A few days ago our team finished Mending the Soul’s By His Wounds Workbook Facilitator Training in Goma, DR Congo. We couldn’t have asked for much more (well, hot water would have been nice, but it definitely was a want and not a need). The reports we heard the last day from teams using By His Wounds were simply mind boggling. One woman attended our first training in 2007 and has been using what we taught here for the last 12 years. Several who are engaging in the most extensive trauma work attended our 2017 training, one of the most difficult ones we’ve ever had when I was so sick with malaria. Satan apparently saw the tremendous zeal and potential of those attendees and tried unsuccessfully to thwart it.
Here is Pastor Jonathan and his team of 11 trainers. They have conducted over 100 trauma trainings and have equipped hundreds of leaders, including pastors, teachers, children’s workers, seminary students, and counselors in the past two years. They live in the “triangle of death” where the Ebola epidemic and militia killings are ravaging the population. Currently, 15-19 people a day are dying from Ebola in Butembo. Your assistance has allowed us to resource and train these “trauma missionaries” to bring Jesus’ hope and healing where it is desperately needed.
Here are some of the other beautiful stories we heard, evidencing God’s gracious blessings on Mending the Soul’s kingdom investment in the Congo:
This is Pastor Baraka. He attended our 2018 training where he and several of his colleagues learned that the rapes their daughters experienced wasn’t their fault and hadn’t brought shame on their family or church. They had never heard that truth. Pastor Baraka, the day he learned this, went home and apologized to his daughter for blaming her and not allowing her to attend church and take communion. He told me he was so thankful for how God used Mending the Soul to heal his family. He also said that through hearing Mama Nora’s story of abuse and healing at our 2017 conference, his daughter has been given the freedom and boldness to share her story to dozens of audiences. He said with joy beaming from his eyes, “I had no idea God could use my daughters’ abuse to help so many others find redemption.” Thank you Jesus!
Here is Pastor Murarra, one of the amazing “crippled evangelists” we also trained in 2017. He thanked us over and over for giving him tools for his own healing and to use in the extensive “faraja” (comfort campaigns) his team conducts throughout the province. Your financial support also allowed us to give Pastor Murarra some financial support for immediate medical and ministry training needs. Today, our daughter Abby told us about a wonderful non profit hospital in Uganda which treats disabled people like him. We will be raising support soon to help some of the Congolese like him get needed surgeries.
Here is a team led by a psychologist named Sylvee (on the far right). To her left is one of the other crippled evangelists. This team has used By His Wounds to train hundreds of leaders and countless lay people in Beni. Sylvee has also had an extensive outreach to families of Ebola victims.
Here is a short video Celestia took of Albert, a former rebel militia leader we have known for several years. Albert has led over 450 former militia rebels to Christ and taken them through By His Wounds (which wasn’t even designed for this population but he has effectively adapted it).
Due to a recent donation to Mending the Soul, Albert now has his first semester of surgical assistant’s training at Heal Africa Hospital paid for (this is similar to a PA—physicians assistant program in the US).
Albert, like the other 35 leaders at this years conference, was ecstatic to receive the new By His Wounds Workbook. We can’t wait to see how God will use this new resource in the days ahead. Please be praying for these recently equipped leaders. They face incredible obstacles. Over and over they asked for our continued prayers. They truly believe (correctly) that prayer support is the most important factor for effectively serving the traumatized and for the healing of their country.
Finally, here is a picture of our team on our last night in Congo standing with two leaders of another Baptist denomination which has some 1000 churches and hundreds of schools and medical centers. For over two decades their denomination was almost destroyed by a split caused by tribal hatred. Recently, the leaders have publicly repented and reconciled. Many deep wounds remain— wounds from the fractured relationships and wounds from living in the worst regions for massacres and kidnappings (particularly Rutchuru where many refugees flee from). These leaders came to formally request that Mending the Soul come assist their leaders and 1000 churches to heal.
We and our Congolese friends can’t thank you enough for your financial support and prayers which have made all of this fruitful work possible.
I’ll close with the passage we closed our conference with:
“I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.
Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare.”
– Isaiah 42:6-9
Steve for our team