Photo by Tony Cece

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014

A theme emerged from the day about the power and importance of relationships. Many team
members were recognizing how our client’s stories influence us as much as our therapeutic
interventions serve clients. Hearing stories of resiliency and determination bring encouragement.
Hearing survival stories and seeing poverty creates a new perspective about how to help our
clients. Some interactions generate internal transformation in the client and move us to tears.
Our clients change us with their vulnerability and growth. We share a common humanity that
includes sharing in each others’ suffering and joy. God is at work in Romania. God is so good to
use what we offer to serve others and bring Him glory.

Today Lem’s group went into the gypsy camp, Rapa. Rapa is 45 minutes away from the city in
a desolate location. Five families live in the community. One team member worked with a man
whose wife was in another country to engage in prostitution. This woman was originally forced
into prostitution by her father and continues in the life regardless of the fact that her husband
would like her to come home. Her husband expressed anger at her actions and explained that
it is hard to trust her. He also expressed his love for her and desire for a genuine, committed
relationship. It seems that relational problems are universal issues and that the longing for a deep
connection with others is also a universal desire.

Dr. Harris’s group found people struggling with similar issues at the domestic violence shelter.
Two team members worked with a woman whose husband would regularly abuse her. This
woman possessed the majority of symptoms found in survivors of domestic violence; she would
not make eye contact, did not show any facial expression, and spoke quietly. After working with
the trauma counselors, this woman was laughing and smiling. Such stories affirm how we can
give death or life to others through our interactions.

Dr. Arveson’s group spent the day at the container village for the homeless. The team met with
individuals, families, and couples. One team spent a few hours working with a couple. The
woman experienced many incidents of abuse in her past, influencing her capabilities in the
present. Yet her partner loved her unconditionally. He understood that without intervention,
trauma interferes with a person’s mental and emotional state. This acceptance helps the woman
cope with things beyond herself. It also reflects the love of God for her. The team members were
able to affirm the positive coping strategies this couple were using as well as teach relaxation and
stress reduction techniques.

Finally, Dr. Keyes lead a team at Cuiesd, a gypsy camp. They worked with a rape survivor and a number of serious domestic violence cases. The team met one man who has had three different surgeries and is unable to work. Despite hardship, this man is living for God. He invests his time and energy in caring for his children. He wants to model a different lifestyle for his children; one that would please God instead of confirming to culture. As such, the family is very industrious and hospitable. In fact many of the poor practice hospitality and are generous with their limited resources. They choose to give instead of merely receive. They choose to live by faith instead of blaming God. We are humbled and challenged to do the same.

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