Carol King (center right) with Nepali Pastor and interpreter, teaching partner, Linda Bridges, and Pastor’s wife, Hannah–at New Life AG Church, Kathmandu.
Thank you for coming back to my blog. As you remember from last week’s post, Carol and I are in Kathmandu. We just completed our first week of training on Thursday, August 22. It was an eleven hour day–but non-the-less–a good one. We’ve been posting picture updates on Face Book for our loyal followers–so you can go there if you want to see more pictures. This week has been hard in many ways because our teaching topics were tough ones. They would have been tough even in OUR culture–but the added challenge of handling these in another culture, through an interpreter, left us feeling a little overwhelmed at times. However God is mighty and works in mighty ways to show His Grace and Love to His people. And He did for us. The group of Pastors and women was amazing. Their hunger for learning how to help their churches touched our hearts and we all warmed to each other–a God-thing for sure.
Topics from Healing the Wounds of Trauma: How the Church Can Help included the following:
- If God Loves Us, Why Do We Suffer?
- How Can the Wounds of Our Hearts Be Healed?
- What Happens When Someone Is Grieving?
- How Can We Help Children Who Have Experienced Bad Things?
- How Can We Help Someone Who Has Been Raped?
- How Can We Help Some Who Is Contemplating Suicide?
- How Can We Help the Care-giver?
- How Can We Forgive Others?
- Bringing Your Pain to the Cross
At the conclusion of our first week Carol and I were asked to share in the worship service on Saturday morning.(Saturday is Worship Day in Nepal–instead of Sunday.) Nervous about standing before a large church of believers jarred us a little, but after praying together, God gave both of us words to share. Below is Carol’s message to the church, which she graciously agreed to allow me to post. I hope you will be blessed as you read it.
August 22, 2015,
New Life AG Church,
“A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out.” (Isaiah 42:3)
Greetings from the state of Pennsylvania in the United States of America. I have been in Nepal for one week and I have already felt the warmth and kindness of your people. Thank you.
It is a privilege and a blessing to be asked to come to Nepal to be involved in the Healing the Wounds of Trauma training program at Bethel Church. We are thankful to Pastor Bomzon for organizing the training and bringing brothers and sisters from around Nepal together to learn more about how God cares for us in our suffering.
As we experience God’s comfort, we are then able to comfort others.
I am a professional counselor. Since I have been here, I have learned that the word ‘counselor’ carries some negative meaning. In fact, I’m told that to talk to a counselor might even mean that you are crazy. Even in the US, there can be unease about talking with a counselor. Let us consider John 14:27:
“But the counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” Our Lord has even been called “Wonderful Counselor”.
I take comfort in knowing the name of my profession—Counselor—is a word that also describes Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Hopefully, this thought encourages you to think of the word counselor differently. Perhaps it may even help to encourage talking more to others about the painful and difficult things in your lives. Perhaps, too, sharing what I have learned as a counselor over the years, may also be an encouragement.
One of the main things that I have learned from my profession is about listening to another person’s pain. Sitting and listening is hard. I know that you know this is true. As the Body of Christ, you have responded the many needs of the people in your country since the huge earthquake in April. You have provided food, shelter and other needs. You continue to do so. You also know that those you care for need more. That is why this training is happening. Your church has welcomed pastors and ministry leaders from around the country to learn how to listen well to the pain and suffering of others.
- Listening is a gift we can offer to others
- It is where we can let another person know that they matter
- It is that they have value and worth.
- It is where we can let another person pour out their pain.
- It is where another person can share their grief and know that they are heard.
- It is where we have the privilege of entering into another person’s suffering.
To do this is a gift.
To enter into another person’s suffering is an opportunity to be light.
Remember the word counselor? As someone who listens, we can reflect Christ’s presence–His Spirit. This is a high calling—a calling that, I have learned, is not easy.
Where we have an opportunity to reflect His light, there will be darkness.
Satan is always seeking ways to deceive us. “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14) He masquerades every day in ways to make us call things that are evil, good. He does this in subtle ways. One of the most subtle ways is in our culture. When we come to know Christ, and study His Word, we learn that we are not to be conformed to this world. Roman’s 12:2 states, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
We all know this, yet we may continue to allow our culture to impact how we live or what we think. One example is the reality of the caste system. We may know what the Bible states about how we are all one in Christ, yet we may still think or act otherwise.
The Deceiver wants us to call evil good and good evil. He does not want us to expose his deceptions. As we sit and listen to others he is there. I have seen how he tries to keep people in darkness.
One of the most significant ways Satan does this is by silencing a person’s voice.
It takes courage to talk to someone about our pain. To speak is to expose what is inside—our sadness, our anger, our grief, our guilt, our shame. To speak is to release our pain. To speak in the presence of another is an opportunity to receive comfort and love. This is where Christ dwells. And this is where Satan seeks to silence.
Sitting and listening to another is also where Satan seeks to destroy a person’s sense of self. Consider sitting with a young woman who just shared with you how she was raped by a male neighbor and is now three months pregnant.
How would you react?
What would you say?
I have seen how the reactions and words of others (family members, friends, and church leaders) have contributed to the destruction of a person’s sense of self. These wounded individuals have felt shame that is, or has been, too heavy to bear. As Christians, who seek to listen well to others, we need to be careful with how we respond to those who are in pain.
We have an opportunity to reflect HIS Light—or an opportunity to participate in darkness.
How will we use our words? How will we react when we sit in the presence of another, listening to their pain? Isaiah 42:3 states, “A bruised reed He will not break, and a moldering wick He will not snuff out.” This is a picture of how Jesus relates to us. He is gentle. He is loving.
Through my years of listening, I have learned how powerful my words and reactions can be. As we listen, we have the capacity to speak and respond in ways that cause a person to break—to be ‘snuffed out.’
As the body of Christ, let us remember this. Let us be Light, as we seek to listen well to the pain of others.