Healing From Past Hurts

Story by Karen Weavertrauma_healing

How can a person find healing from deep hurts he or she has carried for years?

Trauma Healing Workshops seek to address these hurts, help people understand their consequences,  and to bring them to the cross. In one of these workshops, men and women from multiple villages in the West Sepik gathered to find healing from their painful past. In all, this course drew 71 participants from 10 language groups over three weeks.

As people listened, shared, and participated in skits, they learned how to process painful events in their lives and how to find healing from old emotional wounds. They worked through trauma that had resulted from tribal fighting, from devastation during the tsunami, and from family conflicts.

Participants identified their pain, talked about it in small groups, and wrote out their feelings in laments, following the example of the book of Lamentations in the Bible. After individuals expressed their pain, the leaders helped them move on from there and not remain trapped in grief. They were encouraged to bring their burdens to the cross, which they did symbolically by writing on paper and then burning that paper at the base of a wooden cross.  As they laid aside their bitterness they found new freedom in forgiveness.

One participant summed up his feelings by saying, “I have great joy to be in this course and I feel that there is a way to be slowly healed from this burden that I have been carrying for a long time now. After it is healed I will be able to help my brothers and sisters. Now I feel I have lots of work to help others to carry their pain and burdens to the cross.”

In fact, many are already doing that. Several people who attended the Trauma Healing Workshop went home and started teaching the lessons to others. For example, one man told his village that he would teach one topic each Monday. On the first day, 80 people from his village came to learn!

Pray that God would continue to work in people’s hearts and minds as they seek to live out forgiveness and to find healing in Christ.


A Clear Call

clear_callStory by Karen Weaver

“That’s exactly right!” The enthusiastic reaction to a verse of Scripture had once again taken Des by surprise.

New Zealander Des Oatridge and his Binumarien co-translator, Sisia, were pushing to complete Paul’s letters to the Corinthians. It was the late 1970’s and the two men had been working together for many years, “turning the talk” of the New Testament into clear Binumarien. They came to I Corinthians 14:8 and read, “If the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle?”

Suddenly Sisia exclaimed energetically, “That’s exactly right! In the old days, a fight leader would give a battle call and every one of his followers would immediately drop what he was doing, grab his bow and arrows, and race off with him to battle. If he didn’t give a clear call, people would say, ‘What does he want?’ and not go. But if his call was unmistakable they would go.”

He paused. Des could tell by Sissia’s expression that he had something else to add. “That’s exactly what this work we are doing is all about. The Book in another language, Kate or Pidgin, is like an unclear call to us. We just don’t understand it. But in our own language it is clear. We know exactly what it is saying to us.”

They translated several more verses and came to the words, “I’d rather speak five words with my understanding than ten thousand with an unknown tongue.” Sisia reacted as if he had received an electric shock. He began to bounce up and down on his stool. He rocked his body from side to side and threw his hands about.

Sisia almost shouted, “That’s absolutely right! Five words in your own tongue is better than words and words and words in someone else’s. Paul’s right. He’s always right!”

(Condensed from the book “Hidden People” by Lynette Oats, p. 277-278)