Reflections from Three Years in the River
Good morning from Managua, Nicaragua!
It is still hard to believe that today’s post will be my last while I am living in Nicaragua. In some ways the past three years have flown by while in other ways it seems like I have been living in Nicaragua forever. As I reflect on the past three years, there are many things I have learned and could write about. In some cases they have been lessons of joy. In other cases they have been lessons of great pain. However, through it all God has taught me to be a better man and a follower of Christ. It has not been easy, but it has been unforgettable and I wouldn’t change a thing. More than anything, I have learned that God desires the best for each of us, even when it does not feel that way.
Last night I had the opportunity to do share with the young people in El Canyon for the last time while I am living in Nicaragua. This was the message I shared with them as well. In many ways it is like we are all seeds. While a seed may be small and not look like much, it has great potential inside of it. In Paul’s letter to the churches in Galatia, he wrote, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will receive eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7-8, NIV 1984) Paul is talking about a person who plants seeds, but in many ways this message could apply to the seed itself. As seeds, we all have the potential to be great trees. I believe God created us each that way, whether we were born in Nicaragua or the United States, whether we are poor or rich, or any other of a number of circumstances. God created us each with great potential. The question is will we believe that is true and live into that potential. In order for a seed to grow into a great tree, it requires good care and the necessary resources such as water, sun, and food. Our lives work the same way. Without good care and the necessary resources, we will never reach the potential God has given us. It is my belief that the best way to allow yourself to become all that God has created you to be is by following Him and giving Him the opportunity to grow you. God created us and, therefore, is the source for all that we need to grow. Can we grow without him? Certainly, but I do not think we will ever reach our greatest potential on our own.
This is my thought as I leave Nicaragua- we are all seeds created with great potential. We can each become a great tree that leaves a mark and makes a difference in this world. Each of the people I have met in Nicaragua has that potential and it is my prayer that they become all that God created them to be. This is what my time in Nicaragua has been about. Alone none of us can change the future. Together, however, when we understand who created us and all that He created us to be, we can change the world. There is hope in Nicaragua and it is found there. God wants to use us to make a difference and has given us all that we need to do it. The only question is will the seeds see themselves for who they really are – great trees. My prayer is that one day Nicaragua will be a thriving forest of people who became all that God created them to be. What a beautiful day that will be.
Thank you, Nicaragua, for three years of adventure – I am a better person because of you.
– James Belt