I truly believe that the idea of healing people is synonymous with the healing of the land. But it goes both ways. What comes first, the chicken or the egg? The answer is they are one in the same, two sides of the same coin. In just a few weeks I will be returning to the village of Santa Martha with nearly 20 people. A small seed was planted in the hearts of those who have gone and returned and returned again, as well as in the community of whom most long for our return. A unified team and mission has turned into multiple groups and missions working together with the same purpose, to spread the love of Jesus Christ in tangible ways including working with families and children, pastor's conferences, construction, and agriculture.
I have traveled to Santa Martha many times and have spent many weeks there throughout a 6-year period, which started in 2010. I must say that it has not been all glamour. In our efforts toward community development we have not only learned to work with a group of people, we have discovered much about ourselves.
I have learned this through my attempts at creating systems of healing relationships to the land and its people; it is these relationships that have in turn shaped my whole life. I am excited to return to Santa Martha again and experience new things that the Lord has to teach me through His creation and my relationships with others.
The photo of me above was taken just outside Santa Martha de Loma Azul, Nicaragua only 4 weeks after my heart surgery back in November. This photo juxtaposes the healing that needs to take place in my body, the land and the people that inhabit of it. No doubt, I have longed to buy, develop and use the field in the photo to create a model that is regenerative and abundant versus one that is poor, abused, and doused with the uneducated growing practices obvious here (slash and burn in lines directly down slope). I have watched this property become more and more abused over the past 6 years.
As I long to see this place and these people experience healing in the mind, body, and soul, of the land and each other, I am reminded that any healing that I might be able to bring starts inside of me.
It starts in the heart. That is where it begins. What I mean is many things, one of which is forgoing expectations and realizing joy can be found in love and letting go of the hurts from broken relationships, both done and injured, finding my place in the present "to be free to love and to be loved, to be forgiven, forgiving and set free."
As our growing season starts, so do the tasks at hand that have been laid out before us. I repeat to myself to go slow and remember that it is not a race, and that I should “focus on the relationships, not the outcomes.”
Whether I am stuck where I am, thriving in my place or going, I want to propagate love, which is the glue.
 Steve Peterson, Fresh Start, 2004.
 Erik Ohlsen, PV3, 2016.