By His Wounds Intensive Healing Conference, 2019
Fort Portal, Uganda—at the base of the “Mountains of the Moon,” the Rwenzori Mountains
My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6).
Hate is the most self-righteous of all emotions. We feel deliciously righteous when we hate the evil creature who viciously assaulted us. No one ever feels the lip smacking satisfaction as a person chewing on his own hate. This is why we love our hate, coddle it, feed it, stroke it, and above all justify it. But let it settle in for a while, take over the best room in our souls, and it becomes a disagreeable guest who will not leave when our party is over (Lewis Smedes).
Today we addressed forgiveness. It’s a confusing and painful topic for anyone, especially those who have survived torture and abuse. We have NEVER heard such painful stories and yet, have never had such a powerful response to the hard truths taught today. True forgiveness comes at the end of one’s healing journey. Grasping God’s intense love and full forgiveness for ourselves takes time—like slow dripping water seeping into thirsty earth. The heart of a survivor must first be “warmed” to God’s love and his incomprehensible forgiveness.
MTS’ model of forgiveness was something these pastors and bishops had not heard before. In their cultures (Rwanda, Congo, and Burundi) the victim is the one to blame while perpetrators are enabled and protected. We deeply respect courageous listening. With knowledge and understanding, they willingly rejected cultural norms that have cruelly abused and devaluing women for decades. It’s humbling to be in their midst.
We ended the day with a celebration that included lament and testimonies of God’s goodness to heal. In the weeks ahead, the pastors and evangelists will finish up their By His Wounds exercises in small groups with each other.
Please continue to pray for these pastors of refugees as they deal with poverty and overwhelming medical and educational needs. They bear the heart and body scars of war, sexual assault, and torture; thus, their commitment to enter the village of lament is breathtaking.
Five full days of trauma care for 60 of God’s anointed shepherds whom the world has forgotten—now that is something to celebrate!
Thank you for helping us help them. It has been a priceless gift and has made a visible difference!
With gratitude and love,
Steve and Celestia for MTS’ International Team