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Photo 1: Members of the Trauma Healing production team gather in Kenya to commemorate their joint endeavor during July 2014.  Photo 2: Team members discuss drama segments to be used in the programs. Photo 3: Job Wesonga and Emily Oduor record in the studio.

TWR has linked up with American Bible Society to produce radio programs designed to help Africans suffering from the psychological wounds of war, natural disasters and similar traumas.

In July, Scott Hollinger, a missionary and media content team leader with TWR (also known as Trans World Radio), traveled to Kenya to oversee two weeks of intensive scriptwriting and recording that laid the groundwork for more than two dozen radio programs of the Audio Trauma Healing Project. Created as a joint project of the Trauma Healing Institute at American Bible Society and the Bible Society of Kenya in cooperation with TWR and the global media ministry’s national partner in Kenya, these initial programs will serve as a template for recordings in other languages worldwide.

The importance of this kind of healing hits close to home for Hollinger, whose wife, Naren, experienced the horrors of Cambodia’s killing fields as a teenager. After leaving her homeland, Naren was led to Christ by a TWR missionary on Guam, and a church there surrounded her with the love and special care she needed to rebuild her life.

Africans in many countries face similar soul-crushing crises. They may not be Christian, or they may be surrounded by other traumatized Christians badly needing a way to get “unstuck,” Hollinger said.

“They may be stuck right now,” he said. “They can’t see a way forward. They don’t know how to resolve the feelings of loss, of anger, of hatred that they have. What these programs do is bring to the front through drama and discussion that trauma they’ve experienced. And it gives them a way to face what they’ve gone through and to seek complete psychological healing through the power of the Holy Spirit and the use of biblically based materials.”

The programs grew out of American Bible Society’s book Healing the Wounds of Trauma: How the Church Can Help, which presents an extensively field-tested approach based on core mental-health principles within a biblical framework.  Two of the authors, Harriet Hill and Margaret Hill, joined Hollinger, the TWR Kenya team and a veteran recording engineer from South Africa as the new programs were crafted in July.

The authors developed a version of the trauma-healing materials that enables trained facilitators to use storytelling in communities where literacy is low but the number of people struggling with deep emotional and spiritual injuries is high. Listeners will be able to call in, and the local Bible Society will connect them with facilitators and churches in their community for further in-person care. Also, small groups led by facilitators will be able listen to the recordings on various digital devices. 

The 30-minute programs consist of minidramas, traditional storytelling, group discussions and Scripture songs intended to help listeners process both what they have heard and their own feelings as they begin the healing process. The initial programs are being produced in English and are expected to begin airing in January 2015 in Kenya, but translation into Pazande is already underway and uses in other settings are being planned.

Hollinger said it was nothing short of amazing that the team far exceeded any realistic goals of what could be accomplished during the limited production period.

“I think it just shows God at work but also the dedication of the team and the quality of the people to get the work done,” the TWR veteran said. “We really have a great team in Kenya.”

Attached is an audio clip from one of the programs of the Audio Trauma Healing Project.