On a two acre campus outside of Yangon, a new holistic Christian ministry facility called the Myanmar Community Development Center (MCDC) is planned for both vocational training and Bible study. The source material will come from the extensive Community Health Evangelism (CHE) library, which encompasses preventive health care, agriculture and Bible lessons. More than 300 CHE lessons have already been translated by Asian Children’s Mission staff members into Myanmar languages.
The inspiration for this came from the Baptist Rural Life Center in Mindanao, Philippines. In 2010, the ACM leadership team spent a week there to learn more about small scale sustainable agriculture in southeast Asia. It is often hard to bring about change in farming and other practices when you can only tell someone about them, but this center will be a place where people can receive practical, hands-on vocational training, and also see how effective these practices are for themselves.
Holistic Christian Ministry
On Pentecost, foreigners in Jerusalem marveled as they heard the Gospel preached in their own language. The ACM leadership believes this Center will present the Gospel in such a way that it will be understood and embraced by people struggling to survive in Burma’s harsh economic climate. Based largely on the internationally successful Community Health Evangelism (CHE) model, our goal is to transform lives and communities through a seamless combination of community-based healthcare, development, evangelism and discipleship.
Preventive Healthcare Education
In many areas of Burma, healthcare is scarce and health education is nonexistent. Teaching basic preventive healthcare practices, first aid and the like is a core part of CHE, and it saves lives.
Burma is an agriculturally based economy. However, most of the small farms are low-yield, and depend upon one crop, such as rice. The one-acre model farm will incorporate animal husbandry, fish farming, fruit trees and grain crops, all utilizing appropriate technology for small-scale farming. There will be many hands-on opportunities to learn, and to demonstrate that a small holder farm can be productive and profitable. ACM will ask the director of the Mindanao Center to come to Burma to help us develop the farm. Partnerships with other individuals and organizations with expertise in sustainable agriculture are also planned.
FAITH (Food Always In the Home) gardens demonstrate how a family of six can significantly increase their food security through a 10×10 meter garden plot which is designed to provide vegetables all through the year. The central feature is a series of raised garden beds into which trench and basket composts are set. These are filled with some manure and decomposed garbage, then packed with leaves of leguminous trees and shrubs. We will also promote urban gardening. FAITH gardening was first developed at the Baptist Rural Life Center in Mindanao.
Burma is one of the least reached nations in the world. The majority of the people are Buddhists. Bible lessons will be taken from the CHE library (which has already been translated into Myanmar language by Asian Children’s Mission staff members). These lessons been used all over the world with great success. As groups of believers mature, they will be encouraged to establish self-supporting churches in their home villages.
The land for the center has been purchased and the project has been designed. The architect, Salvador Patino, created an amazing vision for the center. His conceptual renderings of the plans are shown below. The design was created with locally available materials in mind, such as compressed earth bricks and rammed earth construction — another way to demonstrate how solid buildings can be constructed without the use of expensive materials like brick and concrete. We are currently in the process of converting the plans into blueprints, estimating costs and breaking the project into phases, and we hope to have an estimate by September 2013.
To read more about this project, download the complete design documentation (zip file, 10 MB). Please note that the images below are the architect’s conceptual renderings.