by Frank Dimmock
Recently I was blessed to co-facilitate a trauma healing group session for eight Congolese and Rwandan women living in the Louisville, Kentucky area. (This session was made possible by The Outreach Foundation’s gracious support of my training as a trauma healing facilitator.) Training our partners in listening and recognizing trauma wounds and how to help and when to refer is critical. The African women in this session are survivors of the violence and genocide that have been taking place in their part of the Great Lakes region of Africa. They told stories of fleeing violence, being separated from family, and witnessing and enduring long periods of pain and suffering. Through a series of miracles, they have resettled in apartments within ten miles of my home. I was aware, through the news, books and movies, that refugees from conflict areas (most notably, the Lost Boys of Sudan and Syrian families) had been settled in U.S. communities, but I had not personally heard their testimonies or recognized them as my neighbors.
Healing the pain of heart wounds requires time and courage. It is a process. Most importantly, it is reinforced through engagement with God's Word.
It requires an understanding of suffering, supported with scriptural references to God’s love, power and compassion (Romans 8:35-39) and God’s personal sacrifice (1 John 4:9-10).
It requires an identification of heart wounds and pain, and with time and courage, a remembrance of a traumatic experience. I was deeply affected by the horrific stories of these courageous African women.