LATIN AMERICA – “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant,” sang Mary after she received life-changing news from an angel. Even as she was preparing to think and act in new ways, she glorified the Lord — the Messiah was on his way! I think of Mary’s song of joy — and her future song of lament…..
In our work and lives, we sing both with joy and lament. Widespread unrest has blocked roads and brought much of the economy to a standstill. The Sandinista government has stopped demonstrations by force and established a “new normal” for the entire country. For many families in Nicaragua, the only constant of this new normal is uncertainty and they are singing a song of lament. In response, our partners have been adjusting — thinking and acting in new ways while still singing the glory of God.
We sing with joy that in most rural areas our health, food security, and livelihood programs are able to continue. In urban areas, however, we adjust in response to the changes in daily life. The Nehemiah Center will continue its work in restorative practices, training local leaders to deal with neighborhood conflicts.
We sing with joy that there are now plans for these community leaders to be certified through international institute of Restorative Practices. In response to the country’s deep divisions that are affecting churches, organizations, and neighbourhoods, Nehemiah Center staff are also implementing a pilot project for reconciliation within the context of the loval church, training and organizing local church leaders to practice restoration within their own spheres of influence.
We sing with lament for the many people affected by acts of violence and dealing with the resulting trauma. I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with the Nehemiah Center as they work in trauma healing and have facilitated three healing groups of more than 20 participants each.
I sing with lament as I read evaluation reports from these classes. Like deep physical wounds, deeply wounded hearts take time to heal and, although people are hesitant to share their stories publicly, these private reflections bring tears to my eyes. The wounded speak of facing pain and forgiving offenders and I see their own songs changing slowly from lament to healing.
I sing with joy at the prospect of further healing when, as a part of my own process of certification in trauma healing, I collaborate with a master facilitator this January to further train 35 students from these healing groups.
Chosen by the Nehemiah Center, these healing hearts will be further trained as healing group facilitators and reach out in their own communities and churches to change other songs from lament to joy.
Please pray that this work will be blessed and extend to many hurting people in Nicaragua and that God will in all be glorified.
Please join us in prayer:
- We’re thankful we were able to visit with family in November, spending a week in Winnipeg with Reuben, Malyssa and their energizer bunny Odin, and also celebrating American Thanksgiving with Leanne’s parents and siblings.
- Leanne is thankful for the privilege of a three-month sabbatical to learn and sharpen skills. Pray for her smooth transition back into a busy schedule.
- Pray for the victims of fire, flooding, earthquakes, and other disasters, along with the victims of corruption, homelessness, and rejection.
- Pray that we may be makers of peace, lovers of justice, and practitioners of mercy.
World Renew Latin America