by Rev. Vernon Giesbrecht
Dear friend of Double Harvest,
At this Christmas season it is often difficult not to reflect on the destitute conditions in the majority of the world and compare them to the affluence we enjoy in the western world. We have clean water, guaranteed food, a hospital or trauma center nearby, relative safety, political stability (some may not agree, I suppose), and an infrastructure that facilitates ease of movement and commerce – everything that is non-existent or in very short supply for the rest of the people of this planet. Yes, we are experiencing a financial crises and an unprecedented jobless rate but, compared to those living in developing countries, we live in abundance. A trip to Haiti, Ethiopia, or South Sudan, where Double Harvest works, immediately confirms this stark reality. This past month we were reminded of God’s protection in a near tragic event. Please see our website’s home page for brief details.
The world into which Jesus was born was not unlike today’s third-world conditions. Israel was a backwater province of the ruthless Roman Empire, where political and religious leaders lived in affluence while the people languished, frequently without adequate food and water. Travel was by foot, donkey or ox-cart and often dangerous. Medical services were rare – Jesus was born in a stable; sickness, early death, and demon possession were common. Corruption existed even in the Temple courts. Refugee status characterized Jesus’ first months when his parents fled with him to Egypt to escape King Herod’s murderous intentions. He experienced the physical and spiritual hopelessness that poverty breeds.
It would be easy to feel guilty about our comparative prosperity, or to simply reason that good luck landed us in the west. No, somewhere in God’s sovereign plan for history there are answers to these puzzling questions. But, we do know that He had unmatched compassion and love for His creation, so corrupted, that He sent His Son to heal not only broken lives, but also to heal broken and rebellious hearts. Jesus’ miracles, His clear teaching of God’s message, and His sacrificial death and resurrection are wonderful testimony to God’s solution to this hopelessness – Good News indeed! Now, He calls us to both compassion and gospel ministry. This is the dual mission Double Harvest adopted from its inception. At this time of year, we thank you for your trust and partnership in Sowing Seed of Life in impoverished situations. And, we wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!