the foundation of all that I am and will ever want to be. A child of the living God of the universe. My Heavenly Father who knows, cares and wants to do something about it. He is King, the Victor and the Only Living perfect Hope who has provided the Way of escape. He is the first, the last and everything in between and will have The Final say on all matters in heaven and upon this earth.
When Michael and I were living those 14 years in La Ceiba Honduras, we faced many challenges and hardships that tested us and our character. We were one morning feeling the weight of it all and lost in our emotions. In the middle of it all, we heard the tiny, cute voice of Mikaela ring out of nowhere. We had no clue she could even talk this well, but miraculously she sang out,
“I cast all my cares upon you. I lay all of my burdens down at your feet and anytime I don’t know what I should do, I will cast all my cares upon you.”
Here is the song as Mikaela sang it.
Michael and I looked at one another astonished by her song of Hope. She could hardly speak and yet God used her to comfort us in a deep way. We were blown away by the miracle of Hope in that moment.
Photo: Mikaela and Grandma Mabel
We are currently in shock over the loss of our very good friend’s son who died in a tragic way. We are all grieving and praying hard that God would make a difference and give our loved ones comfort and a perspective that sustains them all. I am humbled by my constant helplessness and reduced to childlike reliance upon my Heavenly Father. Only My Father in Heaven knows and can do His magic on any given situation, person, place or thing. He not only owns it all but knows every detail about every facet of life. He designed, created, and has made it all. He Has not held anything back but has given us His most, best and all. There is nothing that Is impossible with God, but without faith it is impossible to please Him.
I am clinging to this hope as a little child clings to her parents side on many of the issues of life. I often feel like that helpless child unable to do or say anything, but yet backed by a powerful Parent who is ready to meet me, love me and give to me in great comfort, hope and love.
The joy of the Lord is my strength. I choose to stay close to my Source of inspiration who says clearly that in this world we will have tribulations but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world.
Every good and perfect gift comes from our Heavenly Father who is the only One full of Light and filled to overflowing with absolute good intention to me and the rest of His Creation. When I start to live, move, think, and breathe on my own in a way that does not acknowledge the Truth of where it all comes from, I find my steps quickly get out of sync and my rhythm jumbled without the under-girding of that Divine peace which surpasses all understanding. The concept of a running dialogue or peaceful resting and quiet with my Creator has taken on a whole other meaning- The intentional dialogue with the only One that can miraculously do Magic.
The constant practice of gratitude to the One to whom it all belongs has caused a great depth of peace until I “forget” and begin my existence alone. Unrest, anxiety, and stress come easily in a moment of disengagement to the One in whom I have given my total allegiance to. I remind myself as my personal Living guidebook says, “Pray without ceasing” and “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.”
I am personally pressing into Jesus and focusing in on who He is so I can more effectively live out His Way, Truth and Life. Not my will be done but His. God knows, cares and will do what needs to be done for our best interest . Therefore we can rest in “loving from a pure, child like heart, sincere faith and clear conscience.
I choose to cast all of my cares upon the Lord my God who loves me and cares for all the details in my life without fail. Laura
Photo: The Bagby Family, Rio Coco Nicaragua 2007
Running The Race
My children entered me in a ‘dry’ triathlon last Saturday. I was on a team with my son Lukas and daughter Mikaela. The three events were a 2000 meter row, then an 8000 meter bike ride followed by two 1500 meter runs. A competing team in our heat consisted of my daughter Moselle with our Rio Coco team members Naomi and Summer. These three girls did the half marathon a few weeks ago. I knew the competition was going to be intense, and they are very competitive.
We decided to split up the row evenly, then do 500 meter shifts on the bike, and then Mikaela would do the first 1500 meters and I would finish with my 1500 meter run (almost a mile). Our order was younger to older.
Just before the start, I looked over at Moselle’s team and in my mind's eye saw this movie: As I was turning the corner at the end of the warehouses with 150 meters to go, Moselle caught up and passed me, and sprinted to the finish line.
That would be a tragic ending for me. Why am I even doing this event? Who signed me up anyway? It was then that I realized a greater purpose to this event, and I started to get excited. I knew i could not outrun Moselle on my own and would have to depend on a greater source of strength. That's when our team began to pray....
Lukas began the rowing, and his pace was incredible for his 666 meters! Then Mikaela matched that in her 666! Suddenly it was my turn and I closed my eyes and began to pull. My pace was 10 seconds faster than my normal.
We hit the bike and again Lukas and Mikaela were displaying their incredible athletic abilities. Lukas and I split the final 1500 meters to give Mikaela more rest for her 1500 meter run. When Lukas finished the bike, Mik took off. About 20 seconds later, Summer began her 1500 for the Moselle team.
Mikaela ran an very good 8 minute mile pace and tapped me on the hand as she finished. I took off and and when I passed Summer about 150 meters from the finish line I realized that I would have a 200-300 meter lead over Moselle. That was not going to be enough. I began to dig deep and pick up the pace. When I turned the corner at the halfway point, Moselle was less than 100 meters behind me- she looked like she was sprinting. I dug deeper, and never looked back.
As Moselle rounded the corner of the warehouse, she kicked it into high gear. The crowd at the finish line began to shout and cheer. She caught up with the older guy and passed him. More cheers from the crowd! He was surprised and tried to catch her, but she continued to sprint, and beat him to the finish line. He crossed the line and immediately went to his knees, rolled over on his back, and kicked off his shoes. Everyone was congratulating Moselle on her incredible run.
I observed all this as I was walking back from my cool down walk. I had crossed the finish line just before Moselle appeared at the far end of the warehouses, about 100 meters in front of her. That “older guy” she sprinted past was someone a few decades younger than me. I had run my fastest mile pace in over a decade, thanks to the ‘push’ Moselle gave me. She's an incredible runner!
I have had some time to reflect on how this physical event relates to my spiritual life. Perhaps going to the gym 5 or 6 days a week during these past months prepared me for this “Dry-Tri”. The encouragement from my family was a big factor, and I had modified my eating and drinking habits by necessity. But I knew that I could not rely on my own abilities to cross the finish line ahead of Moselle, even with that big head start.
God is calling me to run my race to the best of my ability this season of my life. He has shown me that my strength was not enough- that I have to stay close to Him, and rely on His leading in my diet, my study, my work, what I let my eyes see, what I fill my mind with. He tells us in the book of Hebrews:
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith Hebrews 12:1-2
I need to keep my focus on my Lord, and His plans for the day. I need His power to overcome habitual behavior and walk out each day in a manner that pleases Him. I can’t let the culture around me and the political events of our times distract me from experiencing His presence in my life.
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 1 Corinthians 9:24
God wants me to run my race so that He will have many ‘trophies’ of His grace toward us in the future ages. Consider this thought from Ephesians 3. God does have a ‘trophy case’, filled with all who receive Him.
For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
This is our time to shine my brothers and sisters. We were placed on Earth for “such a moment like this” (Esther 4:14).
There are many who are questioning the meaning of life, are confused as to their identity, and are suffering anxiety, depression, and fear because of the events of these past two years. God will bring them across our path and lead us in our interaction with them.
Let run our race and win many in this season of our lives.
1) Pray for our health. Many of us need your prayers.
2) Pray that God will sort out all our issues with the school project this month. We have many challenges in this current economic environment.
3) Please ask God to bring us good workers at the Rio Coco Cafe so that we may have enough to send to Utila to re-open the Rio Coco Cafe.
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