Hope for the Island staff has been going through intensive community health education (CHE) training over the last few months. This training came at the perfect time as we sought the Lord and prayed how we can be more effective at overcoming the many obstacles that come from serving in an impoverished island. The in depth training has taken us through many areas that stretch us, yet we are gaining confidence as we learn more and apply the proven holistic CHE principles in our community.
We thank God for the opportunity to be better equipped to serve the communities God has entrusted us with. When Jesus sent out His disciples He did so with clear instruction to give attention to and minister to the day-to-day needs and struggles people encountered. Jesus took a holistic approach to ministry and calls us to the same. Through this training we are learning valuable techniques and strategies for community transformation. We are in the process of integrating the initial CHE principles in the community of Bayud Sitio that is near to Hope for the Island.
God has burdened our heart to first apply the CHE program in this area that has long held the name MIA. This name was given due to the number of people previously involved in witchcraft. Many people still refer to this place as MIA (Manila International Airport) This is a name that comes with insult and shame. The name was given and long held because of the demonic ayok and wak wak spirits that supposedly landed and reside there.
The true and accepted name of the area in past generations was “Bayud Sitio”. The name came from a bird that frequents the area. We prayed over the area before going in and declared God’s blessing and redemption over what the enemy has stolen for so many years. We are believing God for restoration of His blessing and purposes over the people who reside in Bayud Sitio!!
The CHE program takes a unique approach that moves away from the standard short-term missions approach that often nurtures dependence. A spirit of inferiority is fostered especially when handouts are the norm. Hope for the Island will continue to act as facilitators helping the people recognize the critical needs they see affecting their community and come alongside them as they consider solutions that they can work towards. We come in a support role and facilitate the steps at the peoples’ pace, rather than being the one who comes in with our preplanned and pushed agendas. The plans we adapt often fall short of being adopted by the people thus lacking long-term sustainable fruit.
The steps we are taking with CHE will bring us closer to two aspects of the vision we have at Hope for the Island…
- We dream of authentic community of people living and loving as servants within their culture, intentionally engaging their peers, families and communities.
- We dream of upcoming generations equipped to rise above adversity and empowered to walk out the purposes they were created for.
We made the customary courtesy call meeting with local officials sharing the purpose of CHE and our focus in Bayud Sitio.
Second day community actiity in Bayud “road to development” was where the people identify the critical needs faced and the resources readily available in their area. These activities help them come together as a team. The activities are aimed to awaken their minds and hearts to the realities faced in the community. It helps them take ownership of need and some steps towards reaching their goals. In this activity a line is created in front of them to represent the road to development and what problems they identify along the way that is preventing them from development. Contaminated water, lack of work and disease are the 3 areas they identify as top problems with water concerns being number 1.
On the fourth day they create a detailed sketch map of the whole community. This vicinity map helps them map out the place they call home and to give a visual creating a sense where they all fit into being part of the community and solution. This was fun because many struggle to draw and it connected everyone through laughter.
The fifth day was a calendar activity. This activity purposes to involve everyone in determining the seasons and the challenges / possibilities that come with each. Again this is an interactive time that brings greater understanding and creates open doors for solutions to the needs expressed. Throughout the course of our time with the community HOPE do a number of activities to help them connect with each other and invoke creative discussions. Biblical truths are interwoven throughout each lesson and activity.
Pray for the community of Bayud Sitio as they continue to take these faith steps towards redemption by God’s grace and lead. We thank God for the joy and opportunity we have to minister and serve alongside God’s people.