– Ling C

Shalom! I am Ling, the coordinator for the Holistic Care Training Program. The inspiration for this program came in 2017, when I was invited to teach community development at a social worker training program. Eighty enthusiastic and passionate participants from several different provinces gathered for this community development training. Many shared about their challenges and problems in providing holistic care. They knew they needed to love their neighbours but did not know how to practically go about doing it. They wanted to learn from “experts”. The result? The program!

This three-year Holistic Care Training Program (2018 to 2020) aims to assist local partners provide and teach holistic care. After much research and discussions, we decided to focus the training on two professional disciplines – elderly care and services for children with special needs.

We are grateful to have successfully launched these trainings in September and November 2018. A 5-day intensive training course for each discipline was attended by about twenty people from six organisations. The students, coming from different experiences and backgrounds, are willing to humbly learn, share resources and serve each other. These sessions felt like a family reunion – loving one another, laughing and crying together. The course is divided into core topics (common to all holistic care) and material specific to each professional discipline. The core subjects are a comprehensive “soul and spirit training” as well as principles in basic community development, project management, organisational administration, and community mobilisation. The professional training focuses on each speciality with materials tailor-made to meet the needs of the students. We also emphasise the integration of professional and holistic care concepts.

In order to encourage students to apply what they learned in class, we employ different training methods. In addition to classroom studies, we also provide both on-line as well as in-person professional supervision. Since late 2018, we have made five site visits and three on-line consultations. Instructors go to the students’ service centres (located throughout the country) to listen to the team and understand the needs of the community. These instructors not only provide specific specialised training, they also encourage students to persevere and be innovative in providing holistic care. The on-site visits deepen the understanding and relationship between the teachers and students and create opportunities for further cooperation. Both sides benefit greatly.

In 2019, we will assist students to develop special “professional service centres” such as elderly community service centres and volunteer teams to serve children with special needs. We foresee our students continuing to serve as salt and light in blessing their communities. At the same time, we also realise the importance of sustainable training. Therefore, we will hold “train the trainer” courses, to encourage and equip some of our students to become the next generation of instructors. With one heart and soul, we will promote holistic care in this great land of China.

The program is like the miracle of five loaves and two fishes – our teaching staff, recruitment, and course planning started from ground zero. Although the road we travel may be bumpy, nevertheless we have sufficient grace. We lack nothing because we are “confident of this, that He who began a good work in you (us) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)