Waiting, Nicaragua Style
Well, this is week-two of my time in Nicaragua, although, it seems like I have been here for much longer. I don’t mean that in negative sense, but more in an adjusting to living somewhere totally different sense. I am still trying to understand how to articulate what that means so stay tuned for more on that in the future.
As promised, this week’s blog post is going to be about what I feel God is teaching me as well as what I am doing in Nicaragua. We will start with the former and work our way around to the latter.
This week has been filled with opportunities to learn (language, culture, evasive driving, etc.), but the two areas God is teaching me the most about are waiting and trusting. Over the course of 2012, because of the encouragement of my good friend Reid Robinette, I have been working through a version of “read the Bible in a year” on my iPad. This has been extremely valuable as it has provided structure and accountability during one of the most hectic times of my life. The journey has recently led me to the book of Exodus and the story of God sending Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh to request the release of the Hebrew people. As you may remember, God explains the plan to Moses, who is a little unsure of his ability to be God’s messenger, and tells him He is going to harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he will not let the people go. Over the course of many miracles, God continues to harden Pharaoh’s heart so that the Egyptians will know that he is the Lord. God, of course, did exactly what he promised and eventually Pharaoh lets the Israelites leave. Have you ever considered that God may be asking you to wait as he did with Moses?
As I have begun my journey here in Nicaragua, I can appreciate this feeling in a way I never have before. I certainly wouldn’t compare my waiting to Moses’, but I do feel a sense of God saying, “James, I have a plan, but you are going to have to be patient and faithful as I unfold it”. Much like Moses probably felt, it is not a very “comfortable” place to be. My days at this point typically consist of working out, spending time with the Lord, building relationships, working on U.S. related work items, talking to friends and, of this week, taking four hours of Spanish class. While all of this is important, it doesn’t necessarily feel like tasks I believe God sent me to complete. As somewhat of a Type-A person (that might be an understatement), being in a waiting pattern can be somewhat frustrating and anxiety creating. As I contemplated these feelings over the past week and read the account of Moses, I felt God telling me “wait on me”.
So, this is what I am going to do. As hard as it will be, I am excited for God to teach me the value of resting in his sovereign will. I hope this will encourage you to consider if God might be asking you to do the same.
With that said, I do feel that God has given me a glimpse into the plan He has for VNDF and the team he has formed (more about the team in a future post). Below is a letter Katie Adams, an important part of the VNDF team, helped me develop to tell people more about why I moved to Nicaragua. I hope it gives you a snapshot of our dream.
Where am I going?
For the past 5 years I have been going to Nicaragua with my home church‐ Crossroads Community Church. I have fallen in love with the people and the culture and in particular the people living in the community of El Canyon. God has planted a dream and confirmed my call through others to combine my business background and my ministry experience to serve Nicaraguans – specifically to equip, encourage, and empower young Nicaraguan men. My plan is to move to Nicaragua on March 16, 2012 for at least 3 years. I have been preparing for this move for over a year. My 3 year commitment is in part because I understand that it will take time to fully acclimate to the new culture, the language, and to establish trusted relationships in order to be highly effective.
Why am I going?
Since 2003 I have worked as a financial advisor and been involved in managing aspects of my family’s business. I served as a volunteer YoungLife leader for 10 years and have been very active in leadership roles at Crossroads. I headed up and developed Crossroads’ men’s discipleship ministry and Twentysomething ministry and currently serve as an Elder and on the Board Leadership Team. The Lord has given me a heart for business and discipleship/mentoring and my passion is to marry the two. I want to work with young Nicaraguan men by combining the
practical hope of small business development and training with the real hope of God’s ability to change hearts and lives through a living relationship with His son, Jesus Christ.
What will I do?
I have a great opportunity to step into a new role:
Verbo‐Nicaragua Development Fund’s (VNDF) Director of Field Operations based in Managua. VNDF is an established U.S. and Nicaraguan NGO that has deep, long‐term relationships with nationals and proven faithfulness in supporting the work of the local church to advance the gospel and care for Nicaraguans in practical ways. In my new position I will be responsible for:
- Small Business Development and Training:
- I will help grow VNDF’s current small business bicycle enterprise by helping provide financial oversight as well as training in sales and market development. Our goal is to help men in the program eventually launch their own business with microfinance and microconsignment assistance.
- Agriculture Development and Training:
- VNDF has an agricultural project in Veracruz (just outside Managua) where at‐risk teens are learning best practices in agronomy as well as business and marketing skills. Their training will enable them to become highly‐skilled, knowledgeable farmers with a competitive advantage in their local markets. I will work with our current partners from the Agricultural Department of the Taiwanese Embassy of Nicaragua and Agricola San Antonio to apply what we’re learning in Veracruz and establish a second similar project in El Canyon.
- Discipleship and Mentoring:
- I will work with project leaders to provide the young men involved in the small business and agriculture training programs with a solid understanding of the gospel and its practical applications for their lives.
Why Nicaragua and why a focus on mentoring young men?
Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western hemisphere (only Haiti is poorer). In most parts of the country unemployment and underemployment stands at nearly 70%. Young men, armed with the hope of the gospel, a vision for their future, and practical skills to generate income for their families have the ability to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty that pervades the country.
I hope you found this week’s post interesting and will check back next Wednesday for more on what God has taught me about trusting Him and what that has looked like in Nicaragua.
Thank you for taking the time to share life with me! Have a great week!