EP 157: Hope and Healing For Native Peoples: Dr Steven Tracy

Diana WinklerDomestic Violence

You hear me talking about Mending The Soul all the time, but hearing all about it from the very founder of the ministry a treat. We have Dr Steven Tracy on the show for the third time, talking about more resources, more stories about changed lives in Africa, and his new book in progress. You will hear all about the new curriculum created by Native American peoples, for Native American peoples that bring hope and healing from severe trauma. Do not miss this powerful and highly informative conversation!


Steven R Tracy, Ph.D.

Steve is the President and International Director for Mending the Soul, and professor of theology and ethics at Phoenix Seminary where he has taught since 1995. He has also served as a church pastor for fifteen years. Steve’s research and writing are focused on biblical ethics, sexuality, and abuse. He received a B.A. from Arizona State, an M.Div. and Th.M. from Western Seminary and a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies from the University of Sheffield (England) with a research focus on Pauline ethics. In addition to his domestic work, Steve, along with his wife Celestia, spend 4-8 weeks a year in East Africa coordinating and supervising international trauma training teams. Steve is the author of seven books and numerous book chapters and journal articles


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Steve Tracy 3

[00:00:00] My favorite guest is on for the third time on the podcast. We have today Dr. Steven Tracy. He is the founder of Mending the Soul, and you hear me talk a lot about Mending the Soul. Well, there’s a reason for that, because it works. Dr. Tracy was on episode 16, my first season, and then episode 98 for my second season.

[00:00:29] And we have him again today. He’s going to be talking about all the new things that are going on with Mending the Soul and his trips to the Congo, to Kenya, and

[00:00:41] You do not want to miss Dr. Tracy. He’s a great storyteller. He loves the Lord and he’s passionate about helping people to heal from violence, abuse, and trauma. So, that is coming up on the Wounds of the Faithful podcast.

[00:00:59] [00:01:00] Welcome to the Wounds of the Faithful podcast, brought to you by DSW Ministries. Your host is singer, songwriter, speaker, and domestic violence advocate, Diana Winkler. She is passionate about helping survivors in the church heal from domestic violence and abuse and trauma. This podcast is not a substitute for professional counseling or qualified medical help.

[00:01:25] Now, here is Diana.

[00:01:33] Hey everyone, welcome back to the podcast. I’m so glad that you’re here with me. We have a wonderful show for you today. And yes, I say that every week, but I really, really mean it this time. As I said in the intro, my guests today, Dr. Steven Tracy

[00:01:53] Podcast episodes are the most popular ones on the show, [00:02:00] so, and again, there’s a reason for that because. God is using Mending The Soul in miraculous ways, changing lives. He’s constantly coming up with more resources for abuse survivors.

[00:02:14] He always has stories, incredible stories that he tells from these trips. the Congo in Africa and Kenya and other areas

[00:02:26] They’re constantly dealing with Trauma with a capital T every single day. We’re going to talk about that. And

[00:02:34] if you haven’t heard Dr. Tracy before, I’m going to give you his bio here.

[00:02:40] Steve is the president and international director for Mending the Soul and professor of theology and ethics at Phoenix Seminary, where he has taught since 1995. He has also served as a church pastor for 15 years. Steve’s research and writing are focused on [00:03:00] biblical ethics, sexuality, and abuse.

[00:03:03] He received a BA from Arizona State, a Master of Divinity, and Master of Theology from Western Seminary and a PhD in Biblical Studies from the University of Sheffield, with a research focus on Pauline ethics. In addition to his domestic work, Steve, along with his wife Celestia, spend 48 weeks a year in East Africa coordinating and supervising international trauma training teams.

[00:03:35] Steve is the author of seven books and numerous Book chapters and journal articles.

[00:03:40] You are going to be blown away by Dr. Tracy. And what he has to say, he’s such an

[00:03:48] encourager. Please share this episode because it is going to be so powerful.

[00:03:54] So here’s my conversation with Dr. Steven Tracy.

[00:03:58] Please. Welcome back [00:04:00] to the show for the third time, Dr. Steven Tracy, thank you so much for taking time out of your very busy schedule to come back on the podcast.

[00:04:13] Really, really delighted to do so. Yeah. I love what you’re doing, Diana, and. Abuse is what God’s called us to address. So it’s always an honor to do a podcast like this.

[00:04:26] Yes. Any chance I get to talk about mending the soul, I do it.

[00:04:29] Congratulations is 20th anniversary of mending the soul this year. We were at the party. The Arizona version of the party. And that was an incredible event. So tell us how you feel about making it 20 years.

[00:04:48] Did you ever think you’re going to get this far?

[00:04:50] Oh my goodness. I never thought we’d be doing abuse work. I was a pastor for 15 years and then toward the end of that, God called me to get a [00:05:00] PhD to teach, did it New Testament and I just. I mean, abuse wasn’t on our radar, but, you know, once you know, all of a sudden when your eyes are open, it’s like, Oh my goodness, how could I have missed all this?

[00:05:17] And that includes our own family. So it’s not, I mean, abuse has directly touched us, but for a long time we were, we were unaware of it. And once you, yeah, your, your eyes are opened. It just changes how you view the world, how you view God, how you view others. It’s been an amazing journey over 20 years.

[00:05:37] Never thought we’d be doing this. Certainly didn’t think we’d be doing the global work we’re doing, which is really the… The heartbeat for Celeste and I, we have a domestic arm and we care deeply about people in the United States. But you can’t do everything. As a ministry, we address the domestic. But Celeste and I are really focused on, [00:06:00] populations, particularly in Africa, , and Native Americans as well.

[00:06:04] And there’s a lot of overlap there. So yeah, we just say thank the Lord every morning we get up that we get to do the work. We feel like we have such a front row seat, to see the miraculous redemptive hand of God. and it’s, it’s a journey. So we’re really, really grateful. Amen.

[00:06:24] I’m so glad to be a part of it as a facilitator and going through Mending the Soul myself, as we’ve said on previous episodes, it’s changed my life as a survivor.

[00:06:36] And then I’ve seen so many lives changed facilitating these groups. Just finished, a group before my surgeries that we were talking about. And, these women were just incredible, just sharing their stories and opening up and doing the work. And, you can see the changes in their lives. The light bulb goes on [00:07:00] and then they’re out there doing their own groups and facilitating.

[00:07:05] Thankful for you starting this ministry, for sure.

[00:07:09] Well, I appreciate that, but let me give a plug for our Any facilitators who are listening, you facilitators are really the backbone of MTS. I may be the president and Celestia is the director of curriculum and those are really important roles.

[00:07:26] But, you know, if we didn’t have facilitators and others doing what they’re doing at a lay level. We’d be dead in the water, honestly. And I’d secondarily, Diana we’ve talked before about this, how God’s used Mending of the soul resources to help you heal, we have such respect for abuse survivors.

[00:07:48] And again, I’m not saying you people, this includes Celestia and I, part of our story as well, though, for a long time, we didn’t know it. but it’s one of the [00:08:00] biggest privileges we have is to walk alongside survivors here in the US and, in Africa as well. And just to be part of. the team, so to speak, that God graciously uses to help them heal.

[00:08:14] And, we’ve had so many amazing resources to help us in our healing. And we don’t compare pain but I do have such respect for others that are willing to enter into a I mean, Celestia and I went into it kicking and screaming. And she’ll say this. She went into counseling because she was in a counseling program at Lewis and Clark college.

[00:08:36] And it was required. Like she thought it was just ridiculous. She didn’t need counseling, but she had to, to graduate. And she often, when she was a clinician said, I just so respect my clients cause they came in here voluntarily. And similarly with me, Celestia was pressing me for years and I had already written the book.[00:09:00] [00:09:00] So when, when survivors will choose to begin a healing process, we just really respect that. And we know personally how hard it is. It can be terrifying. You open those doors with, you’re not sure what’s in there. The skeleton’s in the closet and it takes tremendous courage. And often things get worse before they get better.

[00:09:20] You know, the process can stir a lot up, and there’s triggers, and sometimes new memories, but if it’s done right, it has to be paced, much like medicine we take, you know, drink the whole bottle at once, but, you know, as you pace it with the help of God, When you face those fears and memories and whatnot, it’s just so liberating when you kind of get those secrets out and face those shameful memories, and you come to realize by experience that, that all the things Satan told you were a lie.

[00:09:55] if people really knew what had happened to me, they would not want [00:10:00] having to do with me, realize how disgusted I am. And there are countless numbers of lies Satan gives us, but we have to experience, I think, especially in safe relationship, that no, that’s not the truth. It’s not what God’s word declares.

[00:10:16] And the people of God and safe community can help us experience some of those beautiful things. So quite a journey.

[00:10:26] Yeah, I wish that Celestia was able to join you tonight, one of these days, on the show. She’s actually getting ready for another surgery herself. Knee surgery and really having to, by the end of the day, and it’s been a tough week physically.

[00:10:46] She’s in a tremendous amount of pain. I lose track. This is over 30 surgeries, multiple, multiple body parts. Yeah. She has a connective tissue disorder and, and a pain disorder, both incurable. [00:11:00] But we, and we talk a lot about this, that it is truly the greatest honor of our life that other than being called a son and daughter of God, the second greatest honor is to focus on a ministry to help.

[00:11:16] Survivors find healing in Jesus name. And, you know, there’s a price for that privilege. And in our case, God, in his goodness, he’s not cruel. He’s good, determined. And let’s not say he, he gave Celestia a genetic disorder, but he at least allowed it and he could, he could heal it instantly and he’s chosen not to, and he must have a good reason, and we are convinced it’s related to the work we do.

[00:11:40] You know, would we really be qualified to. tell abuse survivors, trust God in the midst of your pain, and circumstances, some of which may not change in this life. It’s especially true in our global work, in war zones, Congo and elsewhere. If everything was [00:12:00] rosy posy for us and we didn’t have some intractable pain that wasn’t going to go away in this life.

[00:12:05] So, but that’s part of the redemption. I want to emphasize that for all of our listeners. Our stories are different. But what I can absolutely guarantee based on the trustworthiness of Scripture is God doesn’t want to waste a single tear, a single nanosecond of your pain, and He has good ways to redeem that pain, bring good out of it.

[00:12:33] Bad is bad. Evil is evil. Abuse is… There’s nothing good about abuse in and of itself. But… The promise of Romans 8 28 is that he can cause all things to work together for good, even things that are bad, but he can bring good out of it. And, you know, when we’re in the middle of healing, we have to just hang on to that by faith because it doesn’t make sense.

[00:12:56] And we can’t see how anything good could come out of [00:13:00] my grandfather molesting me or whatever. But as someone who’s a little farther down the road, maybe than a lot of our listeners, I’m in my mid sixties now. Yeah. I can testify, that there is nothing you’ve experienced that God can’t and wouldn’t delight in redeeming and using for good.

[00:13:19] And we see it in the worst of the worst. Again, our context is, uh, largely Congo, where it’s, it’s the genocide type stuff. and that’s our daily work again this morning I woke up to hideous emails and videos of the latest 40 person massacre in one of the areas where we serve. I’ve preached there numerous times.

[00:13:44] So I’m not pulling this out of, well, I read it in a book, but we live it. There is nothing any of our listeners are going through that God can’t redeem and heal.

[00:13:56] Talk about brave people. You [00:14:00] take teams to the darkest places on the planet and train the, community leaders how to heal and then how to help their own people.

[00:14:11] And now you’ve probably taken a couple trips this year. We love to hear the stories of What God’s doing on those trips. Can you share with us one of those?

[00:14:21] Sure. Yeah. I, was back last, May, June, for about three and a half weeks and did a training for, 55, 60 refugees from Congo, all living in, Uganda.

[00:14:36] Cause they’d had to flee the border. We weren’t able to get, visas. For whatever reason, the government, even for humanitarian work, wouldn’t give visas. I think I have a way around and I plan to go in May, and we plan to go to Uganda in February. So we’re over about three times a year, and our staff are there, you know, year round.

[00:14:54] They’re African, but yeah, the refugee trainings are [00:15:00] among the most difficult that we do because just the life of a refugee, they’ve had to leave everything, 100 percent of the people at, in the camps and certainly at this training had lost loved ones. Most had witnessed loved ones slaughtered.

[00:15:16] It’s a level of trauma that it. We can’t fathom. I’m not, of course, going to go into any of the details that wouldn’t do us any good. You can imagine what they’ve suffered and, going in on the front end. They were excited, but so nervous and skeptical and, and I get it, you know, really skeptical of who are these people and what do they have to say to us?

[00:15:42] And we always share it of our story and you, you’ll appreciate this. Diana having a mom who’s Native American, we, brought, one of the graduates of Indian Bible College this year. We have a really close relationship with that school, and we’ve been wanting to do this, and I have [00:16:00] another guy lined up to go with us in May.

[00:16:02] She’s Navajo, Tina, and she’s shared a bit of her story over five days. And I set her up by explaining, because Africans know nothing of Native American culture, the history, like, they know there are some non white people here, but that’s about it. So, I just set her up by explaining that, you know, our sister Tina is here to share some of her story.

[00:16:26] You can see that she’s not white like me. Actually, my ancestors abused her ancestors and drove them off their traditional land, and it caused tremendous pain. And you Congolese lived under, your ancestors lived under Belgian colonialization and your ancestors were traumatized. Tina understands historic trauma in ways I don’t as a white person.

[00:16:51] All of our stories are important, but she understands in ways I don’t. Her native tongue is not [00:17:00] English. It’s, she has a tribal language called Navajo, you know? So, and, and their eyes got really big. It’s like, we never knew this. And the last day she wore her traditional Navajo attire and they just ate it up.

[00:17:14] And, and she had her artwork and they especially connected with, and I can share this because she’s done it publicly, never knowing her father and, just the abandonment. Her mom abandoned the family when she was young. Her grandmother died. So just tremendous. Pain from childhood, abandonment and neglect, and the Congolese just so identified and she had some pictures that they just, even though it was obviously a different culture, they connected with the themes and the heartache, and it just, God used that profoundly to help.

[00:17:53] People heal. It was just beautiful to watch, and the different exercises and, [00:18:00] we had people share, particularly toward the end of the five day conference, that they, a couple different ones, shared that they had specific plans to kill themselves at the beginning of the conference. Suicide rates were rampant in the camps, rampant, but that by the third or fourth day, they had a hope that they’d never had before.

[00:18:21] A couple shared how they had slept through the night for the first time in as long as they could remember. They had always had nightmares all night long, and just some of the exercises and whatnot, were really beginning to change them. Obviously, healing’s a long time process, and it’s a lifelong process.

[00:18:42] It is. So, you know, there’s certain triggers and wounds that… Probably won’t totally go away in this life, but God’s a healer and it’s just so beautiful with a population that is [00:19:00] traumatized beyond description to see what God does when healthy biblical principles are God’s a healer. are given and they begin to grab those and apply them.

[00:19:12] I couldn’t be more convinced that there is no trauma and evil that God can’t heal because I see it.

[00:19:20] I know that my groups are 16 weeks, how in the world do you do all that in five days?

[00:19:26] Well, for one thing, it’s all day long. So, you know, we, we go from eight in the morning to close to five at night.

[00:19:34] So they’re full days. And then often we’re hanging around for another hour of Q and A. And we don’t get through the entire book. We have a workbook for lay people, and then a book that has a lot of exercises for the leaders. So that’s the one we use for these leader conferences and we take them through exercises, but we then instruct them, this is a start.

[00:19:58] You now need to finish [00:20:00] the exercises in the book in small groups. That’s probably going to take you a couple more months. And they do that and really awesome. And we see this every time by the last day on their own, they’re already organizing how they’re going to do small groups and they’re starting to organize how they’re going to do trainings for others who need it in their own communities.

[00:20:24] So that’s what really keeps us going. Cause yeah, it’s incredibly hard to hear stories all day long of just The worst, I mean, stories that give you nightmares. Yes. But it’s worth it when you get to see the miracles and see what God does. So I hope that gives our listeners some hope and encouragement.

[00:20:47] It sure does me. I love that story. I would love to meet Tina someday. She lives in Flagstaff. So, yeah, I’d love to go up there and meet her. Yeah, let’s talk more [00:21:00] about the new curriculum for the Native peoples that you guys are working on. I’m so stoked for that.

[00:21:06] Yeah, we are as well. I was. Telling Diana before we started the Mending the Soul, Our working criteria for taking on new populations or new project globally is we’re the greatest trauma needs with the fewest resources, with faithful partners that we can work with. When those three things come together, then we think this is probably the leading of God for, you know, a new population for us to try to, assist.

[00:21:35] And we really see that Native Americans have. Hands down, the highest abuse trauma rates of any demographic group in the United States and so few resources. Christian. And, and given the history, I can understand, that. So, and now we have some really faithful partners. So a couple of years ago, Celestia and I had been going to Indian Bible College in Flagstaff for quite a [00:22:00] few years now.

[00:22:00] They use Mending the Soul workbook as curriculum in the college, because so many of the students there have experienced abuse trauma. So it’s just part of the curriculum of the school, which we love. So they invited us to come several years ago. And we

[00:22:18] But in the process of working with them, it became apparent that it’d be really helpful if they had a Native American healing workbook and the workbook we have was designed for Native Americans, they can use it, but there are enough cultural distinctives that, for however many hundred years, white people have been telling Native Americans what to do and not do.

[00:22:42] And you know, I mean, that’s colonialization, right? So we thought, wow, wouldn’t it be effective and honoring of them if we let them create. Take a model that we actually created for Africa, because we thought that would be the best starting place culturally, more similar, you know, the [00:23:00] group orientation, et cetera, and give them the freedom to contextualize it to their heart’s content, as long as they don’t change the model, but use their own stories, their own art for sure, change other things, add topics that aren’t in ours, like historic trauma, And that was their choice and they’ve done that and it’s not being piloted.

[00:23:21] So the feedback we’re getting, we haven’t seen it yet. Which is cool with us because we’ve just empowered them. This is for you, we’re praying for you, we’ll give you all the help you want. This needs to be yours. We are not going to take this over because that would be so inappropriate.

[00:23:38] That would be again, the white people doing the power game on you. And I think they really appreciated that. So what we’ve seen, we just love and, hopefully in the next I’m hoping in the first quarter of the new year, it’ll be available. And we’re told that less than 5 percent of the Native American population are Evangelical Christians.[00:24:00] [00:24:00] Roughly, I think, 5 million, Native Americans in our country or so. Definite, as you know, Diana, definitions get tricky, don’t they? Like, is that enrolled tribal members or, yeah, but I’ve read roughly 5 million and, such a tiny percentage. Our Native American friends will often tell us, I have to choose.

[00:24:22] Cause, my Native American neighbors, village, tell me you can choose to be a Native American or you can choose to be a Christian, you can’t be both. I don’t think that’s true, I mean, well, it is for some, I won’t name the tribes. I hear that repeatedly for some. Now it is very different for Cherokee.

[00:24:42] That was one of the most Christianized of all the tribes and they were taken on the trail of tears. So different, you know, there are lots of cultural differences, but, we’ve had heard many of the students there tell us. Not in any kind of, you know, martyrdom way, but just, [00:25:00] it’s really costly in my tribe to be an outspoken Christian, to identify with Jesus.

[00:25:05] But Jesus is my first love, and my heart is to reach my people, and I’m a Christian first. I, Value my Native American heritage, but I’m a Christian first. That’s my identity first. Well, that’s a lot like scripture, right? It was costly for the early Christians to identify with Jesus in that pagan culture.

[00:25:27] And, we really appreciate that, value that.

[00:25:29] There are a lot of things about Native American culture that we as Christians can identify with the Creator. They are very serious about honoring the creator and what the creator has has made and being a good steward of our earth and its resources and honoring the elderly in their community.

[00:25:53] There’s so many things about Native American culture that, Christians have [00:26:00] not historically worked with that, honored that, Hey, let’s find things that we’re in agreement of that we can talk about instead of, dividing us.

[00:26:10] Absolutely. We absolutely love getting to work with lots of different people around the world.

[00:26:17] And I’m so convinced that every culture evidences both The image of God, because every human being is made in God’s image. And so there’s some really unique, beautiful things in any given culture that show parts of who God is, but because every human being is also corrupted by sin, in every culture, you’re going to see some really unfortunate things that reflect brokenness and fallenness.

[00:26:42] So it’s easy for us, all of us, to look at other cultures with a sense of superiority because what we’re used to and what’s normal in our cultural context feels right. And I think it’s so important to have some humility to say, well, [00:27:00] what can I learn from the other? Because surely there’s things they can teach me.

[00:27:06] And, when I, we take people on our Africa trips, particularly their first time or. First couple of times, but especially the first time we tell them, you’re going to learn to not go trying to fix anyone. Or, as many times as I’ve been, I learn on every trip. We can learn from every culture and Native American culture has so many beautiful qualities.

[00:27:29] Yeah. Like respecting the elderly, the whole group orientation. We’re so individualistic as white Westerners. The biblical perspective is very much closer to Native American in that respect. I can’t define the good simply by what’s good for me. That, very, very Pauline.

[00:27:51] I have to consider the needs of my brother or sister, and if this behavior is not good and healthy for them, it’s not [00:28:00] even moral and right for me. Well, that’s That fits from a Native American and other cultures. It doesn’t fit as much from a Western culture, Western white, at least culture. So I have learned so much from, from other cultures and encourage our listeners to just look for those opportunities.

[00:28:19] Have conversations. It’s amazing the things I learn from Uber drivers, many of whom are people of color, often from other countries, and, when you express genuine interest and don’t have an agenda you know, of course I want to be a light for Jesus, but I mean agenda in a manipulative sense, it’s amazing the insights you get, the things you learn, that’ll enrich you as a person.

[00:28:43] We’ve talked about this in your previous, interviews that Mending the Soul is not like a proselytizing type of group. We’re not here to bash anybody over the head or force people, you know, conversion or anything like that. We’re talking about.[00:29:00] What our relationship is , with the creator or God. We have to talk about the spiritual part of our life because, abuse affects our spirit.

[00:29:10] And we don’t hide the fact that we’re Christian, right? And the crosses is in the center of our logo. Cause we’re convinced that healing Jesus is the healer. So we don’t hide that. But you’re right, Diana. I mean, abuse survivors by definition of have had potency and choice stripped away from them.

[00:29:30] That’s at the core of being abused. So the last thing we want to do is be manipulative. Toward people who’ve already experienced manipulation and coercion. We love Jesus. I’m quick to tell people that Jesus has changed my life and I want others to know that, but I’m also quick to say, we’ll love you where you’re at.

[00:29:55] And you don’t have to think like us for us to reach out to you, [00:30:00] to be your friend, to whatever. And I think that’s following Jesus example. Jesus never forced himself on anybody. I mean, I don’t see that in the gospels. Nope. Nope. Everybody’s welcome at the table. Right. But again, I’m quick to say Jesus is the healer and I want you to know, I’m not going to try to force anything on you at all.

[00:30:28] And you be honest and we’ll have honest conversations. If you’re not buying it, let’s talk about it.

[00:30:34] So mending the Soul has other curriculums I wanted to touch on. Princess Lost, Princess Found. The sex trafficking industry has gotten a lot of limelight recently, and, you know, we definitely have the Princess Lost and Princess Found to help heal those that have been sex trafficked.

[00:30:59] I [00:31:00] didn’t prep you for this beforehand, but have you seen The Sound of Freedom?

[00:31:05] I have not. You have not. I had just seen it.

[00:31:09] I’ve heard about it. I haven’t seen it. Wasn’t one of the main characters accused very recently of some sex crimes? Or am I confusing? Yes, Tim Ballard is the one that, who the story is about.

[00:31:23] He’s the… Yeah, yeah. Tim Ballard was accused of sending pictures to the female agents that worked with him, showing him in his underwear and… Trying to get the agent to take showers or sleep in the same bed with him, that kind of thing. Uh, it’s all very gross. Yes. Yeah. I mean, it doesn’t mean he’s guilty, but.

[00:31:46] This movie has been very controversial for a couple reasons. Jim Caviezel, you know, everybody knows him from the Passion of the Christ and he was involved with QAnon and stuff.[00:32:00] And then Tim Ballard’s a Mormon and well, you don’t really have a leg to stand on because your church has, made sex slaves of children for centuries.

[00:32:10] And, since Joseph Smith, married off children, long before they’re supposed to be married or mature enough to get married or didn’t even have a say in it or not. So there’s a lot of controversy around that, but I’ve watched the movie In and of itself, and I’ve watched a couple interviews with the producer and they take bits and pieces of Tim Ballard’s story and they mush it together to make it, a cohesive story and it’d be palatable for all viewers and it’s very clean.

[00:32:43] But I really like that this sex trafficking is put out into the limelight now. People are getting awareness of it now, whereas they weren’t before. Now we’re thinking, oh, it doesn’t happen in my neighborhood. It’s over there in maybe China or [00:33:00] Thailand or Indonesia or wherever, but it’s not here.

[00:33:03] Well, we know that isn’t the truth.

[00:33:06] No, it’s, it’s absolutely real. And yeah, so I can’t talk specifically about the movie other than some of the controversy made me. I’m not inclined to see it because I get to hear so much anyway, but I would just mention a couple of things, Diana. We spent, Celeste and I both, several years very deeply, for me on the research side of sex trafficking.

[00:33:31] I mean, deep, deep. Levels of research, creating curriculum, all kinds of things, partnering with organizations, Celestia worked with a team of clinicians and served about two dozen women who, and girls who’d come out of sex trafficking in the Phoenix area. And. One of the things she heard over and over, over and over from the girls was, at that time, this was 10, 12 years ago in [00:34:00] Phoenix, where for a while, sex trafficking was pretty much on the radar, at least in the Phoenix area.

[00:34:08] And they said, you know, people are getting all worked up over stopping sex trafficking, but I was abused as a child. Why don’t people back it up? And look at what happens to the little boys and girls, and, and over and over, they said being prostituted was just natural for me, given what had happened to me as a child, as a young adolescent.

[00:34:34] And if people think they’re going to stop sex trafficking by just addressing sex trafficking, it will never work. Because until we address child abuse, there’ll be countless, there’ll be a pipeline of vulnerable people who will be the easiest victims in the world. So I do think that’s a really important point.

[00:34:56] I mean, I applaud, healthy efforts [00:35:00] to, Put a limelight, you know, shine the light on sex trafficking for sure and it is a huge problem here and around the world and needs to be addressed and we’ve done conferences in Africa for sex traffic women so this is very near to our heart but I think it’s important that we not just look at that but we Address the abuse that causes children, women and men, to be vulnerable, to being trafficked, to the sex industry.

[00:35:28] Uh, that’s, that’s really important. I think we also need to, as Christians, as churches, address the whole area of pornography. Yes. I mean, so pimps typically, and I know the research quite well, pimps are going to squeeze literally every dollar they can, and it’s usually a woman, or a girl, and because it’s just a commodity to be used up, it’s in the crassest terms, so they, they have them turning tricks, [00:36:00] so to speak, and giving every dollar to the pimp, So, yeah.

[00:36:02] But then they will also have, have them film pornography. So again, they can just get as much money as possible. So a lot of what people are viewing by way of pornography, a significant percentage, and you have no way of knowing who, but guarantee if you’re consuming pornography at any level whatsoever.

[00:36:26] More than just a tiny, tiny amount, you are consuming material that was produced by women being sex trafficked. Sex, sex slavery, basically. So… Again, I think it’s important that we broaden, you know, our horizons here as we think of the evils of sex trafficking, and it’s truly evil. It touches on much more than just, for, if you’re in Phoenix, women who are working on Van Buren, work in the hotels with a John.

[00:36:57] Yeah, that sex trafficking, [00:37:00] most of those women have johns and they are being trafficked, but it’s, it’s much, much more than that. Yeah, I think, the recent thing with Josh Duggar, it’s not just vanilla sex anymore. Right. Guy and girl sex anymore, it’s children. Very, very young children being raped on video and, and it’s disgusting.

[00:37:22] And you got, Josh Duggar who bypassed all of the things on the computer that, that keep you from watching that stuff, he bypassed it on purpose and he went and, shared it and his parents didn’t really get him any real help. And so now he got caught and he’s in prison. And he’s not getting parole.

[00:37:41] That’s what I most recently heard. But yeah, if you’re consuming pornography, you’re part of the problem. Right. Absolutely. Absolutely. Part of the problem. Yeah. And, and to flip, flip that, Diana in a positive way. Because, I mean, we need to look [00:38:00] at both sides of the equation. What are we doing in our relationships to build health?

[00:38:06] Satan is a corrupter. I’ve been blessed for, boy, close to three decades to teach, theology at Phoenix Seminary. I’ve really cut it down to one or two classes a year now, but for… The longest time I’ve taught a class on anthropology as well as sexuality. And so I, think so often of how God’s made us as, image bearers and part of.

[00:38:28] What it means to be human is to be male or female. Our sexuality is designed by God. That’s a beautiful thing. The sex act itself is a gift from God that can bond a couple, that expresses a covenant, love, that creates, can create life in the image of God. How beautiful.

[00:38:48] But of course, Satan wants. To corrupt all the beautiful things of humanity, including our sexuality, including the sex act. So while we have to [00:39:00] absolutely protect against the dark side and guard our eyes, guard our relationships, do whatever we need to do to protect against temptations to porn and lust, We also, it’s essential that we’re building the healthy in, into our lives.

[00:39:16] Those of us who are blessed to be married, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7, 1 through 5, we’re to attend to the emotional, sexual needs of our spouse in a very reciprocal, way. We’re to meet each other’s needs. Emotionally and sexually and, and intimacy is more than just sex. It’s, it’s closeness.

[00:39:37] So singles need to have intimacy, but non erotic. And are we, are we attending to that, in our lives so that we’re, man, COVID has done quite a number on all of us. I saw a poll, I think it was Well, the results were on CNN. I think it was one out of four, 25 percent of [00:40:00] Americans say they’re lonely and don’t have close relationships.

[00:40:04] well, if we’re not attending to those healthy relational needs, then we’re so much more vulnerable. Or Satan’s seductions in unhealthy ways to express, those needs sexually and, and in other ways as well. So yeah, we want to look at the positive and the negative, um, so to speak, but building health into our lives, um, building healthy relationships, finding healthy community.

[00:40:29] And that’s also bringing back to the subject of tonight, healing from abuse. That’s how we heal from abuse trauma. You can’t heal in isolation. It doesn’t work that way. We’re abused in relationship, we’re most deeply wounded in relationship, and we’re healed in relationship. And that’s what I love about, and you’ve mentioned it many in the soul groups, because it’s a small group where with, ideally two facilitators who are, we don’t even call them leaders.

[00:40:55] We call them facilitators to help, you know, just guide the group, keep it on [00:41:00] track, moving in a healthy direction. And you share parts of your story, with each other and it’s amazing the healing that can happen in a healthy relationship. Because that’s how God’s made us. We’re relational beings.

[00:41:14] We had, our most recent, group that I finished,

[00:41:18] And, these ladies never have told anybody their story. They’re too scared or embarrassed. And this is a safe place that they were able to tell these unspeakable stories. And see this healing, see the healing from the camaraderie that happens in that group.

[00:41:40] And they all tell me every single time, I’ve had therapy and counseling, but I have never felt the bond and the safety until I came into a Mending the Soul group. And we’ve talked on previous. Interviews that there’s a difference between a therapist and a counselor and Mending the Soul they have [00:42:00] different roles.

[00:42:01] Right. Right. So they work together. They work together, but yeah, and Celestia did the clinical care for 20 years. We believe in it, but in a very real sense, it’s an artificial relationship because by regulation, therapists can’t have a friendship, a personal relationship with a client outside the office.

[00:42:22] It’s a professional relationship, so it’s very limited in scope that has its place, but I think it has to be supplemented. And some people don’t even need the professional therapy. The group work is sufficient. For others, their trauma symptoms are such that, you know, working with a really skilled clinician makes sense.

[00:42:44] But, yeah, there’s something really unique about that small group, that safe group where you can share, uh, know and be known, so to speak. It’s unlike just about any other experience, and I couldn’t Yeah.

[00:42:59] Did you [00:43:00] want to mention any of your other resources that you guys create? Yeah, so you mentioned that Princess Lost Found, and it’s also really helpful for, particularly adolescents, could be, you know, older pre adolescents who’ve experienced sexual abuse. It’s not limited to sex trafficking, though that was certainly a primary population.

[00:43:22] There’s a lot of other resources out there. call it the textbook, but it’s for either the, caregiver or parent. There’s a journal that goes with it. We have Explore, which is kind of a, a simplified workbook. It’s, it’s standalone curriculum and it’s not a condensation of the workbook.

[00:43:41] It’s its own curriculum, but not everyone’s ready for the full blown workbook experience. Jumping into the deep end of the healing pool. And that can be too much for a lot of people. And then we respect that. So we felt led to create a much simpler curriculum. That’s just not as in depth. [00:44:00] That’s not a bad thing.

[00:44:00] Sometimes that’s really necessary. You can’t do it all at once and it’s shorter. It’s, six chapters, has some real simple little videos that go with it. Teaching videos, creative. So, that’s great as kind of to, to get on the, healing highway, if you will, but not have to be in the fast lane.

[00:44:19] So that’s been really helpful. Caring for the vulnerable child, is some curriculum. We, we very much had foster kids in view, but again, any pre adolescents who have trauma are at risks. And again, it’s a cluster. There’s a workbook for the kids, simple workbook for the caregivers or parents.

[00:44:38] There’s a teacher’s guide, and there’s the textbook, for lack of a better word, that kind of gives the research and the biblical data about children. Yeah, those are the main ones. Just revised the Mending the Soul book. Second edition came out this spring. It’s completely revised. I mean, thorough, I should say thoroughly.

[00:44:58] I didn’t change everything. And [00:45:00] Celestia is the official co author, as she should be. Uh, so we really did it together. Added all kinds of stuff on neglect. Completely rewrote the healing, the, the effects of abuse chapter. We’re now calling it the Traumatized Brain. Quite a bit more on neurobiology of trauma.

[00:45:21] I like it. Reworked the, healing chapter. It’s not a new model, but we’ve learned so much in 17 years. So, of course, and there, you know, there’s a lot of new literature. And so it’s, pretty thoroughly reworked. That’s out. I’m in the middle. Well, actually well over halfway. The next book for Zondervan called Poisoner Medicine.

[00:45:43] How the Bible can hurt or heal abuse survivors. So, maybe two years from now or so, that’ll see the light of day. Uh, need to be done next. So, yeah, you’d mentioned this, the scenario that you’ve seen, as we certainly have, women being sold [00:46:00] by their own families. So, so tragic. one of the difficult passages for a lot of people, not just trafficking survivors, is honor your father and mother.

[00:46:11] Yes. Well, what does that mean if you’re on, if your father or mother were abusive or if they were just really unhealthy? Right. What does that mean to honor? What does it mean to obey, of an evil or even again, a really unhealthy person? so I’m taking different texts like that. That, I know from several decades of experience with survivors and some things I’ve experienced, there are a lot of passages that are really problematic and they become poison.

[00:46:42] The Bible’s not poison, but it can be used to poison, but actually God intended it to be medicine. And then I give a overview of how to interpret the Bible because I don’t want the Bible to be left into the hands of the experts. God doesn’t entrust or bless most [00:47:00] people to get an advanced theological education.

[00:47:02] That’s a stewardship. I know I will answer to God for what I’ve done with this training, how I’ve used it to help build His kingdom, but God intends every believer, not just the seminary trained pastors to sit down and interpret the Bible for himself, herself. So the first two chapters just deal with scripture and how do you interpret and I’ve illustrated with ways scripture is misused, particularly at the expense of abuse victims.

[00:47:30] So I tried to make it real practical while, while having a good, good grounding. And then the last section will be on the medicine, what Scripture has to say about abuse, God’s, God’s response to abuse, how He redeems abuse, etc. And we’ll be pulling in quite a few stories from some of our partners, you know, what that’s meant for them.

[00:47:52] That’s going to be exciting because we need trustworthy resources, especially about Bible [00:48:00] study. And we do Bible studies here on the podcast. I’m working on Job right now, which is a big, I know it’s a big feat, but, a trauma informed view of Job, you know, a lot of survivors hate Job.

[00:48:15] They don’t like that book because of how certain people interpret it. I wanted, to get some, some encouraging nuggets in there that people may not have seen. Right. Right. It’s amazing when you have a proper lens for it and, and understand healthy or just sound principles of interpretation.

[00:48:37] The Bible is the most amazing resource for abuse survivors. Abuse is in just about every chapter of the Bible. Understand what abuse really is. Literally, it’s just woven hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of verses address abuse. So once you get a lens for it, it’s amazing. And [00:49:00] I definitely include Job.

[00:49:02] Job has so much to teach us about laments and wrestling with God and the permission we’re given when, when we’ve experienced trauma to go to God, uh, boldly and honestly. yeah, the Bible is an amazing, the richest resource there is for healing when we understand it properly.

[00:49:21] I don’t want to take too much of your time, but is there anything that we didn’t talk about today that you wanted the listeners to know? We have, we’ve covered a lot of ground. How much time we have. no, I would just, close by kind of summarizing God’s a healer. And I, I love the image in the background there with the lamb.

[00:49:42] Yep.

[00:49:43] I’m the injured lamb. I’m, this could open up a whole other conversation and I’m not going to go there, but just by way of summary, I’m spending a lot of time in Revelation right now, not for the reason. Most people probably do, and what I [00:50:00] did for a long time. Namely, it’s the crystal ball to interpret today’s newspaper.

[00:50:05] Oh, that’s very timely right now. Yeah. I’m convinced, well, obviously Revelation tells us about the future and the return of Christ, of course. I’m convinced that actually Revelation is written to the church. And it gives us an amazing picture in what we call apocalyptic literature, which was well known in the ancient world, that seems fantastical and exaggerated, but it’s conveying real truth in very visual language.

[00:50:41] And it’s about a war between God and Satan. And, it so goes against the way we just, I think, are wired as human beings, but the emphasis in Revelation is conquest of evil through the suffering of the innocent lamb. Jesus in, in chapter 4 [00:51:00] up to 19 is referred to close to 20 times, not as a conqueror, not as God Almighty, though He is that and called that, but it’s lamb.

[00:51:12] Lambs are vulnerable. Lambs are weak. Lambs are defenseless, which is, seems insane because Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It’s not either or, it’s both in, but Revelation emphasizes victory through suffering. And in the end, of course, Jesus wins. He conquers, but in the church age, Satan’s the God of this world.

[00:51:39] He’s at work. He’s leading the nations astray. That’s John’s language for what Satan’s doing, and he’s abusing, he’s promoting abuse, and yet Christ, our King, who is also the Lamb, brings victory and so we wrestle and one of the dominant themes of Revelation is [00:52:00] faithful endurance in the midst of a painful world, a world that has demonic attack, a world that has abuse, a world that has oppression and injustice.

[00:52:09] So hang on, keep looking to Jesus, our suffering Savior, and He is the one who will bring victory and does bring victory. Amen. I like it. Now, of course, we want to talk about how the listeners can support you. There’s many different ways that we can support what you’re doing. Yeah, go to our website. Thank you, Diana.

[00:52:33] Go to our website. I actually sent an email out today. We’re planning to hire a staff person just to, not just, to be our part time prayer coordinator. We have so many partners now here and around the world that, and we have hundreds, several hundred people who are. One of the things they do for Mending the Soul is, they are prayer supporters.

[00:52:58] They pray regularly, so,[00:53:00] you can go to our website and sign up to be a Mending the Soul, to get on the prayer support list. That’s largely global, but not exclusively. We certainly include some things domestically as well. So that’s definitely a way. They can do what, what you’re doing, Diana, and be a facilitator.

[00:53:18] We have an online facilitator training. Of course, first step is to do a group yourself, a time or two, and then do the facilitator training, and then find a co facilitator and do groups for others to help them heal. And obviously, we’re a non profit. We sell our resources, and that covers a fair amount of our administrative costs, but, actually the bulk of our budget now goes to, to Africa, to the most incredible, traumatized areas of need, refugee work and, other, needs, for populations that have absolutely nothing.

[00:53:56] And it’s incredible how far a dollar will go, in much of the [00:54:00] world, so. We are very reliant as a non profit on people’s donations. I get annual reports and I’m from all of our staff and looks like we will have served just in Africa over 400, 000 people. This last year. And, when you look at the dollars we spend and the impact by God’s grace, it’s an incredible return on kingdom investment.

[00:54:23] So, yeah, and we especially appreciate people that sign up to be monthly supporters. I mean, we appreciate, whatever people feel led to do. It’s really helpful to have a, a base of people to give every month. And, it’s helps you plan your budget and, gives you that, that baseline.

[00:54:42] So, people can think, well, I can only do 40 a month or whatever. Those really add up. Others can do a lot more. And anyone wants to talk about a bigger project, Always willing to do that. We always have, conferences for 2, 500. You can [00:55:00] cover all the costs for a conference for 50 refugees, et cetera.

[00:55:04] And tremendous amount of fruit out of that. But, yeah, there are different opportunities. I always give you money for your security detail when you go over there. Oh my, yeah. It costs money to, keep the lights on and you’re not driving around in some fancy schmancy car. All this goes right to helping survivors and, you just reinvest it right back into people.

[00:55:34] Yeah, that, that’s the key. Every day, I’m in contact, video or sometimes, phone or emails with our staff and other partners and, hearing the needs. And, we have a really, really keen sense of stewardship to take every dollar and do all we can. We just, because of our faithful partners.

[00:55:54] Placed in order for, about 37, 000 worth of books [00:56:00] and workbooks, that we should get by the end of the year. Some, man, over 15, 000 copies and, oh my goodness, what they’ll be able to do with that. It’s, incredibly exciting. So, can be part of something that makes a difference in people’s lives for eternity.

[00:56:16] Amen to that. Nothing is better. Well, I appreciate you coming on the show again, Dr. Tracy, for the third time, I’m so blessed to know you and, be a part of, Mending the Soul. And, definitely you’re always welcome to come back. Now, maybe when the next book comes out or.

[00:56:43] So be sure, folks to listen to the other episode 16 and episode 98, because we talk about a lot of other stuff too, in previous interviews. So be sure to listen to those. So God bless you and

[00:56:59] [00:57:00] Hopefully we’ll get Celestia next time. That would be great. Hopefully with the new and improved me. Thanks Diana.

[00:57:08] Thank you for listening to the Wounds of the Faithful podcast. If this episode has been helpful to you, please hit the subscribe button and tell a friend. You can connect with us at DSW Ministries dot org, where you’ll find our blog along with our Facebook, Twitter, and our YouTube channel links. Hope to see you next week!

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