Every year, at this time, we gather together with our friends and families to give thanks. We give thanks for the plenty in our lives, for the time spent with people we love, for a God that loves us deeply, and a million other things. We then sit down to decorated tables, eat the cornucopias of food placed before us, and fall asleep as we watch football.

For the majority of us, despite how difficult it might be to be around members of our family we don’t “enjoy” or to have to eat some overcooked turkey, we have it pretty good. We have more than we need, we definitely don’t go hungry, and we don’t fear for our lives.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking Thanksgiving, or the food, or the family, or even the falling asleep while watching football. In fact, I love it! Every minute of it!

But it does make me think.

Every year I can’t help but wonder what would be on our “Thankful” lists if we lived in a third world country – especially, Nicaragua. What would be thankful for? What we celebrate?

In the spirit of that question, I have put together two things I believe some of our families would say they are thankful for to share with you today. My goal is not to burden your holiday, but to ENRICH it!! Not to make you feel guilty about all the things you have, but rather to help you celebrate even more blessings in the broader family of believers and humankind than you realized you could!

With that in mind, let’s get started!

Thankful for Gardens

Most of you know about Reina and the garden that we have helped her family grow in Tipitapa. But did you know that we have started a garden in two other spots in the community??

Did you know that, as of today, there are over 100 fruit/vegetable bearing plants that we have helped cultivate in the community? And that these plants are helping feed families and children?

One of those gardens is at the school itself. Walter has worked tirelessly (Quick side note: I feel like I could say “Walter works tirelessly” about everything Walter does. We are very blessed to have him…in fact, go ahead and add the fact that Walter works for us to your “Thankful” list!). Ok, where was I? Oh yes, Walter has worked tirelessly with the school to carve out space within the fenced in portion of the school to be dedicated to gardening. He has also worked with the educators and students themselves to plant seeds and small plants.

Many of the children have an agricultural background from working tracts of land for wealthy families but have never planted something for themselves. So as Walter teaches them they aren’t necessarily learning how to plant, but they are learning that they can plant for themselves.

It is a powerful lesion in capability. That just because you are poor, or said differently, just because you aren’t rich, you can still create, you can still build, and you can still dream.

The second garden is at a little boy’s house that we have known for 5 years. We will call him Sean. Sean faces touch circumstances. He has a tender heart in a culture that isolates and attempts to purge any perceived weaknesses from men, including emotions and self-sacrifice. Many of you might remember him from this post from a few years ago (click here) where simple kindness from one of our team members brought him to tears.

He is in the picture to the right. Notice the house he lives in with his family. Notice the black plastic, the size, and how skinny he is. There are good reasons why we are helping Sean and his family.

The next picture is the beginnings of a garden. It might look thoroughly unimpressive to you, but to Sean and Sean’s family it is a statement. A declaration. Especially the small tree right in the middle. It is only a few feet tall, but it will quickly grow to over 15 feet tall and will provide shade and fruit.

More than that, however, that tree and that garden will provide a daily reminder that this family is not alone and that they are not helpless. That they have people that love them enough to help them learn to love themselves, learn to lean on the fact that God loves them, and learn to become even just a little more self-sufficient.

We have seen this with Reina, with Ruth’s boys, and with other members of our programs. A little bit of hope and little bit of love can do amazing things.

Praying for Hope

So this Thanksgiving, as you gather with your families, would you do me a favor? Would you join us and these families in giving thanks for the gardens at the school and at Sean’s house? Would you celebrate with us the impact these are having and will continue to have?

It would mean so much to us, and I know would mean so much to the families themselves.

Also know that we give thanks for you! Without your generous support and consistent prayers we would not be able to do what we are doing.

From all of us at With One Hope, I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

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