Roots in the Ruins: Hope in Trauma

Roots in the Ruins: Hope in Trauma

Facilitator training course at the Institute for Intercultural Studies and Research

During the month of August 2019, 13 people came to San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, after finishing the first four courses in the “Retoños en las Ruinas: esperanza en el trauma” (Roots in the ruins: hope in trauma) program. 

Pastors and lay leaders came from Juchitan, Oaxaca, Mexico, a city devastated by the earthquakes in September 2017.  Claudina Lacayo, a lay leader from the Christian Mission Church of Nicaragua who works at the Centro Ecuménico Fray Antonio Valdivieso also was able to travel to Mexico.  She has been working with women who have survived cancer as well as women who have either been or still are trapped in prostitution or who have suffered trauma from previous or current political unrest. The current superintendent of the Congregational Christian Churches of Mexico, Pastor Danilo Jiménez Chávez came from north-central Mexico to participate. These are a few of the testimonies shared by the participants.

I have walked on many different paths alongside women and men with different stories, I have learned so much along the way, and there is so much yet to learn.  Sometimes I am helping and supporting others and other times, I am the one in need.  Sometimes I doubt, but then I get to work, I feel, I play, I cry and sometimes I just walk; but in the midst of it all I know that  in my pain I have become a person of deeper faith, with more solidarity, with defects and virtues, trying to follow the footsteps of the Master. Claudina Lacayo– Nicaragua

These courses were not what I expected, but far beyond what I expected!   The first time I came with some resistance, but  I finish with fulfilled expectations. These courses helped me to identify and overcome certain emotional aspects in my personal life.  I am also taking away tools that will allow me to help others overcome difficult stages in their lives. The first thing I learned was to recognize my own traumas and understand why I react the way I do.  I started working on my own care and healing.  Little by little, I have shared how I suffered from severe anxiety with the young people at the high school where I work and in the church.  Teaching is a gift I very much enjoy, and I hope to implement what I have learned in my classes. I want to continue to be transformed so that I can help my family, students and church members heal. I want to accompany those in need to create healthier communities. Pastor Francisco Javier Gutiérrez Caballero – Juchtán, Oaxaca, México

When I started in the first course, I couldn´t see how I could help others, but as I continued on in my own healing process, I realized there was much I could apply in my daily life primarily with my oldest daughter, my church and with other pastors.  What I most value in myself is the effort I have made to open up because I am very reserved, but the courses have helped me.  I know I need to continue to facilitate processes with others so that I can also continue to grow and develop.  I know now that every person has a life story that needs its own healing, and I want to accompany people as they seek their healing paths.  I would like to see my church healed, transformed and free.  In a few years, I see myself facilitating healing processes not only in the Congregational Church of Mexico but also in other faith communities.  I would like to help train more facilitators.  I am walking towards my own healing and helping others to start on the path.  I am aware and alert to make changes in my own life so as to advance towards healing and to help others. Pastor Danilo Jiménez Chávez, Superintendent of the Congregational Churches of Mexico – Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico.

I feel that before I was a very busy caterpillar dragging myself along the ground, but with these courses, I have become a butterfly.  I am free, I have dignity, I am capable, and I am not turning back!  I value my development as a facilitator and my capacity to accompany, to recognize what processes are needed such as dignity building or walking through grief, and to motivate others. I was attracted to this program because it uses reason and education to heal the emotions and spiritual wounds.  I feel that God has given me a vision, born out of my own healing, to help my family and be an instrument of light to heal my church and community.  I have lost my fears and I can communicate better.  I have learned to practice forgiveness in my family. Blanca Lilia Anzueto Hilario – Juchitán, Oaxaca, México


Elena Huegel serves as a Mission Co-worker with the Intercultural Research and Studies Institute (INESIN), Chiapas, Mexico. Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Churchs Wider Mission, and your special gifts.