One of the beneficiaries of WITH’s training is a large ministry operating in many African countries among those who suffer from persecution and violence. WITH trainers have trained this partner’s regional team leaders to develop and run their own training courses locally for helping church leaders and Christian communities facing persecution in Ethiopia, Central African Republic, Kenya and Nigeria.
Here is what Johannes, one of their trainers, said about the impact of the WITH training.
“My job is to train church leaders in communities traumatised by constant persecution.
“Until 2016 we would teach Trauma awareness workshops to pastors. We wanted to enable them to counsel their church members, helping them recover from the trauma. We gave the pastors plenty of information about what trauma is and how it can affect a person’s life. We also gave them lots of Bible passages which spoke about suffering and God’s love for the oppressed and persecuted. However, for the most part it wasn’t working…
“The pastors happily received the information and training, but when they took it back to their churches, nothing much seemed to change. It appeared that the pastors did not have real compassion for their church members who were traumatised.
“With the help of Richard, a trainer from WITH, we were able to analyse our approach and work out what the problem was. What we discovered was a big surprise.
“We found out that the pastors were also traumatised themselves, but they didn’t realise it. When we looked, we could see the effects of trauma on their lives and their families’ lives, as they weren’t taking proper care of themselves.
“It became clear that we needed to provide trauma help for the pastors themselves. Once they had begun to heal, they might finally be able to offer help and show empathy to their congregations.
“Richard helped us to develop two special training modules, that helped pastors begin their recovery process.
“We’ve tested the training across Ethiopia. Again and again we have seen the pastors able to get to grips with their own trauma. As they did that, they were finally able to show true compassion to the men, women and children they were serving.
“Inspired by Richard’s training, we are now creating more training resources. These new resources will help pastors work more effectively with their church members and help them make their churches healthy places again.”