Update from Nicaragua
This week’s post is going to be a little different as it will purely be an update on how everything is going in Nicaragua. I am actually writing this the week before it will post because I will be traveling to the east coast of Nicaragua next week and won’t be able to access my blog. With that in mind, this update won’t include any stories from the Ironman trip, but I am sure future posts will.
As I sit in my kitchen typing this it is remarkable to think I have been in Nicaragua for six weeks. On certain days it feels as if I have been here for six years, while on other days it feels more like six days. The first six weeks of my time here has been challenging, life giving, full of learning opportunities, revealing and amazing all at the same time. There have been moments where I have asked God why as well as moments where I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. I have had times of feeling as if I can do everything I came to do and moments where I wonder if I can even do what God has asked me to do that day. Through all of this, I have learned more about myself, the human condition and God’s brand of love than I probably have in the rest of my life. In the end, I am thankful that God chooses to use us to advance His Kingdom and calls us to things that are greater than ourselves.
With that said, my first six weeks here have been mostly filled with language classes and getting acclimated. As I considered moving to Nicaragua, I thought it was very important to be able to communicate properly with people, especially with being directly involved with communities and people’s lives. I felt that to truly connect with people, I needed to be able to speak Spanish well. This has only been reinforced as I have been here. In fact, I am now convinced that to even be able to live here and function well, the ability to speak Spanish is a necessity. Language classes are progressing well. I am feeling more and more comfortable with speaking and being able to understand people in the midst of conversations. The four hours a day of class can be tough at times, but it is definitely making a difference and will pay dividends in the long run. I have also made a friend or two at the Spanish school, which has been good. I believe that God will use this investment in a great way as I continue to work in Nicaragua.
I am now feeling pretty settled in my apartment, which is a blessing. Most of my furniture purchases are complete and a friend of mine, Victor, is making a couple of other pieces for me. I have not been using A/C, which takes some getting used to but is fine now. The complex in which I am living, Condominium Allyson, has been great and allowed me to transition well. I have been able to run and work-out on a daily basis, and even read a book by the pool when I have time. I have also been able to take a little time to eat breakfast, drink a cup of coffee and read the Bible in the morning. While I did this to some degree in The States, it wasn’t as easy going as it has been here. This time has become one of my favorite parts of the day and something I have unexpectedly learned while in Nicaragua. Another somewhat less enjoyable task I have learned is hand washing clothes. This has been quite the experience and takes much more time than the changing from one machine to the other clothes washing I am used to. As much as this has been a pain, it has also taught me a different pace of life and allowed me to be a little more present.
Concerning projects, we are working on a few agriculture projects at Casa Bernabe, a Verbo farm, orphanage, and school, and beginning the planning stages at El Canyon. My friend and partner in ministry, Alexei, is leading much of what is going on at Casa Bernabe where they are getting ready to plant a papaya crop. He as well as his good friend Aldo, who is an agricultural engineer, have been incredible blessings as we have developed these projects. They are also assisting with the project in El Canyon and will be an integral part of making that a success. Our hope is that by developing these projects, we will be able to create a sustainable program that could be used to teach people agricultural skills as well as the basics of running a business. In addition to the agriculture projects, there are a couple of other small business development programs and we hope to develop others in the future. We also hope this provides opportunities to create mentorship relationships and to give people in Nicaragua a bigger picture of hope and how much God loves them. Tim Adams, the Executive Director of VNDF, has been a huge part of this process and vision as well. We hope that helping people in extreme poverty see a bigger picture of hope and have a better understanding of how God sees them when they are in Christ, can really create sustainable change. Many people here in Nicaragua and in the United States believe in this vision and in God’s power to make it a reality.
The other activity in which I have engaged is relationship building. I have been able to spend time at Casa Bernabe as well as the Verbo church in Managua. I have also been able to spend a significant amount of time in El Canyon and have been able to continue to strengthen those relationships. I feel this is an important part of what God has called me to in Nicaragua and will also be important to the projects we are hoping to initiate. Part of my time in El Canyon has been spent taking the older boys to a youth group at the First Baptist Church in Managua. This has been a good time and allowed me to get to know these guys even better. In general, it has been great to spend time in El Canyon with Pastor Josue, Maria Jose and the kids in the orphanage. I have also appreciated God putting Bob and Artie from Verbo in my path as they have been huge blessings and great sources of wisdom.
So, here we are almost fifty days into this adventure of a lifetime. My dad and Tim Adams just arrived in town and the team arrives on Thursday. I am excited to spend time with them and to see what God does over the next couple of weeks. I am also excited to travel to the east coast and learn more about what God is doing there. Additionally, I will have the opportunity to travel home for a week in early May, which will be a blessing. I am going to be able to attend my good friend Josh’s 3oth birthday festivities as well as attend Crossroads annual Missions Dinner and Auction. Of course, I will get to see a ton of my friends and family while I am home as well.
If you made it this far through this week’s post, I really appreciate you taking the time to read it and would ask you continue to pray for all of these things. Fifty days in and many more to go, I am excited to be a part of God’s awesome plan to redeem and restore the world. I hope this is true for you as well!
James, I was really touched when I saw the picture of my dad (your grandpa) on this page. He would be so thrilled with what you are doing. He was definitely a “fisher of men” and it appears that this calling has been transferred to your willing hands.
God bless you!
James – we are so glad to hear all that is going on with you. Can’t wait to see you in a couple of days!