Sudan

Please pray for the people of Sudan during this difficult time in their history. Here is a brief video about their current situation: Sky News Report June 11, 2019

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Lithuania: November 2018

Right after our time in Ukraine, we flew to Lithuania, where Brent led some sessions with faculty and staff at LCC International University in Klaipeda on supporting students with trauma and mental health. It was a rich time of discussion and strategizing, and such an honour to interact with these compassionate professionals. Brent will continue to contribute to the university in March 2019 when he presents (through SKYPE) at a conference on Trauma that the university is hosting. LCC International University is truly a leader in so many ways, including in shining a beacon of hope for Eastern Europe!

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Vilnius, Lithuania

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LCC International University ‘Moose’ Basketball Team

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Klaipeda, Lithuania

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Former Jewish Ghetto, Vilnius, Lithuania

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Faculty & Staff at LCC International University

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LCC International University, Klaipeda, Lithuania

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Ukraine, November 2018

In November 2018 we had the privilege of traveling to Ukraine, where Brent taught a course on Trauma Counselling at Korosten Seminary. Ukraine has a deep (and recent) history of political violence, persecution, repression, occupation, & nuclear disaster. Additionally, the society is also reeling from a drug/alcohol epidemic that is crippling many families and communities. However, as we have often seen in our travels, there exists visionary community leaders who are striving to meet these challenges. It was our honour to meet with some of them to wrestle with the big questions on how to deal with trauma in this country. We left Ukraine with a lot of hope for the future, knowing that the wonderful students we worked with, as well as other community members we had a chance to get to know, would continue to impact Ukrainian society in beautiful ways, sharing Christ’s love in tangible and intentional manners. We are already praying about a return to Ukraine for 2019!

 

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Kiev; Ukraine: Tassels memorializing those who died in the 2014 revolution

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Kiev, Ukraine: Stations of the Cross mixed with Revolution Memorials

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Kiev, Ukraine: Independence Square

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Our textbook for the course: Trauma & Recovery

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Korosten, Ukraine

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Korosten, Ukraine

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Korosten, Ukraine

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The wonderful students of Korosten Seminary

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Ukraine/Lithuania

Brent & Christy are gearing up to return to Eastern Europe to visit two countries: . In summer, we announced that we, Lord-willing, will be traveling to Ukraine and Lithuania. In Ukraine, Brent will teach about Trauma & Addictions at Korosten Seminary. This region of Ukraine was impacted by the Chernobyl disaster, and the country has faced its own grave difficulties throughout its history, so this course will equip local counsellors and leaders to skillfully support those who are struggling with trauma and substance abuse. In Lithuania, Brent will formally consult with LCC University staff & faculty in supporting students (from the Middle East Scholar program, and others as well) who have experienced trauma and/or mental health issues. This unique program hosts students from countries such as Syria and Iraq, and these students bring with them a host of challenging experiences and symptoms. The university staff & faculty want to learn how to better support these students, so that will be the focus of our time together. We look forward to a challenging but amazing trip! Please pray for us as we travel, teach/consult, and for our children while we are away. You can also consider giving to help us fund this trip. Thank you and God bless!

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Update

It’s been a while since we updated this blog. And, while it’s been by design, we still thought it might be nice to recap the last couple of years of our work:

In Spring 2016, we had the opportunity to travel again to Klaipeda, Lithuania, where Brent again taught a course at LCC University on Drug & Alcohol Abuse. After the course was wrapped up, we traveled to Tbilisi, Georgia, to consult with faculty and support students of LCC’s Middle East Scholar program. The program offers educational opportunities to refugee students fleeing violence in places like Syria and Iraq. Brent consulted the faculty on the effects of trauma, and strategies to support students who might be suffering from the effects of the traumas they experienced in war situations.

Brent also had the opportunity in Fall 2016 to teach counsellors and therapists in Ontario on Trauma Counselling. The leaders from these sessions have gone on to work in a variety of settings and with multiple populations across Ontario. Brent will again have an opportunity to invest in local counsellors and leaders in regards to Trauma Counselling in Autumn 2018.

In November 2016, Brent returned to Malawi, to offer more training on trauma counselling to workers in the expanding Fountain of Life organization. Fountain of Life works with (often young) victims of sexual assault, and this agency is so needed in a country that is still developing its infrastructure to deal with this violence.

Throughout 2017, Brent continued to support students from Syria & Iraq in the Middle East Scholar program at LCC University. The program moved to Lithuania from Georgia in 2017. Brent counselled students through the use of online technology. He counts it as a great privilege that the students would open up to him and share with him about their experiences of war and their current struggles as refugees.

Shifting gears a bit, Brent visited Dominican Republic in March 2018, to work with  a local seminary run by Every Day Ministries. Brent met with local leaders to discuss how to gain accreditation for the seminary, and taught a class on Addiction and Trauma for a Counselling course. Brent also had the opportunity with a team of youth from a Canadian high school to visit local people living in a barrio to listen to their concerns and pray for them. During this trip, Brent also informally visited friends in Puerto Rico who had just lived through Hurricane Maria 6 months previously. Brent listened to his friends as they shared stories of the impact of the hurricane.

In summer 2018, our son Jesse also traveled to Dominican Republic to intern with Every Day Ministries. While there, he is helping to run baseball camps for local at-risk youth, helping the ministry to host teams from Canada, and is engaged in a myriad of other duties in local communities. Please pray for him as he serves.

In November, 2018, Brent & Christy hope to return to Eastern Europe to visit two countries: Ukraine and Lithuania. In Ukraine, Brent will teach about Trauma & Addictions in a seminary, while Christy will be involved with delivering English lessons to local leaders. In Lithuania, Brent will more formally consult with LCC University staff & faculty in supporting students (from the Middle East Scholar program, and others as well) who have experienced trauma and/or mental health issues.

In 2019, Brent hopes to return to Africa, this time to Zambia & Tanzania, to train and consult with leaders of the Village of Hope orphanages. He will be meeting with the leaders from the orphanages from several sub-Saharan countries to train them on their response to the sexual abuse of children in the communities surrounding the orphanages, as well as strengthening the orphanages’ stance on preventing sexual abuse in their own organization.

It has been so amazing to see the opportunities we have been entrusted with to train leaders and support directly very vulnerable populations across the globe. Our vision has always been to inspire, equip and encourage local ministries to reach out with the love of Jesus to the most hurting people of their communities, particularly those who have been harmed by violence of all kinds (including sexual violence, trauma, war and genocide). To be able to see this vision being fulfilled is not something we take for granted, and we are truly grateful to the Lord for our small part in addressing the suffering in the world. We thank you for your prayers, encouragement and faithful support of our work!

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Fountain of Life Team, Blantyre, Malawi

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Fountain of Life training, Malawi

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Blantyre, Malawi

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Fountain of Life, Blantyre, Malawi

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Tandu Zimba, Director of Fountain of Life at the hospital the clinic is hosted at

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LCC University students, Klaipeda, Lithuania

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Baltic Sea off the coast of Lithuania

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Klaipeda, Lithuania

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Outside Klaipeda, Lithuania

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Tbilisi, Georgia

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Tbilisi, Georgia

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Tbilisi, Georgia

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Tbilsi, Georgia

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Tbilisi, Georgia

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Gaspar Hernandez, Dominican Republic

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Gaspar Hernandez, Dominican Republic

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Gaspar Hernandez, Dominican Republic

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Students in Nagua, Dominican Republic

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2016: Lithuania, Georgia (& Dachau)

Klapeida, Lithuania

Klapeida, Lithuania

Hi everyone,
Well, 2016 is shaping up to be an exciting year! This spring we are once again traveling to Lithuania, for Brent to teach on Drug & Alcohol Addictions at LCC University. Last year we enjoyed working with the wonderful students of this unique university, and we are excited to work to equip bright leaders to bring healing to their country. Once the course is wrapped up, we will be traveling to a satellite campus of LCC University in the country of Georgia. There the university is establishing a program for Syrian refugees, whose education has been interrupted by the brutal civil war in Syria. Brent will be meeting with the students and providing psychoeducation for them in the area of Trauma, as most if not all of the students have experienced life-threatening circumstances. This will be a time to build more resources and understanding in the students and faculty, to equip them to deal with the after-effects of the trauma of war.

We also realized that with the stopover in Germany that a travel agent planned for us, we will be very close to the site of the Dachau concentration camp in Germany. We can’t help but take the opportunity to visit the site and walk the grounds of the camp for a couple of hours.

We are looking forward to contributing to LCC University and their visionary work in Lithuania & Georgia! Please be praying for us as we prepare for the trip. Pray for the students in Lithuania (from many countries in the region), as well as the Syrian students in Georgia. And, as always, please pray for our children as we travel in May.

Klaipeda, Lithuania

Klaipeda, Lithuania

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Auschwitz-Birkenau

On our way home from Lithuania, we stopped off in Poland to visit the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. It seems that in our travels we are often coming in touch with genocide, and this trip was no different. ( And, true to form, on our upcoming trip to Lithuania in May 2016 we will have a stopover in Germany, where we will be visiting the concentration camp of Dachau). Words cannot really explain the depth of emotions that one feels while walking through the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps, and, even now, months later, we are both still processing what we saw.

Front gates of Auschwitz

Front gates of Auschwitz

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Gates of death, Auschwitz-Birkenau

Gates of death, Auschwitz-Birkenau

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End of the tracks, Auschwitz-Birkenau. The gas chambers were located directly in front of Christy.

End of the tracks, Auschwitz-Birkenau. The gas chambers were located directly in front of Christy.

Where the ashes of over 1 million people were dumped, Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Where the ashes of over 1 million people were dumped, Auschwitz-Birkenau.

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