Projects that uplift communities
In Asia, churches run some 26 projects with community service as their mission. The following is a taste of some projects:
UNAIDS estimates that 2.1 million people in India live with HIV. Lutheran churches in India work to create a society that is free of HIV and AIDS stigma. Lutheran churches in India have a long-standing commitment to healing ministry. As such, they support Lutheran mission hospitals to create better health care environments. HIV and AIDS counselling centers have been set up in four Lutheran hospitals, where people are educated on the pandemic through videos, puppet shows and presentations, and are encouraged to be tested for HIV and AIDS. Most ministry occurs in the villages and rural areas where knowledge about the spread of HIV and AIDS is scarce and discrimination is great.
Rejecting chemical pesticides and fertilizers, the Simalungun Protestant Christian Church of Indonesia has introduced North Sumatra farmers to environmentally-friendly techniques, supporting their efforts to work sustainably and to take care of the earth. Some 120 farmers and volunteers formed the organization, Agriculture in Harmony with Nature Siantar Simalungun, to provide a platform for members to share experiences, develop skills, and to advocate for members' interests at government level. The farmers grow oranges, onions, chillis, potatoes, cabbages and cocoa. Farmers also sell produce to ensure they can maintain income levels while using the green production methods. The project also encouragse responsible use of wood from forests and water from rivers.
Training lay leaders to share the gospel with congregations is a key componment of a program in Myanmar. But alongside this training is an innovative effort to teach lay leaders agriculture techniques, ensuring they have marketable skills when they go back to their villages to preach. In a project that began in 2014, the Myanmar Lutheran Church held a 10 month training program for 40 young participants, most from rural villages in Paletwa, a western township close to the border with Bangladesh. One of the aims was to encourage young people to serve their communities rather than thinking about leaving their villages - or even country - to work elsewhere.