Update from Ethiopia #2

African landscape

Abby just finished teaching on dissociation and trauma. She was so wise and compelling. I took a few photos of the faces of our friends as they heard her discuss the interplay of the limbic system and trauma. Her capacity to communicate truly difficult concepts in a manner that was both clear and useful was brilliant. Even more thrilling was the interaction. The questions sizzled and popped. You could see faces go from questioning if not confusion to the ‘aha’ experience of making connections. As I write this post we are on a brief break, and Jan will return to talk about the impact of trauma on our spirituality and the role of vows and agreements. Becky will finish off this morning leading a discussion on the cultural issues of how stories of sexual shame can be addressed without causing more trauma. It is a full morning.

It is a beautiful day and full of the excitement that a teacher feels when the students are actually more mature and wise than those who are instructing, and we get to play together in the complex and beautiful world God has created. Play in the midst of trauma. Excitement in the face of the dark and cruel trauma of abuse. Indeed, death doesn’t own or possess the final word. It always seems that it does. It appears that the ruin of violence and the despair of heartache is the last and final word. However, if you were to hear the laughter and the lightness of spirit of these men and women who face a depth of evil few of us will ever know—you would know that death is not the end.

Pray for us to continue to follow their brilliant and wild hearts in our interviews. The interviews have so far been beyond our wildest expectations. They have probed areas of their world, abuse, suffering, and redemption that has taken our breath away. We soundly believe we are getting the right kind of data to plan alongside the African contingency future courses that will bring the best of what we offer with the cultural sensitivity that makes the material actually useful.

Pray we end this race well. We feel well, strong, and deeply protected by Jesus. Thank you again beyond words for your prayers.


Learn more about The Allender Center’s work in Ethiopia.