You Just Need to Take a Step

Good morning from Westminster, MD!

Recently, I have had quite a few opportunities to share about my time living and working in Nicaragua. When sharing about my three years living in Nicaragua, and the more than ten years working in community and economic development in Nicaragua with NicaWorks!, it can seem as if one day I was living my “normal life” only to wake up the next day living in Nicaragua. However, this is not at all the way the story went. It started with one step. Could the same be true for you?

Before I felt called to live and work in Nicaragua, I had taken the step to spend time listening and getting to know people and communities in Nicaragua. This took me to a coffee farm in the central region of Nicaragua and many communities around the capital city of Managua. It also took me on many walks around the community of El Canon, the first community I would come to know in Nicaragua and the home of the Puente de Amistad Orphanage.

Before I traveled to a coffee farm and spent extended time in Nicaragua, I took the step of going on a mission trip to Nicaragua with my church, Crossroads Church. Honestly, I did not really want to go and did it more to “check the box” than to begin a life-long journey. The trip was in partnership with an organization called ORPHANetwork to spend time at the Puente de Amistad Orphanage. This is also how I met Tim Adams, the co-founder of NicaWorks!, who happened to be the Executive Director of ORPHANetwork at the time. Really, I ended up in Nicaragua because my parents have always been committed to serving others.

Before I went on a mission trip to Nicaragua, I served locally with my friends and family. Often, I would be encouraged to go meal centers, or “soup kitchens” as we called them, to serve meals to people who were in a tough place in life. Often, this would be in Baltimore City and would allow to me see how many opportunities I had been afforded in my life. I can also remember traveling to the Helping Up Mission, a spiritual recovery program in Baltimore City, with my dad to serve in various ways. I am not sure how much help I was at the time, but it was another opportunity to build relationships and understand that, no matter our current circumstances, we are all created equal by a God who loves us. It was one step, one of my first, toward bringing hope to others.

There were many steps in between, some of which I talk about in my new book Hope Realized. From serving at the Cold Weather Shelter in Westminster, MD, to doing service projects at elderlypeople’s houses, to investing through KIVA, a crowdfunding platform for microfinancing, living and working in Nicaragua was the product of a lot of small steps.

What was the most important step? Probably the first one. Had I never taken the first small step to bring hope and make a difference in the life of someone else I never could have arrived at the step I took in Nicaragua. Did my first step make a big impact? Maybe not immediately, but without it the impact of the future steps never would have been possible. Was moving to Nicaragua a big step? Most certainly. However, the steps I had taken before it prepared me for that important moment. My journey to bring hope to other, and in turn find more hope for myself, is the product on many small steps.

How about you? Could you take one small step toward bringing real hope and making a difference in someone’s life? Do not get “stuck” believing you have to do something “big”. It is in the willingness to do something small that we find ourselves in the position to make an impact. You have something to offer and you are one small step away from using it to bring hope to someone else.

If you are unsure of where to start, your first step could even be to read a book to better understand issues such as poverty. You can check out my new book, Hope Realized, or any other number of great books. I have also created a free downloadable resource call 5 Foundational Steps to Make a True Difference in the Life of Someone Else. Click here to download it and sign up to receive my newsletter with more thoughts and insights on bringing hope to others.

You are a Hope Bringer. You just need to take a step.

James Belt

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