January 2021 Conchshell Chronicles
Hurricane Relief on the Rio Coco
As you may remember, we had two Category 4 hurricanes that passed through our school district in Northeaster Nicaragua two weeks apart in November. The winds, rains, and floods of Hurricanes Eta and Iota killed many cattle, destroyed many homes and school buildings, and wiped out rice and bean fields, as well as other crops. A desperate situation immediately developed, and we mounted a relief effort, asking you to participate with us.
Many of you did, and I am pleased to report that we have had a very productive December and January helping many many families.
In December we were able to purchase and distribute two cargo boats full of food to the families on our villages. The food was very needed and made for a much merrier Christmas. Thanks to all you who have given toward the relief effort.
The first week in January we were able to distribute rice, bean, and corn seeds to our families downriver. It is time to plant, and we should see a crop ready for harvest in three months.
Our team, led by Danilo and Rodolio Cunningham, have been very efficient in purchasing seeds and food supplies from stores on the Pacific side of Nicaragua, getting them trucked to Waspam, and loaded in our boats for the trip downriver.
There our teachers have led the distribution in each of our eight communities.
Our team performed flawlessly in their planning and execution of this hurricane relief!
Our focus these next weeks will be on more food purchases as well as making repairs for our schools, which begin classes in February.
We will purchase roofing panels, doors, and window screens for our schools.
New desks and chairs will also be procured. The need for food is present for these next three months, and with your help we will meet the needs of our eight communities, our 1600 plus students and their families, as well as our teachers and pastors.
You may make a donation to the relief effort
Food supplies will be needed through March. Thanks!
“Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad---because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory when it is displayed to all the world……So if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right, and trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you” 1 Peter 4:12-13 and 19
I have had many precious moments of meditating in the quietness of my own heart and head over this past year. Currently, I am recovering from this mysterious fear inducing flu they call COVID. Previously in the year I had the opportunity to be in the midst of a life altering “shut down” in Hawaii due to COVID and the panic of “protecting” all from this Killer on the loose. There has been a constant barrage of reactions seemingly on fear driven overdrive. One may ask, “Does she live in a cave of unawareness?” In a sense, I have had to hide myself in the cleft of my only stable point of safety and protection, and have chosen willfully and determinedly not to expose myself to any media or people who endanger my “safety” in my mind, body and spirit. I have also determined that I am to myself live out what I heard from the very onset in 2 Chronicle 7:14-16,
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land. I will listen to every prayer made in this place, for I have chosen this temple and set it apart to be my home forever. My eyes and my heart will always be here.”
From the beginning, I personalized this prayer in my heart, for my heart and by my own heart of choosing to allow myself a time of reckoning before God…realizing that change always begins from within and that I am hopeless to change anything or one but myself…and even then it is quite the feat of a persevering constants of decisions, time, goal setting and disciplined efforts. Hard work.
I have usually lived my life in a way that leads me to face my fear or challenges head on even while begging God to help me the whole way I go through what I feared by exercising my trust and faith in the One that Loves me, cares for me and the only Entity that can do the impossible. The limitless perfect God in whom I trust. The One that I find in the stillness of my heart and mind and who softly speaks as the Perfect Authoritative voice of wisdom in my Life. I believe this entire year has been a year of refinement in the details of my faith, trust and hope in the One true God of my heart, soul, mind, emotion, intellect and my physical well-being. Who alone can change me and the complexion of the Universe and the inhabitants of great need and diversity? Its too much to even fathom and speculate for me…for now.
People, places, things, circumstances…the things I see, feel, hear , touch etc….all have a tendency to rock the cart of peace and calm within my being. DISAPPOINTMENT has been a general theme of the year for many. For me it has served as a huge opportunity to learn how to fight this battle more specifically with weapons not made of flesh and blood. I believe the prayers of the righteous avails much. I myself trying to practice the constant presence of the God who is in control. I have beseeched my closest friends who also talk to the King of the Universe to also pray with me and for me. I know the battle and victory belong to the Lord…even when I am feeling defeated. My Hope and trust rests in my One true Eternal Strength and only answer to evil. His perfect Love casts out all fear. His power is perfected in our weakness as we cry out to our Savior. These times demand a crying out to God in one accord. May we remain faithful till the end. Laura
The Final Score
Last night I watched a classic football game from 32 years ago— it was played during the week that Laura & I married. It was a Monday night on September 26, 1988 when the Los Angeles Raiders played the Denver Broncos. This game went down as one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history.
That week in September 1988 was a very busy on for me. The preparations for the marriage ceremony took all my attention, so I was oblivious to Monday Night Football, but it was a few years later that my friend Ralph Moore brought the significance of this game to my attention in one of his messages at Hope Chapel Kaneohe.
Ralph was in Japan that week, where he was planting churches. Ralph is one of the most prolific church planters in our generation, responsible for over 2000 churches and ministries. Ralph sent Craig Englert to Maui in 1980 to start Hope Chapel Maui, and our school project ministry in Nicaragua as well as our Rio Coco Café ministry is the direct result of Ralph and Craig’s vision for reaching guy like me wandering around the world and pulling them into God’s Kingdom and his purposes for our lives here on Earth. These two are champions of true discipleship ministry and I am soooo fortunate to be part of their legacy.
Ralph is a hardcore Raiders fan, and he saw the score in the newspaper in Japan, but no details of the game. When he arrived back in Honolulu that week, his wife Ruby sat him down in front of the television and popped in the VCR tape. As he watched, he initially thought that he had read the newspaper wrong, but realized that no, he indeed knew the final score of the game, and that fact gave him great pleasure as he watched the game unfold.
I’ve never been a Bronco fan, even during the three years I lived in Colorado. On the other hand, the Raiders have always had my attention, even though they were sometimes called “the criminal element of the NFL”. They played with passion. John Elway brought the Broncos out scoring that September night, and it was one touchdown after another after another. The Raiders were unable to get any points on the board. Towards the end of the first half, the Broncos added a field goal and the half ended with them leading 24 – 0.
Things looked bad for my team, but I knew the final score.
Something happened at halftime, as the Raiders came out a different team. An interception led to the first Raider touchdown, and they follow with another TD. The Raiders began the 4th Quarter with a 28 yard field goal, and followed with Marcus Allen scoring a touchdown, tying the game at 24-24. The Broncos rallied and managed a field goal, making the score 24-27.
With three minutes to go, the Raiders got the ball and. Their quarterback Jay Schroeder was playing his first game since being acquired from the Redskins and it seemed he really didn’t know all the plays, calling only one play in the huddle and wasting many precious seconds. He made a critical pass completion with 8 seconds to go, setting up a 44 yard field goal attempt by Chris Bahr, who had missed every attempt beyond 30 yards that season. Chris somehow managed to split the uprights, sending the game into overtime.
The Broncos got the coin toss and ball but failed to score on their first possession. Neither could the Raiders. Possession changed six times before John Elway threw an interception, giving the Raiders the ball on the Bronco 31 yard line. After a few running plays, Chris Bahr exceeded expectations again by kicking a 35 yard field goal and winning the game.
Despite being underdogs with a new quarterback who did not know all the plays and a short-field-only kicker, the Raiders pulled off the third greatest comeback in NFL history.
I have watched the highlights over the years, but I decide after all the events of this past year, I should watch the game in its entirety. It is on YouTube. I knew the final score before my video replay of the game began. It didn’t bother me when the Broncos buried the Raiders in the first half. In fact, like Ralph in 1988, I watched with joy as they scored each touchdown. I knew that despite the odds, the Raiders were going to take the game in Overtime. It was a phenomenal comeback which all Raider fans thoroughly enjoyed!
It seems like the opposing team has scored many touchdowns recently. I’m sure that they will score more before halftime. As I reflect on my culture and society as we begin this new year, I am glad that I know the final score of this game of life. Jesus told his disciples,
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
After describing how God clothes the flowers in the fields and feeds the birds of the air, he says;
You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-26, 30-34
If I look at the situation in our current world, there are things I could be anxious about. Many things. Yet I know that God is in charge, and He will right all the wrongs, expose the evil, protect His people, and provide the daily sustenance that we all need. Yes, there will be problems. Yes, we may be pressed. Yes, I can expect opposition from the prince of darkness and the world order that he influences. But I know that my future belongs with Jesus, and that I will be returning with Him when He arrives again to put things in order. And I expect He will be doing things in the meantime, and using me as much as I will allow.
If you are dismayed this season by the touchdowns the enemy seems to be scoring, smile. Enjoy their false sense of victory as they overstep their boundaries and attempt to push us into a desperate corner. Persevere when they step on our toes. Smile.
We know the final score. MB
Rio Coco Beans Coffee
We sent our many bags of coffee this holiday season. Our roasting team (Cameron, Mikaela & Michael) were in full production. Thanks to many of you who joined our Coffee Club as well as you who used Rio Coco Beans Coffee in your gift giving.
Here is the link to our online store where you can order fresh roasted coffee to be delivered to your door.
Thanks for spending time with us this month.
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