Life in Nicaragua
Good morning from Westminster, MD!
I was expecting to write this post from Managua, but Jen and I had to return to the US a little early because Jen suffered a broken ankle last Tuesday. Initially, the doctor in Nicaragua told us that she would need to have a screw inserted into her ankle so we decided it was best to fly back to the United States so that the procedure would be covered by insurance. Thankfully, the orthopedic surgeon in Baltimore said that surgery would more than likely not be necessary and that she would just need to wear a boot while the ankle heals. This was certainly a “yay God” moment for us as we were not sure what surgery would mean for our return to Nicaragua in November. Jen is now recuperating at home and looking forward to being back on her feet soon. We are very grateful for all of the support and encouragement we have received over the past week, including a visit from Jen’s mom earlier this week.
Overall, life in Nicaragua is going well. The NicaBike Shop continues to move forward. Josh, William, and their team have done a great job of taking the bike shop from an idea to a real business. This has certainly come with a lot of learning, but that is a part of starting anything, especially a business. Currently, the bike shop is waiting to receive it second container of bikes. The container has arrived in Nicaragua, but is going through the always challenging customs process. Amazingly, our US partners were able to collect close to 450 bikes for this container from churches, police departments, and other generous people and organizations. Once the bikes are released from customs, the NicaBike Shop team will be able to implement all of the new strategies they learned from the first container, including creating more extensive distribution networks for the bikes that do not sell as well in Managua. This is not only exciting from a sales standpoint, but also from a opportunity creation standpoint as it gives people in more rural areas of Nicaragua a chance to earn income. Enough great blessing has been the mentoring Josh and William have received from our US partners. The advice they have received has been incredibly valuable and important and will pay dividends for years to come. We are excited to see what is next for the NicaBike Shop.
While learning how to run a business is important, learning how to walk with Christ through the process is exceedingly more important. For this reason, Josh, William, and I meet on Wednesday mornings for a time of discipleship. These times have been a blessing to all of us and have helped us focus on Christ in the midst of the craziness of life. Recently, we started going through a twenty week discipleship program that I used to go through with men at my church in the US. Our hope is that focusing on spiritual growth along with professional growth will help develop us into the people that God created us to be.
Ministry in El Canyon continues to move forward. Over the past two months we have gone through a more formal planning process for our projects at the orphanage and in the community, including the agriculture and carpentry classes, discipleship class, and the community gardens. As part of that process Job, the agriculture teacher, and Luis, the carpentry teacher, along with Jarol and Alejandra, our new communications specialist, put together more formal curriculum for the classes. We believe this will help us to be more effective and better partner with the orphanage. The community gardening program also took a step forward with the creation of more formal contracts for the participants. Through the use of formal contracts, we will be better able to set proper expectations, including the length of the programs, and set the participants up for success. Our Nicaraguan partners have been an integral part of this process and are vital to the success of these programs. We are looking forward to seeing what God does in the future in El Canyon.
Beyond, the bike shop and El Canyon, we are excited about the possibility of a few new opportunities in Nicaragua. These include partnering to a greater degree with Just One Opportunity in Sebaco and the surrounding villages, including a community gardening program. We are also in the exploring the possibility of creating new farm by partnering with another potential Nicaraguan business owner through the Cultivator program. Lastly, we have had the opportunity to partner with other ministries who are working in the El Crucero area over the past few months and are excited about the possibility of doing this more in the future. Specifically, NicarWorks! had the chance to partner with Hope Road to replace the roof of the church in El Canyon.
God continues to do great stuff in Nicaragua. Jen and I are thankful to be a part of it and for the partnership of everyone who has supported us while we are in Nicaragua. The best is most certainly yet to come!
– James Belt