Scrooge Dwight struggles to retain that precious priority: loving people without reservation, pre-condition or any assurance that they will respond the way we hope. This is what Christmas (and our core business) is all about.
For us this past 24th of December we had the awesome privilege to be channels of your love to the communities of this area. We launched a work-for-food program sponsored by a generous donation of maize meal by a Canadian donor and which will now be supplemented by others who have sacrificially given. Loving people and helping them is as difficult as parenting and likely harder (although we certainly are not, and do not want to be paternalistic missionaries). We are committed to not developing unhealthy dependency while still being there to empower people in less than ideal circumstances. Creating work which respects and hopefully retains and/or multiplies the value of help given, while being sensitive to ensure people are able to work (for themselves) to secure a future that will not be dependent on more help, is a challenge.
Line up of people in the "Work for Food" program, ready to receive their ground maize (above). Young mother receives her portion (below).
To do this, we have identified areas of work on the mission that help develop our capacity to further love others (in Word and deed). We have also planned to ensure that there is enough time in the work-day for the people to cultivate their own land and plant their own crops (now that the rain has come).
Finally, we were able to buy in and distribute the seed that so many people were desperate for since their seed had already germinated and died in the sun-baked ground.
It was such an encouragement as the people hooted and cheered while they were given the conditions of the seed contract.
Below: Beneficiary of seed signing a contract
We were able to help 132 families (or family units often headed up often by a widow) with maize seed. They will return the value of the seed in grain and we have offered to buy whatever they want to sell after the harvest since we annually buy in grain for our orphan, widow and school feeding program.
Besides introducing 10 of the farmers in the area to soya bean this year (a new crop for our people), we hope to make more sorghum seed available in the New Year which is a quick producing grain that does not require high rainfall to be productive. This will at least spread the risk and diversify the crops the people are producing.
At this desperate time of the year where some of us are eating too much (speaking for myself here), the people in many rural areas of Mozambique and much of Zimbabwe are literally starving and only keeping some kind of sustenance by eating mangoes, roots and edible weeds, I know we have been called to do more than preach the gospel in words. Thank you to so many who partner with us to make our core business more than just words.