Two Stories From Our Summer Internship

Dear friends,

Our summer internship in Pastoral Counseling in Phoenix has been an amazing experience in so many ways. Spiritually, we have been encouraged to dig deeper, physically we have had opportunity to relearn to be content in whatever circumstances (ay, ay, ay – this heat), emotionally we haven’t even begun to grasp the depths of brokenness in this world, and clinically we have had exemplary tutelage from our dear friend and supervisor, Dr. Barney Davis, in our new calling of helping people through counseling. The following are examples of some of the 70 or so living, human narratives we have had the privilege to be invited to be a part of this summer. Thank you for your ongoing support and for your prayers as we return to Honduras to wrap up and prepare to move on to Puerto Rico, Lord willing, in November. Our prayer for this next short season is that God’s grace would permeate everything we do as we strive to “end well” at Loma de Luz. Please pray with us to this end. Thank you! Dave and Marinajo

Sandra (not her real name) is a 50 something, undocumented immigrant who faced unbearable trauma as a young child in Mexico at the hand of her uncle. Sexual abuse, as is in many traumatized women’s stories, serves as the epicenter of trauma fueling shame, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, anger, and affecting pretty much everything and everyone in their lives. As an adolescent, Sandra’s mother accused her of lying about her uncle having sexually abused her and then emotionally abandoned her by supporting her brother over her own daughter. Sandra’s low self-worth impels her to serve her family and others to exhaustion. Her grief over her mother’s death from Covid-19 is guilt-ridden. After four counseling sessions her countenance has changed from shame-filled to a smile and a light in her eyes. She told us, “Here, I can tell you things that I can’t talk about anywhere else.” The process of “walking in the light” (1 John 1:7) allows Jesus to shine light into the darkest parts of her soul. In this she has begun the path of healing. She is beginning to find her worth in Christ through the truth of Scripture as her medicine. It is beautiful to experience this transformation and to have the privilege of being part of her narrative toward healing.

“Rojo” is the nickname of a demonstrative, emotional, and caring man who struggles with sadness, anxiety, and an inability to control his emotions. This combination has proven to be too much for him as he often lets his emotions get away with him and take over. He arrives at the clinic barely holding it together, losing control when we get into the safety of the consultation room together. His arms flail in a display of raw emotion as he describes the heart-rending story of his neighbor who lost four family members in a recent car accident. Although he did not know the neighbor well, he can barely contain his grief over this tragedy. He demonstrates how he keeps the covers over his head in the morning and how it is a battle to leave the safety of his bed to go to work. He is a painter with a client that wanted him to paint white over a red wall and no matter how many coats of white he used – he always saw red “bleeding through” the paint as if the blood of those he grieves for is chasing him through the paint. His capacity for great compassion and sadness also brings with it a capacity for great joy and the ability to see the joy where others cannot. Medicine has helped him moderate his responses and given him “space” to be able to regain control. After several weeks, he is like a different person when he arrives at the clinic. He now feels that he can contain his emotions well enough to go to church, he is learning breathing exercises and other methods to fight his almost constant anxiety, and, most importantly, he has some scripture cards in his pocket – at the ready to pull out and read when he feels like he is losing control again. With these tools, he genuinely feels confidence for the first time in many years. God continues to work in “Rojo’s” heart through the combination of medicine prescribed by a doctor and truth-filled, biblical counseling.