The Nicaragua Adventure Continues
Good morning from Managua, Nicaragua!
Now that Jen and I have returned to Nicaragua, it is the perfect time for an update. Much has happened since the last time I posted an update so I hope you enjoy it!
NicaBike Shop is officially off the ground! After a few months of planning, completing paperwork, and waiting for the container to arrive, NicaBike Shop officially opened its doors on Monday, June 16th. William and Josh did a great job of creating a welcoming retail environment. Cal, one of the mentors for the bike shop, came down shortly before the shop opened with a bike expert, Matt, to help Josh and William prepare the bikes. This process includes cleaning the bikes as well as making any necessary repairs and improvements. While the bikes are typically in very good condition when they arrive, like any used product, they usually need a little work. Thankfully, NicaBike Shop’s two mechanics, Donald and Miguel, do a great job of getting the bikes ready for sale. In the future, NicaBike Shop also plans to offer repair services to its customers. In addition to our mechanics, Karina, NicaBike Shop’s staff accountant, made sure NicaBike Shop was ready to operate on the financial side of things. Not surprisingly, the first month of operations has provided many opportunities to learn, but at the same time, has been very encouraging from a sales and interest standpoint. Additionally, the US-based mentors have done a great job of partnering with NicaBike Shop to give them the best shot a success. If you would like to find out more about NicaBike Shop, search “NicaBikeShop” on Facebook.
In addition the bike shop, the new small business cultivator program continues to seek new opportunities. Currently, I am working with a potential business owner to put together a business plan for a farm. We are excited to see where that will go and to partner with other Nicaraguans in the creation of their own business. We believe that by creating true partnerships that include both business and spiritual mentoring, we can play a role in improving the economic and spiritual well-being of families and communities in Nicaragua.
The farm in Veracruz has now been completely transitioned to our ministry partner, Verbo. They are currently harvesting a crop of papayas as well as planting vegetables in the greenhouse. We will continue to partner with them on a consulting basis to allow for as smooth of a transition as possible. We believe the farm has a great chance at success for years to come.
Our work in El Canyon continues to move forward. Jarol, our Community Project Director, has done a great job of partnering with Maria Jose, the orphanage director, and Pastor Josue and his wife, Yamileth, to have an impact in the community. Job, of agriculture expert in El Canyon, is currently working with seven families in the community to help them develop their own gardens. The majority of the families are beginning their first harvest of vegetables, which include tomatoes, green peppers, beans and corn. Our hope is that each of these gardens will be self-sustainable after the first year. In addition, Job has been teaching agriculture classes at the orphanage, which have produced a few very successful gardens that will provide vegetables for consumption as well as sale. In addition to agriculture, our carpentry teacher, Luis, has been giving classes to various young people from the orphanage and the community. In fact, Luis and his students are currently in the process of building cribs for new mothers in the community. The discipleship group also continues moving along strong through the leadership of Pastor Josue, Yamileth, and Jarol. We are excited to see what God has in store for us next as we continue to work with our ministry partners in El Canyon.
The arrival of summer in the US means the arrival of team season in Nicaragua. Jen and I, as well as our ministry partners, are looking forward to the arrival of groups from our home church, Crossroads Community Church, next week and our partner church, Cedar Run, at the beginning of August. Much like the trips last summer, will work with local Nicaraguan partners to impact communities in a number of different areas, including health care, education, construction, agriculture, women’s issues, and community outreach. Additionally, the teams will be traveling to Sebaco to work with one of our newer ministry partners. We can’t wait to be a part of all that God is going to do over the next few weeks.
Personally, Jen and I are doing well. We have now officially been married for ten months, which seems crazy. It is even crazier to think I have been on this adventure to Nicaragua for two years and four months. It has been a blessing to be a part of God’s work in Nicaragua. I look forward to telling you more about the journey again soon!
– James Belt