Mutual learning with China Christian Council about use of technology and new models of institutional and community-based services.
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For nearly two weeks in October, 2017, the China Christian Council Study Group explored more than a dozen senior living communities, met with MHS experts, attended workshops, and still managed to see the Liberty Bell during an intensive study of nonprofit older adult services in the state of Pennsylvania.
This group of Chinese delegates was comprised of nine executive leaders and translators and representatives from many different organizations, including Buddhist Master Jing Bo, Vice President of China Buddhist Association, and Xiao Lan of the Tian Ai Commonwealth Foundation in Shanghai.
These visitors arrived on October 15 and lost no time getting started. American hosts Myrrl Byler, Director of Mennonite Partners in China, and Ronald Yoder, International Program Advisor for MHS, welcomed the guests with a warm reception before whisking them off to the first of 13 different community tours.
Over the next five days, the study group visited diverse senior living communities with several objectives in mind. First, these visits showed the range of services available to older adults in the United States. Second, they provided an understanding of government and nonprofit/church-sponsored services—specifically in Pennsylvania. Third, they gave the visitors an opportunity to discover new types of older adult services that they might apply to their own facilities and programs.
The group participated in worship services and Sunday School at East Chestnut Mennonite Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where they were heartily welcomed by pastor Todd Friesen and his wife Dennette. While there, they also enjoyed a presentation on church involvement in older adult services by MHS Senior Vice President, Emerson Lesher.
Interactive learning filled the second half of the study group’s visit. Workshops covered a variety of topics on everything from management issues to fundraising to daily activities for residents. And this whirlwind tour finished with a banquet hosted by MHS and Anabaptist Providers Group.