The Work Continues in Nicaragua
Good morning from Westminster, MD!
Time certainly flies! While I may not have posted for a couple of months, the work has not stopped in Nicaragua. With Jen and I now living in the States permanently, the day-to-day operations of NicaWorks! looks a little different but the mission remains the same. It has been great to see our incredible staff grow as a team and continue to impact communities and people in Nicaragua. I recently had the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua with my dad, and Tim and Katie Adams, the founders of NicaWorks!. During our time in Nicaragua we were able to have a half-day staff retreat, which was encouraging to everyone in attendance. We were able to encourage the staff that we are one team, working towards one mission, under the direction of one God. I am very thankful everyone who is a part of the NicaWorks! team, both those in Nicaragua and those in the United States. Though I am back in the U.S., I continue my role as Field Director. That is only possible because of the great people I have around me. This morning I would like to share a quick update on all that they are doing. I hope you enjoy it!
Our team in El Canyon continues to push ahead. Jarol, our NicaWorks! Community Director, has done a great job of working with our field partners to continue to impact the community. Job, our Agriculture Specialist in El Canyon, continues to teach agriculture classes to the young people at the orphanage and in the community as well as head up our agriculture program in the community. While we were in Nicaragua we had the chance to check in our some of the gardens in the community, including the large community garden that Job is overseeing. The partnership of Pastor Josue and Yamileth is been invaluable in developing and operating this program. We are also excited to announce that we are partnering with Hope Road, another organization that works in El Canyon, to develop a model farm that will be used for agricultural production as well as teaching. As the agriculture initiatives continue to expand so does our team! In addition to Job, we have now officially hired Rolando, a member of the El Canyon community, as an Agriculture Assistant.
Luis, our master carpenter, is doing a great job of teaching carpentry classes for the young people in El Canyon. Additionally, he assists with other carpentry projects around the orphanage, church, and community. In other carpentry news, we are excited to announce that the carpentry shop is growing, both in size and capability. Transformation Ministries, one of our ministry partners located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has graciously donated brand new carpentry equipment that will greatly improve our current carpentry program as well as give us the ability to increase its scope. In order to make room for the equipment, Jarol, Job, and Luis expanded the carpentry shop using wood from a tree we recently cut down in the community. They did a great job of preparing the carpentry shop for its upcoming improvements.
Jarol and Pastor Josue continue to work together to provide discipleship classes for the young people in the community. This is a critical piece of our work as practical hope is only life changing when it is combined with the spiritual hope that comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ. In addition to the discipleship class, Jarol and Luis give devotionals in the evenings.
The work in Sebaco and the surrounding communities also continues to expand. In partnership with Just One Opportunity, a part of the NicaWorks! family, we have been able to impact many lives. Junior, our Agriculture Specialist, and Luis, our Agriculture Assistant, have started our first community garden in Tierra Negra, a small, remote community an hour outside of Sebaco, with a husband and wife named Jose and Bertha. Jose and Bertha had some experience with agriculture as well as land and a well, but they did not have a pump or the technical expertise to grow vegetables. By working with Junior and Jose, and receiving a microloan from NicaWorks! to purchase a pump, Jose and Bertha have cultivated a large crop of tomatoes. In addition consuming and selling the tomatoes and other crops they will grow, Bertha and Jose’s garden will used as a model for other potential candidates for the agriculture area that live in the vicinity. In addition to Jose and Bertha’s garden, we are exploring the possibility of developing a community garden and model farm in the community of Albellanas. In addition to agriculture, Just One Opportunity continues to hold training sessions for pastors and business owners at the training center in Sebaco. Training is critical in this region of Nicaragua as there are very few opportunities for personal development. Just One Opportunity also continues to support the remote communities outside of Sebaco through education scholarships, teacher salary support, pastor salary support, emergency food needs, and more.
In other news, NicaWorks! is in the final stretch of officially being an NGO in Nicaragua. This will allow us to better operate in-country as well as expand our ministry. In order to make this possible, we recently hired Josh to play the role of our legal representative and Karina to be our bookkeeper and accountant. While their roles may be part time, they are critical to the work going on in Nicaragua.
We are also looking forward to sending a few teams to Nicaragua this summer from our U.S. partner churches. This is always encouraging to our local staff as the team members are able to come alongside them to lift them up and further their work. I look forward to sharing more about the team trips later this summer.
As I finish this update, I am reminded of the faithfulness of God. Jen and I are no longer living in Nicaragua, but God has provided great people to partner with us to continue the mission of bringing spiritual and practical hope to Nicaragua. I can’t to see what God does next!
– James Belt