Creation Care, Sri Lanka style

One of the highlights of my job is the opportunity to correspond with people from all over the world.  If it is true that the environmental crisis pays no attention to national boundaries, it is equally true that the Spirit of God is moving his people to respond to that crisis in every corner of the world.  Many of those involved in this kind of ministry are simply following their own instincts as they respond to what they see happening in their own regions.  Here’s a neat story from a friend and brother I haven’t met – Damitha – about how he and his family became involved with creation care as a means of ministry.  Enjoy – and if you like what you read, ‘like’ his work on Facebook (see the link at the end).

Sri Lanka is a country blessed with rich plant diversity, 4000 plant species and 800 are endemic to the country and long cultural heritage more than 2500 years combined with ancient agriculture and most of these plants were well utilized in building up healthy rural communities.

In Sri Lanka, God has blessed us with a wide variety of indigenous plant species that can be used for food, medicines, buildings, animals and birds. They are connected with ethical, cultural, spiritual and social activities recognized from earliest days of human history useful in solving global acute health problems.

The primal surprise of God was in the tremendous gift of creation. God made the world to be a pretty special place. He made many special creatures, including human beings, to fill the land, skies, and the sea. He blessed all that he had made, and commanded all creatures to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.

But, unfortunately, the present generation already accustomed to the modern technology is unaware of the values of basic creation care or God’s human teachings through the nature but detaching from all spiritual values day by day due to hectic fashionable lifestyles practicing today as common to all over the globe.

We are a grassroots ministry dedicated in reaching the rural church parishes with a spiritual message of environmental stewardship by practically demonstrating in conservation of fast disappearing yet valuable native medicinal, wild fruits and food plants in selected churchyards by getting Sunday schools involved in creation care for the first time in Sri Lanka.

In this context, we are in the process of establishing an Ethno-Garden as an ”Community Gene Bank” with fast diminishing native plant species in order to propagate of these rare and fast disappearing trees by establishing model plant gardens with selected species in rural churchyards  which are places regularly visited by the children and rural community, moreover are typically endowed with sufficient space for the purpose and as it is a wonderful way for churches to demonstrate love for the creator and all that he has made in a practical manner with children.

In addition, we have identified God has allocated each plant for different purpose very specifically and he has made the common man aware of these purpose to sustain the nature and animals in their day to day life what is now scientists called as ethnobotany or indigenous ecological knowledge and now in the process of collecting hundreds of this disappearing traditional knowledge as a part of educating the young generation in creation care.

50% of the project has already been completed by incorporating spiritual landscaping concepts and over sixty species of wild fruits have been collected. In addition, over 70 species of diminishing and rare native plants with timber and food value have also been conserved.

Established “Ethno -Garden” will further serve as a rare plant resource centre with necessary information related to the indigenous knowledge associated with native plants in order to inculcate the future generation and regenerate in utilizing these species as alternative remedies whilst providing the essential species for propagation through the Sunday schools in  rural church parishes.

Therefore, we trust that your kind assistance as a great blessing to develop our future activities.
Also, you could reach us on FB for more details please
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Native-Forest-Foundation-Gampaha-Sri-Lanka/195936893768796?sk=wall