On June 1st, a diverse group of 32 Christian leaders, women and men, young and old, from Covenant churches, other denominations and non-profits in Oaxaca, celebrated the completion of the 8 week Mending the Soul (MTS) course. They shared some of the amazing ways the Holy Spirit has been at work in their lives giving them power to see and name the different types of abuse in their lives and ministering to them through God’s Word, personal reflection and small group sharing based on the MTS material. In this community, we have witnessed how the truth sets us free and God brings liberation and freedom to those who are willing to seek His face for healing and transformation.
Our closing ceremony was a special time of contemplative prayer from 1 John 4 focusing on God’s love for us and His call for us to love one another. We also shared Holy Communion together, remembering how Miriam sang and danced before the Lord after God had led them from slavery to freedom and celebrating how God has brought us freedom and healing from oppression, violence and abuse.
I was surprised at how openly the men shared thanking God for this opportunity to grow both spiritually and emotionally. One man in particular shared that this was a special, safe place for him because there are few opportunities for men to express their emotions openly and to grow in their understanding about how God perceives them and their emotions.
Please continue to pray for this group as they continue their training and healing process. In August, they participate in the 10-week course Es.pe.re, which focuses on forgiveness and reconciliation. We are excited because this is an internationally recognized course and its methodology received an award from UNESCO. Their goal is to bring better understanding to the emotions, attitudes and beliefs around social and structural violence. Es.pe.re‘s trained facilitators will be offering the course to this group, as well as to the women’s group in Oaxaca. Since they know our limited funding, they will charge us only the cost of materials and transportation for the facilitators. Patty and I had the opportunity to take this course at a Catholic Church in downtown Oaxaca and it was such a blessing for us!
Once this second module finishes at the end of the year, the plan is to continue to accompany and train them in deeper cultural understandings and perpetuations of abuse and violence as well as offer them practical ministry skills including facilitating groups, and participatory Bible studies. We envision a group of Christian leaders with a deep theological, social and practical understanding of abuse, violence and oppression, who are prophets, activists, and peacemakers in their families, churches, and communities. Please pray for the Holy Spirit to continue His work in each participant, giving them the courage to continue their own process of healing as God also provides them with opportunities to share what they have learned with others and minister to both abuse victims and perpetrators.
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