Bread of Hope

Good morning from Westminster, MD!

Before Thanksgiving, we last left off with the story of the Community Gardening Entrepreneurs from El Canon, who had found tangible hope in the form of beans and tomatoes. In today’s post I will focus on a friend of mine, Danilo, who found and spreads tangible hope in the form of baked goods.

Pan de Vida, “The Bread of Life” in English is the name of Danilo’s bakery. The business, shared between Danilo and two of his brothers has become a place of life and growth, but it has not always been that way.

Danilo, a Nicaraguan with a heart for people and a desire to make a difference, observed his brothers’ small bakery from the outside and wondered what it could become. At the time, Danilo was working with an orphanage in Veracruz, a town on the outskirts of Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua. Danilo loved serving God and investing in people, but he wondered if working in the orphanage was the way he was supposed to do it. With a wife and kids, the job provided a place to live and a salary to sustain his family. At one time Danilo thought that he might be a pastor, but there was something about that small bakery just a couple of hundred yards from the orphanage gate.

Danilo’s brothers had learned how to make bread, but not necessarily how to make baking bread into a business. The truth was their little bakery was barely surviving and needed some leadership. Was this how Danilo was supposed to serve?

Leaving the orphanage would mean losing a steady income and a sense of security for Danilo and his young family. In a country where a good job was hard to come by, this was a serious choice with real consequences for Danilo.

Despite the risks, Danilo knew this was the choice he was supposed to make. Who better to serve than his own family?

Danilo’s decision to leave his job to work at a struggling bakery surprised many. Yes, he was a good leader, but the bakery needed physical resources to grow and none of the brothers were blessed with access to these types of resources. However, Danilo had a plan. He would take the government mandated severance from the orphanage and invest it into the business. Another large risk, but Danilo had a different kind of hope.

With this small investment, Pan de Vida was able to improve their baking operation and means of transportation, a critical step for a business focused on distribution to commercial customers such as schools. Against all odds, the bakery began to grow. This was just the beginning for Danilo and his brothers.

Check back in next time to find out how this story of hope grows.

– James Belt

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