Our team has been so blessed to connect with various ministries who are being shaped by Mending the Soul in East Africa. On the team’s next to last day in Kampala we went to a ministry for at-risk children and youth. The founder is a former street kid, and the ministry is twenty years old, well developed, and funded. The founder thanked us profusely for MTS and our resources. He said that they have been feeding, clothing, and paying school fees for hundreds of children, but overall “the kids weren’t getting any better.”
Several months ago he asked Jumah to come do a By His Wounds trauma training for their staff. Due to pressure from their secular European funders, they had previously removed all faith components from their program. The founder told us that he wishes he had found out about MTS ten years ago because they would be a very different organization if they had. He said Jumah’s training has revolutionized their staff (eight of whom came to faith in Christ at the end of the training!) He said they now understand trauma, and he concluded by saying that the most important thing he learned from MTS is that you must include a strong, spiritual component to effectively care for at-risk youth.
Jumah told me the sequel to this story. When he came and trained this staff, their primary European funder was in town. She heard some of the training and was very angry that Jumah used Scripture and spoke of Jesus’ healing love. She confronted Jumah and declared that this was unacceptable. But Jumah refused to be intimidated, and told her that while MTS will gladly help anyone regardless of their religious beliefs, we will never hide Jesus; He is the healer of souls. Jumah suggested that if she couldn’t respect the Christian faith of Africans then African ministries didn’t need her funds. Jumah then encouraged the founder to trust God to provide, and not accept this disrespectful secular demand. Sure enough, God soon provided a new funding source from American churches.
We went away from this meeting praising God for allowing us to help other ministries not just give food and clothing (as important as they are) but offer healing for wounded souls.
Last week we completed our last training at the National Rehabilitation Centre, the juvenile detention center for non-capital offenders for all of Uganda. They have up to 300 youth there at a time. This is an incredible opportunity to train key government workers who serve a most vulnerable population.
Jumah trained a few of these workers three months ago. The director was so pleased with the tangible fruit in her staff that she asked us to come train more staff. We only had two days to train 35 people, but we went full-throttle and God potently guided us.
They were (understandably) skeptical the first morning, but soon loosened up and really began to engage. We fixated on addressing our own trauma before we can help youth with their trauma. Steve taught on the nature and effects of trauma and on Gods original design. Kelsey taught on the biology of trauma and on strategies for trauma reduction. Jumah led application exercises. The staff was so hungry for the practical strategies that they refused to let Kelsey stop teaching!
Jeffry, the assistant director, told me at one of the breaks that until Jumah came and taught, their only strategy with the youth was to cane (beat) them. He said now that they are starting to understand trauma, they are no longer using this force treatment, but are instead helping the youth using ministry tools they have received. He said they are so encouraged with the results of this new strategy!
Many of the staff told us how much they appreciate our encouragement and our understanding that they as staff members have also experienced great trauma. It is amazing how deeply God puts the need to be respected and understood into the human heart. By your prayers we believe we were able to do this strongly with this staff. Praise God for this amazing opportunity. Please continue to pray that Jumah will be able to do a full training for them soon.
God is on the move in East Africa!
Finally, before we headed back home to the States, we spent some time with our daughter, Abby, her husband David, and their children. In partnership with API (Abby and David’s ministry in Kampala) the ladies of Hope House were able to go through Mending the Soul and Princess Lost curricula over five years ago, and they are still doing well. They are now employed by MTS making the Ugandan signature paper beads, and are able to put their children through school with the income. Princess Lost saved their lives, and they’re SO thankful for their healing!
When this program started, Abby thought she would have three ladies come to Hope House. Instead over 18 came and finished the two year program! That first year was so overwhelming to Abby, that she said, “God always tricks us into the big stuff.”
It was great spending time with these beautiful women.
Steve & Celestia