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Eliminating The Barriers

Director works through a history of foundational issues with Haitian people

“It is hard to listen when one is drunk or hungry. We need to sober up and give some food, then the person is more in a position to receive the teaching,” shares Dr. George Rhoades Jr. – Global Aid Network’s (GAiN) Director of Trauma Counseling.

Trauma often will block a person’s mind in the same manner. Yet, the trauma in Haiti is not solely due to the earthquake. It’s the deep-rooted issues that have paralyzed the country for years that play a contributing factor.

Dr. Rhoades’ goal is to address the trauma and remove this barrier so that hurting people can hear more clearly and truly experience the love of God in a very practical way.

At the end of April, Dr. Rhoades returned to Haiti to train 30+ student leaders from the Kingdom Leadership Institute in trauma counseling as well as address other topics that would better equip them to help the people they often encountered. “Sometimes people will come to other leaders in their communities before they approach a pastor, especially if the pastor is seen as ‘too busy’,” says Dr. Rhoades. “My time with the students was such a blessing because they were not only building on their past training, but they gave me informed answers when I asked about information from the sessions approximately seven months ago.”

Discussions with the students were spirited but extremely practical and real. Topics included counsel on how to deal with Voodoo, spousal abuse, anger in the family, parenting, and looking at the roles of men, women and children.

Since it is quite typical for a Haitian family to have an absent father/husband, there was a heavy focus on fathers. In the Haitian culture, it is common for a woman to have many children from different fathers. In fact, many fathers don’t stick around. The next man in the woman’s life will often promise to take care of the pre-existing children, but once the new boyfriend, perhaps husband, fathers a new child, he will then most likely move on. “The need to break this generational cycle of instability in a Haitian home is so important,” shared Dr. Rhoades.

Poverty was another highly emphasized topic as the students felt it was the biggest issue, before and after the January 12th earthquake, that ultimately cost the lives of 300,000 Haitians. When asked “Why is there such poverty in Haiti?”, the students gave interesting answers such as lack of education, self worth, creativity and teaching of entrepreneurship to the children and/or displayed by the adults.

Woven throughout Dr. Rhoades’ schedule with the Kingdom Leadership Institute’s students was an opportunity to speak to 500+ younger students in a school in Carrefour as well as visit 200+ children at the Ca-Ira orphanage in Leogane for the third time. In both locations, Dr. Rhoades gave an inspirational talk called “Aim for the Moon” where he encouraged the children to follow their dreams, learn from the past and keep their eyes on their goals. The final line in his message was “Aim for the Moon and even if you miss it, you are still among the stars!” Since the talk usually connects well with countries where dreams often don’t exist or were shattered by poverty, most of the children engaged with him.

On the Sunday, Dr. Rhoades had the privilege of speaking to two separate audiences totaling approximately 1700+ people where he spoke on the topic of “How to Deal with Temptation”, which was also televised and broadcasted on the radio to additional people throughout Haiti as well as a few other countries.

“I desire to be part of the solution of helping Haitians become more independent with solid, practical education and training,” shares Dr. Rhoades.

With Dr. Rhoades’ strong pursuit of training Haitians to confront the ongoing cyclical issues within their culture, the hope is that more Haitians will live out the future they were meant to have.

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