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Au Sable Receives Grant to Train Missionary Earthkeepers

Jun 25, 2012

Au Sable has received a $10,000 grant from the Crowell Trust to advance its ministry in the area of missionary earthkeeping. The grant creates opportunities for Christian undergraduate students at Au Sable’s 62 participating colleges to pursue their calling in the field of missionary earthkeeping by providing scholarships for courses at Au Sable that build earthkeeping skills and deepen their understanding of Christian environmental stewardship. The grant also allows Au Sable to host a conference for Missions and Development directors from its participating colleges to help them advance missionary earthkeeping in their program by integrating environmental studies courses into their curriculum.

“This grant will help us continue to equip future missionaries with the skills they need to further God’s word while also serving God’s good earth,” says Fred Van Dyke, Au Sable Executive Director. “Au Sable has a legacy of supporting integrated Christian missions and development projects dating back to our initial conference on Missionary Earthkeeping in 1985.  We are grateful for the ways our partnership with the Crowell Trust will allow us to continue our work in this area and forge new partnerships to equip future students.”

The grant continues Au Sable’s recent project working with Missions and Development programs at its participating colleges to highlight the connections between global development, missions, and environmental conservation and wise natural resource use.  Over thirty-five of Au Sable’s participating colleges have Missions and Development programs.

Says Au Sable Recruitment Coordinator, Dieter Bouma, “Many of these programs have a strong sociology, religious studies, and economics focus. Au Sable is uniquely positioned to assist undergraduate missions and development programs with advanced courses in areas of tropical agriculture, development and conservation, watershed stewardship, land use planning, tropical ecology, agroecology, and environmental health.  We can help our participating colleges create more wholistic missions and development curriculums by integrating our environmental studies courses.”

With ten students enrolled in the Institute's 'Tropical Agriculture and Missions' course this past May, ten enrolled in 'International Development and Environmental Sustainability,' and 36 enrolled in other interdisciplinary courses, student interest in environmental stewardship, community development, and discipleship is strong.  Missionary Earthkeeping scholarships will make it possible for students to combine their studies at Au Sable in unique and complementary ways to spread the good news to all creation.

Undergraduate environmental studies courses is one of five main programs offered by Au Sable to advance God’s call to be good stewards the earth. In addition, Au Sable offers an environmental education internship program that trains interns to teach K-12 Environmental Education programs to schools throughout Northwest Lower Michigan, a research program to further our understanding of God’s world and expose undergraduate students to research, a graduate fellows program to help Christian graduate students integrate their faith into their environmental studies, and a retreats program for churches and small groups.