January 2022 Conchshell Chronicles
Prayers for Mirna and Danilo
Photo: Anna and Mirna Cunningham
Last month, our project director Danilo Cunningham suffered a stroke, and was taken to a hospital in Managua. He had high blood pressure and was given new medication. He is slowing recovering, but now is in the clinic in Waspam with pneumonia.
His mother Mirna (Truman’s wife) also has been in the hospital with liver problems and kidney stones. Her daughter Mayga is taking her and Danilo to a hospital in Managua. She needs help. There is no medicine in Waspam, and Mayga is very concerned for her mother.
Prayers are needed please! Seek The Lamb is their ‘social security’ and ‘medicare’, so I will be sending some funds on Monday. Please keep both of our dear friends in your prayers. Help is needed for them both. Thanks!
Photo: Arielle and Laura waving sparklers. Happy New Year 2022!
The other day I overheard a conversation in our café kitchen. One of our dear workers, Cat, was explaining how she was helping a friend home on New Year’s Eve. Her friend had too much to drink and needed a way to get home. Cat volunteered to take her in her car and the inebriated person vomited. Yuck!
While discussing the dilemma, the other workers chimed in and expressed how Uber charges $300 for a clean-up fee for vomiting in their vehicles.
Price of Community (POC).
We each have experiences within a community that we need to “pay for”. There is a price to pay for our actions, negligence and/or indiscretions.
My worker friend Cat had a price to pay in helping her friend. Aside from having to clean the mess, she also woke up sick the next day and skipped work. She and her work mates where affected by her absence. There are lots of germs stored up in spew. We can impact a whole community by our actions or non- actions. We have the ability to spread bad germs or breathe Life to those around us.
I was reminded of the powerlessness of our words when it comes to changing the behavior of others. Cat could not change the actions of her friend that got into her car. Just as we make messes for others and they to us, our words will not change it.
I am learning to guard the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart. I am seeing the impact of simple little words of Life I offer to those around me. I notice the impact in my community when I am mindful to make The Source of Love and Rightness known by my words and actions. My prayer has been for God to make His necessary shifts and changes in my heart and in the hearts of all those I love and care about. That prayer has extended out to the greater part of our community as we serve and pray for many that come into our Cafes. Each day gives us the chance to build my relationship with God, my marriage, family and community.
I long to “Hear” better and obey that still small powerful voice that takes charge over peace and contentment. My listening skills are all being redeveloped by my heavenly Father. The One who loves me and always has my best interest in all ways.
My asking is largely done in my private time with the One who knows best. He is there and cares.
When we do Ask of God, we receive. When we seek, we find and when we knock, the door swings wide open.
Photo: We are all gym rats.
This is a constant experience I have with God every day of my life. It is a matter of me engaging myself with My Primary Factor of Life and then following through when the response is given in the still peaceful knowing of my answers. My angst, stress and unrest comes in when I am not willing to give my moment over or submit my plan to the One who is my rest and only hope. I must come to that point of decision all on my own with the One in charge of my Community and single origin Temple.
My own life of obedience is what will strengthen the communities I find myself in. May God take charge in us, for us, and with us in each and every Community we all find ourselves a part of.
Making A Difference in 2022
Photo: Michael, Mikaela, Laura & Arielle receive the award
Every month Rio Coco provides coffee for the “Coffee with the Mayor” event in Vero Beach. We have been doing this for the past few years. When I say “we”, its Mikaela who gets up on that day and is making coffee at 5:30 for this event. She has been very faithful. In November we were asked by the organizer if I could be in attendance at the December meeting, as they wanted to honor us. Honestly, I was surprised, and initially thought that they wanted to honor us for providing coffee for the event.
When I was called up that day, I leaned over and whispered to the lady holding the mic, “You don’t really have to do this. We are delighted to provide coffee for this meeting.” She smiled and began to tell everyone how much the Rio Coco Café had impacted the Downtown Vero Beach community in a very positive manner. When she handed me the plaque, I called up Laura, Mikaela, and Arielle to stand with me. Lukas and Moselle were working that morning. That’s when I noticed what we were being honored for:
“For Sincere Appreciation for your Ongoing Commitment and Dedicated Service to Main Street Vero Beach.
We salute you for making a difference.”
When I saw that last line, I smiled. This is the reason we started the Rio Coco Café back in 2011. We wanted to make a difference in the lives of our students along the Coco River in Nicaragua as well as make a difference in our community here in Vero Beach. In fact our motto for Seek The Lamb has been “Together Making A Difference”.
I was so happy that Laura, Mikaela, and Arielle were there for the presentation, as these three have made a huge difference in so many individuals’ lives since we opened the Rio Coco Café on December 5th 2011. My other two children, Moselle and Lukas, were at that moment working at the café, making a difference with our customers and staff.
It seems that God sends us team members who need good community. Over the years we have hired workers, brought them into our home, shared many meals with them, had Bible studies with them, and generally have become ‘family’ with them. Laura is especially focused on this element of our ministry. She is always taking the time to listen to our teammates as she works alongside them in the kitchen. Naturally that often leads to her praying for specific needs with them, and she has invested her haircutting money in them through gifts, helping many start their very first saving account.
Know well the condition of your flocks,
And pay attention to your herds; Proverbs 27:23
Laura takes that proverb seriously. She goes the extra mile, even when I’m ready to bail on some. She is an extraordinarily caring woman.
Moselle, Arielle, Mikaela and Lukas have developed deep relationships with many of our teammates, as well as many that come into our café and attend our gyms. I often hear conversations that are deeply personal, and my children have become very good at listening and offering timely counsel. They have become very wise in their early adulthood. Many of their friends have been pulled into the Family of God because of their modelling of life as God plans it. I feel very privileged to have these four on our team. They have definitely made a difference in our town.
We all have this opportunity to ‘make a difference’ wherever God has planted us. My natural inclination has been to be very task oriented, and focus on getting the job done. In times past, I have become irritated when interrupted from my schedule, whether it’s a phone call or someone walking uninvited into the office, especially if that someone is not a friend. That has not worked well for me, especially with Laura and my children. Slowly, I have heard another voice saying that it should be different- I should be considerate of others.
This came evident a few years ago when I was washing dishes at our café on Utila. It was very hot and humid, and there was an unending flow of cups, plates, and silverware to wash in our small kitchen. It was then that a memory verse from days past came to mind. The context is a time when two of Jesus disciples (James and John) asked him if they could have the seats of honor when Jesus established his kingdom.
Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John. 42 Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. 43 But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:41-45
That word echoes through my spirit for the rest of the summer. They still do. I had to become the ‘slave of all’ and serve others.
This is one of the keys to establishing relationships in our community that makes a difference in the lives of many. Be a servant of all! Have consideration of the needs of others before my own! Let people know that you care for them through your actions, not just your words. I began to cringe inwardly when I heard irritation in my voice when I was ‘interrupted’. I started to force myself to smile in those moments and give that person my full attention. It has been a slow process, but God has shown me that this is my way to make a difference in my community. Maybe that’s why I enjoy washing dishes more than ever now!
As I drive to work each morning, I have a plan for what I need to accomplish for that day, where it is roasting coffee, leading one of our Bible study groups, repairing a piece of equipment, printing labels and signage, paying bills, or writing newsletters. What changes everything is when I pause in my thoughts and say simply “Lord this is your day. Please let it goes as you plan, and give me specific directions so that I can do the things you want me to do. Use me to make a difference in the lives of those you place across my path today.”
Once I make that declaration and request, the day is His, and the pressure is off for me to perform. Actually the flow becomes more pleasant and ultimately effective as I pay attention to His cues in each situation.
May this year 2022 be our time to make a difference in the communities where God has placed us. Don’t you think this world needs caring people to walk along those who are troubled, fearful, and confused about life? I know that many of you have already decided to be the difference daily.
May it be a joyful, prosperous, and extremely satisfying 2022 for us all!
1) Please pray for Mirna and Danilo as they are in a hospital in Managua.
2) Pray for some quality team mates for our Rio Coco Cafe staff here in Vero Beach.
3) Ask God to show us His ways to better impact our community through the cafe ministry.
4) Pray for good health for the Bagby Family as we endure this 'flu' season.
5) Pray for the funds we need for the repair of all our school building this next year and for more opportunities to teach the Bible in our communities.
Seek The Lamb Giving Page
Rio Coco Beans
We have finally received our shipments of Colombia Honey Process coffee as well as the Papua New Guinea.
These are two quality coffees that have been out of stock since last April.
We also received a favorite Colombia coffee from the Santa Barbara farm. We love this "cherry & chocolate' tone coffee.
We have a new medium roast Water Process Decaf from Peru that is an Organic coffee. Very delicious!
Please visit our webstore and have some coffee that we roasted this week delivered to your door.
Rio Coco Beans
I spoke with Sofia today and she asked me to thank all of you for the help in finishing her house. The work is going well, and she is very very grateful for the gifts of many of you.
Thanks for spending the time to be with us this month.
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