When we share about our work with the Akha, we stress a holistic approach to ministry. Simply stated, this means we seek to minister the whole gospel to the whole person through the whole church. There is a spectacular article by Ron Sider et. al. over at forMinistry.org if you would like to read more on these ideas.
This focus in our ministry has led us in surprising directions, including living in a village, the Akha Clinic, helping children receive formal education, and patience in the pursuit of definitions in our ministry as we build meaningful relationships with our village.
It has also largely kept us from preaching in church on Sundays or telling people "theological dos and don'ts" as we have observed the culture around us.
This year is the beginning of a new season for us, however, as we are now taking [tentative, deliberate] steps in the expansion of our ministry beyond our village. We are seeking to build relationships with our extended community of Akha, ultimately connecting with the 30,000 Akha living in the Mae Salong Region and assisting them in their journey towards spiritual, physical, emotional and intellectual health.
In the light of this direction we took a little time out of our village schedule to attend a training workshop that was hosted by Community Health Evangelism, an inspirational development program through Lifewind International.
The training was very beneficial to us, helping us to give more details in the way that we would like to help villages in their development as well as helping us to define and to defend why we do the work we do. Even more exciting, however, are the CHE resources which will serve as in invaluable tool as we move forward in our holistic ministry.
-From the Lifewind website, italicized words are mine
So, we're excited about these tools, and these ideas. We are excited to see holistic development and lives that are characterized by health. And we're excited to see what God does with all these seeds which have been planted in our minds and hearts.