If you can remember all the way back to March, you might remember that David and I spent a week at a Trauma Healing training, learning how to lead Trauma Healing support groups with the Trauma Healing Institute’s curriculum. Since then, we have been planning to lead one of these support groups with the young people at our church. Before we left for Senegal last month, we talked to the pastor, set dates, and put an announcement in for Sunday mornings. When we came home a couple weeks ago, no one had signed up, but we pushed the start date back a week, and hoped more people would sign up before then.
The following Sunday (2 Sundays ago now), our church had a “combined service” (usually there is one francophone service, which we attend, and one bambaraphone service). During the announcements, they mentioned our group and introduced us to anyone who didn’t know who we were. After the service, about 10 people came up to us to sign up! We were excited – we had a group! And 10 was a good number, seeing as some of these groups have started out with 3 people in the past.
Fast forward to this past Sunday. We were sitting in church, and once again our support group was announced for anyone that hadn’t signed up yet. The pastor came up to preach right after the announcements, and declared to the congregation that our group now had 30 people signed up! This was news, even to us! Our group had tripled in size during the week!
A few hours later we were setting up for the first session. We were nervous, as this would be our first time teaching in French. True to Malian culture, we got started about 20 minutes after the set start time (not too bad!), and dove right in. From our perspective, the first session went well. Even more than the 30 people came out, and although we planned to have a group of young people, older people came out as well, which is great! David lead a discussion on the subject of suffering – If God is good and He loves us, why do we still suffer? – and I lead a discussion about what trauma is, the importance of sharing our feelings, and how “wounds of the heart” can be just as serious and harmful as “wounds of the body.” We did run out of time, but that was actually a good sign – people we very interested and most were very talkative, contributing a lot to the discussions.
We are already planning our topics for this coming Sunday, and are praying for God's guidance and words as we lead this group. We know that there are some people in the group who have suffered through significant traumas in their lives, and we hope that through this support group they can start and/or continue on their journey to understanding and healing. Please join us in praying for our group as we continue to discuss trauma, grief, and healing these next two weeks.