by Rev. Vernon Giesbrecht
Dear friend of Double Harvest,
Volunteer Mission Teams. Over the past 25 years the world has shrunk. That is, the possibilities and opportunities that global travel offers have opened up multiple avenues of cross-cultural service unavailable a few decades ago. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people of all ages – youth to seniors – and with varied skills, offer their time and money to assist mission efforts around the world. The most effective teams are those who pre-plan and consult with the host mission or national partner how best to serve them. Care must be taken that we in the developed world don’t foist our agenda on foreign mission efforts and in the process damage the positive developments in their work.
At the Double Harvest project in Haiti, with its agricultural project, fish and chicken projects, clinic, school, and an independent church that meets on the property, there are numerous opportunities for mission teams. My wife and I recently accompanied a work team of 14 individuals from our church. Because of the rainy seasons and, at times, hurricanes, the ground becomes a muddy clay mess! It was decided that a 6’ 6” sidewalk spanning the length of the project – well over 1500 ft. – would serve two purposes: 1) reduce the mud factor and, 2) create a safe route to cart the noon meal from the newly renovated Chloe’s Kitchen/Cafeteria to the 500 students at the school. The cafeteria also serves a nutritious noon meal to 200 of our employees. During the week, our team was able to finish 270 ft. of sidewalk, plus pour half of an 1800 sq. ft. pad for organizing and shipping the grains grown on the farm. Meanwhile, three on our team completed renovating new accommodations for volunteer teams, and an Audiologist (who signed on as a handyman) tested the hearing of 100 students and adults. Added to the experience were visits to villages, distribution of clothing and food, worshipping with local Christians, and participating in daily morning devotions with our Haitian workers. The mission of Double Harvest was served and team members’ lives were changed!
Other opportunities also exist. Surgical teams conduct operations at our Clinic in which our Haitian medical staff are not trained. Work teams with construction skills assist with additions, renovations, repairs and, at times, water projects. At our school, occasional vocational skills modules are taught such as carpentry, electricity, plumbing and welding. English teams teach conversational English classes. Youth and adult teams participate in outreaches and in the annual Vacation Bible School and Youth Camp hosted by the local church. All these coordinated efforts combine with your generous gifts to help us in “Sowing Seeds of Life”!