Learn While You Earn
Do you have a sense of adventure?
Are you feeling God’s call on your life?
Would you like to acquire a vocation that will enable you to work in many places around the world?
Seek The Lamb Inc is a non-profit corporation dedicated to serving the Miskito Indian children along the Coco River in eastern Nicaragua and Honduras through a primary and secondary school project that began in 1986 and continues to this day. We currently have an enrollment of 1689 students in eight communities along the lower Rio Coco in one of the most isolated regions of Central America.
Rio Coco Inc. is a for profit business which began in 2004 as a fundraiser for the Miskito school project through the importing, roasting, and sale of coffee. We began the Rio Coco Cafes in 2011 as a means to build community and foster Godly values and relationships.
The Heart of the Cafe Ministry
Coffee is the ‘Friendship Drink’, and the hospitality of our cafes along with delicious food and drink is a powerful dynamic for building relationships and sharing life, especially for many that would never darken the doorway of a church. We desire to reach the world through very organic friendships, and purposeful sharing of our God experiences. We want to follow the model of our leader Jesus who spent much time with those not connected to God, and through many expressions of love and care, brought many into a personal and eternal relationship with Him.
We currently have three cafes. One is on the western Caribbean island of Utila, off the north coast of Honduras and the other two are in Vero Beach Florida.
Utila is a mecca for scuba and free divers, and is one of the best and most economical places to get professional certification in these sport professions. Each day new and old friends from Australia, Great Britain, Europe, Israel, Canada, South America and the United States come to the Rio Coco Café for fresh coffee and espresso, smoothies, and food.
In Vero Beach, we are located at the Vero Beach Airport right across from Flight Safety Academy, which trains pilots for airlines in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
We have another location in the oldest building in Downtown Vero Beach. Each day a cliental of Vero locals and international pilots and friends arrive for refreshment and community.
The Apprentice Program Objectives
Our Vocational Apprentice Program focuses on preparing each candidate for effective community outreach through a growing profession- barista service and coffee store management. This program includes professional training in coffee history, culture, cultivation, roasting, brewing and service as well as practical management skills. In addition, this program includes courses in understanding the Bible, Cultural Background, Cross Cultural Ministry, Church History, Discipleship, and Ministry, with an emphasis on personal practical application.
As part of the Apprentice Program, the candidate will spend time serving at the Vero Beach cafes, the Utila Café, as well as participating in a service project with our schools on the Rio Coco. These plans may change due to political, weather, and other considerations.
Our Staff Leaders
The Vocational Apprentice Program will be led by Laura and Michael Bagby, the founders of Seek The Lamb and Rio Coco Cafes. Laura is an honors graduate of the University of Hawaii in Social Work, as well as a graduate of Cosmetology School at Honolulu Community College with further training at Vidal Sassoon Hair Academy in London England. Laura has served in cross cultural ministry with Miskito Indians in Honduras and Nicaragua, where she initiated a child sponsorship program that helped fund the school project for many years.
Next, she and Alice Remedios developed a bead jewelry business that employed many of our students and Miskito friends for many years. Laura’s hospitality ministry in Honduras, Florida, and Hawaii was the inspiration for the menus of the Rio Coco Cafes, where she serves as Executive Chef, combining fresh Asian, Middle Eastern, Central American, Caribbean and Mediterranean elements into a unique Rio Coco Café cuisine. Laura is also the President of Rio Coco Inc.
Michael is an honor graduate of Miami University in History, and served seven years as a Naval Aviator aboard USS Kitty Hawk, Enterprise, and Coral Sea. Michael is a graduate of Logos School of the Bible in Kihei Maui, and one of the founders of Project Ezra, the education outreach to the Miskito people of the Rio Coco. Michael left Maui in November of 1984 to deliver relief supplies to Miskito Indian refugees who had been driven out of their villages along the Coco River into the swamps of neighboring Honduras. The planned ‘two-week trip’ lasted over a year and a half before he was able to return to Maui. It was during that time in 1985 that a refugee teacher named Augusto Vicente asked for help in starting a school, and Michael and his friends purchased notebooks and pencils. The following year Earl & Sharon Washburn arrived from Washington to help begin more schools. By 1987, there were 12 primary schools running with an enrollment of over 2000 refugee children. When the war in Nicaragua ended in 1990, Project Ezra was invited by the new Minister of Education, Humberto Belli, to cross the river and become the official government school. After three decades of education on the Coco River, Augusto is still our school superintendent, and over 20,000 children have been educated. All of our teachers are our former students.
Michael has served since 1997 with Dr. Randy Smith as a study tour leader on trips to Israel, Greece, Turkey, and Italy. Michael helped Randy begin a relief program for Christian Arab and Jewish families in Bethlehem, Bet Jala and Jerusalem who were affected by the Palestinian Uprising in the fall of 2000 which continued until 2003.
Michael is the author of Just Another Lump of Clay, Echoes Into Eternity, The Vision Behind The Verses, as well as Living In The Spiritual World, which he co-authored with Dr. Smith and Laura.
Michael became friends with some coffee farmers in Nicaragua in the early 2000’s. In 2004, with help from Michael Remedios and Larry Larson (of Larry’s Coffee, Raleigh N.C.) Rio Coco Beans was founded and began importing and roasting coffee for the purpose of fundraising for the Nicaraguan school project. Michael & Laura purchased a Diedrich IR-12 roaster in 2008, and began roasting coffee in Vero Beach Florida.
That same year Michael and Laura visited their friends on the Utila, just offshore from La Ceiba Honduras, where they had resided from 1986-2000. During that time, they made many trips to Utila in their airplane, and caught a vision to reach out to the international travelers that come to this island. It was during a visit to Utila in March of 2008 that God made it very clear that it would be a coffee store that would attract this crowd. After extended visits in 2009 and 2010, the first Rio Coco Café was opened in August of 2011. A few months later the Vero Beach café opened at the Vero Beach Airport.
Here is an overview outline of the Apprentice Program.
The Apprentice Program offers a unique opportunity for one called to impact their world to learn the skills and philosophies of a coffee and ministry professional while getting paid.
All plans are subject to change due to political unrest situations (as what happened in Nicaragua in 2018 and Honduras in 2019), or other plan altering situations – such as the 2020 virus pandemic. Flexibility is the key for a successful program!
“Man plans his ways but God directs his steps”. Proverbs 16:9
- The Bible
- Understanding the story and characters of God’s Word
Resources: The Story of the Old Testament by John Stott and Alex Motyer
The Story of the New Testament by John Stott
- Communicating the Bible in our modern culture.
The Cultural, political, and historical context of the Bible
Resource: The Vision Behind the Verses by Michael Bagby
- Biblical Themes- The Message of God to His People
Resource: Living in the Spiritual World by Dr. Randall Smith, Michael Bagby, and Laura Bagby
- Cross Cultural Ministry- being effective in any culture
Resource: Anthropological Insights for Missionaries by Dr. Paul Hiebert
- Church History – Understanding our place in God’s historical plan to reach humanity.
Resource: Church History in Plain Language by Dr. Bruce Shelley
- Impacting Your Culture - How we can effectively reach our society
Resource: How Then shall We Live? by Francis Schaeffer
- Discipleship- Understanding what it means to be a follower of Jesus
Resource: Echoes into Eternity by Michael Bagby
- Ministry – How to effectively be a part of God’s Team to reach the world.
Resource: Serving a Cup of Life by Michael Bagby
Additional Reading List
- Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby
- Boundaries by John Townsend and Henry Cloud
- Making Disciples by Ralph Moore
- Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets
- The Bait of Satan by John Bevere
- Mere Christianity by CS Lewis
- More than Carpenter by Josh McDowell
- A Ready Defense by Josh McDowell
- Knowing Jesus by Dr. Randall Smith
- Coffee with Jesus by Radio Babylon
Barista & Café Management Vocational Training
- History of coffee
- Coffee Culture
- Coffee Cultivation
- Coffee Roasting
- Brewing and Service
- Food Safety
- Food Preparation and cooking
- Small Business Management
Pay Scales begin slightly above Minimum wage during a three month training period and after that regular wages in line with Rio Coco staffing.
Wages should cover most of your living expenses like rent, insurance, utilities, car payments, & savings.
Training will provide an experience and knowledge base to allow you to begin our own coffee shop ministry.
Practical Missionary Experience
Touch all levels of world society!
During your two-year apprentice program plans will be made for time in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Vero Beach Florida. There may be opportunity for a study tour in Israel with Dr. Randy Smith.
Again, we reiterate that these trips will be contingent upon many factors and we must all be ready for the possibility of adjusting ourselves to what the Lord is doing and saying.
3 to 4 weeks working with Indigenous people Fourth World
- Utila Bay Islands Honduras
4-8 months working with Europeans, Israelis, Australians, Central and South Americans, Canadians, Americans, and Local Utilians
- Vero Beach Florida
People from the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and North America
- We ask for a Two Year Commitment for this process to be complete. Any time taken off for holidays and visiting families and friends (which we encourage) will not count towards the two year commitment.
- We need at least 3 Letters of Recommendation from your pastors, mentors and friends.
- We want you to establish a personal Prayer and Support Team, and send out a periodic newsletter (monthly or bi-monthly)
- Before you come, you will need to have a savings account of at least $4000 which will be used cover your travel and living expenses above your wages that you will receive from working at the Rio Coco Café.
If you are interested, please check out our two websites:
seekthelamb.com and riococobeans.com.
You may contact Laura or Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please title your letter ‘Vocational Apprentice Program’.
You may call us at the Rio Coco Café: 772.226.5760
May God direct you in your personal adventure with Him.