It is with overflowing thankfulness that I thank you for being you. You have no idea how helpful, practical, beneficial, and flight-saving you guys are. The amount of stress, money, and hoops that you help us save is unimaginable. I have been an MK my whole life and now with the age of
18 have flown 97 times. About half of those flights have been with SIAMA and I cannot tell you how thankful we are for you. When my father first explained you guys to me I was speechless. I don’t know how many times I marveled and blessed your guys. You are incredible and such a vital part of the body of Christ, we are so thankful for you.
As a kid the one thing in particular that I cherished were the extra suitcases. I have moved so many times and as a part of a family of 5 cannot tell you how thankful we have been for those extra suitcases. They were/are so needed and cherished. My last trip was to CAR and I was able to bring an entire suitcase filled with clothes for people there. They were greatly appreciated, and on my way back the suitcase traveled empty 🙂
I’m not too familiar with this one, but I also thought I heard that one can change or cancel tickets a lot easier with you guys? Anyway, all that to say that you are more than greatly appreciated and cherished. I don’t know how many times I have marveled at the magnitude of your work and blessed you for it. Thank you so very very much, may you be richly blessed. Please don’t stop, I’m thinking of becoming a missionary myself and would greatly appreciate you still being here 🙂 May you be richly, richly blessed in Jesus NAME, amen.
Your sister in Christ, TabeaMK
Ps: Attached is my mothers report of the week. I also wrote reports but she just wrote one the summarizes the entire two weeks into one page so hope you enjoy it! Thanks again, you guys are amazing… it must be because you serve an amazing God
Tabea returned on Saturday from her two week trip to Bangui, Central African Republic, where she helped in a trauma healing workshop for children. It was her first time back in Bangui since we visited 10 years ago and 15 since we lived there. Having grown up mainly in Africa and having left Chad only a year ago, Tabea’s first comment was: “I feel like I’m home”.
Tabea was very eager to help in this workshop, and gave herself heart and soul to the children. Program director Cami Robbins describes the program as follows:
“Whenever adults suffer, children suffer doubly. This workshop equips churches and concerned adults to help children recover after traumatic events like war or abuse. It uses an interactive, story-centered, field-tested model of Bible-based trauma healing to give vital mental health information in a biblical framework.”
Tabea wrote from Bangui about the 50 children who came each day wearing their Sunday-best… “They had experienced a lot of suffering and the big question was why? They were told that God loves them and cares for them, so why would He allow them to suffer so much? To answer this question we tell the story of creation, how God made everything good. Their first memory verse is about how God looked at all He had made and saw that it was all very good. But when man disobeyed God, sin and suffering entered into God’s perfect world.
To demonstrate this point the kids are taught how to make a beautiful tissue flower. They absolutely love their flowers and keep them for years and years. Then the kids come up with sins that people do. The leader takes (their own) flower and starts to read out all of the sins. Each time they read a sin they rip a petal off their flower. This can greatly affect the kids, as such a beautiful flower is reduced to an ugly stump. By this metaphor, we show the kids why there is suffering in the world.
Then we give them 3 causes of suffering. 1) The fall 2) Satan 3) Bad choices. We allow them to tell of some personal examples of how some people’s bad choices had affected them. They can all relate to how the rebels’ bad choices have resulted in so much suffering. It’s important for the kids to know that even though God doesn’t supernaturally deliver us from our suffering, He is with us through all of it. Their second memory verse is that God heals those who have hurt hearts and tends their wounds… Last week, we talked a bit about the good effects of suffering. One of the most remarkable answers was given by Cami herself. She said that if she hadn’t been here when the rebels came and pounded on her gate; if she hadn’t had sleepless nights standing by the window wondering if they would be able to break open the gate; if she hadn’t had to listen to all of the gunfire not knowing what would happen, she would never have become part of the team. When she went back to the US and got help, she knew she had to come back and bring the same healing to her brothers and sisters here. God didn’t exempt Cami from experiencing trauma… but she would never be able to have the impact she is having now if she hadn’t lived through that. There’s a certain amount of authority that experience brings, and I’m seeing that these two weeks.”
Tabea and her friend Rachael Sawers whose family also lived in Bangui at the same time we did, reviewed Bible verses by heart, song and actions with the kids. Tabea said she loved how the course equipped the children to be able to deal with future trauma… “They now know that they are important to God, that He is always with them, that forgiving is an act that liberates them, not an act that justifies a wrong…”
Talking about what happened is one of the first crucial steps to healing and each child was given an opportunity to share if they wanted to. Tabea wrote that each time she saw a leader and child bowed in prayer, she thought she was going to cry.
Judith Sawers (Rachael’s mother) wrote about the importance of the leaders listening to the children they work with… “We’ve heard lots of stories about the difference it’s made to a child to have a caring, safe adult notice their unhappiness and be prepared to listen to them, and hear their story. Some of the stories are traumatic and violent… but children’s workers have seen huge results from ‘just’ listening to a traumatised child, while others have found joy in helping the child move forward and find a better ‘place’ in life.”
Tabea wrote about the second lesson of the children taking their pain to the cross: “The children are given slips of paper they can write their burdens on. Then, together as a table group, they can give it to Jesus. We symbolize this by having them put them in a box that we then place at the foot of a small wooden cross. To show that once we’ve given Jesus a burden, we don’t go pick it up again and keep carrying it ourselves, we light them all on fire. The heavy burdens are thus reduced to ash.”
Trauma also occurred during the workshop. The father of one of the girls attending the workshop was there as a leader. Tabea explained… “This man was one of twelve brothers. Ten lived in the village and two here in Bangui. One week into the course, the ten brothers were killed in the same night when the rebels invaded their village. The news was delivered to one of the two brothers here last weekend with no compassion whatsoever. The shock caused his ‘nerves to explode’ and he fell into a coma. Three days later, on Monday, he died. We are asking God to doubly bless the last brother for still coming to the workshop despite this tragedy.”
Judith concludes: “It’s very clear to me that, in particular, the brutality of the first peak in the conflict, in 2013, has scarred a number of the kids we have here… I’m glad God knows each of these children individually; that he created them and has brought them through some of the worst things human beings can inflict on others. Now they’ve had the opportunity to learn of their own unchanging value in God’s eyes… They’ve learned some ways of recognising harmful emotions, and what to do with them, as well as what good things they can try to build into their own lives. They’ve learned that it can take time for your hurt emotions to heal, just as it takes time for your body to heal, and they’ve been given a tool for understanding their – and others’ – journey through grief… As well as their past, I’m glad God knows their futures… that they will go back to their families or the people who care for them now, and then back to school, with a new friend in Jesus, and strength and new strategies to deal with life… Pray that they will bring healing to others as they talk about what they’ve discovered and for the facilitators… that they will gather more children around them and continue to share the story of God’s love, forgiveness and healing.”
If you would like more information on this program, please don’t hesitate to contact us.