2008 Rapport: Counseling on the missionfield
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Pam (M.A. 2004) and her husband, Butch (M.A. 1999), Frey are Assemblies of God (AG) missionaries serving as area directors for Mexico. They and a strong missionary fellowship partner with the Mexican AG in reaching, equipping and releasing people to fulfill Godís redemptive purpose for Mexico. Pam is also a member of the Latin America/Caribbean Commission on HIV/AIDS.
Social problems, personal issues and family and relationship difficulties exist in every culture and context. My counseling degree has prepared me to help others deal with life’s challenges and to teach Christians how to walk beside those who are struggling.
Recently Butch and I held a seminar in a church in Argentina to train lay counselors, cell leaders, staff pastors and coaches. The last session dealt with loss and grief. I discovered that the majority of the participants had lost immediate family members; many of them, in fact, had buried children. Several shared their stories. We talked about what had and had not helped in their grieving processes, and we cried and prayed together. It was an intense way to end the seminar after a long Saturday of workshops. Sunday afternoon the pastor received news that the four-year-old son of a prominent couple in the church had drowned in a swimming pool while the family was gathered for lunch. Several of the church leaders and friends of that family had participated in the Saturday workshop series and although, at the time, I regretted ending the day with such a heavy topic, I knew God used it to prepare those participants to better help the young couple and their family.
On another occasion during a district women’s conference in Mexico City, I led a workshop on how to minister to victims of domestic violence. This is a silent crime in Mexican churches; it isn’t talked about in any setting. Pastors are often not trained to deal with this problem and many refuse to admit that it even exists. Of the approximately 200 women who attended, all personally knew women who were being abused and the majority did not know that the government had instituted a help-line for women suffering from abuse. Personal counseling and training in dealing with issues such as domestic violence is a serious need in the church in Mexico and can also be an effective outreach ministry in local neighborhoods.
Through the seminars, workshops and personal contact with people, my heart’s desire and hope is to help the Mexican people lead healthy lives and to experience and respond to God’s grace.
Monday, December 10, 2007 4:51 PM