Time for an Update
Hello from Managua, Nicaragua! I have officially returned to Nicaragua after a visit to the U.S. With that in mind, now seemed like the perfect time to do a quick update on all that is happening in Nicaragua. I hope you enjoy the journey!
The past couple of months of ministry in Nicaragua have been really encouraging. In January I had the opportunity to be a part of a mission team from my home church in the U.S., Crossroads Community Church. As usual, the trip was a great time and had an impact on many people in Nicaragua and the members of the team. I also had a chance to spend some time with some of the people who are vital to the success of our ministry in Nicaragua, even if most of the work is done from afar in the United States. We had a neat opportunity to dream about what God is going to do in Nicaragua and how VNDF, Verbo, SIANIJ and others could be a part of it. In addition, I took part in an ongoing planning process with some of my mission partners in Nicaragua as we seek the Lord’s will for the next chapter of the Veracruz Farm. It has been a great two months.
The Veracruz Farm has taken some important steps forward over the past couple of months. When I returned to Nicaragua after the holidays, God had put on my heart the need to bring everyone together to determine how to use the resources God has given us to their greatest potential. As often is the case, God had put this on the hearts of many of the other people involved in ministry on the farm as well, including a team from Cedar Run, a church in Northern Virginia that has been partnering with Verbo for many years. With a unified spirit, we have started a planning process that we believe will allow us to more effectively bring hope to Nicaragua. This process has included clarifying our overall vision and mission as well as determining what key elements will move us towards the vision God has called us to. We are now in the midst of creating plans for each key area and will work together to implement them in a way that gets everyone behind the unified vision. I am very thankful for everyone who has been a part of this process and look forward to all that God is going to do in and through us.
We have also taken some significant steps forward with the agricultural operations at the farm. Over the past year, Alex, Junior and others at the farm with the assistance of our agricultural experts, Aldo and Josefina, have moved the Veracruz Farm back towards a successfully operating agricultural operation. Our first plantings of papayas have done very well and proven that we are ready to take the next steps forward. With that in mind, we have officially hired Aldo to oversee farming operations and move us towards full production. This will include additional phases of papayas as well as reactivation of the greenhouse. Aldo brings a lot to the table and we are excited for how he can help us move forward as well as further train Junior and his staff in the skills necessary to run the farm. By taking these steps, we hope to bring the agricultural operation to a place where it can help supply funds for further ministry, be a training ground for how to run a successful farm and potentially assist others in the creation of their own farm. In the long term, we believe there are even more ways we can use the agricultural operations to bless people in Nicaragua, both tangibly and spiritually. Some of this will be determined by our planning process and will be expanded upon more in a future post.
Ministry in El Canyon is continuing to take steps forward as well. With Victor now present on a daily basis, our opportunity to partner with Maria Jose, Pastor Jose and their staff continues to grow. Our weekly discipleship meeting Saturday mornings, taught by Victor and Pastor Josue, has been a really neat opportunity to talk to the young people of Puente de Amistad and the community about the hope that comes from a relationship with Christ. Attendance has increased as well as engagement by the young people. We hope to use these meetings to create even more chances for these young people to live out their faith. In addition to the discipleship meetings, we have continued our agriculture and carpentry classes. We are still in the learning process with both classes, but are encouraged by the direction they are taking. In the agriculture class, we had the neat opportunity to learn about organic gardening and composting from one of Alex’s friends who is an expert in both areas. Our hope is that both of these classes will continue to expand and lead to higher levels of training as well as the possibility of creating income producing opportunities for some of the young people. In the end, we believe these training classes expand the perspective of the young people and give them a bigger picture for what is possible in their lives, whether in these two vocations or something else. Additionally, many of the skills such as critical thinking and planning are transferable to any area of life. We are very excited about all that is going on in El Canyon and look forward to partnering with Maria Jose, Pastor Josue and others to impact the community of El Canyon.
In addition to our outwardly focused ministry, we have also continued our Wednesday night guys study aimed at encouraging and investing in each other. These studies continue to be a blessing in our lives and a great opportunity to seek the Lord’s will for our lives. Getting the chance to eat a burger with some friends once a week isn’t so bad either.
There is always more I could say, but I believe this overview should give you a pretty good perspective on what God is doing in and through our ministry right now. We are thankful for where God has taken us to this point and we are looking forward to all that he has planned in the future!
– James Belt