Using Scripture to Heal from Trauma
Fighting in the Central African Republic (CAR) has been intermittent for the past decade. This unrest has resulted in the loss of many lives, rampant destruction of property and countless other travesties. Thousands have suffered emotionally devastating wounds from being involved in, or witnessing, the fighting and its results. These wounds are often deeper than any physical ones and are much more difficult to heal.
In an effort to help some of the people affected by war in the CAR, Wycliffe Bible Translators held a five-day trauma healing workshop for twenty-nine participants. Wycliffe is a global ministry that is dedicated to translating and delivering Scripture to people around the world in the languages and forms they understand best.
The trauma healing course - which is a cross between a healing group and an equipping seminar - consists of Bible-based lessons that guide people in how to use good mental health principles to deal with deep wounds in their lives. Lessons equip participants with verses of Scripture translated by Wycliffe. As participants meditate on these Scriptures, and pray and talk with others about their hurts, God uses those experiences to bring healing to their lives. And because of the calming atmosphere of the workshop, participants feel comfortable processing those experiences.
According to the staff, the class, which was held at the Central Association for Bible and Literacy, was a resounding success. Staff reported that the participants seemed to receive a degree of healing, and they are hopeful that the experience will help those participants deal with the continuing problems in the country. A participant named Jean-Noel said, "After we had taken our pain to Jesus, I felt healed. That night when I started to think about the things I had written down, I found I couldn't worry about them or feel hurt anymore!" Elvis agreed, saying, "Because of this workshop, finally my wife and I have started sleeping deeply at night. I'm spending time going over every lesson with my older children. This workshop has really changed my thoughts and feelings for the better."
A large number of course participants were enthusiastic about starting healing groups of their own, leading others toward health. Mathuin, one of the participants, said, "First, I have been healed of my own inner hurts. Now I feel very strongly that I have a special capacity to help others, and I really want them to receive healing, too." Francis, a fellow attender, shared, "This seminar has helped me be freed from my fear that was caused by the violence I experienced at the hands of soldiers. It has also helped reinforce my confidence that God is hearing me. Now I have a great desire to share this with others."
A number of participants said that they were encouraged to know that people from outside the country cared about their plight enough to make this seminar possible. Previously, they thought they had been forgotten. Wycliffe Bible Translators is grateful for all who take part in supporting translation and Scripture use projects like this one, including those who give through the Combined Federal Campaign.
Wycliffe-sponsored workshops use meditation on translated Scripture and prayer to help participants heal from trauma.
After living through decades of fighting and unrest, many people in Central African Republic have suffered deep physical and emotional wounds.
Association for Christian Conferences, Teaching, and Service
"In the Central American region there is a rapid growth of the Christian faith amongst the military and police force. Without their support [of military ministries like ACCTS] for the Central American region of AMCF, this would be almost impossible." - Col. J. Maldonado
ACCTS' English language programs, held in conjunction with military Christian fellowships in Ukraine and Peru, were jointly led by ACCTS staff members and MCF leaders who taught English to military personnel and their families while also giving English Bible study lessons focusing on Jesus' sayings. Because English is a valuable skill for military personnel and their children, these programs are always popular - and we are thankful for God using them to build spiritual faith in the lives of participants.
February's program in Peru included beginning and intermediate-level English classes, and as one staff member reported, "The Lord has blessed us with really super students. All were adults except for eight young students (9 to 16 years old). Students have been quite excited about both the Bible study and the English work [and] are begging us to do this again next year."
The summer program, held in conjunction with the MCF of Ukraine, also helped many military and civilian people come closer to Christ, as reported by an ACCTS staff member on his return to the U.S.: "One young man told his Bible class [at the camp] that he would never become a Christian. On Friday evening he went forward with several others to publicly commit to Christ's lordship!"
Ukrainian English camp participant with Bible
Awana Clubs International
In Nepal, a nation that is 95 percent Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim, Awana is having a powerful impact.
10 year old Laxmi lives with her widowed mother and her brother. Laxmi's mother is very religious, fasting twice a week, but as a widow, she is not accepted by her neighbors. Even as a child, Laxmi could see that the other adults were unkind to her mother and said cruel things to her.
In the midst of this painful situation, Laxmi's friend invited her to church. "I loved the teaching of Sunday school," Laxmi recalls. "But when my mother (learned) about it, she punished me."
God led Laxmi to a Christian radio program from a partner of Awana, Trans World Radio, filled with singing and Bible teaching. "I love to listen to this radio program. I have learned that Jesus loves the children. We have to love Him and obey His words."
"I can't go to church now, but I have made a decision that when I grow up I will go to church. I believe that someday my mother will come to know the truth. Please pray for me."
Laxmi is part of a growing number of children being led to Christ in Nepal. In fact, in November of 2012, an Awana day camp reached 3,200 children, and 555 of them accepted Christ as their Savior.
10-year-old Laxmi, Awana Clubs participant in Nepal
Bible League International
On January 14, 2013, representatives from Bible League International met with Bishop Elvis Samuel Medina, Executive Director and Christian Community Liaison for the President at the Presidential palace. Literacy training partnership opportunities was a central point of discussion.
Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina has made education and increasing the national literacy rate a priority for his term. The government launched a nation-wide effort to eradicate illiteracy on January 7, 2013. This national literacy plan, called "Quisqueya Aprende Contigo" ("Quisqueya Learns with You") will teach reading and writing to more than 700,000 young and adult persons over a two-year period.
Just 10 years ago, the illiteracy rate of the Dominican Republic was 13%. The regional average for Latin America is 9%. By 2015, the country is projected to cut the overall illiteracy rate to 9% and the youth illiteracy rate to 2%, according to UNESCO. Officials hope that on September 8, 2014, UNESCO will declare the Dominican Republic free of illiteracy.
Bible League International's Literacy Outreach program trains literacy teachers to incorporate Scripture as they help teach people to read and write. Literacy teachers are trained to use the "Nuevos Caminos" literacy materials to teach basic Spanish reading and writing skills and "Firm Foundations" literacy materials to teach English as a foreign language. At a Bible League workshop underway in Santo Domingo, 18 teachers attended the first day of training on January 14, 2013.
"It is going to be very valuable to put into action what we are being taught today," says Natalia, a literacy teacher being trained by Bible League International in the Dominican Republic. "You can help some by simply saying 'Jesus loves you,' others you have to show them He does. With this program we can show them His love."
As the government focuses on literacy in the Dominican Republic, Bible League International sees the potential for both the eradication of illiteracy and simultaneous growth of God's Kingdom.
"We are drawn to this training because it is not just a literacy program," says Dominican literacy teacher, Martin, "it is a Bible-based literacy program."