“To create a healing ministry which embraces the whole person in medical treatment and care facilities”, that is the vision of the Clinical Pastoral Training given by Protestant Chaplains of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which began in Goma on June 28, 2013. The training will last five weeks.
Why a training for pastors to work alongside patients?
It was regrettable “to see the way that patients spiritual, existential, and needs of the heart have often been abandoned as they struggle through various crises”, according to the response of Pastor Jean Claude Schwab, one of the Swiss trainers and co-organizers of this session of the training.
“With the training, I realized that the messages are not solely for the patients, but also for me…while patients are sharing their experiences with me, I now understand what is happening inside of myself”, explained Reverend Pastor Tsongo, of the evangelical medical centre of Nyankunde, in Bunia, Oriental Province, while insisting that the patient has the resources for their own healing within themselves.
“This approach, that integrates spiritual guidance into patient care, is at the core of the HEAL Africa philosophy in which Christian principles guide all of our actions”, said Pastor Alfred Mbuta, national director of Protestant Chaplains in DR Congo. For him, discovering the ‘shadow’, or dark side, of patients in their situations he was able to experience suffering … “I found my shadow and it made me grow up, I was able to reconcile my opinions and perspectives and see the light”, he added.
At HEAL Africa, this approach is used in all services. Mrs. Pascale Mwisa, an accountant at HEAL, talks about her second pregnancy. She was afraid when her contractions started this Sunday, June 30, 2013: “I was really worried, but before starting the caesarean surgery, we prayed with the doctors and the entire operating room team. Only 5 minutes later my child arrived, just as the doctor said ‘Amen’ … and it was over. ”
This lady sees her delivery as an offering of thanksgiving and relief. ” God is great. Just three days after the cesarean, I am strong.”
HEAL Africa is a Congolese organization guided by Christian principles that works for health, social, and economic development of communities in Eastern DRC. HEAL has been active for 9 years.