Filipinos Love Me, Their Neighbor
Uncle Asyo developed an amazing little farm in the city center. It included scores of fruit trees and herbs. He also raised chickens, ducks, and pigs, partly to produce natural fertilizer.
Uncle Asyo knew much about herbal medicine. When I started to feel sick, I grabbed a bandana and went to his house. He had me sit in their most comfortable chair and asked about my symptoms. Then he stepped outside.
A few minutes later, he reappeared holding a handful of leaves. He took them and my bandana to the kitchen. He put several tablespoons of freshly steamed rice in the bandana. Next, he put the leaves on top of it. He then carefully rolled up the bandana.
He returned to the living room and handed the bandana to me. I tied it to my forehead. He prayed for me in Jesus’ name. Within minutes, the steamy rice released the medicinal properties in the leaves. It entered my bloodstream through the blood vessels in my forehead. In a matter of minutes, I began feeling much better.
I Love My Neighbors
When I arrived in the Philippines, men walked the streets shouting: “Newspapers! Bottles!” People brought out their old papers and empty bottles. The man put the items in his cart and moved on down the street. Eventually, those empty bottles got back to the factory where they were cleaned and filled again.
During my first term, beverage businesses began using disposable plastic bottles. This shift concerned me. Many people properly put their trash out for collection. Others dropped it in the street or tossed it in the river.
It struck me that these bottles would quickly fill the dumps and block storm drainage systems. As a result, flooding would become more frequent and harmful. So I urged everyone I could to avoid using throw-away bottles and suggested alternatives to them.
Others Love Their Neighbors
Bryan wanted to serve a little-reached coastal town. He did some research about ways he could serve the people and build relationships. He discovered that fishermen, using dynamite and cyanide, had destroyed the coral in their waters. So he wrote a proposal to help the town restore the reefs and presented it to the mayor. The mayor approved it and gave him an office on the pier.
Bryan mobilized local scuba divers to replant coral and trained college students to protect the environment. In turn, they are teaching children in the elementary schools. Bryan frequently makes reference to God in his talks. He hopes his activities will eventually lead to a series of new churches.
Love Your Neighbors
Some are surprised that their fellow Christians are involved in environmental matters: ‘Formerly, they saved souls. Now they are saving trees.’ Actually, many of these fellow Christians do both: they share the gospel and protect the environment.
Think of the inverse. An immigrant family moves in near you. As done in their homeland, they burn garbage in their back yard. Some of it is toxic. Would it be a sin to not to tell them of this danger?
Or a manufacturer is dumping waste into the river. When you first hear about it, you are frightened. Then you learn it is downstream from you, so you do nothing. Would your inaction be a sin of failing to love those living downstream?
Creation Care Integral Mission
Some countries will not give visas for religious personnel. But we can serve in them as business people, creation care specialists, medical personnel, students, teachers, and the like. While carrying out these roles, we seek to take part in church movements and missions movements.
In all countries, we disciple people in such a way that the gospel touches every aspect of their life. We want it to affect the way they relate to God and fellow people, do their work, use technology, view the arts, and interact with the created world.
OMF sees the place of creation care in the following:
- As part of being disciples we should practice creation care
- As part of our disciple-making we should teach creation care
- As part of mission strategy we should consider creation care
OMF members minister to the spiritual, emotional, physical, and social needs of people. They seek to build communities of faith that please God and bless others. In short, they love their neighbors.
Will you pray for creation care ministries?
- Give thanks for the way caring for creation blesses communities and opens doors for building relationships in new areas.
- Pray for OMF workers to grasp every opportunity to love their neighbors, especially through practicing creation care.
- Pray for creation care to be increasingly taught as a part of disciple-making.