Caring for God’s creation in the Philippines

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Workshop teaches kids how to be eco-conscious.

When Lt. Col. Edna Williams began ministering to women and their families in the Philippines, she soon noticed the need to instill an awareness of the Christian responsibility for God’s creation.

Williams talked with a local vet and saw for herself on the streets that animals were not cared for. She began to carry with her pest-control soap and food for the starving dogs and cats that scavenged the area.

In an effort to teach pet care as a Christian responsibility, Williams compiled a resource manual of subjects, including “Healthy Environment,” to be taught in 150 corps in the four main provinces of the Philippines.

She held a two-day workshop in a rural setting for 14 children, ages eight to 12, training them on how to protect the environment and become responsible “Eco-Kids.” The workshop focused on the importance of all God created and our role as caretakers. Williams educated children on the needs of God’s creatures and the role they play as promoters of animal rights and recycling. The workshop was based on two Bible stories: “The Creation” and “Noah’s Ark.”

The kids learned that much animal suffering is a result of ignorance and negligence; education and publicity are steps towards the remedy.

At the conclusion of the workshop, Williams gave each child the responsibility of a recycling project or the care of a garden plot or animal. The children presented what they learned to an audience of parents and territorial headquarters employees.

The community quickly became interested in the program. A social worker at the Army’s residential program for the rehabilitation of street children asked for a session there. A school administrator took copies of the full curriculum to use during the first term of school for 194 students. The curriculum was also adapted so that it could be used in a resource manual for women and their families120 manuals were distributed. Leaders in the Central Philippines Division later repeated the workshop with 65 children.

“I believe this event will leave its mark in the memories of children,” Williams said. “One family I know of has begun nourishing their pets with pet food and the children’s home staff is embracing new concepts in pet care. The importance placed on animal and environment careand the change it can bring aboutis cause for celebration.”

Excerpted from “Eco-Kids on guard,” by Lt. Col. Edna Williams, Global Exchange, April-June 2008.

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