Today was the first day of the Community of Practice convened by the American Bible Society and their Trauma Healing Institute. The room was crowded with recovery specialists in practice around the world. While a few are mental health experts, many are missiologists, bible translators, linguists, pastors, etc. All are individuals who felt the need to address the pandemic of trauma in their little corner of the world. Participants are working in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, South America, Europe, Canada, and the U.S.
It was a stimulating day. Opening remarks by the new ABS president, Dr. Doug Birdsall, reports from ten different areas about recent trauma healing efforts. We heard about what was going on in Nova Scotia to Namibia to Nepal to Nigeria; in South Sudan, Kenya, Thailand, the DR Congo Papua New Guinea and some sensitive areas.
I got a chance to take the group through a fly-over of the cost and context of psychosocial trauma, some recent understandings of the impact of trauma on the body and concluded with a summary of what we know works (and some possible reasons why) and might be transferable and scalable in other parts of the world. Dr. Michael Lyles brought us an update of PTSD and tied it to the experience of the parable of the Good Samaritan. We also heard about resilience training in Namibia and the trauma of persecution and torture in the Middle East.
It is exciting to see what God’s people are doing with just a few resources and to hear how the Bible Society’s program of recovery is maturing and growing by leaps and bounds. However, Doug Birdsall’s meditation on Luke 10 is still ringing in my ears. After sending out the 72 to do ministry, they returned with joy over the great activity they saw. People were healed; demons cast out; the kingdom expanded. Jesus responds to them by saying something rather startling,
Yes, and there is even more amazing things to come. You haven’t seen anything yet. BUT, don’t rejoice over the fact that you have power to cast out demons. Instead, rejoice in the fact that your names are listed in the roll of citizens of heaven. [my paraphrase]
It is good to take heart in the small army of trauma recovery specialists. God is up to something great, even bigger than we can now see. But, it is always more important that he has come and redeemed us. Make sure that you are more happy about your redemption than about what you can do for God.