Photo by Tony Cece

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Thursday 7/26

Once again our trauma team gathered together to discuss the days events filled with stories of struggle, incredible faith and joy. Our teams once again split into four teams and set out to a different area than they had previously gone. In other words, the team that went to the IDP camp yesterday now headed to the community and the team that went into the community now headed for a local school etc...
The team  remained at IAA (Into Abba's Arms) presented an all day seminar on Treating Sexual Trauma; Understanding Sexual Trauma Effects and the Healing Process;and Child Trauma for the staff, teachers and administrators of the IAA orphanage. While discussing child trauma the team taught a technique in which you use stones to help children tell their story. This technique is what is being termed ' Modified Sand Tray. Their reaction was priceless and what we found was that the techniques truly allowed for us to break down some of the communication barriers. Throughout the seminar team members repeatedly broke into small groups to discuss current and past observations about the orphaned children in their care and how they might further recognize the symptoms of sexual abuse. The information was very well received and in one case a young woman seemed to recognize the some of the effects of her own abuse as she reached out to one our teem members for additional help.
Our time at the local schools had come to an end so the team that headed out into the community surrounding IAA  was much larger and their was a shared feeling of "casting a wider net" in our abilities to reach more people. The description once again reported was "they are so grateful, so grateful for all that IAA for donations of water." As members of the team continued to speak with local families we found that many women are bound with their homes, confined by their struggles and separated by their tradition which has not allowed for them to fellowship with members outside of family. The team was hopeful as invites to the upcoming women's conference our team will be presenting were accepted. Our hope is to bring these women together to introduce the idea that they have such a powerful source of support within themselves. 
Some of our most powerful stories once again came the IDP (Internally Displaced Person) camps, where stories of the ravaging effects of domestic violence, sexual trauma, incest and lack of basic needs continued. Our teams reported that amidst extreme deprivation, lack of food, water and safety; these people show such pride in all that they do and in the little that they have. One member reported, "I makes me think about all those things I have, things that people here have never even heard just makes me look at my life completely differently...I'm forever changed." Another team member stated she felt disillusioned and saddened by the comment from an IDP inhabitant. "God has forgotten us." Our team member expressed the heartache to know that 522 families, over 1500 people are limited to a sparse two acres of land, all the while surrounded by a lush forrest they are not permitted to trespass or to plant crops to feed themselves.
As a team, we are continuously amazed by the amount of faith and hope these people display. They are truly thankful for the little they have and praise the Lord in every situation. In the finality of the day one team member poignantly stated, "In the midst of their suffering, they are brought back to the cross and their hope is sustained." 

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