Healing is a Marathon
One Creative Partner Is Using Her Sneakers to Spread God’s Healing in Africa
September 17, 2018Print this article
Heather Evans lives in two places at once.
Most of the time, Heather serves as a social worker in Pennsylvania’s beautiful Lehigh Valley. She cares for broken families, traumatized teenagers, and sex trafficking survivors in her community.
But her heart has also made a home in Africa. “My heart has been captured by the country of Rwanda,” she says.
Heather visited Rwanda for the first time in 2014 as part of a training with American Bible Society’s Trauma Healing Institute. She wanted to use her counseling skills to equip and support counselors and trauma healing caregivers in the country. The experience rocked her world.
“I bore witness to brokenness, trauma, tension, and loss that exceeded my expectations,” Heather says.
In the midst of this deep sadness, Heather saw God at work. She experienced the power of Bible-based trauma healing alongside her brothers and sisters in Rwanda.
“Scripture-based trauma healing empowers common people to lead others through a healing process,” Heather explains. “It takes Scripture and incorporates important principles of psychology.”
In Rwanda, Heather saw God work wonders in the hearts of broken people. “I witnessed firsthand that this ministry works,” Heather says. “I saw the beauty of brokenness being restored. God is present amidst the chaos, messiness, brokenness, and darkness.”
When Heather returned to the United States, her heart remained in Rwanda.
“I thought: What can I do about everything I just witnessed?” Heather says.
Heather got creative. “Every year I run a half marathon,” Heather thought. “What if I could use this race to raise awareness?”
She did just that, challenging her friends and family to pledge a dollar for every mile she ran. She also asked them to pray for Rwanda, assigning them a different prayer request for each of the thirteen miles.
“Knowing that people were joining me in prayer has totally changed my running experience,” Heather says.
“I was smiling the whole time. It was so powerful.”
Heather’s half marathon in 2014 raised $1,400 for Bible-based trauma healing in Rwanda. She didn’t stop there. She’s raised thousands of dollars each year since then.
“I’m not a full-time fundraiser, so it surprised me how enthusiastic people are,” Heather says. “I get checks in the mail with personal notes thanking me for giving them a way to contribute.”
With the money she raised, Heather cares for hurting people in Rwanda. She says her giving helps meet great needs in the country for hope in God and healing from generational wounds. “Trauma is a barrier to human relationships and to the reception of the Scriptures,” she says. “If left unaddressed, it will not only have a ripple effect in families and communities, it will be passed on to the next generation.”
Heather is excited for how she’s seen God move and is inspired to keep doing her part so more and more people in Rwanda experience freedom and renewal in Jesus.
“I plan to keep doing this,” Heather says. “As long as I have legs to run!”
You can share God’s hope, just like Heather! Visit this link to find out more.
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