Project Ezra Begins Year 33!
As we begin our 33rd school year on the Rio Coco we can look at our group of 54 teachers and administrators and see the fruit of our many decades of efforts. I remember their cute children’s faces when we began in the mid 1980’s, but now I see wrinkles and ”maturity” as these teacher raise their own children, and struggle to make it all work. The life process! Are they making their life choices with an input from their Creator? It seems like often that is the case. The life process continues.
We are beginning a “Sponsor A School” effort this year. We are asking many of you to focus your financial gifts on a particular village, The social fabric of Miskito culture has always leaned toward the Family and community rather than the individual. We know that focusing on a community rather than individual children as we have in the past, will work better in the cultural framework of the Coco River.
Classes begin next month.
Enrollment should top 1600 students.
Our budget goal is $300,000 for 2019.
Rules or Relationship?
Problem: We can get caught up in obedience to the rules and forget about the relationship. It happens often in my family.
Another Problem: Relationships on our own terms often disintegrate. Selfish behavior usually turns good people away.
I am starting this New Year in a study of an obscure book of the Bible: Deuteronomy. It is a book that is rarely used in our Sunday morning church services, yet the one that Jesus most often quoted.
Deuteronomy is full of commandments.
But it is more filled with relationship.
As Moses recounts the journey from Egypt and into the Land, he reminds the people of God’s miracles, His kindness, and His desire for a true heart relationship with His people. “Oh that they had such a heart in them, that they would fear (respect) me and keep My commandments always, that it may be well with them and with their son’s forever” (Deut 5:29).
Moses reminds them that they are a “stubborn people” (9:5-6), and that God led them through the desert to “humble them” (8:2), and “discipline them as a man disciplines his son” (8:5). And it is God who will give them the power to “make wealth” (8:18). Moses then tells them that they have been “rebellious against the Lord since the day I knew you” (9:24) but all God is asking is that they have “respect, awe, and fear for the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the Lord’s commandments and His statutes which I am command you today for your own good” (10:12-13).
An interesting word appears often in the next chapters – “rejoice”. The Hebrews are told to “rejoice before the Lord in all your ways” (12:18). Nine more times the Hebrews are told to “rejoice” with the Lord. Here is my favorite- a command for those too far away from the Tabernacle or Temple to bring the tithe of their crops and herds. Instead they are commanded to “exchange it for money, and bind the money in your hand and go to the place which the Lord your God chooses. You may spend the money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink, or whatever your heart desires; and there you shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household.” (14:25-26). It seems like God loves having a good party with His people.
But alas, God knows us, and our stubborn, hard hearts, and knows that we will turn our backs on God and do what pleases us, and suffer the natural consequences of our actions. During that process, we will come to our senses and “seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and soul. When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice. For the Lord is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.” (4:29-31)
As I am reading this account of a group of nomads in the Second Millennium B.C., it all seems so relevant to me today. This is my experience in my relationship with God. I walk along, doing my best to follow Him, and suddenly I am distracted by an old habit, an unhealed hurt, and a self-centered heart, and swiftly I find myself walking down a lonely road.
That is when good intentioned friends have told me to “Just be obedient to do what God is telling you” while others say that “It is all about loving God; the behavior doesn’t really matter. Don’t be legalistic.”
I have concluded that the relationship is more important than the rules, but acknowledging God for who He is, and actively following Him in His ways, is my best expression of our relationship. I have also concluded that it is in my best interest to conform my actions to His “other’s centered” morality.
I have also realized that this life is slowing changing me, getting me ready for what is ahead- and that is Big. I often wonder why it has taken so long for me to come to my senses.
2019 will be full of opportunities for all of us to experience God on a very personal level. He will be my source of peace, satisfaction, and joy as much as I let Him. I like the idea of celebrations with by family and friends with Him. I don’t particularly like experiencing the consequences of my self-centered behavior. I realize my brokenness in areas of my life, and count on God restoring all the good things He intends.
What will 2019 hold for you. What dreams and desires has God given you for your family? You community? Your nation? Your economy? Be encouraged! We are on a journey together. There are many opportunities to be God’s Hands and Feet, to speak His Words, to change the lives around us and, most importantly, to be changed in the process. Michael
Listen, pray and keep praying and Wait and then wait a little more until….
You hear because going ahead without hearing results unrighteous results. When my kids were growing up we always tried to teach them complete and immediate obedience to our voice… a response that depicted the right attitude and heart in the doing.
Today I failed to listen completely and was called out by the Lord and the person I had been relating to. I obeyed on the first part of what I was asked to do by asking a bold question of this person I met. I then felt that I should wait and trust God and take the person at their word that they would follow through…then I started to go through this process of trying to work out the situation in my own head and then went into a slight panic when I could not find their phone number and then when I did find the number I put it into my phone then thought, “wait I need to make sure this is the right one…how would it hurt for me to call and check out what’s going on?” In the heat of my excitement of first of all finding the number and my other ideas that were swirling around in my pea size brain of trying to work out ‘God’s will’, I called the number and as soon as I did I felt not well…and then my new friend had the courage to let me know how the call made them feel…my conviction confirmed right off the bat of me taking something so right and making it so wrong. So sad. I was repenting as we were speaking. My inability to just be obedient completely was evident and I felt like a turd sitting on the sidewalk…repenting.
As I sit here writing, I still get this regretful pit in my stomach as I re play my disobedience of not resting and waiting in the peace of God knowing He takes care of every need, want and desire in my life especially the ones I know I heard from him in the first place. I can entrust every result to Him and receive whatever outcome because He alone makes it all happen. My follow through was not good on the praying, waiting, praying scale with the Lord and I also realized that I failed in trusting in a full way the fact that these were God fearing, gonna follow through type people to hear from God…I believe my own hurts and issues I have had with people in general came into play and started to mess with me in the middle of my thoughts of “what if”…doubting God and people and then doing the stupid that made it evident. The price to pay for not waiting, carrying on in prayer, waiting, resting, hearing, listening being in His peace is not worth the act of taking something into my own hands even for that split second.
It weird but once I made that call and heard the sweet voice on the other side that indicated the right number I had called, I wanted to hang up and was immediately struck with the feeling of “why am I on this phone ?” Oh, yeah that thing of trying to take back in my own hands and not trust God completely….hate it when that happens, but there I was once again like a deer caught with the head lights coming at me. The graciousness of my new Christian friend who I had had true fellowship with.confirmed everything that was going on in my heart and head. Busted…I felt sick and immediately started to ask for forgiveness.
I wallowed for the remainder of the day and repeated, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
I am letting this sink in so I can do better…the pain of my own disobedience and lack of listening skills is unfortunately the best Teacher ever. “Be still and know I am God.”
Let me live this. 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 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.
3) Augusto Vicente, our Project Ezra School superintendent, is in the hospital in Puerto Cabeza with a mean infection on his foot. Please pray for healing for Augusto.
Rio Coco Beans
For the Rest of January, we are celebrating our Heroes. Dr Martin Luther King Jr is celebrated nationally this month, for his self-less work in the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
We have our own heroes that have been personal friends. We have created special blends of our Rio Coco Beans to honor them, and allow them to continue to be used to do the things they were passionate about.
For the month of January, we are offering 10% off each bag of Heroes Coffee. Simple make your selections at riococobeans.com and use the code “HEROCOFFEE” at checkout.
Be inspired through the true life adventures of our friends who changed their world through dedicated service and selfless giving.
Java Jake was a boy from Hawaii who utilized coffee in his ministry to hundreds in Bulgaria, Brazil, and Hawaii. Read His Story
Papa Jack was a successful engineer who built refugee camps in Honduras, supplied a remote hospital along the Rio Coco, rebuilt a hospital in the Himalayas, and worked with the Dalai Lama. Read His Story
Sky Larkin invented the lightweight headset and took his millions to feed children in Haiti, and fund education projects in Honduras, Nicaragua, and India. Read His Story
Truman’s Negro Fino dedicated his life to helping refugees survive a bloody war, and rebuilding communities along the Rio Coco. Read His Story
These modern day heroes also enjoyed a cup of good coffee, and these blends reflect their complex, flavorful character that always left us with a smooth finish!