February 2012 Newsletter
by Rev. Vernon Giesbrecht
Dear Friend of Double Harvest:
During the month of January you may have watched a program or read about the progress of rebuilding the country of Haiti. Two years ago, on January 12, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake ravaged a wide area surrounding Port-au-Prince, the capital city. Since then, recovery and rebuilding has been generally painfully slow in this nation that was struggling beforehand in practically every sector. Hundreds of thousands still remain in squalid tent-cities, while accusations of misappropriated and undelivered relief funds highlighted the media reports. While much of this is true, and the challenges on a broad scale are great, the comments of one Letters to the Editor to the Miami Herald spoke to a glaring gap in the reports: “I missed reading about the role of the many visiting church volunteers.” The writer was correct. Together with numerous smaller faith-based organizations located in Haiti, church and community volunteers have helped affect change in many organizations’ circle of influence. Progress is evident and donations have reached their intended purpose.
This has been the experience of Double Harvest. While we essentially pursue a “Business as Mission” model, especially in the agricultural realm, we also address compassion and spiritual ministries. And, it has been the hundreds of volunteers on mission teams – medical, trades, handymen, outreach, education – that have helped us in our mission. Surgeries are conducted, infrastructure and construction projects are addressed, clothing, shoes and food are distributed, spiritual outreaches occur, English is taught in our school, drinkable water is piped to nearby villages, well-built concrete block homes are constructed for the needy and those affected by the earthquake. We thank these compassionate and hardworking people for their service.
One of the social and spiritual issues that remain under the radar is the abuse occurring in many Haitian families. Between Christmas and New Years Day, this issue was addressed at the annual Pastors Conference sponsored by and meeting at Double Harvest. A video-based seminar, Ancient Paths, was presented that spoke to the damaging results of blessing or cursing family members, whether children or a spouse. The Haitian pastor of the local church who translated the program reported that, even among these spiritual leaders, stories of deep hurt were shared at the break-out sessions. By the grace of God, many were put on a course of forgiveness and healing as the roots of problems that had plagued their lives were identified. These community leaders will now take the lessons learned to their people in hopes of reversing a destructive family issue so prevalent in the Haitian culture.