Israel Study Tour 2023
April 25 to May 5 2023
This will be our 10th Study Tour with Dr Randy Smith. Please let us know soon if you want to reserve a space.
Laura at the Monterey Aquarium with a big grouper!
The Victory vs The Demise
Every moment of breath that we have is a literal gift from God to use in some way. Our lives are not our own. We have been bought with a price. All of creation cries out for the Creator to make things right once again.
There will be a new heaven and a new earth with the King returning to ultimately rescue His subjects into His eternal Hope called heaven. Evil will take the rest to an eternal hell for those who have chosen with their own will to serve that darkness rather than the Light.
Our choice we each make every moment is “who will we serve and give ourselves to? Who, what and where does my breath come from? And who is it that I give that credit to?”
I always have wanted to get to the root of the issue in my life. Get to the bottom of it. Find The Purpose, The Reason, The Way, The Originator, The Author, The Creator, The Knight in Shining Armor who rides in on a white glorious horse and sweeps me off of my feet and places me on a throne in a heavenly realm that is an eternal place of glory filled with goodness, perfection, beauty, with nothing left to be sad about. I wanted to be a Bride and be taken off by my Perfect Groom who possessed my best interest in all things in my life.
I found my Fairytale between the pages of The Book of all Books called The Bible. I have been mesmerized and in awe of its Power over the past 45 years of my life. I have lived with This Way, This Truth and This Life for the greater part of my days on this planet.
It is my Only Hope that I cling too on the moment by moment. I am lost without it. I am given to a natural Demise without my daily choice for My Victor and Hope to enter the scenes of my life and rescue me from darkness, gloom, and doom.
It is a movie with an unbelievable script of redemption with a real battle for my soul on a daily moment by moment basis. A battle that is full of choices that lead somewhere and to Someone. There can only be One Master that rules. One Creator. One Knight in Shining Armor. We have the choice to make. We can try running the show, but my acting, directing and trying to produce and create Life falls short because I am not the One in charge. There is One Name above every name and that name is JESUS. One fine day Every knee shall bow and Every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord..
We each must ask the question ourselves.
“Is this really The Movie of Victory for my life?”
Jesus proclaimed loudly and clearly who He was, what He came to do and where He was gonna go to prepare a place for us . He is coming back.
I want to be found ready.
Each of us chooses.
We each have a free will also given by God to make a choice. He does not force Love nor our acceptance of it. True Love waits.
Converse with the King. Prayer is simply talking to and acknowledging our faith which says there is Somebody Who is listening, cares and can do something about everything. He is the Creator after all and we His Loved Creation.
What have we got to lose?
I try to live each moment in my acknowledgment of Gods divine presence and power.
I celebrated Mother’s Day last week with four of the most outstanding children a mother could have. How blessed I am to be able to work with them in our cafés!
Aloha to you all! Laura
Coffee Roasting on the Rio Coco
We have a new coffee that at our roastery in Vero Beach that actually comes from the Coco River in Nicaragua. Since our profits from our coffee business go toward our school project on the Coco River, this is a very nice connection.
As most of you know, we have been providing education for Miskito Indian children along the Coco River since 1985. This year 2022 is our 37th year educating children and adults in one of the most remote corners of Central America, where not too many outsiders have come.
Our school at Boom, Rio Coco
The Miskitos are an indigenous people group with their own language that has no resemblance to Spanish and has borrowed many words from English, who first came to the region in the 1600’s. Miskito people eat at at ‘tabel’ using a ‘fok’ while wearing their ‘trous’ and saying ‘Tanki’ to God for their food.
Two of our First Grade students
Our school district is in the lower Coco River, where the highest land is about 200 feet above sea level. Our eight schools are located 25-30 miles from where the Rio Coco empties into the Caribbean Sea. It is a swampy, hot, humid region, where bugs abound. Rice, beans, bananas, watermelon, oranges, lemons, and pineapples grow well there, but no coffee.
The Rio Coco is the longest river in Central America and actually begins in the high mountains near the Pacific Coast on the other side of the Central American isthmus. Here is one of the best coffee cultivation areas in all of the Western Hemisphere- because of the altitude, soil, cool temperatures at night, and the absence of the coffee leaf rust caused by the fungus Hemileia vastatrix, which since 2012 has decimated many coffee plantations in Central America. Our coffee comes from a farm called “Fuente de Bendiciones” around the community of San Juan del Rio Coco. This coffee has a rich, clean taste! I love this coffee and love the name: “Spring of Blessings”.
Fuente de Bendicion, San Juan del Rio Coco
Even though I never imagined that I would be roasting coffee anytime in my life, I love my job. A raw coffee seed (bean) is very hard, has absolutely no taste, and will break your teeth if you try to chew it. But inside the fats and protein of that seed, God has hidden some incredible flavors. It’s my challenge to extract those notes and tones from that seed, and transform it into a very delicious, nutritious, congenial, pleasurable, satisfying beverage that is good for the body and good for the soul.
Green coffee is hard and has no taste.
It happens through a process call pyrolysis, in which heat applied to the seed causes a reaction at about 300 degrees F between the carbohydrates and amino acids resulting in color, flavor and nutritional changes to the seed. The longer the seeds stay in this temperature zone, the greater the flavors and aromas. That’s why we ‘slow roast’. The next phase is the caramelization of the sugars in the seed, which if the coffee is picked when the fruit is ripe (red or yellow) results in a naturally sweet flavor. All our coffee is hand picked when the coffee cherries are fully ripe.
The green coffee seeds are transformed into larger brown coffee beans that are highly aromatic, with distinct flavor notes and tones, in about 15 to 21 minutes.
Now its ready for brewing!
Interestingly, roasting coffee from the Fuente de Bendiciones farm on the upper Rio Coco has some similarities with our education outreach, Project Ezra, on the lower Coco River.
When we arrived in 1984, a war was in progress, and 104 villages along the Nicaraguan side of the Coco River had been destroyed by the Cuban, Russian, and Sandinista troops. 60,000 refugees had fled from their homes into the rugged swamps and savannahs of neighboring Honduras. We came to bring relief supplies in November of that year, and the following year helped a refugee teacher Augusto Vicente start a school in Sawa. Two years later we had 12 schools in refugee communities along the Kruta and Coco Rivers. Even though education was needed to teach literacy to these children and adults, I sensed that God was wanting to do more- that our schools were only the open door for Him to bring true freedom to these people.
Faith is important to Miskito Families.
Christianity is relatively new to the Coco River. The first church was established in 1926 by a Moravian pastor named Riker Watson, a Miskito boy from the coast who married Mabel Sinclair, whose father emigrated to the Miskito Coast from England. Soon Catholic pastors came, and the Moravians and Catholics established congregations in almost all the communities from Waspam all the way to the Caribbean at Cabo Gracias A Dios.
When we arrived, there was little understanding of what a personal relationship with God looked like. Jesus and Dawan and the Holy Spirit became another deity to manipulate when health, weather, or food problems arose, along with demonic entities who are known by all our students by name. Sukias are the spiritual connection men with these entities, and will perform the rites to heal, to curse, and to grow crops. Want an abundant rice harvest? The sukia cuts off a chicken’s head and walks the perimeter of the field shaking blood from the chicken and invoking the spirits to ‘bless’ the field.
Laura and I knew that God wanted to do something significant in this culture through our school project. He wanted to help this indigenous people to become good neighbors, good spouses, good parents, respectful children, and most of all, to known and experience Him. We knew that this could happen as we helped them know God through his word, so we wrote a Bible curriculum for our primary schools in the Miskito language. We held seminars with our teachers to teach them the Bible, and encourage them to talk with “Dawan” and to trust in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross to take care of the sin issue, and allow the Holy Spirit to work in them to bring favorable change to their lifestyle.
Pastors Conference Sawa, 2002 with Truman, Craig Englert & Michael
Like the process of taking hard tasteless coffee seeds and transforming them into a pleasing, nutritious beverage that provokes good thinking along with good others-centered living, we are being transformed as well from self-serving individuals into a community of God’s Kingdom on Earth. For a coffee bean, it takes the application of heat to initiate that transformation. God uses ‘heat’ in our lives to allow us to realize our need for Him, and Him personally, not just the ‘blessing’ that He brings. Be it personal disappointments, relational issues, our economy, our health, or even the cultural climate that we find ourselves, He is the source of all we need and really all we desire in this life.
After 37 years of cultivating God’s culture among our communities on the Lower Coco River, we are seeing former students now serving as pastors, Sunday School teachers, community leaders, teachers, successful business owners, and parents of this next generation. It’s hard to judge the effect of our efforts, but often we get a taste of transformed lives. It’s a nice cup to experience.
Rio Coco Beans
If you would like to try the Organic Spring of Blessings, we will roast and ship to your home or office.
Here is the link:
Seek The Lamb Giving
Rainy season has arrived early on the Rio Coco and our leaf roof on our Discipleship Center is in need of repair. The leaf design is cool temperature wise and has a natural look, but the papta (Palmetto) leaves are good for only a few years.
Our teachers met in Sawa last month with our leadership team, with Onofre Zamora leading the Bible study.
For us, this is how our teachers reach a deeper relationship with the Lord. Onofre is the author of the new Miskito New Testament translation, and traveled with us to Israel in 1997.
Please consider making a gift this month to help our teachers and students.