Hultner Estrada with Bethany Beachum
Grab your favorite fruit and put it on Lesbia’s hands and she will make a
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delicious jelly. Papaya, guava, melon, pineapple – it doesn’t matter what kind of fruit it is. The imagination is the limit for this woman, known for her extraordinary palate and her gift for teaching.
Trained in chemistry and specialized in fruit and vegetable preserves, Lesbia Cárcamo has worked for several different organizations training other women in western Nicaragua so that they can make the most of the plants on their land.
Nevertheless, with all of the knowledge and training she has, Lesbia has still not been able to overcome many of her own personal limitations. “It wasn’t until just recently that I asked myself, ‘How is it that I have not been able to escape from poverty? Why haven’t I started my own business?’” she shares with us.
“I had received all kinds of trainings, from those related to my career to other courses on topics such as health and women’s issues. I taught others to work hard and improve their lives, but I myself was not practicing what I preached. My family was in total poverty, subsisting on what I made from the workshops I was giving.”
Lesbia explains that what she had was a worldview problem. She was getting in the way of herself and her ability to move ahead in life. “I couldn’t defeat the negativity I had nor had I improved my own self-esteem. I lived with the mentality that I was always going to be poor. I wouldn’t consider opening my own business because I was sure that it would go badly”, she thinks aloud.
But one day, Lesbia came upon a realization, “Whenever I hear teachings on Biblical worldview and I read that God lifts us out of the misery of poverty, I am encouraged to empower myself spiritually by reading the Bible. As I read, I am more and more amazed by it and grow in my belief in it,” she emphasizes.
“I always thought that the Bible was full of good stories – but stories from the past, from other times that didn’t apply to the reality that we are living today. But when this blindfold was removed from my eyes, I realized that those good things that happened in the past were also possible in the present.”
The change in perspective and the faith she recovered in those workshops restored Lesbia’s optimism to write a business plan and design a budget. “I began to knock on doors, here, there, at the town hall and other places. And yes, some doors were closed, but I knew that God was with me and that another, better door was going to open,” she expresses with enthusiasm.
Today, Preservas Cárcamo is Lesbia and her family’s company’s name. They have been able to convert a room in their house into a workshop with basic equipment for creating and jarring the delicious jams that she learned to make 20 years ago.
Lesbia is thankful to her pastor, Francisca Rayo, to the fellowship of the other women entrepreneurs who are known as the “Deborah League,” and to the Nehemiah Center, for making it possible to give the trainings on “Kingdom Businesses” in her community.