A Place with a Purpose
In the opening pages of Scripture, we find the answers to some of life’s most fundamental questions: Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are we here? Far from the confusion created by the world in attempting to answer these questions, God provides us perfect clarity. We are His creatures, created for His purpose. In the beginning, God created man and put him in a specific place, a garden, for a specific purpose, to work it and keep it. God gave us the charge of stewarding His great creation. We are given the responsibility to produce and to protect, to work and to keep.
51 years ago, God placed Alfredo Rivera in the community of Mina de Agua with a similar charge. The son of two of the first residents to establish this small community in northwest Nicaragua, Alfredo has witnessed what was once a few simple houses expand across riverbeds and up rolling hills to become home to more than 80 families today. This community is where Alfredo grew up, where he met and married Maura Lucia Reyes and where together they raised three children, Alfredo, Daira, and Marcos. Mina de Agua is also where Alfredo pursues his greatest passion, farming. Alfredo’s farm spans across 26 manzanas (45 acres) and is an invaluable resource for his community. When asked how he would describe Mina de Agua, Alfredo smiled and offered one simple word: “home.”
Cursed is the Ground
During has time farming, Alfredo has felt the weight of this curse. Located in the foothills of Nicaragua’s expansive volcano range, Mina de Agua faces extremely difficult farming conditions. The extensive Nicaraguan dry season leaves farmers with limited options for producing during much of the year. Limited access to much needed financing chains farmers to the whims of those that fund them. The combination of these factors leaves farmers unable to break away from traditional crops in order to try something new. For most of his life, Alfredo has fought through these grueling conditions, only to barely make ends meet.
All Things New
Fortunately, our story does not end there. After the fall, the remaining pages of Scripture bring us good news. To break to curse that we brought upon ourselves, God became flesh and dwelt among us. From a suffering Servant on a cross, to a sovereign King on a throne, Jesus Christ broke the curse of sin and death and established a kingdom of joy and life – forever. Today, from that throne, Jesus is making all things new – redeeming a broken people and restoring a fallen creation. As Christians, we have the incredible privilege to be used by God to this great end by proclaiming His good news and advancing His perfect kingdom.
At Amigos for Christ, this redemption is the foundation of all that we do. Each day, we thank God for the gifts and resources that He has given us, and we strive to use them to make Christ more visible. In this particular project, Amigos for Christ walks alongside farmers as they steward their land and transform their communities, one manzana at a time. We empower Nicaraguan farmers with the opportunities, the resources, and the expertise necessary to experience long-term, sustainable transformation.
Today in Mina de Agua, Alfredo is living this transformation. Since joining the 1 Manzana Project in May of 2018, Alfredo has begun to break the cycle of debt and doubt that plagued his farm for decades before. A new solar-powered irrigation system allows Alfredo to produce crops that never would have been possible without it. A zero-interest loan gives Alfredo the up-front capital necessary to make wise and rewarding investments into his farm. New technology allows Alfredo to organize his business and plan for his future. As part of a network of over twenty similar farms, Alfredo enjoys the benefits of being part of a team working towards a common goal. Each week, the AgroAmigos team collects Alfredo’s produce and sells them directly to businesses and families throughout the department of Chinandega, providing a stable income all year round.
Amazingly, the Rivera family did not settle on simply being a recipient of these programs. Alfredo’s eldest son shares not only his name, but his passion for farming. Since 2018, Alfredo Jr. has served as an Agricultural Engineer for Amigos for Christ. These experts are the boots on the ground of the 1 Manzana Project. Every day they visit the project’s farms to coordinate logistics, track progress, and optimize production. In this way, the many benefits of the 1 Manzana project flow through Alfredo and his family to countless other families and farms.
As he looks across the acres of pitahaya vines and papaya trees behind his home, Alfredo talks about his hopes for the future: “In this project, with my family, with the other members of this community that work here, my goal is simply to continue to improve, little by little, day by day.” Through the hard work and dedication that Alfredo pours into this land today, he is leaving a proud legacy in Mina de Agua, a place for his family to work and to keep for generations to come.