We read about it in scripture and try to understand the hostility the early apostles faced during their ministries in the first century, but it all seems so long ago; not something that we would experience today.
Yet this type of violence is happening in our very generation to our brothers and sisters in West Africa.
In 2012, as rebels and jihadists took over the north of Mali amidst civil war, communities were fleeing the violence leaving thousands of displaced people and families. A wave of violence also began in Nigeria that year at the hands of the Boko Haram jihadist group. They bombed many churches and attacked schools, and then in 2014 began bombing open markets and bus stations, and committing mass kidnappings. In 2015, the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris sparked a wave of political and religious violence in several cities and towns in Niger.
These atrocities are claiming many lives, and the loss continues to be felt by those who survive this trauma but are unable to cope with what they have seen and experienced. As Mary Crickmore, World Renew’s West Africa Ministry Team Leader says, “There are physical trauma wounds of our body, but there are also emotional and mental trauma wounds of the heart.”
“The burden on my heart has lifted and I can now be able to help other people.”
World Renew’s Trauma Healing work began in 2012 to meet these deep needs and to walk side-by-side with these survivors as they work to heal and rebuild their lives. See a video Mary put together here.
In West Africa the ministry is fast growing. In the past year, we have been able to reach over 1,000 people for healing and train over 100 facilitators.
Reverend Soriba Joseph Camara in Mali has noted, after several years of training groups and healing sessions in his community, “Many people believe now that there is hope for healing from Trauma. To God be the glory.”
There is true beauty in training facilitators who experience their own healing through the process and can then go on to help others in the same place. One participant shared, “The burden on my heart has lifted and I can now be able to help other people.”
We are making great strides in this critical work and continue to grow in more areas where we see deep need. For example, so many children have been victims of terror and violence across West Africa. We are providing resources to train more children’s facilitators to meet this need. So far, 15 have been trained in Nigeria and 20 in Mali. We are also exploring the possibility of beginning trauma healing work with North American indigenous people – in the Southwest and Winnipeg regions.
Your prayer and continued support are appreciated as we work to bring peace and healing to those who are hurting.