Haiti Update - December 2016
by Vernon Giesbrecht
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 a good majority of the people of this planet. Example: Haiti and South Sudan, countries where Double Harvest works.
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. The majority of the people eked out a living in rural villages. 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 was into this world that God sent His Son on a recovery mission to leave the indescribable glories of heaven and enter the womb of a young, poor, peasant girl. Israel’s expectation of the promised Messiah was that of a conquering king to deliver them from the oppressive rule of Rome. However, in the words of George Buttreck, it was if “God came down the backstairs of heaven at Bethlehem lest He blind us by excess of light.” God chose for the entrance of the Savior of the world, a working class couple, an animal stable, rough shepherds, and an unpretentious baby. Isn’t this how God comes to all of us – both in the developing and developed worlds? Defined by blinding purity and justice, the Creator of the universe exhibited His love and mercy for His creation, so corrupted, by sending a baby who would be its Savior. God does not force Himself on us, but the force of His love is seen in the way He came.
This is at the heart of the dual mission of Double Harvest. Jesus came 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. At this time of year, we thank you for your trust and partnership in Sowing Seeds of Life in impoverished countries in which we serve. And, we wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!