Lahaina Fire Update
“I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.’” Deut. 15:11
We just returned from spending a month on Maui. The places where I lived and worked in Lahaina are gone, along with most of the town.
Here is a photo that I took flying back from Oahu. You can see the burned fields around Lahaina. It was a massive fire.
The next photo is where I used to live, at the Maui Islander. This is what is left of my wing of the apartment complex. (Courtesy Google Map images)
Below that is the corner of the Pioneer Inn across the street from the largest Banyan Tree where “What’s The Scoop” ice cream store was (circled– now Banyan Treats). (Courtesy Google Map images)
Below that is the shell of the oldest building on Maui– The coral walled Spring House, built by King Kamehameha to in 1826 to cover the spring where whaling ships used to roll their water barrels up from the wharf to fill them. Unfortunately in 1824 one crew emptied a half full barrel of water they had gotten in Mexico which was full of mosquito larvae infected with a bird pox virus, and in two years the ’singing flies’ had killed all the native birds on the island below the 3000’ level of the mountains.
This historical building was our photography studio for ’Old Kine Photo’. (Courtesy Google Map images)
Finally across the street from our friend Mark’s office were many burned out buildings.
Many lost everything in this fire. There are over 450 deaths, with many burn victims. Entire multigenerational families are now homeless, living in hotels and with extended families. Jobs have evaporated with the loss of restaurants, shops, and businesses that serve the visitors and all of us who live there as well Many visitors have cancelled their vacations to Maui, sending a crushing ripple across the economy.
The government has offered little help to these victims. Oprah and The Rock set up a fund for families and are helping many. The medical corporation Kaiser has had their doctors working in Lahaina, helping anyone with medical needs.
But the most help has come from the Churches of Jesus Christ on the island and mainland! From many denominations.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars has poured in through churches all across America and been sent to churches on Maui. Feeding centers have been set up; Food banks established and expanded; free clothing stores; counselling services; and many, many volunteers have come out to our island to assist the local church members in serving the needs of these victims.
Laura and I worked on our Hope Chapel team, handing out checks to families. We listened to their stories, and found ourselves weeping with them. We prayed with them, asking God to provide all that was needed in these next months, and I always seemed to add “And may their living situation at the end of this ordeal be better than is was when the fire occurred.”
I was able to work in the Hope Chapel “Free B C” store (ABC stores are ubiquitous on Maui), helping people select clothes, food, and personal items, and a gift card of a $100 to Foodland. We had many helpers in the store who live on the Mainland and came to Maui just to help out in our ‘Free B C store’. That was truly touching for me to see this.
One of our dear friends, Jan Apo, lost his family home in Lahaina where he grew up, along with 10 more homes of his extended family. One of his cousins died in the fire, another was badly burned. Most victims had home insurance, but their coverage will not cover current rebuilding costs. There are thousands who are facing bankruptcy and homelessness as a result of this tragedy. Jan is a lawyer who also serves as a judge on the Hawaii District Court system, and has been asked to represent hundreds of the fire victims in the litigation against Hawaii Electric Co., (which much evidence points to their negligence in the causes of this fire). Jan has been one of our elders at Hope Chapel for decades, and recently began pastoring a church in Paia. At this point in his life when Jan was making preparations for retirement and full time ministry, now he is facing the biggest case of his career, which will help thousands.
I mention this because I ask you all that you will pray for Jan and his wife Kelly, for wisdom, strength, and good health in these next years as they work through these individual cases, getting the compensation needed to get these families back on their feet, in their homes in Lahaina.
Here is a photo taken after church on a recent Sunday with our life partners on Maui with whom we have served with for decades; Juliana, Dana, Laura, Michael, Ben, Jan & Kelly.
We are blessed to have these as our friends!
Project Ezra Workshop
This month, Nutie and Tom Keogh are conducting a training workshop to our Project Ezra staff in Waspam on how to better share the Gospel through their service to our teaches and students, as well as through hospitality in their homes.
These two are well equipped to share with our staff. Tom is one of the rare fluent non-native Miskito speakers, and Nutie is a rock star worship leader in our villages along the river. Here they are pictured with Danilo and Rodolio Cunningham, leades of the project.
ADVENTURE: A risky undertaking, but a remarkable experience.
When I signed on to become the wife of Glenn Michael Bagby (former Naval Aviator of the A-6 Intruder, history major, and generally an all-around confident renaissance guy that mostly knows it all and mostly never gets lost, a guy that manages to do everything and anything he puts his mind to), I knew I was taking a humongous leap of faith that would forever alter my existence. Indeed.
From serving Miskito refugees in one of the remotest spots on the planet, to starting a school project for them (Project Ezra) , to becoming a non-profit organization (Seek the Lamb), that could legitimately raise money for the school project to starting a Coffee company (Rio Coco Beans) that could help give to these nine primary & secondary schools for our Miskito friends, to teaching in a variety of settings, to receiving and giving hospitality all over the world, to owning and running a family business (The Rio Coco Café– in Honduras and Florida) that employs around 20 people all of whom we love and enjoy relating to, my life with Michael has all been a risking undertaking but a truly remarkable experience!
The biggest adventure has been having four other humans join our crew in this Adventurous Home School that we both established the day we said, “I do”. The “risk” of our adventure has always been whether we were willing to say Yes to that first step in the process. Unwillingness to step out breeds great discontentment and mismatched behavior to who we really are. No remarkable experience can ever take place if we are not pressing forward into the risky route of obedience.
I have come to appreciate to a deeper level the fact that there is a Supreme Creator with an eternal plan that does not stop when my life ends here on earth. I have come to appreciate it even more as I have watched many loved ones suffer and leave this earth into their next life. All of the good, the bad and the ugly only confirms my belief that there are divine beings in charge-one who leads many into hell and the other who will lead us into eternity.
We choose where we want to go.
I noticed my increasing freedom and sense of adventure in my own life when I intentionally bring the presence of my Lord into each moment…whether it be noticing his magnificent creation around me or asking for help to work situations out and the wisdom to do it in the most expedient simplest fashion. He has shown me that it never has to be as complicated as I make it. The moment by moment dialogue for me is key; the praying without ceasing; thanking without stopping; looking and observing more than just speaking my mind ( which is often full of jibber jabber); and my newest necessity is being still and knowing He is God.
The mere meditation on the One and Only In charge Perfect Reality that designed it all and sculpted me personally has been my greatest asset. Yes even more than marrying such a great magnificent human…he pales in comparison. In Him I place my trust and upon Him I can lay my life without stress or worry knowing that He has every part of me mapped out on his Heart that loves me and cares for me completely and I can care less about everything and one else.
I have watched myself change from being one who has always been ready for a good fight, confrontation or insult to be reckoned with to watching myself first play my bad movie in my head then have the words “Just kill them with kindness” take over like my mom used to say. I am trying to make it a habit to respond to God and ask Him, “How should I think about that Lord? I would like to give her a back hand right now. Should I even open my mouth on this?”
Usually the answer is always, “What will that achieve for the moment? Will it draw you closer in relationship?”
I repeat often, “The goal of my instruction is to LOVE from a pure heart, sincere faith and a clear conscience and the fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS AND SELF CONTROL”.
The self-control of just keeping my mouth shut has been an awesome plus for me especially when someone says something I don’t really like. I pray unholy prayers to God like, “ I know you say vengeance is Yours Lord and you will smite your enemy and mine. Please take care of that idiot for me.” I actually feel better and have no need to open my stupid mouth to say one thing. I vent to my King and just keep asking Him make me a faithful subject in His Kingdom and only do what He wants me to do and be what He wants me to be. “Create in me a clean heart dear Lord and renew a right spirit within me.”
I have noticed that the more I am able to deal with my inner hurts, offenses, and wounding the less I am affected by anyone else but am able to remain in my Father’s presence concentrating only on what He thinks of me and what He wants me to be doing. It is such a safe place so full of adventure and goodness to a grand overflowing that keeps on abundantly giving.
My Vero Beach Friends: we are celebrating the goodness and inspiration of God and the relationships we have with one another and with those who have gone on before us (All Saints Eve: celebrating the saints)
DANCE PARTY FUN d RAISER
SATURDAY OCTOBER 28, 2023
VERO FITNESS SPORTS ARENA
1060 6th Ave. VB Florida
Dress comfortable with comfortable shoes. Young and old alike, families and friends invited!
Call me if you can make it 772-559-5332 Laura
September & October are Birthday Months for us. Michael, Lukas, Laura & Moselle all celebrated birthdays (Sept 1. 14. 30 & Oct 12).
We are blessed!
Seek The Lamb Giving
Our primary school in Sih, Rio Coco Nicaragua
Please take a moment and consider a gift this month to our school project in Nicaragua or sponsor one of our missionary staff.
Our teachers at our primary school in Boom, Rio Coco Nicaragua
Pablo Suazo teaching in Sawa
Our project Ezra schools are in the most remote corner of Central America. Since 1986 we have educated tens of thousands of Miskito children and adults.
Here is the link to our secure giving page:
Rio Coco Beans Coffee
Timor is back!!!
Our most popular coffee has been out of stock since April but the new shipment has arrived. I personally have taste tested this new crop of Timor White Star and find it very complex, smooth, deep, with hints of creamy chocolate, cherry, and almond. Delicious!
Order yours here for home delivery.