Students at LCC International University, a Resonate Global Mission partner in Lithuania, are launching a movement on campus to care for creation.
The Importance of Caring for Creation
When Nastia Synhaivska, a recent graduate of LCC, spent a summer in the United States working in a hotel, she was overwhelmed by the amount of wasted resources. Hallway and lobby lights never switched off; loads of towels and sheets were sent off for wash every day; and dumpsters were filled with plastic wrapping.
“The amount of single-use products in its single-use packaging, untouched food, and other resources like water and electricity the single hotel used was truly shocking,” said Nastia. “I’ve always had this feeling that nature is worthy. It is worthy of careful treatment, conscientious attitude, and diligent service from people because it feeds them and sustains them. As I [came] to embrace a Christian worldview, I only [felt] reassured that God called me and all humanity to love [and care for] his creation.”
The Habits of Creation Care
Nastia felt convicted that if one hotel could use so many resources and produce so much waste, her individual actions also left a footprint in the environment. She was determined to leave behind as little waste as possible and leave a positive mark on the environment instead. When she returned to LCC for her final year, she started a student organization focused on good environmental stewardship. She called it “The Habits.”
“I knew from my own experience how challenging it could be to stay passionate about the environment in a largely uncaring and uninvolved surrounding,” said Nastia. “I gathered like-minded people around me so together we could inspire each other to stay consistent with the eco-friendly lifestyle.”
Nastia and The Habits team wanted to see their entire campus involved, but weren’t sure where to start. When Resonate missionary Steve Michmerhuizen came to campus to teach about creation care, it was the perfect opportunity for The Habits to engage the campus in the conversation.
“Steve … activated our green club,” said Nastia. “From our collaboration, we got a chance to see more people, students, and faculty interested in the change towards a greener community but who were lacking the support [to start.]”
Inviting Others to Care for Creation
Steve has been passionately teaching about the principles of creation care from Genesis 1 and 2 for nearly two decades. “Sound ecology is mirrored in these biblical principles, these commands,” he said. “We have a responsibility to care for creation … a lot of Christians are already very good stewards, but they don’t see it connected to their faith. It is part of fulfilling the Lordship of Christ over the earth.”
At LCC, Steve gave presentations on how caring for creation is an important command from God and an important part of fulfilling God’s mission. Nastia and her team from The Habits worked with him to host movie nights and discussions featuring documentaries on environmental issues.
“Creation care is a lifestyle,” said Steve. “It’s a choosing. We choose everyday to be a good steward or we overlook it … The talks that we gave and the lectures we had were doorways and pathways for students to find their ways into this lifestyle.”
Since Steve’s visit and the activation of The Habits on LCC’s campus, the student club has hosted more events to engage their community.
“I believe that all generations need to be good stewards,” said Steve. “It’s imperative that the younger generations … embrace this and carry it in their lives, careers, families, and communities.”
As other students spearhead The Habits, Nastia is passionate about continuing this work beyond graduation. Collaborating with Steve affirmed Nastia’s sense of God’s calling on her life to care for creation. She graduated with a degree in communications in May 2019, and she will continue her studies in graduate school.
“I’ll improve my ability to take leadership in communicating and promoting a sustainable way of thinking,” she said. “Not only is it our responsibility and fulfilment of his commands [to care for creation], but also our chance to thank God for the effort he put into creating our world.”