by Rev. Vernon GiesbrechtGifts. Giving. These are words repeated more often during the Christmas season. Despite the economic troubles the U.S. is experiencing (indeed, the whole world), people are still purchasing items to give as gifts to family members and even friends and colleagues. Some are opening their wallets to spiritual causes or to those less fortunate than themselves, although their tribe is diminishing. A recent study on giving discovered that 25% of American Christians give away no money at all, while the rest average $200 in median annual giving. The study noted that 5% of this group provides 60% of the money churches and religious groups use to operate. It emphasized that it is these “truly generous Christian givers” who cover for the rest.
At Operation Double Harvest in Haiti we’ve experienced a sampling of “generous Christian givers” in the past weeks. Medical teams from Miami, FL and Manhattan, KS took vacation time, paid for their travel and donated supplies, all to give of their surgical skills to offer healing to hundreds suffering for years from conditions and illnesses readily corrected or repaired in our country. A Tennessee team gave of their time and resources to minister in several ways: filling Christmas Gift Bags for the 465 students at our school; organizing clothing, shoes and baby food distributions for nearby villagers and the destitute Fishermen’s Villages ODH has adopted; assisting with road work, welding, construction and combining sorghum at the farm. Generous givers, like you, have continued to sponsor children and youth at our school (There are a few students needing sponsors. Can you spread the word? Instructions are on our website.), as well as helping to fund the project’s general operations and our Benevolent Housing Project now at $3000 per home. We thank you!
Alongside gifts to meet physical needs, ministry has been directed to the spiritual needs of people. The associate pastor of the church meeting on our property spent hours praying, reading Scripture, and doing follow-up visits with surgery patients. Our missionaries on site, the Spaldings, assisted this church during a spiritual emphasis week designed to deepen the people’s faith in their relationship with Jesus. When we give, we follow the example of the Greatest Giver who gave His Son to be our Savior, the Greatest Gift of all!