Good morning from Westminster, MD!
When I felt the call to move to Nicaragua following a trip in January of 2011, I honestly was not sure what living and working in Nicaragua would look like. I felt like I was supposed to use my gifts and experiences in business and leadership to make a difference, but did not have a clear picture of how I would do it. I didn’t know if I should I go it alone or connect with someone else who was already doing work in Nicaragua. Have you ever had this experience? You believe you are supposed to serve someone and you believe you have something to offer, but you do not really know what to do next.
As I began to unpack these questions, and determine my next step, I liked the flexibility provided by “doing my own thing”, but also saw the advantage of getting connected to an organization with resources and relationships. While I think both options can make sense at times, in the end, I decided to get connected to NicaWorks!, which has proven to be the best choice for me. This is why in my recently released book, Hope Realized, I encourage someone who is interested in “getting in the game” of bringing hope to others to “Get Connected.” So why do I think this makes sense, especially when you are just getting started?
Relationships: Bringing all-in hope and creating real change typically requires some level of relationship with the community you are hoping to impact. While you can certainly start from scratch, often times there are people and organizations that have already done the hard work of earning the right to be heard. By partnering with community leaders and organizations who are already invested in the community, you can benefit from their investment and enhance the work they are already doing with the gifts and experiences you bring to the table. This was my experience with NicaWorks!. I had much more credibility as a member of the NicaWorks! team that I would have on my own.
Connection: The reality is fighting hopelessness and poverty can be discouraging at times. In addition to benefiting from relationships within the community, by joining a team you are connected to other people who believe in the work you are doing and can provide encouragement in particularly challenging moments. I have experienced many failure working in Nicaragua, but being connected to a team of likeminded people has reminded me that there is hope.
Resources: Creating real opportunities and reframed identities requires an investment. By partnering with an organization, you will have access to resources that will allow you to have a greater impact than if you went it alone. NicaBike Shop is a great example of this. From collecting bikes, to start-up capital, to ongoing training and support, the NicaBike Shop is the product of teamwork. By connecting, we have been able to maximize the resources we have to bring all-in hope to people in Nicaragua.
Experience: The reality is I had a lot to learn when I moved to Nicaragua. While I had my own gifts and experiences, the collective experience of the NicaWorks! team has proven to be invaluable. Instead of trying to figure it out on my own, I have been able to learn from people like Tim Adams, Co-Founder of NicaWorks! who has years of experience working in Nicaragua. This has allowed me to avoid making mistakes and wasting valuable resources.
Are you ready to “Get Connected”? Find out who might already be focused on providing practical and spiritual hope to the community in which you would like to serve. Ask if there is an opportunity for you to offer what you bring to the table to enhance the work they are doing. By working together, you will be able to make a much bigger difference than you would going it alone.
Would you like to learn more about bringing all-in hope and how to begin making a difference? Click here to visit my website to find out more about my book Hope Realized, and sign up to receive my newsletter and 5 Foundational Steps to Make a True Difference in Someone’s Life, a free resource I created to help you get started.