Creating dependency ultimately hurts more than it helps and in some cases actually undermines the economy of an entire nation. (Haiti is one example). When there is free food available, one can’t afford to grow it because no one will buy it. It also shuts down local stores trying to sell what is being given away which causes loss of employment. With free medical care available, who will pay to see local doctors and dentists? With free clothes shipped by the bales local clothing industry has shut down in many under-developed countries. So how do you help people in an oppressive environment? We are thankful to have Brett and Allison Barnhill from Reclaimed Ministries join the Zimbabwe Evangelism Team. They have come in to teach people how to grow their crops in a way that conserves seed, fertilizer and water, yet yielding an abundant harvest.
They provide training in financial management. They also help people identify skills they have and get them started making things (handcrafts, baskets, clothes, etc.) and then seek out local markets where their goods can be sold. While they are doing all these things, Brett and Allison also share the gospel and do discipleship with those who are involved in the project. This is how we as Christ’s ambassadors can continue to “proclaim good news to the poor. . . to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” (Luke 4:18)