Pastors from the western region of Cameroon received intensive trauma care, as well as training in how to deliver trauma care to their congregation members, in an emergency training event conducted in December by persecution ministry Voice of the Martyrs Korea.
“Persecution caught these pastors by surprise,” said Voice of the Martyrs Korea representative Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, a specialist in trauma care for persecuted Christians who conducted the training.
VOMK representative Doctor Foley teaches a group of Cameroon pastors in how to counsel one another. All have faced persecution and struggle from trauma. During this training, they helped each other work through psychological pain in the hopes of helping other Cameroonian Christians facing persecution.
“There is a civil war happening now in Western Cameroon between a secessionist rebel group and the regular army. The pastors there are determined to stay out of politics; to simply preach the gospel and care for their churches and families. But that has caused the rebels and the government troops to be suspicious of the pastors. Both sides treat them as spies. As a result, life has become extremely difficult for the pastors. As villages are burned down, pastors’ churches and homes are destroyed. The pastors move their families to the capital city, but they themselves stay in the war zone, without the support of their denominations. They live in tents in the jungle without a salary and minister to the people on both sides of the conflict. Gunfire is a daily occurrence. They are frequently interrogated by both sides. Sometimes they are kidnapped. This has gone on for almost two years. The result is an unimaginably high level of trauma for the pastors of Western Cameroon.”
Dr. Foley received an urgent summons from a VOM sister mission late last year to come and teach Christian trauma recovery to the pastors of Western Cameroon. “Trauma recovery for persecuted Christians is an extremely rare specialty,” said Joas Maria, Executive Director of HVK Belgium.
“We knew that Dr. Foley had taught trauma recovery in similar circumstances to persecuted Christians from North Korea, China, Eritrea, and Sri Lanka. So, we were grateful she was able to come. It was a huge help to the 15 pastors in attendance, and it will be a huge help to the hundreds of church members these pastors will now be able to help.”
A letter from the Cameroon pastors who attended the training:
“The participants of the Theology of Persecution and Trauma Healing program, held from December 16-20 2019, wish to express their appreciation. You saw us weeping, but by ministering to us through the promises in God’s Word, you brought us hope to continue in the Word of God.
“You saw us weeping,”
wrote the pastors in a statement of appreciation presented to Dr Foley at the completion of the four-day intensive training,
“but by the promises in God’s Word through your ministration has brought us hope to continue with the Word of God.”
Dr. Foley received her master’s degree in licensed clinical counseling with a specialization in trauma care from Colorado Christian University in the United States. The program was started by Dr. Larry Crabb with an emphasis on biblical counseling but was further developed to meet the requirements for clinical licensing. In addition to teaching trauma recovery directly to persecuted Christians, Dr Foley has also trained individuals who counsel persecuted Christians at international events in Belgium and Thailand.
Doctor Foley teaches Cameroon pastors what trauma is and the way to deal with it.
Dr. Foley says that both biblical counseling and clinical counseling are needed to meet the needs of persecuted Christians like the pastors of Western Cameroon.
“These pastors are unarmed materially, emotionally, and spiritually. We must help them (and their families) recover in each of these areas of their life. We must also train them to help the families in their churches recover.”
Dr.Foley says that the Korean church must treat trauma recovery as the foundational mission to countries where Christians are persecuted.
“Until pastors and church members in these countries recover from trauma, they cannot effectively use the humanitarian aid or church building assistance that is usually provided by the Korean church to places like this.”
A Cameroon pastor asks Doctor Foley to explain a concept from the training.
Doctor Foley works with a group of Cameroon pastors who are facing persecution.
Dr. Foley travelled to Africa again in late January to lead a trauma recovery session for Eritrean Christians, widely regarded as among the world’s most persecuted.
Churches and individuals interested in making a donation to VOMK’s trauma recovery ministry for persecuted Christians can do so at www.vomkorea.com/donation (select “Families of Martyrs and Prisoners” from the donation option menu) or via electronic transfer to
Please include the phrase “FOM” (for “Families of Martyrs”) on the transfer.
Donations are then tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. If you would like instructions on how to donate through the NHF website, you can follow our tutorial below.