Celestia and I have had the opportunity to visit some twenty countries. We’ve lived overseas. We’ve been exposed to numerous cultures. But nothing compares to the Congo. The needs are impossible to quantify. Every single person we interact with has bone chilling stories of trauma and loss. Virtually everyone you meet is in dire need. Where do you even begin?
Our team came here knowing we would be overwhelmed with material, medical, and emotional needs. So we’ve asked God to take our very finite resources, our “five loaves and two fish” and miraculously multiply them to feed the traumatized multitudes.
We know that many of you have been praying. We can feel it. The training yesterday was very challenging. In fact, Celestia said it was the hardest day of training she has had in twelve years of Africa conferences. It really seemed the attendees just weren’t getting it. Many didn’t appear to have the by his wounds background requisite for this training. It was a very long day. It looked like the multitudes simply weren’t going to be fed.
We kept praying. And today was truly miraculous. We focused on God’s redemptive power to use the sin, shame, and suffering we’ve experienced in the past to bring life and deliverance in the present. We began with Joseph’s story of 15 years of family rejection, shame, and imprisonment. As Joseph recounts to his brothers in Genesis 50:20 “what you meant for evil God meant for good to bring about this present deliverance.” I taught on the power of our testimony—including the painful truths of ways we’ve been shamefully abused and the ways we’ve shamefully hurt others. I noted how the Apostle Paul wove his homicidal past into the testimony he shared with unbelievers (Acts 22:4).
We then gave them small group exercises in writing their own trauma stories and sharing them with each other. The sharing was incredible. We were able to use several people in the room as models of how God can use our painful trauma experiences as the most powerful tool to heal others.
For instance, Albert, a former rebel leader who had committed many atrocities, shared how God is allowing him to use his story to reach dozens of former militia members (and sitting next to him was one of those former rebel soldiers he led to Christ and is now discipling.) Others shared similar redemption stories. Nora did an amazing job of leading this session.
In the afternoon, we gave practical guidance on how to develop small trauma healing groups in the church. Every single comment and question was spot on. The hunger and deep personal application was incredible.
We were also blessed to hear numerous reports of how God has been using our past Mending the Soul trainings to help people heal and launch whole ministries. Only God could use our comparatively small loaves of trauma resources to heal multitudes in war torn Congo.
Thanks for helping us extend God’s healing love in the Congo.
Steve for the team
“The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in Spirit.”