Saturday, February 22, 2014

STREAMS IN THE DESERT For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

"I have been in a desert and I feel someone has given me a glass of water." Karla, a psychologist working with traumatized children in Costa Rica  about her experience at the conference.

On Thursday of this past week, we completed a vision we have had for nearly 18 months - the training of orphan ministry folks, orphanage caregivers, international psychologists, US based foster care agencies, US based church ministries working overseas - sixty-eight folks representing work in 21 countries were present. We were joined by so many organizations, including Back2Back Ministries (  ), Zhanjiang Kids Organization, (  Livada Orphan Care ( and so many more.  We will be posting a complete list of participating organizations in a few days. 

My new friends, Karla, a psychologist and Dena, an orphanage director were among the group that we were privileged to spend three days.  They care for 35 children in their children’s home, one of 65 in Costa Rica. Our event, Becoming a Trauma Competent Caregiver, was designed to be a first step in helping those who care for orphans around the world in understanding the unique needs of wounded, hurt child.  For those who have had no training, tools or understanding of what abused and neglected children need, our hope was our time together gave them hope for new things….a pathway through what many say is a wilderness of overwhelming need.

These are pictures from our event, held at the Shelter Community Church in Kettering, Ohio, February 18-20, 2014.

Opening the conference - Lynn and Ruby Johnston share about the vision of  capacity building. 

Ruby challenges the participants to think about how their ministries could become partners with such organizations as World without Orphans (WWO), CAFO (Christian Alliance for Orphans) and Orphan's Promise in training and equipping.

Johanna Buchman (LAMb co-founder)  opens the training session. Folks in this room have ministry focus in India, Nigeria, Bolivia, Kenya,China, Haiti, Laos and Cambodia. Lynn observes from the back of the room. He was able to offer his expertise throughout the three days.

David shares about the lifetime potential impact of early childhood trauma.

Near  the end of the first day, participants are learning about the power of belief - that to change belief, child  must have new words and new experiences to replace the painful words and painful experiences of the past.

Todd Guckenberger, Director of Back2Back shares their Five Point Development Plan for Children.
Visit this video for an inspiring story : 

Time to share learning points from the end of the 2nd day.

Looking through the lens of a wounded child....

Back2Back staff grab a moment together.

Sharing ideas - (ltr)  Gene and Cheryl (work in India)  Jamie and Bruce (work in Romania)

Dena and Karla from Costa Rica share conversation over lunch with Spanish translator, Neil Frank. 
Learning about Nurture Groups during an evening session - what fun!

Daron Holland and Titus are partners during the Nurture group activity.

Practicing new skills....

Vicki Bennett, an adoptive mom and ministry leader, shares her testimony and vision for their work in China.  It truly touched the heart.

David talks with Dena about the needs of her children in Costa Rica. 

Energized by the vision, Ruby prepares for the group's arrival.

What a lot of the participants didn't know is that a number of our team members used a week of their personal vacation time from work to manage all the details of this event.  Words are not enough to say thank-you - (but we are celebrating Monday evening the 24th at Olive Garden in Dayton!)

We want to say a very BIG thank  you to the Lamplighters Orphan Care Ministry team of the Shelter Church and the Interwoven Adoption Ministry of Victory Christian Church of Kettering:

Jen Hauk, Carrie Combs, Heather Schreck, Randy and Kim Gebele, Daron and Heidi Holland

This would have never happened without you!

Kim Gebele and Carrie Combs managed the meals and snacks....the most important part of the training. One participant told us that she felt so well cared for!!! Kim and Carrie you are amazing.

Heather Schreck instructs the group on logistics. Heather handled all the registration, blast emails and more than I probably know. Heather - you are amazing!
Randy Gebele managed the audio/video aspects which are so key to a smooth presentation.  Randy, you are awesome!

Jen Hauk, the leader of Lamplighters, couldn't join us during the day sessions, but we are so indebted to her incredible management of details.  Jen, you are awesome!

One final word - another participant of this trauma informed training said to me, "Thank you.  I now have a beginning road map. we have direction we never had before. What has been shared is worth a million dollars to me, our caregivers and most of all, our children."