November 2012 Newsletter

by Rev. Vernon Giesbrecht

Dear friend of Double Harvest, here are some 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. However, many of the opportunities and 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, hunger and desperation continue to grow. Those on the receiving end are grateful but 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 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 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 areas 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. 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, another central aspect of “Mission” is also key to the answer – the Christian message! As lives are transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ and as faithful teaching of the Bible occurs, 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.

There are still challenges. A “Culture of Dependency” – Nothing is gained if there are more receivers than givers. Receivers rarely learn to help themselves. “Give Me” – This becomes so ingrained that 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!”

Vernon Giesbrecht
N. A. Coordinator