The View from Nicaragua
Good morning from Managua, Nicaragua!
Now that I have been back in Nicaragua for about two weeks, I believe it is the perfect time to give an update on all that is happening. As you can probably imagine, a lot has happened over the past couple of months and a lot is on the horizon as we move towards the end of the year. From newly planted papaya trees to newly established discipleship opportunities, we are excited to see what God has in store for the coming months. I hope you enjoy the view from Nicaragua.
The Farm in Veracruz has been a very busy place. Over the past two months, Junior, Job and their crew have planted close to 1,000 new papaya trees, cared for the current crop of papayas, made greenhouse repairs, planted a crop of tomatoes in the greenhouse, and planted and harvested crops of corn. All of this activity has been exciting to see and move us closer to our goal of having a fully functioning model farm with an internship program designed to help others create their own farms. In order to accomplish these goals and provide a business model others can follow, we have continued to work through the process of establishing a for-profit business to hold the agricultural operations. Not only with this allow us to be in good standing with the Nicaraguan government, it will allow us to teach all aspects of commercial farming. Additionally, we will be more easily able to generate funds to expand training programs and other ministry initiatives on the farm, including the possibility of providing micro-financing to those we have trained. In addition to the newly formed business, we are preparing for a new papaya harvest, which will begin in the next week. As we have done in the past, the papayas will be sold to the supermarkets as well as the other local markets in the area. Now having planted an additional cycle of papayas, we hope to be harvesting over the course of the entire year instead of just at certain points. We are very grateful for all that God has done and look forward to all that he will do in the future.
Beyond the agriculture operation, the Farm in Veracruz has been moving forward with the plan we created earlier in the year. Josh, Heberto and their team, continue to move forward with the creation of different discipleship opportunities for the kids who live on the farm. Additionally, they are in the process of expanding their Friday night worship time, in part as a result of a new partnership with a group of about fifty people from the town of Veracruz. They are very excited about this new opportunity to work as a team to reach Veracruz for Christ. Heberto has also continued to the process of establishing an agricultural training program on the farm that will work in conjunction with the internship program in the commercial agriculture operation. One of the newest additions to this training program is a small greenhouse made possible by the fundraising of Mark Rodriguez, who also spent six weeks living on the farm this past summer. As we continue to love forward with the plan, we continue to seek more ways to provide opportunities to find spiritual and tangible hope, including the Veracruz Bike Shop, outreach to the men in Veracruz and a carpentry training space set to open early in 2014.
El Canyon has also been a place of excitement and transition. With the recent departure of Victor, we are in the process of hiring a new Community Project Director. With change is always hard, we believe God will provide the perfect person to partner with the church and the orphanage to make a difference in the community of El Canyon. Despite this small setback, weekly discipleship classes have continued under the instruction of Pastor Josue and Yamileth. We are also excited for the new discipleship class specifically aimed at university age young people and about the involvement of Julio, one of the university students who used to live at Punete de Amistad, in the teaching process. Another encouraging development has been the young people’s continued interest in agriculture and gardening. In fact, they have been so interested that they have established their own gardens and have provided squash, radishes and other vegetables to the kitchen at Puente de Amistad. It was a great blessing to listen to Maria Jose tell me they were able to make an entire lunch from the Pipian, a popular squash in Nicaragua, the young people grew. Our hope is to begin agriculture classes again soon to continue the learning process.
Personally, Jen and I have been enjoying our new adventure as a couple in Nicaragua. Jen has started her new position at House of Hope Nicaragua as well as Spanish classes. We look forward to all that God will teach us during our time together in Nicaragua.
While the past two months have been a whirlwind, they have also been a great lesson in God’s continued faithfulness in the midst of the craziness. I am blessed to be a part of God’s work in Nicaragua and look forward to sharing more of the journey with you again in the months to come!
– James Belt