Using storytelling as a way to lead to emotional healing

Photo: Carl Montgomery

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When rebels overthrew the government of the Central African Republic and seized its capital, Bangui, a wave of suffering followed in their wake. Since the coup in March 2013, looting, destruction of infrastructure and personal property, and murder have been rampant. Rebels and their hired mercenaries are reported to have committed many atrocities. Those who survived must cope daily with the pain of their loss and uncertainty about the future. In the face of this tragedy, many feel hopeless and deeply discouraged.

The area around Bangui is home to 12 people groups who have similar cultures but different languages. However, despite their differences, one thing they all have in common is the trauma they have shared. Now, you can help faithful servants of Christ in the national Bible translation organization, ACATBA, and the Central African Bible Society see God’s Word bring comfort to their traumatized loved ones and fellow citizens. This project seeks to heal the wounds of trauma through story.

Over a series of three, two-week workshops, teams from each of the 12 language groups will translate 13 Bible stories and 12 non-biblical, ‘situational’ stories, along with 6 Scripture songs. The stories will be taken from the Story-Based Trauma Healing materials developed by the American Bible Society, SIL and Seed Company. These stories contain practical lessons in trauma healing and grief management. At the end of each two-week training workshop, the teams will return to their homes and begin sharing the stories. The main object will be to create ‘listening groups’ that will go through the entire series of stories and lessons. Each storyteller will seek out other capable persons to become apprentice storytellers.

Once the stories have been checked for accuracy by consultants, the storytellers will record them for distribution by SD card, Bluetooth, radio and other electronic media. Local churches will be encouraged to create listening groups and to train both storytellers and trainers. The Story-Based Trauma Healing is expected to expand beyond the 12 original languages. By having a team work in Sango, the national language, the entire story set will be produced in a language which can then be used throughout the country.

From & ION July 2015 newsletter


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