Brothers pray and study God’s words together at Baoshan Reborn Garden Gospel Drug Rehabilitation Centre
CEDAR’s work in China began in 2000. Since 2007, we began to engage the local churches in Yunnan to take part in community work. From initial stage of discussion and planning, to execution, evaluation and revising their strategies, we witnessed how communities and churches slowly take up the responsibility of their community’s development.
As a development organisation, our ultimate goal is to see a community sustaining its own development. Throughout the journey, CEDAR is only a facilitator and mobiliser, the Church should be the successor and driver. The Church, as the body of Christ, is called to serve their community and neighbours, therefore, we invite local churches to partner with us at the very beginning of our work.
Lorraine, our colleague in China, shared that we have been using the SALT methodology since 2012 to build relationship and mobilise community members and churches to participate in community work.
S stands for Stimulate and Support. We try to stimulate conversations among community members to learn about their concerns and issues affecting the community, encouraging a practice to listen, reflect, and offer support to each other.
A stands for Appreciate. We strive to appreciate what the people in a family or community are already doing, their lives and their stories.
L stands for Learn. CEDAR’s presence in the community is not merely knowledge and skill transfer; but more importantly, we are to learn and understand local cultures, resources, and wisdom, then combining with development knowledge for the best result and sustainability of the work.
T stands for Transfer and Team. CEDAR, local churches, and members of the community work as a team to learn and look for solutions together, and transferring these knowledge to others – from one person to another, or even from one community to a neighbouring community.
Lorraine said they illustrate the SALT concept using a simple slogan: “When you speak, I’ll listen and appreciate, and we’ll work together!”（你說我聽 我讚齊做）. The idea is to change our previous perspective of the capable helping the incapable into a new attitude of encouraging, appreciating, listening to each other and working together. We encourage churches to mobilise their members to go and serve their neighbours with this new attitude through home visits and getting to know their neighbours.
Brother Zhu was a success case. He struggled with drug addiction until he received rehabilitation at Baoshan Reborn Garden Gospel Drug Rehabilitation Centre run by the Baoshan church. He successfully beat his addiction with the support and love of fellow brothers. Lorraine said that support and encouragement are essential for drug abusers to fight their addictions. Using the SALT methodology, we stimulate conversations to help them reflect on how they are dealing with their problems currently and plan for next steps, while appreciating the efforts they have made. Brother Zhu later became a staff of the Centre, and help grow vegetables at the midway house. Community members were amazed by his transformation, and his story had brought positive influence in his community.
Verses for reflection:
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
The SALT concept complements the Integral Mission. Besides proclaiming the gospel verbally, we have to live it out. Let us be the salt and light of our community to bless the needy and make a change in the world!
Pray for CEDAR’s ministry in China:
- Praise God for His guidance and blessing to our work in China over the years; we have been able to establish a trusting relationship with the community and government, pray that we will continue be salt and light.
- Pray for the cooperation of CEDAR and partnering churches that we can all work as a team in unity; may God grant us wisdom and make us a blessing to the vulnerable and oppressed.
- Pray that community members and church leaders can transfer experience and knowledge to others so that the community work can be sustainable.