Thursday, May 12, 2011

Grace-filled Holistic Care and Emotional ‘Aftershocks’

World Orphans partnered with Together for Adoption, CCTI (Crisis Care Training International), and 3 educators from Arlington, TX to bring five days of Grace-filled Holistic Care Training in Haiti for 100 OVC team members, pastors and teachers.

It has been 16 months since the earthquake and the emotional ‘aftershocks’ continue. Bigger earthquakes result in larger aftershocks. Just as recurrent rumblings and shaking immediately follow a large earthquake, the ongoing emotional tremors of many Haitians have resulted in shattered hearts that are still terrified to re enter concrete buildings.

Care givers are weary, children are orphaned and families are still reeling in the aftermath of fewer resources and ongoing grief. The foundation that was once under-foot is still on shaky ground in Port-Au-Prince.

Bridging the chasm of suffering and loss resulting from natural disaster to the love of God can be challenging and is best understood in the context of Christ’s suffering all the way to cross.

We began our training by establishing the rock solid foundation of hope that is found in the reality that, adoption was not given to us apart from the Gospel of Jesus Christ - “Rather, adoption is nothing less than the placement of sons in the Son”(Reclaiming Adoption-Dan Cruver).

The following days were spent unpacking the wonders of God’s grace through Christ in the areas of communication, trauma care, and education. We were reminded that as ministers of God’s grace, our personal reliance and continued growth in the knowledge of grace is vitally important.

Emotional rebuilding and equipping of our OVC team members, pastors, and teachers are essential to the ministry of World Orphans as we seek to care for the whole child/person, spiritually-physically-emotionally and mentally. Even when ‘trauma = loss’, there is no loss so great that it can separate us from the love of God.

Our friends from CCTI guided the team members, pastors, and teachers through a children’s book specifically designed to help children work through the traumatic effects of the earthquake. They drew pictures of themselves and how they felt when the earthquake took place. Taking time to process their personal wounds opens them up for ongoing healing and a greater ability to assist children in trusting God through recurrent fear and sorrow. We concluded our time by praying for one another in small groups.

The educators finished out the training by encouraging the OVC team members, pastors and teachers that they are God’s workmanship who are created for purpose. They relayed practical suggestions for engaging the children and motivating them to learn. The OVC teachers spoke candidly about the daily difficulties they encounter in the classroom as the children are reluctant to learn and slower to comprehend following the earthquake.

The rumbling continues, yet our time together with the OVC team members, pastors and teachers assured me that there is indeed rebuilding taking place and a solid foundation that will never be moved. The local church is alive and well in our OVC program and we are grateful for our US partners who continue to support the work of these churches.

“For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1Corinthians 3:11)