June 2017 Conchshell Chronicles

Tell Your Story

June is a busy month for us. We usually spend the summer months at our café in Utila, since that is when our girls are out of school. We all love the work there, and especially jumping in the clear deep blue water after we close the café.

I find myself in a flurry of activity, and I realize that I am in over my head.  Multi-tasking is challenging, but I find myself in multiple situations where I have no idea what I should do. Whether its redoing the menu for the café, restructuring our coffee roasting company to increase our giving to the school project, building a   nitrous cold brew tap and tank system for the café, or scouting out a new location for another café, I am often tapped out in my expertise to make a good decision. Yes, challenging times.

In my Navy flying days we used an air-to-air combat phrase that describes my situation: “There I was with an enemy fighter on my tail, flat on my back, out of airspeed and ideas.” That was the set up to a truly remarkable story where somehow we made a move that saved our hides and turned the tables on the enemy.

That is what I want my life to be—an experience where I place myself in a position where God shows up and amazing things happen. It’s and exciting way of life, and it’s a good story to tell to those who don’t yet know God.

My story started off as an ice cream scooper/ski bum/ex-pilot on Maui with nothing serious going on in my life. I had an unexpected encounter with God, and I discovered who Jesus is. That is when everything changed.

I have a friend who owns a business downtown. For years she has been encouraging us to open a café there as there is no good coffee places. I like her and her husband, who are both scientists and atheists. Last week I walked into her store with my tape measure in my hand and told her I was looking at a space close by. We walked outside and I pointed to the location. I told her that I appreciated her encouragement, but I was waiting for my Boss to give me the green light. She said “Of course I have a different opinion of that” with a smile. I replied “How else do you explain starting a school project in the most remote corner of Central America with no budget or experience that has lasted 31 years? How do you explain starting a café on a western Caribbean island with no experience or budget? What about our café here in Vero Beach? It’s all about hearing God tell you what you are to do.”

Then she asked the question: “How do you hear Him?”

I’ve been waiting for that question for many years with her. I told her about hearing the audible voice three times which were all about meeting and marrying Laura. Then I said: “It’s like I have this place in the upper left part of my chest where I sense what God is saying to me.” She listened intently, and then it was time to leave. I expressed my affection and appreciation for her, walked back to my car.

She later told a mutual friend I think Michael needs psychiatric help. I don’t know if she was serious, but I doubt it. If she was, what else could she say to protect her Godless world view?

I buy much of my coffee from a friend in New Jersey, who I never have seen in  person. Because of his travels to Central America and Israel, we have a lot to talk about. A few years ago I discovered he is Jewish, and our conversation often goes in that God direction after we take care  of our business. I really enjoy him, and I think he feels the same. When I sent him one of my books last year, our relationship went to another level. He has become a very good friend…and I have never actually seen him.

Last week he sent me the wrong bag of coffee, and we spoke yesterday to resolve the mistake. In the process, I told him about restructuring our business so that we could have more money to send to our schools in Nicaragua. I mentioned that I pay my employees but not myself in either of our businesses, and he asked: “Then how do you live, if I may ask?”

I told him how I left Maui for Honduras in November in 1984 with $200 in my Bank of Hawaii account, and how when I got back 18 months later, it was still there, and more. Since then, I have never received any wages or salary, but that I have a group of friends and churches who support me as a missionary. He didn’t quite understand the concept. I told him that my Boss- the Lord- has taken very good care of me and my family.

Then I told him the story of taking our three Miskito leaders to Israel in 1997;  How Truman told me that he wanted to go see where Jesus lived and we began to pray. A year later when we went to Hawaii, in the space of one week without asking, four different people gave us money for our airfares and travel expenses. Within a month, we were given the use of an apartment in Jerusalem for a month free, and then a friend called me to tell me that the Lord had told him to send us $5000 for the trip, which at first I refused, but when he insisted, it was almost the exact amount needed to pay Christian Travel Study Programs for our 12 day study tour of Israel (hotels, meals, entrance into the parks, travel)-$5005. That experience changed so much for our three Miskito leaders, and for Laura and I.

Our Swiss Air pilot friends.

How do you think my friend in New Jersey received that story? With sarcastic skepticism perhaps, as is sometimes his habit, but I know that he is processing. He’s reading this right now…The voice of God…

Our world is filled with philosophies, theories, and subjective truths. What is going to make an eternal difference in ones who think they have it all figured out? Since I was one of the foremost of those, highly opinionated, and self-confident, I have a few clues.

Two principles stand out:

1) Jesus said:   I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”       John 13:34-35

How we treat each other will show those outside the Family of God that we are connected to Him. Our actions speak very loudly!

A wise man once said, “Watch their feet, not their mouth.” Nobody will be impacted by our words until they feel our heart.

2) Then in Revelation: For the accuser of our brothers and sisters (satan) has been thrown down to earth— the one who accuses them before our God day and night. And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.      Rev 12:10-11

How we defeat the influence of the world order and various philosophies is through our own stories- our own personal experiences with God. There is nothing anyone can say when we share what we have experienced… except perhaps to point out the need for psychiatric help!

Rio Coco Team Monday Morning Study

We who have experienced the Presence of God, and have gotten to know Him will stand out as different from the crowd. First, our focus will be on our relationship with God, and we will be attentive to the things He is telling us to do; our priorities will be in His order, we will get emotional about Him, and often express our constant need for a Savior. We will be aware of our own inadequacies.

Second, our focus will be outside of us. We will be concerned about the people around us. We will be known as givers. We will make mistakes and sometimes mistreat others, but we will be quick to apologize and ask forgiveness. We will also be quick to forgive.

Please share your story and most importantly your life with those God has placed around you!         Michael


Lamb Bleatings

I once read on a t shirt , “Don’t miss a good opportunity to keep your mouth shut.

I laughed because it was a very appropriate word for me as a wife who always has an opinion on everything especially when it comes to my husband.  Somehow I had the erroneous belief that I was his perfect help mate that needed and wanted to “help” my husband with his flaws and weaknesses.  As if….

My “constructive” criticism has never resulted in much except when applied to myself….and changing myself is quite the feat…because I am as hard headed, intense, and driven as my better half.  Its crazy how God brought us together, and we have    always been confident and secure in that foundation of God being the One that indeed brought us together.  From the beginning for us…it was a God thing and has continued to be a God thing…one miraculous God event to the next.  And the challenge and adventure continues amidst all of our flaws, weaknesses, working through our salvation with fear and trembling…

In all of our working through our very big lives (which only gets bigger and bigger), we are overwhelmed with thoughts of how   impossible it is to actually do all that is set before us.  We have been working through our impossibilities and issues and I have been trying hard to not miss any opportunity to keep my mouth shut these days.  Instead I have been focusing on praying through my thoughts, frustrations, needs, desires, issues, and laying myself often at the mercy of my Creator to complete this work of freedom in me.  I have been meditating and practicing…

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.  The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16

I have been banking on the fact that God hears my prayers and answers.  I have friends to be able to talk through my frustrations and sins that so easily tangle me up and throw me in a hole of darkness where I have difficulty functioning in my God given stature and freedom.  The power of confession and relating one to the other is a liberating and healing facet of life.

I want my prayers to have great efficacy in my life and the lives of those I am surrounded by. 

God alone is able, Perfect, dependable, all knowing, all seeing!Being that takes care of business in the deepest sort of ways in this life.  It is not necessary to interject myself with my unnecessary words or actions where I am not responsible.

I let God handle it …He knows better and can actually DO something about it …I have often created more issues by my words so I proceed to guard the things I let in and the things I let out through my heart and mouth…and try my best to

“Pray without  ceasing and think on whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any  excellence and if anything worthy of praise,  I dwell on these things.”

It’s a life long process!   Laura  


Spiritual Arrows:

Please pray that God will:

1) Guide our travel to Utila this month.

2) Provide for our personal needs as well as for the teachers and students in Nicaragua.

3) Touch our bodies– good health for us all.

       We appreciate your prayers. They Change Everything!



The Sawa Rio Coco Soccer Club

How Can You Help This Month?

  1. Support our school project in Nicaragua.
  2. Support a Seek The Lamb team member serving in Central America and the U.S.
  3. Purchase Rio Coco Beans Coffee @riococobeans.com.

You may use the enclosed envelope or donate online at   




Rio Coco Beans Coffee

Drink delicious coffee and support our school project in Nicaragua.

You may place your order here.

Rio Coco Bean Coffee


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