by Rev. Vernon Giesbrecht
Dear friend of Double Harvest:
Thanksgiving and Christmas. For Americans, these two holiday celebrations fall only a month apart. Both give opportunity to give thanks. During the first, we express our appreciation for family, friends, our physical well being and, of course, football! During the second, we give thanks for God’s greatest Gift, His Son, Jesus Christ, the answer to our spiritual emptiness and separation from Him. And, in turn, we celebrate by giving gifts to each other. Although the commercial frenzy seems to cloud the reason for this season, yet it is good to stop and give thanks, and maybe say a “Hallelujah”! That’s what professional choirs are doing in malls around the country. In “Random Acts of Culture” they surprise hurried/harried shoppers with a rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus, the climax of Handel’s Messiah (search YouTube.com). It’s a welcomed pause, giving opportunity to reflect and give thanks to God for His good gifts.
We at Double Harvest want to pause and give thanks. The year 2010 in Haiti saw untold tragedy, economic challenge, health scares and political volatility. Yet, we witnessed an outpouring of financial and physical aid from individuals, churches and businesses, allowing us to minister to the people in their time of need. Over 4000 victims of the January earthquake were triaged at our Medical-Surgical Clinic, with 700 surgeries completed by 500 volunteer medical personnel assisting our Haitian staff during the crisis. Medical teams continue to visit once a month. At $5.00/gal, there was always enough diesel fuel to keep the generators running. For weeks, rice, beans, eggs, fish and clean water were distributed to 20,000 people in eight surrounding villages. With 30% of the homes destroyed in these villages, a well-planned and supervised Rebuilding Project began. We are now nearing 70 homes toward our goal of 220.
We are grateful that our buildings only sustained cosmetic damage from the earthquake and that none of our students at our school were seriously injured or killed. After a few make-up, hot, summer months, our school is back to normal with excellent test results in key grades. We continue to employ over 100 workers on our farm, greenhouses, fish and chicken projects, supplying major grains, vegetables and nutrition into the economy. Reforestation contracts will be fulfilled with our capacity to grow 3 million tree seedlings, meeting a desperate environmental need in this country. At the same time, the project is reaching out to a couple of destitute villages with food, clothing and school supplies. Above all, we give thanks for the lives changed through faith in the One we celebrate this month. Despite the suffering, indeed in the midst of the suffering, people have turned to the only foundational hope we all have, a renewed relationship with our Creator. For all this, we thank you for your part in this ministry and wish you a very Merry Christmas!