The Work in Nicaragua Continues
Good morning from Westminster, MD!
Jen and I have officially moved back to the United States, but that does not mean the work in Nicaragua has ended. On the contrary, it is really just getting started. The following is a quick update on the continuing work in Nicaragua. I hope you enjoy it!
El Canyon is a flurry of activity these days. The NicaWorks! team, now led by Jarol, continues to partner with the church, the orphanage, the school, and the community as a whole to make a difference in the name of Jesus. Agriculture and carpentry classes continue going strong under the leadership of Job and Luis. The community agriculture program continues to expand with the establishment of a community garden and the beginnings of a cooperative. Pastor Josue and Yamileth have been extremely instrumental in making this happen. In new news, I am excited to announce that our team is in the process of expanding the carpentry shop to house equipment that has been donated by Frank Ferrari and his team in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This will be a huge blessing to the community and will provide the opportunity to expand the carpentry program to the community as a whole. More updates and pictures of the new carpentry program will be coming soon! Pastor Josue and Jarol continue to teach a weekly discipleship class as well as spiritually invest in the young people of El Canyon on a daily basis. I am excited to see what God has next for this great community!
Our work in Sebaco also continues to expand in partnership with Roger and his Just One Opportunity team. Under the leadership of Junior and our recently hired team member, Jose, NicaWorks! has officially kicked off a community gardening program in the villages surrounding Sebaco. Our program participants are Bertha and Jose who live in Tierra Negra and are establishing a vegetable garden for consumption and selling. In addition to working with them to establish the garden, we gave them a micro-loan to purchase a water pump for irrigation purposes. Additionally, we will be using their garden as a model for other families in the surrounding villages who join the program in the future. We excited to see how this program develops as there are many opportunities in the area of agriculture in this region. In addition to the agriculture program, we are in the process of reviewing many micro-loan applications. This is a great opportunity as Just One Opportunity has established a business training program for all micro-loan recipients in the villages. The class is taught by Ana Julia who is currently finishing her business degree at a local university. Just One Opportunity also continues to invest in the communities by providing pastor training, education resources, emergency relief support, and much more. We are thankful for our partnership with Just One Opportunity and look forward to seeing what God has planned for this area of Nicaragua.
In addition to these two communities, NicaWorks! continues to partner with a number of organizations to make a difference in Nicaragua. This is a key part of our mission as we do not believe it is possible to make a difference alone. By combining efforts and gifts, we are better able to impact communities in a holistic and effective way. Stay tuned for more news on these partnerships!
Our business development partner, International Cultivator Venture Fund, is also continuing its work in Nicaragua. Now that I am back in the United States, I will be playing a more strategic role in the organization. In order to continue the development process on the ground, ICVF is excited to announce that it will be hiring an In-Country Business Manager in the coming months. This person’s role will be to continue to seek out opportunities to help Nicaraguans establish or expand a business. Additionally, the In-Country Business Manager will be available ICVF business such as NicaBike Shop as a consultant. I look forward to providing more information on this new development soon. Speaking of NicaBIke Shop, Josh, William, and their team are continuing develop the business into something of which to be proud. In fact, NicaBike Shop is coming up on its first anniversary and just received its fourth container of used bikes.
While I may be living in the U.S. now, I am excited to be a part of the ongoing work in Nicaragua. I look forward to updating you again soon on all that God is doing in the land of lake and volcanoes!
– James Belt