May 2019 Conchshell Chronicles

The Key to Peaceful Sleep

There are many things common to life: taxes, relationships, eating & drinking, sleep, and work. Of these, most of our time is devoted to sleeping and work. There is a serious connection between these two. Work can be a nasty word, depending on what we are doing. Ideally our work should be something that we enjoy, and find fulfillment  in.

I have found the key for achieving satisfaction in our work and sleeping peacefully at night: The Greek word Ergon.

Ergon can be translated “work, assigned tasks”. I first became acquainted with this word Ergon early on in my relationship with God when I read a profound verse in the letter to the Ephesians:

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things (ergon) he planned for us long ago. Eph 2:10

Here is the principle: God created us and placed us on Planet Earth to accomplish specific things He planned for us when He created the Universe.

Wow! That makes me feel special!

Even more so is what Jesus tells His disciples as recorded in Matthew 28:20

“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Therefore, once I enter into a relationship with God, He has things for me to do, and He is with me as I do them. “Ergon” has this supernatural component. We do things (work) with God, and it is actually Him working through us to accomplish much more than we would ever be able to do. Let me give you an example from my own life.

I left Maui in 1984 for a two-week trip to help refugees from the war in Nicaragua. Those two weeks turned into 77 weeks as we delivered relief supplies and began a school. I returned to Maui in May of 1986 to arrange my things and get back to Honduras. The school project grew to 12 schools, and when the war ended, we crossed the river and became the community school in 14 villages. Craig brought a team from Hope Chapel in 2003, and we spent many days visiting our schools.

One afternoon as we stood by the Coco River, Craig said: “Mike, this school project had really been a God thing.”

 “Why do you say that Craig?” I asked.

“Because I know you, and on your best day you could never pull this off” he said with a smile.

That is Ergon. A good “work” that God did through us.

Another example from my life is the Rio Coco Café ministry. How do you start a coffee shop on an island in the Western Caribbean? How do you get the supplies there? What about government visa, taxes and regulations? How do you find a team to work it?  Many issues!

Again Ergon, God doing something through us that goes beyond our own abilities.

As many of you know, our Project Ezra Schools Superintendent, Augusto Vicente, recently lost his left leg due to gangrene.

For a Miskito man, this can be a death sentence, as working and just moving around requires a large degree of mobility. Augusto has worked with us since 1985. He was the refugee teacher that asked for help in starting a school during the Sandinista War. He travelled with us to Israel in 1997, and has faithfully led our school project these past 34 years. The infection started in his foot, and spread up his leg. When he had the leg amputated, Augusto was very weak, as the gangrene was literally killing him.

But God already had a plan in motion…….Ergon

In 2003, we met Carlie and Luke Broadhurst on Maui. They came to one of our classes at Hope Chapel and we became friends. They travelled with us to Israel in 2006, and when we purchased our coffee roaster in 2008, they moved to Vero Beach and became our Farmer’s Market café workers, and Luke our coffee roaster. These two were very important in us starting our coffee business in Vero Beach. Luke had a desire to use his Sports Medicine degree from Pepperdine, so he moved back to California and got a job with a company that manufactured prosthetic limbs, and eventually became a very skilled technician in making and fitting these artificial legs and arms. Last year he volunteered to go to Costa Rica where he served in a clinic fitting prosthetics to victims of motorcycle & car accidents, as well as diseases, who lost their leg or arm. He went back again this year.

When I called Luke to tell him about Augusto, he told me that he already had the parts in Costa Rica or Augusto’s leg. All he needed to do was get me the special compression fitting for the stump, which holds the artificial leg to the remaining natural leg. This is an expensive rubber/plastic “sock” that covers the entire remaining leg which fits into a plastic housing with an air valve. Once the “sock” is in and the air is pushed out, a vacuum holds the prosthetic leg to the stump.

Photo: Michael and Luke by the famous Rio Coco Bean Racing Roaster May 2018

A few days ago, Luke came to Vero Beach and brought the compression fitting. “Coincidentally”, he had a scheduled training conference in Orlando last week. While he was here, we called Augusto, and Luke spoke very good Spanish to him on the phone. He explained the process and let Augusto know that a month after he got the fitting and his leg was ready, he could get the new leg fitted in one day and be walking the next!

Luke told me that he is donating the leg and foot, as well as the compression fitting. Cost of a prosthetic leg starts at about $5000.

Augusto was soooooo excited. Afterward he thanked me so many times.  No Augusto, its not me doing this: Its Ergon. God is doing it all. I’m just an innocent bystander.

Ergon can happen in the most mundane chores. Today I suggested to Laura that we spend a few moments rearranging some things in the kitchen. Amazingly we spent the entire morning emptying many of the shelves in the kitchen and pantry and totally reorganized our kitchen. We both really felt the wisdom of God and His energy as we followed His leading.

We are in the midst of an extensive training program for our Rio Coco Café staff. I am amazed at the professionalism and through approach to this training by my four children, who have never done anything like this before. I know that it is Ergon.

When asked by His disciples how to pray, Jesus gave them the outline for prayer.  It begins with

Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. 10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.     Matthew 6:9-10

 God wants to direct us in His agenda for our lives daily. He wants to be the big part of what we do, and all the “work” that we accomplish.

If you desire to sleep peacefully at night, feeling content at what was accomplished that day, make sure that as much as possible, you are engaged not just in work, but in Ergon.

 I love my job!                                                                  Michael

Lamb Bleatings

Today is Aloha Friday, day after Mikaela’s 28th birthday.  I decided to put on my aloha wear with a flower in my hair to celebrate this day.  As I did, I realized quickly that the dress I chose was one that I had worn to my nephews wedding awhile ago…this prompted more thoughts and memories that rushed in like a flood…My mom passed away and went to Heaven 5 years ago.

My mom, dad, Arielle and myself along with all of my 4 brothers and relatives were able to be at Daniel and Anna’s blessed day.   For our mom and dad it was a shared memory of their first grandchild getting married. Daniel is the son of my oldest brother Jason and Maureen.

 For me it was a memory of having the privilege of getting my mom ready for this wedding….Hair, make up, dress…you know things a mom and daughter can share.  She looked so pretty and proud.  I remember like it was yesterday…both she and Arielle wore purple and me, well, I wore this twirly dress that I am wearing today as I sit here crying…. feeling a loss of someone so special to me that I don’t get to share any more of those moments with …it was my last time…

but thereafter when she declined in her health I had the opportunity to be able to feed her and bathe her and just love her. She was always such a willing compliant kind soul.  There has not been a day that has gone by that I haven’t thought about her and who she was and the role she plays in my life even now .  Today, I grieve her loss with emotion….weird how that happens…..hit me so hard in this moment.

The moments yesterday were centered on Mikaela…a fun filled day….taking time of just being together. Eating, laughing, just going from place to place on a scavenger hunt…Andrew, my nephew came down to hang out and then my brother, Ryan came over for some special Pho Arielle had made for dinner.  Family…perhaps my heart was on these special moments and how my mom loved to eat…noodles being one of those connection points of fun and that being my last meal we actually shared out when we drove around the island together before she went into hospice.  It happened all so fast.  I suppose one can’t really process it all at once….obviously….for me….since I find myself in this state of grief …sheesh. 

I am gonna take a break and hang out with my nephew right now.  Family has been a priority for me.  I have been reactionary of late thinking of moments I have lost in my life when it comes to family.  Perhaps words spoken…good and bad.  Moments that could have been used more effectively rather than frivolously.  I get enraged at times by moments that my own loved ones lose by being on their phone somewhere else when they in my opinion should be right in the moment observing, being aware and sensitive to who is around them .  Personal relationships in the present take lots of time, energy and sacrifice of ones own wishes and desires.  As a human being , we have tendencies that place us in the cruise mode…a mode that lets our minds drift all about on the internet, resting here, going there…unfocused and often unconstructive rambling which does little for personal interaction and intimacy.

What is real Life made up of?  It will boil down to a few significant personal Relationships that we choose to develop and pour ourselves into. 

A back and forth dance of giving and receiving…of investment in focused time and energy.  They are active disciplined choices of following through with people in our lives.  There is nothing passive about it.  People are coming and going often in our lives and we make the choices as to those we ought to be focusing on …seasons and times change the faces, but our hearts continue to seek after and be very intentional about those we are called to in the moment.  We are ever blessed to have a room full of quality people both young and old alike that we get to focus on with intention and love.  I love my life because of it and because of the One I get to serve and obey in all of my coming and goings. The Source of all wisdom on Life and all of its meaning…I like staying in touch with and doing my dance of Life with that Source.  It doesn’t get any better or more or deeper.  Laura


Let’s Give Thanks!

1) For a very good spring season at the Utila Rio Coco Café!

2) That Augusto is getting a new leg!

3) That we are able to pay our teachers this month.


You may donate online at       Thanks


Fire Your Spiritual Arrows:

Please pray that God will:

1) Provide for our teachers & missionaries this month.

2) Bring many into the Rio Coco Cafes this month.

3) Pray for guidance in a new café opportunity in Hawaii.

Thanks for your prayers!


 Rio Coco Beans

The Maui Coffee is going fast. We have already roasted 60 lbs of the 100 lb bag. It is one of the smoothest coffees ever.

Order yours here.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published