By Nadine Pelham
Their faces beamed as they walked into the conference guest house, 10 ladies, leaders in their communities, meeting for 4 days away from their daily tasks of childcare, cooking, cleaning, gathering wood, and carrying water from the well. None had ever stayed in a facility with electricity and plumbing! They were joined by our translators, Joyce and Rose, leaders in the Baptist Association in Palorinya Resettlement Camps. Each day the ladies were given a small gift and their reactions were so joyful, it felt like Christmas!
We were unsure if our ambitious goal of completing a 7-week Trauma Healing course could be completed in 3 ½ days, but those concerns were eliminated in the first session. These ladies came to work and were quick to jump in and engage in every activity, even if it felt strange or uncomfortable. In this course they identified their heart wounds and through Bible stories, listening activities, reflection, and powerful healing activities, they moved from hurt to denial/anger, and no hope to new beginnings. The goal was to get to a place where they could say what Joseph said to his brothers, “What you meant for evil, God meant for good so that many could be saved.”
They were challenged to talk together about how they can make a change in a world where sin and suffering continue. Many stated that they were changed during the week. “We have been blind but now our eyes are open.” “Suffering is good. It is for a short time and can’t be compared to the glory that will be shown to us.” “When we fled our country, we came from all over South Sudan, but now in these smaller camps, all of South Sudan is being reached. What war meant for evil, God meant for good that many would be saved.” These women were truly God chosen!
Our final gesture of service and the most meaningful to us, was to wash their feet and pray the Lord’s blessing over them. Please pray that the truths they learned will be seeds planted throughout the community and bring a great harvest for the Lord.