My whole life I have done relief work. As time has passed I have seen the devastating effects of relief work in places where they are now dependent on it. Haiti is a prime example of that. Anyone who has done work there has to have noticed the thousands of NGO’s and missionaries that go in to Port au Prince every year for years and still see no change. I am not saying there isn’t a place for relief work but it usually needed after a crisis. When it goes beyond the crisis period then those in the country start to depend on hand outs and don’t learn how to do things for themselves. It’s like that proverb that says it is better to teach a man to fish than to just give him a fish.
Well CHE is a program put together for this exact purpose. Its main goals are good health (physically, spiritually, emotionally, and socially), prevention of diseases, and to live abundant Christian lives. The program starts with individuals and then goes and slowly spreads into the community from one home to the next. The CHE group is made up of a training team (which are those that have gone through the training week called TOT1), the committee (a group of people that the community has picked that they feel represent their area), and then the CHE’s (these are the people that go out to teach in homes about the issues that are going on in the community, ie. Malaria, clean water). As problems in the community come up they are addressed and then taught about. While teaching, the CHEs do a physical and spiritual lesson. Soon as the CHEs go from home to home lives start transforming as they help their neighbors with not only physical problems but spiritual ones as well. As time passes these CHEs soon form a church of their own.
Over this week of training I was being taught how to be a trainer. A trainer is one who trains the committee and also trains the CHEs. Right from the beginning, Dayo told us, that the program is risky and that we are going fail (*I’m not sure the exact failure % but it is HIGH). With this program we are always learners so through these failures we are being taught. We need to know that we wont always have the answers but that we need to be creative with problems and always be an encourager. And last but not least we need to take time and also give our time.
Time….Hmmmm out of all the things I had learned over this past week I think this was the recurring theme that continued to be printed in my memory. Now the longest I’ve ever been in a foreign country was 7 months. With this CHE program it says to plan on 3-5 years plus ongoing check ins. Maybe it is because I come from the western worldview but when I get involved in something I want to see results. Whenever there is time, money, and energy expended I want to see something ANYTHING. And If I don’t see results that I want to find someone or something that will. PLUS one of CHE’s teaching points is that this is risky AND we are going to fail. Now if I am trying to get a program going and trying to get people to support it and THAT is my starting slogan, I don’t think I will get to far.
But then Dayo told us this story about what happens when it DOES work and when people DO invest their time just how life changing this program can be. Here is a quick summary of that story: It is about a church in a village in Uganda that started the CHE program. Within 18 months of starting the program there were 1000 people who were personally won by Christ and 285 people were involved in bible studies. In that same time they also protected 40 water sources, taught how to garden, make fish ponds, rabbit raising, and bee keeping to help with nutrition, vaccinated over 2000 children, and through education reduced deaths caused by diarrhea by 30%. In addition to all of this some of the original CHE workers moved to other villages to implement this program.
Wow! But look at what happens when it does work. So needless to say, this week has been a challenging but encouraging week for me. I see that no matter how much money we POUR into these poverty stricken nations, it doesn’t mean anything if they aren’t willing to do things for themselves. Everyday I see the HUGE need there is here in Africa but now I also see a hope that is based in what Christ taught us over 2000 years ago. If we lived like Christ did with seeing both our physical and spiritual needs then I truly believe this world would be a much different place.
A matter of belief
4 years ago