Middle East/North Africa (MNN) — Several countries in the Middle East/North Africa region are known for heavy conflict. While some groups provide physical aid, survivors in the MENA region find help for their souls from local believers.
“If you look at our region, from Syria and the conflict that’s been going on now 10 years; Iraq, 40 years of war; in Yemen, as well,” Samuel* of Redemptive Stories says.
“So many countries have been negatively affected by war, and with war comes trauma.”
Redemptive Stories uses a 12-week curriculum to help people process their pain and loss. “The curriculum is adapted from something that they’ve been using in Africa for a number of years, as well as here in the U.S. with victims of trauma,” Samuel explains.
“It is designed to walk them through a 12-step process [covering] what their trauma is, how they’ve experienced it, why they’re feeling the way they are; ultimately, walking them through that to help them lay their pain at the cross.”
Healing brings hope
Soldiers aren’t the only ones affected by the fallout of war. People can experience trauma in a myriad of ways. This February 2021 report describes a common source of physical trauma:
“Traumatic brain injury (TBI) represents a major health concern worldwide with a large impact in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as a consequence of protracted wars and conflicts that adversely affect the general population.”
Mental and emotional distress are frequent experiences, too. In 2010, researchers examined how and why recurrent traumatic events lead to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among civilians:
“Recent research conducted in the Middle East suggests that the emotional burden carried by trauma-exposed adults and children is substantial. … Across studies, the most documented demographic risk factors for PTSD onset are female gender and young age. Notably, and consistent with other PTSD studies, the magnitude of the exposure to the event (e.g., degree of physical injury, immediate risk of life, severity of property destruction, and frequency of fatalities) is the strongest predictor of the development of PTSD.”
Faced with widespread needs, especially following the rise of Islamic State extremists, Redemptive Stories began offering Trauma Recovery Classes several years ago.
“They have these little ‘healing groups’ that study together and work together. It’s a 12-week program, but it can go much longer than that, particularly for victims of significant trauma,” Samuel says.
Many people find Christ through these Trauma Recovery Classes and hope for a better tomorrow.
“Since 2015ish, it’s continued to grow and be more and more effective,” Samuel says.
“As people [decide] what to do with their pain, what to do with trauma, many come to faith because Scripture within the curriculum leads them to the cross.”
You don’t have to live in a warzone to find healing and hope. Visit the Trauma Healing Institute here.
“There are experiences each one of us have had that causes pain, causes difficulty: the loss of a loved one, illnesses within a family. All of these things are experiences that God wants to use to help us be able to help others, and even to walk with us through them,” Samuel says.
Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy of Susan Wilkinson/Unsplash.