The ripple effect. Are you familiar with the concept? I would imagine this is not the first time you have heard or seen this small phrase.
In case you need a refresher, think about the last time you threw a rock into a pond or even watched a drop of water from faucet fall into a sink full of water below. What happens? An initial splash, of course, but it does not stop there. The small disturbance to previously still water begins to spread out from the center. Ripples are created, which lead to additional ripples. Depending on the size of the first impact, the ripples can spread pretty wide, creating a much greater impact than you might have imagined.
This is the idea of the ripple effect. The Cambridge Dictionary describes it as, “a situation in which one event produces effects which spread and produce further effects.” In other words, an action taken could have much greater consequences, whether positive or negative, than the initial result of the action, or than they possibly even intended. Why am I talking about the ripple effect?
Well, when you take a step to make a difference and bring hope to someone, the potential impact could have a much greater ripple than you even realize.
Take the example of Frutivera, the sweet corn operation started by NicaWorks! and it’s partners. When Josh, the Nicaragua Director of NicaWorks!, and the team started planting sweet corn and building the operation, they believed it would create employment, or practical hope opportunities, for people in Nicaragua. They also saw the potential for it to impact the families of the people they would employ by allowing them have more resources to care for their family. Through the development of Frutivera families would be able to have greater food security, send their kids to school, and build a better future. They knew real opportunity would be created.
Additionally, they realized it would provide them with the chance to bring spiritual hope to others by reinforcing the truth that they were created on purpose and for a purpose by a God who loves them. Through intentional investment in their team members and their families, as well as the culture of Frutivera, the sweet corn operation created an opportunity to help people discover and live out of their true identity.
In both cases, the NicaWorks! team knew there could be a positive ripple or two that came out of the creation of Frutivera. However, as often is the case, they did not understand the full ripple effect Frutivera could potentially have.
This became more clear after a recent unforeseen disturbance in Frutivera’s operation. Due to factors outside of their control, the Frutivera team is relocating its sweet corn production to another property. This necessitates reestablishing the crops, creating a gap of a few months of corn harvest. While this is not ideal for Frutivera, a plan was developed to assist the team during this period of time. However, what was not fully anticipated was the concern from the people Frutivera was supplying with sweet corn.
Through this unanticipated, less than ideal circumstance, Frutivera, NicaWorks, and its partners realized the sweet corn operation was creating many opportunities “downstream”. The ripple effect of Frutivera was the creation of other small businesses and opportunities for people in Nicaragua. In other words, real opportunity and hope was spreading far beyond Frutivera’s team. Far more families than even anticipated could potentially have a different story because of the step taken to start Frutivera. Conceptually, this makes sense, but to see it in reality is much more impactful and almost takes you by surprise. This is often the case with a ripple effect.
I share this for two reasons. First, as the Frutivera and NicaWorks! team work through the process of relaunching Frutivera, including acquiring the necessary funding, the potential impact of this project it even more clear. The possible “ripples” that come from it and the opportunity to bring even more spiritual and practical hope to many more people in Nicaragua is both exciting and weighty. Frutivera has the possibility to be a catalyst for real change for so many people. This gives us an even greater resolve to see it through and follow God’s lead to push ahead.
Second, let this be an encouragement to take your own action step to make a difference in the life of someone else. It may be a big step, or it may be a small step, but you have no idea how wide the ripples might go. Your own step might bring hope far beyond what you could believe. This is how a ripple effect begins. Without the first splash, there wouldn’t be any ripples. Your step could change lives and stories far beyond what you can imagine. So take a step and start a ripple.
Creating change starts with one step. One step becomes a ripple, and who knows how far it will go.
If you would like to learn more the Frutivera project reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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