HONDURAS – What is your worst pain? For some, it may be a physical, but for many their trauma is emotional. In Spanish, we call it a wound of the heart. About a month ago, I had the privilege of facilitating a trauma healing group for the first time.
I was so impressed with these young mentors. They give their time to work with youth and children in their neighborhoods, some of whom have suffered abuse and trauma. During the retreat’s trauma healing session, the mentors learned some “first aid” practices for responding to trauma. Some of them carry their own wounds of the heart, so they learned about how trauma works within us and identified their own pain, spoke it to a listening friend, and then took their pain to the cross to begin a process of forgiveness. If they can continue this process of healing for themselves, their leadership with at-risk youth will be strengthened.
In total, there are 45 mentors working with 490 children and youth in this program. Please pray for all of them. Pray that a values-centered generation of young people will rise up in this corner of Honduras.
How does trauma-healing fit with community development?
Many of the communities where we work with partner organizations have seen conflict. In Central America, the civil wars of the 70s and 80s inflicted wounds that have not healed despite the peace accords of the 90s. In other countries, such as Haiti, there have been political upheavals and, more recently, drug cartels and gangs have used violence in their drive to gain territory and power.
Sadly, victims with unhealed trauma can become aggressors, creating an ongoing cycle. Genuine community transformation is based on communities creating a united vision, based on Biblical values in which all members of the community can flourish. Enabling community leaders and members to heal the wounds of past trauma can open doors for higher levels of peace and unity, two building blocks of transformation.
In 2011, I took a course at the Summer Peacebuilding Institute (at EMU) that started me along a path of learning about trauma healing. I “dabbled” with it until last fall, when I attended an initial equipping workshop for a program called “Healing the Wounds of Trauma,” produced by the American Bible Society. In late September, I hope to attend an advanced equipping session so I’m able to train others to facilitate healing groups. In order to attend, I need to facilitate at least one more healing group and plans are evolving for that to happen. Please pray that God uses this process to heal many deep wounds so individuals and communities may be transformed.
Please join us in prayer:
- The Latin America Ministry team meeting in June brought the team together for learning, brainstorming, and decision-making. Praise God for traveling mercies, , and a spirit of unity to serve Him and His people. Please pray that we can now turn those plans into reality.
- We’re thankful that Leanne has recovered from the fever that sapped her energy for almost two months. It was followed by a bad cold, but even that is almost a thing of the past. Praise for good health!
- (Leanne) Praise God that the request I made last fall for a sabbatical leave was approved! I will spend September to November of this year further developing my understanding of trauma healing so I can train other healing-group facilitators. I also hope to take time for deep reflection on how God is leading me to contribute to the changing context of our work and how we engage in it. I want to develop habits of contemplation and prayer that are incorporated into an on-going lifestyle. During my sabbatical, I won’t be opening my World Renew e-mail account —or it wouldn’t be a true sabbatical! If you need to communicate urgently, please connect with Caspar.
- In June, we requested prayers for the situation in Nicaragua. Many Resonate and World Renew staff left the field because of street protests that limited the ability to move around and sometimes resulted in violence. Some families simply extended trips already planned around summer vacation for their children and we pray their time has been fulfilling. The situation in Nicaragua has been closely monitored and, although the underlying causes have not been resolved, there is more freedom of movement. Most families will be returning to their ministries and homes in Nicaragua during this month and children will be returning to school. They do so aware that there is a “new normal” to which they need to adjust. Please pray that God’s peace, with justice, will be established and that all will be protected from violence.
- Caspar continues to be challenged with back pain. Most days, focusing on work enables him to forget about the pain, but it can be crippling. Please continue to pray that there are more good days than bad!
- Earlier this year, Caspar’s request to hire a program assistant was approved. Pastor Adonis Romero has accepted the offer of employment and will be filling that position.
- For both of us, July is the beginning of a new fiscal year. There are normal adjustments to make, but there can also be new challenges. Caspar, representing Resonate Global Mission, will be starting a new program aimed at families, with the first project focusing on marriage. This will be done in partnership with Diaconia Nacional.
World Renew Latin America