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