Photo by Tony Cece

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Making an Impact

The morning started out quite chilly and required a fair bit of bundling to stay warm.   The day livened up around lunchtime with the sun coming out and warming us all up.   Our team was divided up into three groups again and worked with three very different populations.  We worked in the IDP camp again, another school, and the IAA (Into Abba’s Arms) staff. 

Dr. Keyes took Dr. Harris-Keyes’ group to the IDP camp today. We had a good conversation with the chairman of the camp. He readily welcomed us and thanked us for coming. We were also welcomed with open arms into several homes, where the people shared stories of how they came to the camp. One of the homes we entered was the home of a man who became a pastor when he came to the camp. He saw a need for community and faith to be built so he decided to meet that need. The pastor intends to attend the pastor trainings we will host next week. Another woman shared a story of how she was burned when her home was set on fire because of the conflicts. The team was able to share relaxation techniques and pray with her. She was very appreciative. Overall, the connections that were made today through sharing stories helped us appreciate the individuals in the midst of such hardship and poverty.

Dr. Harris-Keyes took Dr. Keyes’ group to St. Christopher Secondary School. Dr. Harris-Keyes came to this school last year and taught the students about self-esteem and the teachers about the effects of trauma in the classroom. This visit we taught the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th form (which is equivalent to grades 9th-12th). The topic we taught the students was conflict resolution. We also had the opportunity to teach the teachers how to work with disruptive students. The teachers and students were very thankful. The teachers shared with Dr. Harris-Keyes how they took the information they learned last year and created lesson plans and have been using them continually with the students. The administrator has even changed how she and the teachers interact with the students and their parents as a result of what she learned last year. They greatly appreciated this year’s topics as well. The kids were really involved, well disciplined, and even took notes. The teachers had a thirst for knowledge and excellence. The teachers really appreciated the classroom management techniques.

Dr. Reese’s group worked with the IAA staff throughout the day.  Presentations on hope as well as grief and loss were found very helpful for them.  We led small groups and gave each person the opportunity to share their thoughts, feelings, and life experiences related to hopelessness and hope. They have all experienced great amounts of loss in their lives and have struggled with maintaining hope and wrestled with overcoming grief and loss.   Many were moved to tears as they listened to the presentations and discussed the losses they have experienced.  The staff found it so helpful to know it was ok to grieve and cry. Many discussed the hope they have in God as well as the hope they have found from one another.

During debriefing, a few people shared how their experiences using their counseling skills here has been very affirming and confirming to them personally. At this year’s graduation commissioning ceremony of Regent, the speaker shared how we are to be good stewards of the education we have received. It is truly an honor to share the counseling skills we have learned from Regent with the Kenyans. It is encouraging how receptive and appreciative the people have been to what we have shared and how they have applied what was learned last year. Thanks again for all your prayers for our health, interactions, traveling mercies, etc.! We greatly appreciate them!

-Jen, Kelly, & Sarah

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