In March 2015, OM China conducted its first training on community development, to 29 participants from the local churches and various missions organisations.
During the course, the participants learned how they can enter and exit communities in their development work, including ways to help communities establish their vision, prioritise needs, problem-solve, implement plans and integrate internal and external resources to achieve the desired results in a sustainable manner. They also learned from Nehemiah’s example on how to work effectively in a community.
Following the course, the trainer took a team from OM China and some course participants on a practicum trip to a remote minority Miao village. There, they applied what was learned by facilitating the village leaders and community in identifying key areas for development.
These Miao Christians love the Lord and desire to carry out the Great Commission to others who have never heard the Gospel. The Miao church has existing outreach programmes to the Han people and to the HongYi (another minority tribe) people. However, the Miao people are perceived to be economically poorer than the Han people, and the Miao’s perceived animistic practices have been barriers for sharing their faith with the Han people.
The team realised that it was important to first help them develop viable economic means before they can be affective in their outreach ministry. The idea of rearing chickens as a business evolved from several small group discussions with the church leader and others in the community. Instead of rearing the chickens in a free-range manner, the idea of a chicken coop was discussed.
In addition, the church leader and another brother were taught how to cultivate indigenous micro-organisms (IMO) and enzyme production to make organic compost for animal feed and crops fertilizer.
These are basic steps to help them develop systematic natural farming methods. The intent is to see these two brothers take ownership of the project and set an example for the rest of the villagers. As the church leader is heavily laden with church responsibilities and does not get any economic support or farming help from the rest, the team subsequently suggested having a few committed families to work together as a joint project under the church leader.
The team hopes that the Miao Christians can ultimately take full ownership of the livelihood project and be able to share the skills learned with their neighbours even as they share the Gospel in their outreach efforts.
Pray for the these Miao Christians who are seeking to take the Gospel to other people groups. Also pray for the OM team as they train and mentor others.