Indonesia bid us farewell in her characteristic way. One week before our departure we had a 7.3 earthquake, tsunami watch and torrential rains! Last year, it was a record-breaking flood! We like to think she just doesn’t want us to leave.
November 19th we flew home from a 2 ½ month visit to Sarah’s House. We are Robin and John Vendelin, known collectively by our ministry, Binding-Up Broken Hearts. Robin is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Washington State, and John is a pastoral counselor. We are called by the Lord to provide therapy and counseling to children, youth and their caregivers in this troubled world who are suffering the debilitating symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and have no access to mental health resources (due either to lack of available services or financial resources). We use cutting-edge techniques that work to assist the brain’s natural way of processing events to then process trauma that has been stuck in the “inbox”. These newer ways of treating PTSD typically work significantly faster than traditional talk therapy. Even during a relatively short visit of just a few months, we are able to see good results from our work. Last year we were with Compassion First (CF) in Indonesia for 3 months.
While at Sarah’s House this visit, we had the indescribable joy of working with CF’s precious residents as well as staff who recognized need for resolution of trauma that are part of their own lives. Especially exciting, our friend and colleague Cathy Thorpe, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, came to provide training to CF staff that broadened their therapeutic skills. Twelve staff took training, and twenty-two received treatment for PTSD with good results we have come to expect.
The changes in those whom we worked with last year were clear to see; they seemed happier, more confident, and peaceful. To hear them report that they had been “good” after their treatment during our last visit was wonderful. It was especially encouraging to see that residents had experienced an enduring change. Since the girls’ brains have not only sustained significant injury due to traumatic experiences but are also still developing, providing therapy for them is more challenging and change harder to sustain.
The stories, both the girls’ and staffs’, are theirs to tell, not ours. The following, however, is a sampling of anonymous quotes about outcomes to therapy:
“I felt like a smelly trash bin … a trash bin that was full but the trash is gone! I had no one to help me but I feel fresh now! I’m have more balance! No more oppressed!”
“I feel more confident and open. I can talk about the (trauma) now. I couldn’t talk about it before. Now, if it comes up, I talk about it without any problem!”
“I feel better and I think about it (her traumatic experience) different now.”
“I can feel the change happening!”
“I feel like I can fly!”
“Since last time (our previous visit), I’ve been good. I’m happier! I don’t get upset with other people like before! I don’t feel tired, overwhelmed; I have energy! Opportunities have just come and I’ve known what to do. I’m so much better now! Thank you!”
“The Lord is close to those whose hearts have been broken. He saves those whose spirits have been crushed.” Psalm 34:18.
John & Robin Vendelin
There is nothing that brings greater joy than doing what you love with the people you love the most! We recently returned from Indonesia for our 2nd annual visit to the beloved girls and staff of Compassion First. Being empty nesters, sharing the role of overseeing the care for Sarah’s House has become an extension of our own family. We anticipated the reunion with the girls and staff for months in advance and were excited to bring our daughter Sophie to meet her newly extended family. Once through the door, it was like we had never been gone.
We had the privilege of travelling with a full clinical team including Lifespan Integration (LI) Instructor Cathy Thorpe, Trauma Therapist Robin and her husband John, and Licensed Clinical Social Worker Tiffany Fieken. Cathy Thorpe, an expert in the field of Lifespan Integration, provided an invaluable training workshop for our clinical staff. LI is a therapy tool used to clear a chosen past trauma, and it has been found to be particularly quick and effective with people experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. During the course of the training, we all had opportunity to be the client, the counselor, and the observer. Even though we were just learning (and stumbling through the steps), there was great healing that happened amongst our group. It was so exciting for us to witness firsthand the benefit this tool will bring to our staff and the residents in our care.
The most impressive result we witnessed in regard to the long-term benefit of LI was with one of our residents. Last year upon our arrival, we met a very anguished, angry, and upset teenager that ended up running away while we were there. Thankfully, she remained in contact with our staff and within two months had voluntarily returned to the shelter. Upon her return, she met our Trauma Therapist Robin. The two launched into their therapy sessions using LI and before too long, this girl had worked through many layers of trauma and was living with great relief. She was no longer experiencing the physical and emotional reactions to the triggers of her trauma. She was able to talk through her experiences without feeling upset and was moving past the pain in her day-to-day life. She dug in, worked hard, and un-covered the layers that were paralyzing her life and is now living full of joy and is well on her way to reintegration. Upon our arrival to Sarah’s House this year, she bounded out to greet us full of life and joy! She is currently in a vocational training program at an upscale Salon Training Institute, working toward becoming an instructor in hair styling, and cosmetology, all the while encouraging those around her at the shelter. This is quite a testament to the positive impact these services can produce in the lives of those in our care.
While it is difficult to separate from family, we departed with a sense of joy, satisfaction, and understanding that God has called us into His amazing work! It is so hard to describe what happens in your heart when you meet family across the world and your lives intertwine. Sometimes the work gets really tough, but you struggle through together. Yet in the midst of the struggle, you realize you are exactly where you should be and all is still right and good. That’s what it is for us right now—just doing life together with those we love and trusting God to lead us every step of the way.
Thanks for being part of the family, and for all you give to make life happen for these beautiful girls; they are worth every penny and more!
For the Girls,
Dean and Sarah Moshofsky
Field Staff Advisors
Note: For the protection of the girls in our care, they have each selected an alias, which appears in place of their given name in all Compassion First content.
Joyful squeals from both Compassion First staff and residents fill the walls of Sarah’s House as we celebrate the academic success of one of our survivors, Achie. After recently passing an Indonesian national exam that concludes her junior high school years, Achie has reached a milestone that now allows her to enroll in the country’s public high school system.
“As teachers we are so proud,” says Joy, “Whenever one of the girls can give a right answer in class or pass an exam it is exciting. Achie especially, she has become brave in her schooling and is able to comprehend what we teach more easily.” Though it is not always an easy process, the teachers are determined to help each girl reach her goal.
With traditional schooling beginning this month, it is with great enthusiasm that Achie prepares for her first day of high school. We are confident in her abilities and are excited for her future. Achie’s success is evidence not only of her hard work and the commitment of the CF teaching staff, but of the relentless support of our CF Everyday Advocates everywhere.
Thank you for your commitment to a better future for each survivor in our care.
It takes all of us.
This Wednesday, July 16th is Partner Rewards Bonus Day, which means that each donation is matched, up to $1,000. Thank you for helping to support Compassion First and our initiatives that further the dreams and hopes of girls like Achie.
A few months ago Ruth’s House, Compassion First’s operational aftercare facility in Indonesia, was directly impacted by historic flooding that elevated waters 10-12 feet, destroyed homes, and displaced nearly 80,000 people. Our staff and residents had little time to haul belongings, office supplies, and program materials to the only second story room of Ruth’s House, where they rode out the storm huddled together. They were evacuated by rescue boat at 2:30am and safely escorted to Sarah’s House—our newest leased, beautiful and spacious home for survivors.
While this new facility is much larger and better suited for our program needs, it was not ready for operations at the time of the flood. In an effort to help accelerate the transition and make Sarah’s House safe and secure, communities have deployed renovation teams and individuals have given special gifts. The aid response has been both encouraging and humbling.Our staff is committed as ever to keeping the girls enrolled in their programs and activities. And despite the constant drum of hammers, drills and opportunity for distraction, our girls are thriving in their new environment.
Your contributions are helping us purchase new bunk beds, repair roofs, provide new clothing for the residents, rebuild our kitchen and so much more! We hope you enjoy our report pictures.There is still much work to be done! We will continue to generate updates and keep you informed on the continued progress. For now, thank you for helping us rebuild.
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Assistant to Bickey Lloyd