YUNNAN, China – ‘As I enter the conference room, my eyes immediately land on the phrase, “Take Your Pain to the Cross.” I thought to myself, “This is exactly what I need.”’ Lydia, a preacher in a remote county of Yunnan Province, recalled attending her first Trauma Healing workshop organised by the provincial Christian Council with the support of United Bible Societies.
Like many believers around the world, Chinese Christians and church workers alike need help to manage emotional distresses in life and ministry. How does one continue to cling on to God in the midst of great challenges and sufferings?
Prior to the training, Lydia wasn’t sure how to deal with some of the emotions she was feeling. She was reaching out to a believer diagnosed with an aggressive cancer not long after the believer had lost her son to cancer.
Even after several surgeries, the cancer cells continued to grow rapidly. Lydia and the church prayed for the believer and did what they could, but things just looked dire.
It is during situations like these that Lydia would worry for the believer’s faith. ‘In ministering to Christians during their adversities, I struggle through a spiritual low myself. It feels as if heaven is made of brass blocking my prayers and I carry their sorrows and burdens on my shoulders.’
Lydia used to serve in her hometown church with much joy. After graduation from a Bible school, she began serving in a rapidly growing church and led a young adult fellowship of over 50 people. Everything went well and life was promising.
In 2011, Lydia and her husband followed their calling to venture to an area where God’s people desperately needed to be ministered to. The fervent newlyweds, however, confronted a dismal reality and a sense of disorientation when they arrived. ‘Only three elderly believers showed up for our first Sunday service.’
Over the next ten years, they laboured hard, often feeling as though their efforts were rarely understood or appreciated. For most of the time, they had no spiritual companionship or pastoral care. While serving the church, they had to juggle both their marriage and raising their kids. ‘We took on everything by ourselves. It seemed like our lives are not void of traumas,’ Lydia lamented.
In the midst of her distresses, coming to the Trauma Healing workshop was a lifeline. ‘Sometimes, we need the right methods and perspectives, and experienced people in this area to help us open our hearts.’
Lydia appreciated how the workshop facilitator presented the message about acceptance. ‘There are times when we must accept that there is nothing we can do and that we are but limited human beings. And we must also accept the other person and allow them to have their moments of weakness.’
God’s timing is perfect. ‘After so many misconceptions in the past, it’s really wonderful to have a facilitator to guide you to sort things out. He helped us know ourselves better by putting problems into perspective. And finally, with the Scriptures, we were directed to God. When you feel heard and have your needs met, then you can start to heal.’
‘Now, I can be there for those who are going through hard times. I can empathise with what has happened to them. Yet, I know that these things are not for me to bear alone. How things may turn out is beyond my control. But I know I can commit them into the loving hands of the Lord and put down the heavy load.’
China has one of the fastest-growing Christian churches in the world. At the same time, spiritual resources addressing the inner wounds of both ministers and believers are lacking. Some of them are struggling emotionally on their spiritual journey due to stresses and traumas in life. Join us in praying for Lydia and many like her who have received the Trauma Healing training that they will be a blessing and help to the body of Christ.
Story: Marcus Xiao and Jenise Lee
Photos: UBS CP
2022 © United Bible Societies China Partnership