Believers from a Muslim background are under strict surveillance in some Middle Eastern countries. If their families or religious police get wind of their conversion to Christianity, they face discrimination, dismissals, rejection, prison… violence. Many believers see no alternative other than to embrace Islam again, or leave their country. Many are left traumatised.
“I have met many people who have undertaken long journeys to cross the border,” shares Duru*, a trauma counsellor in the Middle East. “Almost all refugees are traumatised… Many Christians I talk to are unable to speak about what has happened…”
This was literally the case for Machell.
He wanted to speak, but the words would not come.
Many refugees fall into depression, become isolated, or have difficulty in making a connection with the people around them after arriving in their new country.
They have left their lives behind. Their friends and family are gone. They have to rebuild everything from scratch.
“Machell had been in prison because of his faith in the Lord Jesus, and had just been released,” explains Duru. “He could see no other way out than to leave the country. We don’t know exactly what he went through. He has never spoken about it. Most of the refugees don’t.”
Open Doors has been supporting believers in the Middle East in a number of ways. Helping refugees come to terms with trauma has become a significant part of the work – and creative therapy is one of the methods that trauma counsellors, like Duru, have been using.
“It doesn’t matter whether you have [artistic] talent or not. It’s a way of expressing yourself,” Duru explains. “Art can help you to discover what’s going on in the depths of your heart and soul. If I were to say to the group, ‘Tell us what your concerns are, what you have been through?’ No one would say a word. If I ask, ‘What song do you like listening to? What feelings does this song arouse in you?’ You should just see what happens.”
Machell placed himself down on his chair amongst the group of refugees, ready for the session.
If he were able to speak at all, it was in whispers.
Duru turned to Machell.
“I asked him about his favourite song,” Duru recalls. “He wanted to sing it, but he was unable to.”
But the group began to sing Machell’s song. Singing it together, they helped him along.
“When they stopped singing, Machell carried on alone for another two minutes. He was singing!” A broad smile breaks out on Duru’s face. “At that moment, a process of healing was taking place.”
Through the work of Duru and other Open Doors trauma counsellors, refugees and secret believers in the Middle East are receiving the vital care they need to process and cope with the persecution they have experienced. They’re beginning to get their voices back.
*Names changed for security reasons
Source: Open Doors
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.