March 2019 Conchshell Chronicles

Your Sacred Vocation

 Last month we went to Utila to open the Rio Coco Café. As many of you know, we have been praying for just the right people to staff the café, and God has brought us a very capable team.


Josiah Nalzaro is our staff worship leader, and an excellent guitarist, songwriter and barista,. He has been on our team since 2013, and this is his fifth term serving at the Utila Café. Joining him are Caitlin and our longtime friend Austin, both of whom are taking time off from college to serve the ministry on Utila. We are so excited to have these three serving the dive community as well as our Utilian friends, whom have been our customers since we opened in 2011.

The café has been closed since last fall, and there was much clean up and prep to do to open. We so  enjoy our time there. We are usually up at 5:30, downstairs by 6:15 to begin making coffee. After a study and prayer time we open the gates at 7:00 am and close at 2:00 pm. After that it is shopping, cleaning, laundry, and then its time for the sunset off the dock!

 Laura spent most of her time teaching Caitlin and  Austin how to prepare many of the healthy dishes that our friends on Utila love. They also have become     experts baking our world-famous banana bread.

So many have told us over the years that Utila is a different place when we are closed. We are surrounded by five Diving Schools, who attract students and instructors from Europe, Australia, Israel, Canada, South America, and Asia. (That is why our banana bread is world famous!) We provide a peaceful atmosphere where they all can relax and enjoy good food, good coffee, and good conversation.

The Rio Coco Café ministry is a good example of how God wants to use our vocations in His outreach to the world. During the Middle Ages, the Church taught that the only sacred work was that of a priest, monk, or nun. Society   developed attitudes toward to workers who were “less than” the ruling classes, and the ecclesiastical orders. This all changed when the Reformation began in the 1500’s, where Christians began reading the Bible and discarding church   practices that were not found in the  Bible. Martin Luther was a leader in this movement, and he discovered that all work was holy to God, and that we should do our very best in our work, because we were doing it for the Lord.

Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord. 23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for     people. 24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.     Colossians 3:22-24

Luther found in these and other passages of  Scripture the proper attitude toward our vocations, and this resulted in a new enthusiasm for vocation that spurred professional excellence, technological advancement, and       economic growth. Here is what he wrote in 1520:

“The works of monks and priests, however holy and arduous they may be, do not differ one whit in the sight of God from the works of the rustic laborer in the field or the woman going about her household tasks, but all works are measured before God by faith alone.” Babylonian Captivity of the Church -October 1520

This was in fact the real reason why commerce, industry, science, and the arts had such rapid advance in the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th Centuries. Wherever Christian culture gained a foothold, ordinary men and women gained a new pride  in their vocations, because they realized that God values us and our labor.

If we read the complete Chapter 3 of Colossians, we begin to understand God’s strategy to reach the world.

First we are transformed by our personal relationship with God, and our thinking as well as our character changes from self-centered to others-centered. We then begin to share that within our Christian community as we gather for worship and studying the Word. Our family are changed as we result of the care we give to our spouses and children.

Finally, our communities are changes, as we practice our vocations as though we were doing it for the Lord. We are fair in our business, creative in our innovations, and generous in our economic profits to the needy around us.

The Rio Coco Café ministry is an example of using our professions, our vocations, to impact the world around us in a very natural organic manner. The relationships we develop in our marketplaces grow to be personal, and hopefully spiritual.

We didn’t think of this when we started our coffee business in 2004. For us it was just a fundraiser for our school project. But God had a plan for our business to impact not only the kids on the Rio Coco, but those in our community in Vero Beach, Radford, and Utila. Most importantly, He knew that this would impact all of us to most- we are the ones most transformed by this ministry!

What does He have planned for your business?          

Your vocation? Can He used you and the work of your hands to reach your community for the Kingdom?  Of Course!

It is a revolutionary thought.                                    Michael



Lamb Bleatings

 Currently I am surrounded by my dad and about 40 other people who are getting their blood removed and put back in their bodies ... their blood cleaned out by a machine that mimics what   kidneys are supposed to do.

The process is called dialysis and I have come to both hate it and love it all in the same breath.  Hate it because of the nature of the sickness of the disease and love it because it literally keeps my father alive. If he chooses not to go to dialysis three times a week for about 4 hours each time, he will die within 12-14 days from the day he stops.  His body will be poisoned by its toxins and these toxins will kill him.  I hate the thought of it, but reality is that people do choose to stop because they tire of the awful process of being poked and not enjoying sitting in a room full of other patients who are in the same boat as he is. It could feel depressing, but it is difficult to go to this place of depression when one speaks to these patients ... some have lost both their legs and still find it within themselves to cheerfully say good morning and ask me about my life.  I am humbled by their cheeriness and ability to care enough to talk story with me and my dad.  I find them inspirational in that way and always tell myself, “there can never complaining ... I have so much to be grateful for .... so much”

My dad is usually a trooper as much as he despises the    process.  We have made the time go faster by having our boiled egg picnics and special coffee treats...our time is special and I try to tell him stories that will enliven him and I keep praying for his healing...

Complete healing.  

It means a couple of things as a believer in an afterlife where things will be better than here on earth. We call it heaven where our Lord and God reside.  Jesus is a real entity and resides in our hearts ... this is the hope of every believer ... that we get to see him face to face and hear the words, “well done my faithful servant ..” 

The overriding thought I have is, “I get to enjoy this time with my dad and he is thoroughly enjoying me and having my presence with him.” This is the here and now importance I am thankful for.  I am also overwhelmed by the joy it is to be with my nieces, nephews and grand nieces and nephews .... my older brother Jason and Maureen have 4 children and 9 grandchildren and my youngest brother Sheldon and Lori have two girls. I adore them and enjoy them all so much!  I am blessed to have such a quality group of people who I share countless commonalities with and have the same sick sense of humor that only   families can share. The greatest blessing is to watch my dad’s eyes dance with joy In the middle of our family dinner chaos.

I am looking forward to Michael and four of our children coming to bless my dad with their presence here for Spring Break. We hope to see many of you!.                              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       Thanks!


Spiritual Arrows:

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) Open the door for ministry on Maui & Oahu this month

Thanks for your prayers!


Rio Coco Beans

Maui Coffee Has Arrived! We only have 100 Lbs.

Order yours now!

Maui Ono Gold


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