Hope Shines Brighter

Jan 22, 2016

Ben Riggs

Trauma cuts deep, dark fissures in people’s lives, but hope heals deeper and shines brighter.

Empty coffee cups, snack wrappers, and tired pencils litter tables in Back2Back Cancun’s team house. The words, “Proteccion/Protection”, “Alimento/Food”, “Refugio y Cuidado/ Shelter & Safety” cover the walls. Surrounded by all this, Jayne and David Schooler remind Back2Back staff, volunteers, and ministry partners, “Children from hard places – who have experienced trauma – need hope. You are their best chance at hope.”

Child development experts, Jayne and Dr. David Schooler, recently visited to present their “Trauma Competent Caregiver” training. During the five days, the Schoolers and Sarah Nace, a Cancun staffer, addressed a spectrum of dense topics covering the complexity and needs of children, especially orphans, with trauma. It’s no easy topic. But God has placed it at the core of their hearts. Together, they’ve trained hundreds in conferences, orphanages, and non-profits the world over. Since 2014, they’ve served alongside Back2Back, now at all six sites, in their endeavor to manifest God’s heart and hope for orphaned and marginalized children.

Their goal is to transform caregivers and wed compassionate hearts with competent minds. The training walks through a child’s brain chemistry and development, sexual abuse and identifying it, the role of the caregiver, and more. These topics are deep waters, but the rising tide of hope lifts all boats. At the of end of the training two realities are clear: trauma cuts deep dark fissures in people’s lives, but hope heals deeper and shines brighter.

After the training, coffee cups were discarded and tables put away. Words covering the walls were taken down, leaving only a group of pictures: the faces of over 50 children. They and their families carry trauma’s deep fissures. But it’s more than a collection of trauma cases; it’s a storyboard of over 50 chapters ready for hope’s healing. An ever-present reminder their stories aren’t finished, but are moving in the best of directions: a new story of relationship, safety, and hope.

Ben and his wife Emily Riggs are site-staff with Back2Back Cancun. He serves with missions teams, Back2Back's Child Sponsorship Program, and tries to keep up with the stories God is writing in Cancun. He's baffled by the grandeur of words, story, and their Author. He's also overly attached to coffee, Charlie Brown, conversations, and story-based blogs.

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