What I Learned at CHE

I had the privilege of attending a CHE (Community Health Evangelism) Training conference in Phoenix last week. This was highly recommended to me by a missionary doctor friend who knows my passion for health care and for teaching others. It was every bit as good as he said it would be!

The focus of this program is to empower a community to address its own health-care concerns by training local individuals to share what they are learning with 10-20 neighboring households. By addressing practical needs, communities can be transformed physically and spiritually.

This was not your typical “sit in a seat and listening to boring but informative lectures” conference. It was interactive and helped participants learn by discovery and discussion.

Each session started with a short introductory skit. Then the facilitators asked a question for the group to brainstorm answers to. A “scribe” wrote down what was being said. Then these papers were put up on the walls around the room—so we could both refer back to earlier lessons and see all that we had covered during the week.

In the large group setting, we shared devotions and worship time, learned main points, and had discussions about what we were learning. This was also the setting for demonstrations and “sorting” activities (where we took turns placing various pictures into appropriate groupings to better understand what was happening in the “communities” we were working with).

Small groups were the place for more in-depth discussions and ways to apply what we were learning. A few of us got the “handwriting prize” and tended to do most of the “scribing” for the group we were in. Each time we split into groups, we were divided in different ways. This gave us different perspectives and allowed us to get to know fellow participants better.

Besides the specific information about how CHE works, I learned a number of other things about myself:

  • I like to be the scribe, since writing things down helps me remember what is being said.
  • I have to consciously keep quiet and let others have their say. Yes, I have lots of ideas and, no, most of them don’t need to be shared publicly!
  • I greatly dislike having others question whether my examples (from our work in Navajoland) are exaggerated. Sorry, folks, life really IS that messed up for many children out here…
  • I wish there had been more time for one-on-one conversations to interact more deeply with some of the other participants. We could have learned that much more from each other!
  • I love networking…and I love learning new things…and I love the opportunity to share my experience with other people! (Can I go to more conferences…please?!)
  • I was frustrated to learn about a really cool way of empowering community to help themselves…and not being able to see how it could possibly be implemented in the broken community in which we live…
  • I would join CHE in a minute and greatly enjoy helping to “train the trainers” (which would eventually impact the entire world!)…if only it didn’t take raising donations/pledged support…sigh…
  • And, finally, good food, good conversations, good learning, and good challenges to the status-quo ENERGIZE me!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. David Phipps
    Sep 20, 2012 @ 08:21:56

    Thanks so much for sharing this page with me! I’m glad you felt the workshop was enlightening. I’ve prayed for your current situation and future. David


  2. Trackback: Pushing Past the Fears… « Journey2Wonder

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