Amity Foundation – PNME 2008 China Collaboration

For nearly 100 years PNME has worked to provide mission education. Over the last decade PNME also worked to introduce and connect volunteers to needs through conferences, forums and several collaborative service learning mission trips.

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In 2008 PNME collaborated on leadership of a fascinating service learning journey to China. Several organizational objectives were met by the trip to the provinces of Inner Mongolia and Shandong.

It would be difficult to overstate the importance of China to the world. Its size, growing strength and economic influence, and political values give China global influence whether or not it is invited. PNME has worked closely for many years with China’s 25-year old non-governmental Amity Foundation, working to introduce Amity’s work to Americans. Amity is a highly regarded, innovative leader of, at last count, 37 rural development projects conducted throughout China.

Understanding something about a place leads to interest in that place, which often leads to an appreciation of the place. Appreciation leads to further interest and sharing information about the place and, not infrequently, a choice to serve in mission there. In any event, that is a short path to explaining PNME’s emphasis on reciprocal mission aimed at equality of participant input, and providing transformation and satisfaction for volunteer as well as host.

PNME’s China trip was organized around visiting multiple Amity projects, in a manner aimed at learning about the broad cultural setting as well as the specific project. Senior retirement residences, schools for the deaf, autistic, migrant workers’ children, the children of jailed prisoners and the blind are all precedent setting in China. Clean water projects, foster grandparents, training for new non-profit organizations; Amity’s scope – and opportunities for service learning – seem limitless. Seeing, hearing and asking questions at these sites goes a long way toward building ongoing cross cultural relationships

In Inner Mongolia the travelers learned about Ghengis Khan and his monumental influence on China and vast parts of Asia, while visiting multiple sites where Khan was once in charge of all that could be surveyed. In Shandong the PNME travelers focused on a central figure in Chinese culture, Confucius. Visits to the birthplace and home, plus the cemetary with 75 generations of the family, increased appreciation of the philosopher sage’s importance to China.

PNME regularly publicizes and meets with individuals regarding the Amity Foundation’s popular rural development English learning program, either year-round or summer term. Non-teacher volunteers also qualify for this exciting task, because the Chinese students are middle school English teachers who can read and write English, but cannot speak the language and usually have never met westerners. That the Chinese teachers return to their own students much improved and more confident means that Amity’s program structure is extremely efficient. Chinese hospitality and regard for teachers and appreciation of volunteers makes this program extremely popular with volunteers, many of whom return summer after summer.

Each year PNME helps Amity publicize its annual Spring Tour, when travelers are taken to a different Chinese province to examine Amity projects, while enjoying the particular history, cultural attractions and cuisine of that region. Service-related travel is a terrific way to create and increase interest and understanding of mission that truly builds the community of God. Ask us about the Amity Foundation!
Living up to our logo PNME: Networking among the Pacific churches on Missions and Education in collaboration with churches in China.