A team from the International Center for Trauma Education & Care meets online. Photo credit: Courtesy Ingrid Slikkers

August 30, 2021

A Message of Healing and Hope

From the communities near Andrews University to the far reaches of the globe, there are countless people living with the weight of past and present trauma in their lives.

The International Center for Trauma Education & Care aims to bring understanding, healing and hope to those suffering in silence.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there has been an increased need for creating more resilient individuals and communities as well as trauma-aware churches, groups and organizations. Our Center’s team — made up of faculty from the School of Social Work, the Department of Teaching, Learning & Curriculum and the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, along with undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students — wanted to help.

While travel restrictions forced us to connect virtually rather than in person, we were surprised with more and more opportunities to share introductory information about the impact of trauma. God opened doors in our local community, across the U.S. and internationally. In 12 months, we were able to reach approximately 5,000 people directly, in addition to an unknown number of individuals who accessed recorded programs.

“This information has changed my life,” said one participant in a training from a church community in Boston, Massachusetts. “I wish I had known this information years ago,” said another from a North American Division Children’s Ministries training. “This is the most important information I’ve heard to shape my ministry,” added a pastor who attended a symposium in partnership with the Seminary.

Requests also came for more focused trainings on racial trauma, sexual assault, foster and adoptive families and their networks, and the connection between trauma and addictions. One of these programs was presented to the Mission Addiction organization in Dayton, Ohio.

Because the team discusses that, in the midst of pain, there is always hope and healing, church leaders have found the programs to be a powerful form of evangelism as well, and have seen attendance by the community-at-large to online platforms. Within the North American Division, the Center has been privileged to partner with Health Ministries, nurses, the Education Department as well as various Unions to support a better understanding of the brain and the healing that God provides with support and intervention.

International and global opportunities have carried our team through Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, Honduras, Mexico and the Caribbean, covering topics from trauma and God’s plan for restoration to practical tips for families and individuals to improve mental health, community healing, and self-care during a time where the world shares the impact and effects of isolation.

The team was even able to create a soon-to-be published devotional series as an outreach tool.

The message of healing and hope continues to guide the International Center for Trauma Education & Care and provide the resources necessary for better support and care. Through the hardships and experiences of the past year, the needs of our individuals, communities and churches are more evident than ever. We look forward to continuing to support our local, domestic and global communities through God’s powerful tools of restoration.

 

Laia Burgos, clinical MSW intern