Only God can turn the victims of war into the instruments of revival
When our founder was beginning the ministry in Northern Uganda, she first called the American embassy in that region in order to coordinate her first steps. The phone call is memorable. The representative reminded her that Northern Uganda was Joseph Kony’s territory (terrorist rebel in the late 80s through the early 2000s) and that they STRONGLY suggested she not go. She responded, “Is this a suggestion or an order?” “It’s a strong suggestion. If you insist on going, we will cross you off the list,” they said. “What does that mean?” she asked. “There is no chance for you to return to [the US] except in a body bag,” they quipped.
Volatility has always been a factor wherever we have gone. In the beginning, our landscape was fraught with war. Now, it’s war, gang life, and much more. Favor’s Trauma Counseling ministry began during the war with the LRA in northern Uganda and post-war national recovery to see God bring healing and hope. Though founded in biblical curriculum and implementation, the services and healing we offer to traumatized communities are not always presented as a “religious” function, but as a two-week process that works.
The Effect of the Curriculum
Our program has two parts. The first section focuses on developing emotional strength, and the second teaches about forgiveness. Throughout the program the counselors teach people how to connect to one another and counter stress with positive activity. In addition, stories and sharing time help the participants understand pain and trauma from another perspective while giving them the opportunity to discuss the events they’ve experienced.
The original Trauma Counseling curriculum we use was written by Christ-believing psychologists from Australia, was peer-reviewed through publications at Boston University, and for many years has been adapted and contextualized for the many people groups we serve throughout South Sudan and Uganda.
Favor has discovered an immense demand and need for trauma counseling, as both nations from top to bottom have experienced brutal oppression and injustice in generations of civil war. We are working at great speed to bring trauma counseling to many contexts. We have hosted reconciliation meetings between tribes with continuous violent raids. In South Sudan, we are bringing counseling to the military units throughout the young nation. Once the people have completed the trauma counseling, they are often ready and eager to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. In many communities, this work precedes a 2-month long Portable Bible School to train and disciple.