Sep 13

Finding healing after trauma: Elizabeth Smart (courtesy of Goalcast)


One of the most common questions I get from the trauma-affected children I serve is, “Why did God allow [insert really awful, tragic experience] to happen to me?” I imagine it’s a question that most pastors, ministers, chaplains, and those Christians who share their faith with others face. It’s fundamentally a relational question, not a theological one… and that’s important to remember. The question is seeking the reason why a God who is Love could allow something that is experienced as anything BUT loving. (see 1 John 4:7-8)

I found that the best thing I can do is to recognize the profound hurt and struggle that lies within all of us who have ever wrestled with that question, “Why?”

We see how Paul dealt with the unresolved struggles in his own life when he states:

 

I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7b-10)

I can recognize now after many years of processing, reflection, and prayer, that God was able to express a strength through my weaknesses and build a stronger character within me through some of the traumatic experiences I went through. I would think that many reading this could also see where God has built a certain strength or resolve within an area of hurt, woundedness, or pain. This is not simply the worldly wisdom expressed in the popular saying, “what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger,” but a wisdom that comes through suffering and an insight gained into what really matters to you that rarely comes from a life of ease.

There is a phenomenon referred to as “Post-Traumatic Growth Syndrome.” First studied in the 1990s, psychologists have been attempting to define what it is about the difficult process of recovery from a traumatic event that challenges a person’s core beliefs that can leave a person more resilient, and sometimes even thankful for the “gift” they have received in seeing the world more clearly after their traumatic experience. To evaluate the extent to which someone has achieved this kind of growth after trauma, psychologists often use various self-reporting surveys and scales. One such survey is called the Post-Traumatic Growth Inventory (PGTI) and was developed by Tedeschi and Calhoun, which they first reported on in the Journal of Traumatic Stress (1996 Jul; 9(3):455-71). They sought to measure positive responses in five key areas that they believed would show post-traumatic growth:

  • Appreciation of life
  • Relationships with others
  • New possibilities in life
  • Personal strength
  • Spiritual change or renewal

I believe that you can likely perceive how going through a life-threatening, traumatic experience, and coming out the “other side” might impact each of these areas. Pain, such as that experienced by Paul (referenced in the Bible passage earlier), has a way of focusing our thoughts and actions on what is truly important and lasting. Elizabeth Smart, the “girl who was kidnapped” in the YouTube video embedded in this post, found victory in realizing those that had terrorized her “no longer had any power over her” and that she could go on an live a happy life. Furthermore, she could take her trauma and use it as a catalyst to be an advocate for others.

The role a church or fellowship can play in helping those in the midst of their own pain and traumatic experience is to hold out hope for them that they, too, can experience a sense of growth as God redeems even their suffering. The beauty of the Christian story is that we are all part of a much larger narrative, and we can walk with one another through the most difficult struggles and provide companionship that makes the journey a little easier to endure.

Sep 09

Intermountain Moment: The secure base of relationship, why it’s essential!

Relationships are of vital importance to our experience as human beings in community with one another. A secure, loving and supportive relationship is the foundation on which we branch out and explore our world… not just as small children, but even as adults! Think of those times when by situation or circumstance you felt compelled to venture out and try something new. I am guessing that those of us that were fortunate enough to have secure, loving and supportive relationships handled that stressful time better because we knew that “our people” had our backs, no matter what!

Stability in childhood relationships sets a young person off of a pathway to success. Similarly, when there are emotional and relational deficits that must be overcome, a child can struggle.

Intermountain’s CEO, Jim Fitzgerald, describes his own stable childhood this way:

This is the difference.

     I have never once walked alone, never.

     From my first day, at my core,

     I knew that if I’m taken,

     If I’m hurt, or lose my way, or disappear,

          my people will come find me.

     Nothing can stop them.

      Knowing that has been immeasurable,

        the trans-generational inoculation against fear, shame, and doubt.

 

As Steff explains in the Intermountain Moment video above, YOU can be part of the secure relational base that a child needs. You can be that wherever and whenever God calls you… in the neighborhood, in church, in school, as a professional or a volunteer. Once you know the difference you can make, only one question remains: how will I make a difference?

You make a difference with your love, support and prayer for the ministry and mission of Intermountain. You make a difference when you partner with us to bring healing and advocacy to your church and community through trainings and a shared vision that the way things are is not the way things always have to be! Together, we can break the cycle of generational trauma. Contact me or reach out to Intermountain to find out what is possible.

Aug 26

“Soul Train” brings two Israeli students to Helena’s Residential Campus

Earlier this month, the students in our Residential program in Helena benefitted from the opportunity to meet two wonderful young women from Israel who came to Montana as part of the “Soul Train” program, which is supported by Bnei Akiva. Bnei Akiva is a youth movement, which inspires and empowers young Jews all over the world with a sense of commitment to the Jewish people, the Land of Israel and the Torah. A piece of their work, then, was to focus on connecting with the Jewish children on campus and in Helena, but they were also gracious enough to teach some cultural studies and share with all the children some dance, games, and pictures from Israel. All of this was made possible by the hard work in coordinating the activities and transportation by Intermountain’s Jewish Mentor, Jim Nallick.

Sarah Zalta and Ayala Kowalsky are both from Efrat, Israel, and are stayed in Montana for two weeks–one week in Helena and one in Bozeman. Sarah is a 3rd year student at a school for the arts, and Ayala is a make-up artist and dances in a dance company. Their artistry were on display in their work with the children, as they did some fantastic face painting (among other fun activities)!

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Ayala (left) and Sarah (right) sharing with the children during a “get to know you” game that involved Mike-and-Ike candies!

I asked Sarah and Ayala to share a little bit about themselves and their experience in Montana and with Intermountain. Here is what they had to say:

Chris: Sarah and Ayala, we are grateful for the Soul train program making it possible for you to come and visit us and share your talents and love for Israel. What do you see as your purpose here and what do you hope to achieve in interacting with our children?

Sarah: I hope to make positive connections between Israelis and the kids from Montana and Intermountain. Also, I want to give the Jewish kids an opportunity to learn about their own identity, to connect with their Jewish roots and learn about their history.

Ayala: I see an importance of exposing the Israeli and Jewish culture around the world, especially when the media shows so many things that aren’t true!

Chris: What have been your impressions of Montana so far?

Ayala: Lots of open space, I love it! Kind of a relaxed vibe, nothing seems too rushed or stressful. Beautiful hills and views.

Sarah: I loved being in Montana, the people are very welcoming and positive. There is a very relaxed and peaceful atmosphere and it was very enjoyable (incredible view!).

Chris: What have been your impressions of Intermountain? What have you enjoyed about your interactions with our students and staff?

Jewish Mentor, Jim Nallick, and guests from Israel, Sarah and Ayala

Jewish Mentor, Jim Nallick, and guests from Israel, Sarah and Ayala

Sarah: I got a great impression of Intermountain! During my studies last year, I volunteered in a program called “Ahuzat Sarah,” which is very similar to Intermountain… just an Israeli version. The children [at Intermountain] are given the opportunity to learn and to develop themselves in the best way possible. Especially the detailed follow up on every child is so important and is really happening here. The staff pays their full attention to the children and truly cares about them. Also, the respect given to different cultures is fantastic.

Ayala: I really like that the classes aren’t too big, and it seems like each student gets a lot of attention. The teachers and supervisors have been amazing and it’s beautiful to see their connections with the students.

Chris: Anything else jump out to you about your time here at Intermountain?

Sarah: I was really amazed by the respect that is given to the Jewish kids even though there are only very few of them–and the understanding that each child is a whole world and deserves the greatest opportunities.

Ayala: I loved meeting and letting to know the students. It was exciting to hear from both staff and students that they learned new things about Israel!

Chris: Well, we are so appreciative of the passion, skill, and energy you have shard with our students and staff. Thank you so much for coming to bless our children!

Ayala: Thanks for letting us share this experience!

Sarah: Thank you for the warm hospitality in this great place and for the collaboration! Hope you guys will come visit! All the best… blessings!

a thank you note from one of our children to Sarah and Ayala

a thank you note from one of our children to Sarah and Ayala

Aug 17

Preparing for the School Year by Marvin Williams, MA, Intermountain Director of Education

NOTE: This is reposted from Intermountain’s main website and professional blog. For more resources and helpful articles visit HERE.

When a child begins a transition back to school from a long summer break most parents can find this to be a difficult time. But for parents of a child with a disability the experience brings even greater stressors. There are three key phrases to remember to help make for a positive transition back to school: plan ahead, be realistic, maintain a positive attitude.

Before school starts, do your best to plan ahead. A health checkup may be a good idea. Checking in with your physician to ensure your child’s hearing, vision and medications are within the normal ranges is important. Appointments during the summer months can alleviate the stress of having to take a child out of school during the year. Disruptions to a child’s structure and routine can attribute to a child’s dysregulation.

Review all of the information you have received from the school, such as the child’s teacher, room number and school supply requirements. Mark your calendar, make a note of important dates. Make copies of your child’s health, medical needs and emergency information for reference as you will need this to provide to the school. Shop for school clothing and supplies early as possible. If possible take your child with you so they feel like they have some input and control.


LOOKING FOR TIPS AS A YOUTH LEADER OR SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER AS YOU LOOK AHEAD TOWARDS FALL PROGRAMMING? CLICK HERE!


Summer routines often look different than school routines, so it is critical to re-establish the bedtime and mealtime procedures. Preparing your child for this change at least a week in advance will help maintain the child’s mental and emotional state. Turn off or reduce TV and electronic time as this will ease your child into the learning process and school routine.

Take advantage of the school open house or make an appointment to visit the school with your child so that you both have an opportunity to meet the teachers, locate the classroom, locker, lunchroom, gymnasium, etc. Meeting the staff will support the child and help relieve your own anxiety. Get to know your child’s teacher(s). Find out how they like to communicate with parents. Establish a system for consistent communication which can be person to- person, phone or email. Familiarize yourself with the other school professionals such as the special education teacher, school psychologist, counselor, social worker and (CSCT) team.

Once school begins, it is critical to continue your attentiveness to the small things as they matter to children. It helps to clear your schedule in order to be free to help your child acclimate to the school routine. Get in the habit of making their lunches the night before and involve your child, if possible. Assure your child is dressed and groomed appropriately so that they don’t draw attention to themselves. Set alarm clocks and leave plenty of extra time to ensure plenty of time to complete their morning routine.

Reducing anxiety for your child is vital to their school success. Show you care about education and share your enthusiasm for learning. Model optimism and confidence for your child. Send notes in their lunches.

At the end of day, take time to review with your child how the day went and try to react with supportive language. Help your child deal with and resolve “typical” school problems. Natural consequences are those that occur naturally every day due to our choices so help your child understand this concept. If you have questions, contact the school for clarification but do this outside the presence of your child. Again you want to model hopefulness for your child. As a parent part of your responsibility is to monitor their social interactions. This is difficult but most schools have an established process that can help with this.

If your child is on an Individual Education Plan (IEP) then meeting with the special education team is an important step in relationship and trust building with the school staff. Come prepared to share your comments and concerns about your child. Teaching strategies, instructional approaches and interventions that have been successful in the past are helpful as well as sharing their likes and dislikes and treatment needs. If you have relevant information and or documents that could be helpful, be sure to bring a copy to the meeting. It is important to remember that accommodations are supports designed to give a student with a disability an equal opportunity to participate and benefit from school. They are intended to reduce or even eliminate the effect of a student’s disability and NOT to reduce learning expectations.

Ask questions when you don’t understand or have concerns regarding your child’s education and be open to the school staff suggestions regarding your child’s learning needs, challenges and accommodations.

Most of all, remember that being present shows the child you care about their education and in turn the child feels cared about.

Marvin Williams, MA, has been the Director of Education at Intermountain for 7 years. He holds a Master of Art in Education from Montana State–Billings and a BA from Eastern Montana College. Marvin has extended experience as an educator for children with special needs and served as the Special Education Director in the Helena School District previous to coming to Intermountain School.

Aug 12

Banners beautify Van Orsdel Commons and chapel

We are grateful for the tangible ways that the support from our faith-based supporters and churches can be seen in our new chapel space in Van Orsdel Commons. One of the more obvious examples of this support came in the form of the beautiful banners that came from all around Montana and now adorn the rafters in the main gathering space. We recently received the following note from Trudi Schmidt, Intermountain Board of Directors member, on behalf of the children of her church:

“This banner was made by elementary age children who attend New Hope Lutheran Church, Great Falls, Montana. The children made the banner during the school year of 2017-2018. Pastor Tammy Bull asked them if they would like to donate their banner to Intermountain and they thought that was a great idea. Presented to Intermountain June 1, 2018.”

The banner has a whimsical and colorful depiction of God’s creation story, complete with fish, elephants, and smiling flowers! I am thankful for the connection our children sense when they see the handiwork of children from the churches that support the ministry. It is an encouragement to them (and to me!) to feel their love, support, and prayers.

This beautiful banner from the children of New Hope Lutheran Church (Great Falls, MT) now hangs proudly in Van Orsdel Commons and chapel

This beautiful banner from the children of New Hope Lutheran Church (Great Falls, MT) now hangs proudly in Van Orsdel Commons and chapel

Jul 28

Van Orsdel UMC (Havre) Youth provide an AWESOME Day Camp VBS for campus!

This week, Intermountain hosted twenty youth and adult volunteers from Van Orsdel United Methodist Church. The group had visited last November, while the Van Orsdel Commons and chapel was still in construction, and I invited them back to do VBS… and they said YES!

The group came and shared a modified version of the VBS curriculum by Group called “Shipwrecked,” complete with games, music, special art projects and engaging Bible lessons. I purchased t-shirts for the kids that carried a major theme for the week, that Jesus rescues… so the shirts read, “My Lifeguard Walks on Water!”

The shirt reads, "My Lifeguard Walks On Water: VBS Day Camp 2018"

The shirt reads, “My Lifeguard Walks On Water: VBS Day Camp 2018″

In addition to the VBS Day Camp, other helpers made themselves useful around campus. Under the leadership and direction of Tina Thomas, the group took one afternoon to help revitalize the chapel garden space. I was able to obtain a Thrivent Action Grant that provided funds for the raised beds, ground cover and mulch!

Throughout the week, there were plenty of opportunities to learn about how to do ministry with a group of children who have significant trauma-related issues. For instance, one of the “KidVid” videos that Group Publishing prepared focused on the story of an African child that had been abandoned. I had to explain that if we showed that video, it would be too difficult for a number of our children whose trauma-stories are too similar to that depicted on the video. As youth leader Tina Thomas reflected, “I think we had a lot of good information from you [Chaplain Chris] about things to avoid and things that would work well. I appreciated being able to take time with the VOUMC kids to give them alternative suggestions [to aspects of the curriculum that might re-traumatize]!”

The youth and their leaders had a wonderful time with the children and staff of Intermountain. Here are a few of their comments at the end of the week:

  • “The best thing was having the opportunity to meet the kids… the hardest thing will be leaving them.” –Stanley
  • “I would tell any church considering volunteering at Intermountain that if you get the opportunity to come and spend time or help these kids in any way, you definitely should… it was a really fun and amazing time.” –Ivy
  • “The hardest thing was that one of the Intermountain kids had a break down, but the adults in our group handled it and are so great with all the kids… I really liked just being able to meet and interact with the kids; it was a great experience.” –Christina
  • “I really enjoyed my time and getting to know some the kids.” –Charles
  • “I liked how the Intermountain kids had VERY good manners. They would always say please and thank you and were very polite!” –Lizzi
  • “The best thing that happened at Intermountain happened on the first day of camp. After we had been to all the stations, all the kids came to me and asked, ‘Are you going to be here tomorrow?’ It made me happy to know the kids were eager to see us again.” –Molly

Every year between late July and the second week of August, we invite a guest group from one of our many ministry partners to come to campus and host our VBS Day Camp program. Perhaps your church or youth group would like to consider bringing the program in 2019? If so, it’s never too early to let me know!

Here are a few pictures from the week:

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The group added prayers to the inside of the raised beds

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Getting the Imagination Station set up!

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setting up on Monday

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writing prayers for the children and for Intermountain’s ministry

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Group photo at the beginning of Day Camp

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putting mulch down around the raspberries

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A full team effort!

Jul 19

IM Moment: How understanding toxic stress may change your ministry, with Todd Garrison

Most churches and fellowships look for opportunities to impact their communities and the world for the better. They do this through any number of ways: social justice initiatives, mission work at home and overseas, prison ministry, youth outreach, parenting classes, recovery ministries… the list goes on and on.

One of the questions I am regularly asked as I speak in faith-based settings about trauma, toxic stress and the role of adversity in the lives of children is: “Does acknowledging someone comes from a trauma background mean that we need to excuse certain behaviors? What if what they are doing makes others in our worshipping community feel unsafe?”

These are excellent questions. As a partial answer, I would encourage you to view the video below, featuring Todd Garrison, ACE Study Certified Master Trainer. Then, after you have watched the video, keep reading below for a few more thoughts and ideas.

 

“It’s not a free pass… but the consequences may look different.”

I really appreciate the way Todd phrases his response to these difficult questions.

If your ministry engages those with significant trauma, there will be moments when the behavior of those you are working with doesn’t match the situation. Perhaps they are triggered by a certain event that happens within your ministry context. Maybe that little boy or girl comes into your Sunday School already disregulated and “out of sorts” because their little brains have been swimming in a sea of stress hormones the night before? If there is a significant mental health issue, that may be another “filter” through which we need to run our response, reaction, or subsequent consequence through!

This is where one of our trauma-informed mantras come in handy: “Ask not, ‘What is wrong with that person?’ but rather, ‘What must have happened to that person?’ in order for them to act as they are right now?” Then, after taking a deep breath, do what you can to ensure as safe an environment as possible. For an agitated adult, that may be asking them to step outside to carry on a conversation (making sure you don’t go outside with them alone, but with at least one other person), and for a child it could mean transitioning the rest of the class out in the hall or to another room temporarily (again, making sure you call in another adult so you are not alone in the room with the retraumatized child).

Once a somewhat safe environment has been reestablished, give clear and repeated instructions as to what behavior you need to see in order to move the conversation forward. The individual’s ability to follow a simple instruction (“I’ll need you to lower your voice and have a seat over here on the chair beside me before we can continue this discussion”) is an indication that they are coming out of a hyper-aroused state (fight-flight-freeze) and can begin to have a rational discussion.

Then, and only then, do you have a hope of addressing what the real need is being expressed by the behavior. Then, compassionately, you may work on a consequence that balances the needs of the trauma-affected individual or child with the expectations you have for participants in your ministry setting. It is always appropriate for you to expect that a child or individual be safe in their words and actions around others!

For more insights into trauma-informed ministry and applications within the church, contact Intermountain to request a training for your ministry, or order the “Bruised Reeds and Smoldering Wicks” curriculum, available on the resource page: http://www.intermountainministry.org/resources/

 

Jun 13

Intermountain moment: “I love that little tornado!” with ML Rutherford

Parenting a child with emotional disturbance or another mental health issue, being a foster parent, and adopting a child from a trauma background… all of these can seem like living in tornado alley! (view the video and you’ll understand the reference!)

I am so thankful for my friendship and partnership in mission with ML Rutherford, our Residential Operations Manager in Helena, Montana. A while back we sat down and talked heart-to-heart about the difficulties that face parents and care givers of those children who have such a turbulent emotional world that it inevitably escapes their little mouths and bodies in a torrent of pain and hurt. While directed outward, this explosion of hurt and pain is the expression of their own deep sense of shame and unworthiness.

Knowing this is at the core of a child’s violent outbursts is helpful, but it doesn’t make the bruises and pain any less real. Being a parent for whom that rage and emotion is often focused on is HARD. Many on the outside who haven’t experienced it cannot fully understand or perhaps don’t care to.

That’s why it is SO important that Intermountain includes the family system in treatment and brings parents together for “LIFE Days” (LIFE = Learning through Integrated Family Experience). As we hold another LIFE Day this week, I am so grateful to work in a therapeutic setting that doesn’t just see the kid as the one who must be fixed or healed, nor is it the parent who is the problem. At the root of all these issues that draw families to us is the trauma and retraumatization that deeply wounded people experience. So, as these parents gather to learn and to “find their tribe” of others going through the hard work of parenting and caring for a child with emotional special needs, pray for all who “live in tornado alley” and have accepted their children as they are and working to be the family they know they can be.

 

Jun 10

Coming back to ‘The Wall': building resilience by learning to trust

Recently, we did an object lesson as part of our Resilience-based series that I call “the Wall.” We talked about how bad things happen in this world despite having a loving God that looks over us. We make bad choices at times that hurt us, and others make bad choices that hurt us. In general, there is a lot of brokenness in relationships that causes a lot of damage.

So, I told the children, we learn how to protect ourselves. Just like castles have BIG walls or our cottages on campus have thick walls, we build walls around our hearts. While we still feel hurt from time to time, by building a wall and keeping people out of our hearts (and away from how we are truly feeling), we stay safe. We survive.

Children were asked to write down the feeling or problem they felt was a big part of the wall they have put up to protect their hearts, but they want God's help to work through so the wall can come down.

Children were asked to write down the feeling or problem they felt was a big part of the wall they have put up to protect their hearts, but they want God’s help to work through so the wall can come down.

However, I told the children, something unfortunate happens. We find someone that we want to let into our hearts. They show us love and care and grace in ways we hadn’t experienced from others. That sounds good, right? But, you know what the unfortunate part is?

[The children instinctively knew, because this has been their experience!]

The walls we used to protect us from bad things getting in and hurting our hearts more also keep good things out. We can’t let our parents, our teachers, our friends, or our counselors… whoever it might be… into our hearts to see them as they really are: hurting, broken, but desperately wanting love and acceptance. That’s more than unfortunate… it’s tragic!

So, we might get frustrated that the wall keeps them out, and they might get frustrated too, because they see our need and want to meet it, but can’t ever get in. So, we fear it is all going to turn out awful. Maybe that person we want to let in gets so fed up being on the other side of the wall that they leave… and we hurt again and tell ourselves:

“Well, that was dumb of me! I just thought about taking my wall–my defenses–down, and look what it got me. Nothing but more hurt and pain.”

So, we build another layer to the wall… we make it thicker and stronger.

This seems like a real story, doesn’t it? Maybe this is your story?

But, as I told the children, there is another story, that if considered, just might make all the difference. That story is the story of God’s love shown to us through Jesus. Jesus came to show us a better way. It was so important to him that we understand God’s love that he was willing to be put to death by the angry people that couldn’t accept what he was saying about God! And, miracle of all miracles, Jesus rose from the grave on Easter morning, giving us hope that nothing ever has to separate us from God’s love.

Consider what the Jesus follower named Paul, who once had a REALLY big wall up between himself and others, wrote about the love of God he had come to understand and experience:

“So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? …Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins…
I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. [Romans 8:32-39, The Message]

But, what about that wall? If nothing can separate us from God’s love… that wall is going to have to come down. We can start by letting Jesus in, and together, working with God to remove the wall brick by brick until we can let others in, too. We built the wall, but it’s too strong for us to tear down on our own. We need help. We need God’s help. And, God wants to help us, but we have to ask him.

By this time many children were nodding their heads. This made sense. They understood the walls they had placed in the way for God and others to come in and bring healing to their heavy and hurting hearts.

We closed our time by writing things down on our “bricks” [wooden blocks, really] and building a wall. Here is what a few of the children wrote:

“Lord, help me talk about my feelings.”

“I’ve been hurt MANY times.”

“CONTROL.”

“I am afraid of loving people.”

 

Once our wall was built, we said a prayer, and pushed the wall over together. Please, if you are reading this, take the time to pray for our children:

“Lord, help those children who–in order to survive–have built walls around their hearts that are now keeping out the very people they need to let in. Strengthen their resolve to do the hard work of sharing their feelings, help them learn what a healthy relationship looks like, and may they come to a place where they can both experience and express the love they so desire. Meet them right where they are, Lord, and help them accept your love and grace. Amen.”

 

P.S. As part of our lesson time, we watched the following video from 1991… a little dated, but the song was just perfect for our kids!

May 27

A sunny day for a New Horizons visit to chapel!

band2-2018Nancy Trudell, Intermountain Board member, coordinated with Chaplain Chris to once again bring the New Horizons Community Band to a Tuesday chapel time in May.  The band has visited campus a number of times before, each time bringing energy and enthusiasm to their music and their interaction with kids and staff. This year, the weather was SO beautiful tat we decided to try something new… a concert on the lawn!

The band is made up of about 70 community members, from a variety of backgrounds, ages and experience who enjoy playing together.  This most recent visit to campus was especially fun, because the program consisted of marches from Star Wars, which is VERY popular with our children in residence. They also played a medley of Disney songs featuring tunes from a Jungle Book to The Little Mermaid.

Chaplain Chris billed the Spring Concert as a special visit from New Horizons, complete with “instrument petting zoo!” It was fun to hear from the children what they expected the “petting zoo” to be. Though no animals were involved, all of the children’s eyes lit up when they learned that they would get a chance to play trumpets, percussion, trombones, and other instruments. It was entertaining to watch one of our littlest guys on campus to play a trombone that was as tall as he was… and he was delighted when he made a sound “like a ‘lphant!”

The children enjoy the relationships they have built with the band members by this point, some of them having seen the band a few times during their treatment. And, of course the band members love the interaction with the children. One band member remarked at the close of the time together… “Well, that was fun! The highlight of my week!”band1-2018

 

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