Haiti Update - March 2017
by Vernon Giesbrecht
Compassionate people are motivated to do something for the poor and impoverished of this world. We thank you for standing with us in this same pursuit!! However, many of the solutions presented are at times misguided, leading to quick-fixes and short-term results. Even as millions of dollars of relief pour into a developing country, often hunger and desperation continue to grow. Those on the receiving end are grateful but no real 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 self-sustaining 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 down 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 improve the economy of a country. And, an economy only grows when production increases within a country.
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 almost always involves giving. Again, there are situations where giving is the right compassionate response, such as investing in education and medical work, which we do. However, the key question remains: “How can we best help these people?” The answer, we believe, is to “help people help themselves”. Further, for us, the central key to this “Mission” is – the Christian message! As lives are transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ and as faithful Bible teaching occurs, character traits such as responsibility, integrity, and a strong work ethic are developed. “He who does not work, shall not eat” is the testimony of Scripture. These personal character traits are germane to a successful business.
There are still challenges. A “Culture of Dependency” – Nothing is gained if there are more receivers than givers. Chronic receivers rarely learn to help themselves. “Give Me” – This becomes so ingrained it becomes normal to receive without work or responsibility. At times, “Relief and Development” clash – like when an Ethiopian church leader confessed: “Receiving relief food is easier than growing it!” Sometimes the slow acceptance of development can be credited to the “Attitude of the Donors” – It takes too long; it doesn’t create headlines; it is too difficult; there are no immediate results. These are significant challenges. However, our mission still is to pursue a “Double Harvest”, both a physical (and economic) harvest and a spiritual harvest in people’s lives. This is “Sowing Seeds of Life!”