Intensive Training began Monday morning with an energetic group of counselors and learners who came to the International Headquarters of Good Samaritan Ministries in Beaverton to grow and to continue the education and enlightenment of the counselor mind, and to receive exhortation and encouragement from the body of Christ.
Teresa Stroup, Executive Director of Good Samaritan Ministries, welcomed the counselors and learners in attendance and reported on the many new and exciting developments taking place in the life of the ministry. Samaritans and everyone who attended were introduced. The group included many who had come from as far away as Florida and Egypt.
This training dug deep to develop the counselors, who are led by the Holy Spirit, and ready to meet the needs of the wounded and hurting souls who walk through our doors. This training completed the Level I training for many of the 23 participants who have been attending the Monday evening GSM’s Counselor Training Level I Program, who are ready to move to Level II Training. The counselor training program in Beaverton has been given a “face-lift” while continuing to provide high quality education in the most cutting edge, evidence-based modalities, consistently teaching the truth of the Scriptures and honoring the model of Jesus as the Counselor through various training opportunities throughout the year. Sunny Vigos serves as our Counselor Training Supervisor.
Bettie Mitchell, founder of Good Samaritan Ministries shared the story of the Call on the Wall. Good Samaritan Ministries is celebrating the 40 years of ministry which began during Bettie’s tour to the ancient walls of Nineveh in Iraq. “Here are the children, where are the teachers?” was the question from God which began Bettie on her 40-year journey to “teach only the kingdom”. As Bettie shared her priceless slides and deep observations, the group was invited to examine themselves, their calling and motives toward continuing the work as we move into the ‘next’ 40 years.
Bettie Mitchell continued to teach us, drawing from the incredible depth of her experiences. From the beginnings in her humble living room – she described the many healings and miracles that were brought forth. As Bettie grew in knowledge and education, her commitment to the original call has inspired and taught hundreds of people locally, nationally and internationally; which has impacted untold thousands toward a healthy and interactive walk with God. Relying on the Holy Spirit and trusting and believing in the sanctity of each life has been the quality most emulated by Bettie Mitchell and continues to be a hallmark in the continuing education of counselors here at Good Samaritan Ministries.
Vonda Winkle, former counselor and teacher at Good Samaritan Ministries for about 20 years, returned to her roots as she taught a two and one half hour segment instructing the group in the basic elements of Collaborative Problem Solving. Identifying lagging skills and formulating plan “B” s were just a few of the exercises Vonda reviewed. Vonda instructed the counselors and learners present to more effectively address the complications that arise when communications breakdown.
Staff member and long-time Samaritan volunteer, Rinda LeSage emphasized the importance of sharing stories of inspiration and healing. Rinda encouraged the group to consider whether they have an inspirational story to share about their experiences with Good Samaritan Ministries or their childhood, marriage, or healing from a traumatic experience. Beginning with many practical techniques such as journaling or video recording, sharing your story can bring breakthroughs, healing and increase of faith. Telling “your story” can also be a vehicle to bless future generations. Rinda introduced Freda Emmons who shared about writing her books. Through her book, Flame of Healing: A Daily Journey of Healing from Abuse and Trauma, the worst of her horrible years has been transformed to be the very place where she has empathy and compassion for others who are still suffering from their own life traumas. She offers hope and healing through sharing her story.
David Williams of Vancouver, Wash., encouraged the counselors and learners regarding hearing the word of God and acting in His authority to facilitate growth and healing. David shared a myriad of experiences of his transformational conversations with the Spirit. His inspiring faith in the power of prayer led a discussion which was enhanced by the many group member’s faith-building stories of their own encounters with God’s healing power.
Mike Chaney, GSM-Prineville Center Director and long-time Samaritan blessed counselors and learners with testimonies of healing revolving around the counselor’s ability to listen with ‘two ears’ to the client. Hearing what the client is and isn’t saying and listening for the voice of the Spirit to discern direction and facilitate assignments. Mike’s many examples of Spirit-led assignments brought a lively discussion which made significant impact for the counselors and learners present.
Rebekah Van Cleef, counselor at the Prineville center, gave an inspiring testimony on the movement of the Spirit in her life and the amazing consequences of accepting and acting on assignments. Rebekah blessed the counselors and learners present with a small token which supernaturally affirmed each person who had been assigned to ask themselves a question. God’s sufficiency was assured as many of those present were given comfort, direction and increase of faith by Rebekah’s faithfulness toward God by accepting His assignments.
Jackie Miller, counselor at the GSM-Prineville Center, brought the counselors and learners an illuminating and educational report regarding her experiences with children in the counseling office. Fundamental developmental keys combined with deep dependence on the Holy Spirit were taught. Jackie shared many case studies of very difficult situations and the innovative and supportive techniques she has found helpful while working with the most vulnerable of the population.
With 50 Samaritans in attendance, guests ate Egyptian food and learned about the precarious state of affairs in Egypt and also much encouragement as to see God’s hand upholding the Christian work there. A Harambee of an Egyptian woven wall-hanging highlighted the evening of fun.
Rick Collins and Sunny Vigos, counselors in the Beaverton office, brought a comprehensive overview of DBT to the counselors and learners. Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance and Emotion Regulation are some of the skills of DBT that were demonstrated in a lively and interactive session. DBT is an on-going class offered at the Beaverton office. Rick and Sunny are two of the Samaritans trained and certified to teach DBT at the headquarters office.
Terry Wood, Certified Trainer in the trauma/tension releasing/reducing exercise regimen invited the counselors and learners present to become educated in this significant, supportive treatment. The importance of self-regulation and the difficulty of top-down therapy to completely address the ‘body memories” of trauma was explained. The body’s natural defense against the entrenchment of trauma in the cells is by allowing the body to naturally “shake off” this stress. Terry led a brief demonstration of the simple, self-directed exercises. To learn more about this …
Chris Holte, Licensed counselor at Good Samaritan Ministries, brought an insightful and informative lecture to our counselors and learners. A deeper understanding of brain chemistry, the vital role dreams play in the healthy processing of information along with a lively question and answer session, brought a higher degree of awareness to the many advantages that may be available for their clients needing EMDR.
Licensed counselor, Joan Schultz and staff member and counselor Bethany Stroup, engaged counselors and learners in a spirited presentation acting out the drama and empowerment triangle dynamics of human interaction. Through colorful and inventive props, the group was invited into a lively and interactive session which educated and empowered toward healthier relationships with self and others.
Lyla Swafford, long-time Samaritan and counselor shared a powerful testimony regarding self-worth, perseverance and courage. Her latest book: It Takes More Than Legs to Stand, released in April 2016, is Lyla’s autobiography concerning her life challenges complicated by her diagnosis of cerebral palsy at birth.
Teresa Stroup, Executive Director of Good Samaritan Ministries, shared with counselors and learners the holy and life-changing challenge we encounter through the work as counselors and Samaritans. Paying the 2nd price is not a choice taken lightly. Teresa shared a written vision of Bill Britton’s called “The Harness of the Lord.” Discussion and testimony revolved around standing under the hand of God and not entering into enterprise for personal satisfaction but the ultimate satisfaction of the Lord.
Counselors and learners reviewed the depth and importance of the instruction that was received during the week of intensive counselor training.
The August 2016 Intensive Counselor Training was a culmination of much prayer and preparation.
All of the instruction was conducted by extremely qualified individuals who graciously provided their expertise as a gift to the ongoing work being done at Good Samaritan Ministries.
A lunch was provided each day by the organizing efforts of staff and the generosity of the volunteers who provided food and substance to feed the attendees.
A Thrivent Financial Volunteer Action Team provided support for this educational event. Planning, teaching, purchase of supplies and preparation of meals created an affirming and life-giving event.
It is our prayer that these efforts have not only provided on-going quality education for our counselors, but provided a foundation for our counselors in training. It was noted that much time for personal introspection and the enlightenment of quality information and the movement of the Holy Spirit brought healing to many.
We find ourselves grateful to the Lord for His blessings of mercy and grace upon Good Samaritan Ministries.