Good morning from Westminster, MD!
One of the things in Nicaragua about which I am most excited at the moment is the gardening going on in El Canyon. Through the hard work of Job and Jarol, as well as the partnership with Pastor Josue, Yamileth and Maria Jose, a number of family and community gardens have been created in El Canyon and the Puente de Amistad orphanage. The tangible benefits of these gardens are easy to see and incredibly valuable to the families involved as well as the kids and staff at the orphanage. Better nutrition, easier access to food, and the ability to earn income through sales of the produce are just a few of the ways the gardens have helped those involved in the gardening program. However, what has me most excited is the hope the gardens have brought to those who chose to create them.
I find that it is easy to lose sight of hope. As we go through life the difficulties and hardships we face tend to skew our perspective of the future. Many times this leads to a feeling of hopelessness about the future and our ability to rise above our current circumstances. This is even truer in many communities in Nicaragua, where generational extreme poverty has created a culture of hopelessness. This is where the gardens come in. By creating their own gardens, many people in El Canyon have started to realize that there is hope. Instead of believing that there is nothing they can do to improve their lives, they have seen the fruits of their labor in the form of tomatoes, granandia, green peppers, and beans. While this may seem small, it plants a seed of hope that, through hard work and commitment, the future of their lives and their community could be different.
In Psalm 139, David reminds us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) by a God who loves us. This is true of each one of us, whether we acknowledge it or not. I believe the hope that comes from these gardens is in part a realization of this truth. It is an understanding that, as a “fearfully and wonderfully made” creation, I was designed with the ability to thrive, even if everything going on around me would tell me otherwise. This does not always mean that it will be easy, but it does mean that there is hope – hope for the people of Nicaragua and hope for you.
– James Belt