Haiti Update - July/August
by Vernon Giesbrecht
Dear friend of Double Harvest, here are a few thoughts as to why we exist.
Compassionate people are motivated to do something for the poor and impoverished of this world. We thank you for standing with us in this ministry. We are aware, however, that many opportunities and solutions presented lead to quick-fixes and short-term results. Sadly, even as millions of dollars of relief pour into a developing country, hunger and desperation continue to grow. Those on the receiving end are grateful but too often no results are required. As more relief is provided, the danger of dependency increases. Yes, in crisis situations, relief is necessary and right. But, the question remains: What is being done related to long-term development?
Double Harvest doesn’t have all the answers to the layers of issues facing the destitute. But, we believe in development and have narrowed it to agricultural development. In the words of our founder: “If you have land, water, know-how and capital, you can have a successful project. Most developing countries have land, water and a willing work force. Know-how and capital are the missing ingredients.” Central to our mission is the demonstration that, through the successful use of available resources, agriculture and related projects will help improve the economy of a country. And, an economy only grows when production increases within a country. These are our goals and practice in Haiti and in South Sudan, two of the poorest countries on this globe. Your partnership with us is critical!
This is “Business as Mission”. “Business” assumes that the goal of a project is to make money. Historically this motivation has clashed with the accepted concept of “Mission”, in which helping the destitute usually involves giving, expecting no outcome. Again, there are situations where giving is the right compassionate response, such as investing in education and medical work. In Haiti, our School with 500 students and our Medical-Surgical Clinic seeing over 100 patients daily and hosting 8-10 surgery teams annually are testimony to this. The key question still remains: “How can we best help these people?” The answer, we believe, is twofold: to “help people help themselves” and to clearly present the Christian message! This is holistic ministry. The gospel of Jesus Christ transforms lives as the Bible is faithfully taught. The results: responsibility, integrity, and a strong work ethic are developed. “He who does not work, shall not eat” is the declaration of Scripture. These personal character traits are germane to a successful business and to ministry.
Brief Examples – In South Sudan, despite civil strife, quality vegetables find their way to markets. In Haiti, grains, vegetables, tree seedlings, fish, eggs and chickens are sold, providing an income source for small vendors and grocery stores. In July, a medical team served hundreds of patients in surrounding rural villages. Also, two Vacation Bible Schools were organized by our staff for children and youth, with many responding to the Christian message. For us, this is “Sowing Seeds of Life” in order to reap a “double harvest”.