Caring for God’s creation
As a young Christian I saw God as a loving friend and creator. My perspective has broadened over the years, but I still connect best with God when I am in his creation. For me it is a natural response to want to care for that creation.
Despite having this desire, a degree in Environmental Engineering and working for a government body charged with protecting the environment, in my personal life I did little to care for creation. With time, that has changed.
5 Minute Read
By Lee-anne Hill
Re-starting my creation care journey
Even after moving to Thailand and being saddened by the pollution and waste I saw, I didn’t think there was much more I could do with limited time and language. About five years ago, while serving in Singapore, I was able to restart my creation care journey.
When it comes to creation care, start small
Creation care, like many things is complex. It is easy to be overwhelmed by all the information, approaches, issues, products etc., but I also believe as a Christian I am charged with caring for creation. I have chosen not to get overwhelmed by the complexity and to start caring for creation in ways that are the easiest for me or that I am most motivated to do.
I increase my knowledge as I am able, and I have given myself permission to change my mind as I learn new information.
I also choose not to try and do everything at once.
For example, I desire to use toiletries that are packaging-free or at least plastic-free, that are produced sustainably and do not release toxins into the environment. Had I tried to change all the products I use in one week, I would have ended up smelling in a culture that is extremely sensitive to smell.
Take Your Context into Consideration As you Make Changes
Instead, I have been slowly changing products. Researching and trying new products until I find ones that work for me in my context.
Simply put, I see caring for creation as a journey where I take one step at a time. When I encourage my friends, family, or others to care for creation I try to help them find the one next step they can take on their journey.
Part of Creation Care is Stewarding Your Resources
My creation care journey was restarted after I learnt about minimalism and started putting these principles into action. As I look back, I think this was an ideal starting point for me. One of the main outcomes of following minimalism principles was the decrease in my consumption.
I ask myself if I really need and love something before buying it. This has decreased the number of items I purchase. Also, it means that I’m not choosing to focus on one area of creation care over another e.g. zero waste over carbon footprint because consuming less helps in many ways.
The other benefit of consuming less is that it frees up finances to purchase reusable, sustainable, eco-friendly products. In the past I had thought these things were out of my budget. For me consuming less is an important foundational principle of my creation care journey.
Next, learn where your food comes from
Since restarting my creation care journey, I have lived in three different countries, three different contexts. Learning about my context is important so I can best care for creation. For example, while living in Singapore I became more aware of where my food was coming from.
In supermarkets in Singapore, fresh food is clearly labelled with country of origin. I was surprised by the variety of countries food came from. It highlighted the fact I did not know how sustainably food was produced in each country.
For example, the high demand for avocados has contributed to water shortages in Chile. What this showed me was that eating food, where possible, that is produced locally is the better option. It has less mileage, it helps me eat more seasonally, and I am able to make informed decisions.
Creation care is about supporting your local economy
Also, it means I support the local economy. Learning about my current context, South Thailand, has not only been about food but about how/where to recycle, how to dispose of electronic waste or used batteries and much more.
Talking with my neighbours to learn more about my context has also helped me to get to know my neighbours and share with them about creation care. Continuing to learn about my context and buying locally where possible are actions I plan to keep up.
As I continue my journey, I am thankful that I am a missionary with OMF International who sees creation care as part of my Christian life and ministry.
I continue to ask God to help me live a more sustainable life, to provide opportunities for involvement in local creation care efforts and guide me as I seek to help others to know the Creator and to care for his creation.
What are you asking God to help you with? What will be your next step in your creation care journey?
For Lee-anne missions and creation care have been linked since she was first called to missions which resulted in her changing her major to Environmental Engineering. After completing her degree, she worked for a regional council in stormwater management and resource consent administration. Then in 2005 Lee-anne joined OMF and left New Zealand to serve in Thailand. Lee-anne has served in several different roles within OMF since then including one involving three years at OMF’s International Center in Singapore. She is currently serving as a church planter, seeking to share the gospel with Thai people in the south of the country.