In the history of a warm and vibrant Trinidad is the rubble left behind from broken families and a slew of natural disasters. Therein lays a nation of people waiting to emerge with clear minds and healed pasts.
Enter Regent University’s Trauma Team, a division of the School of Psychology & Counseling’s (SPC) Center for Trauma Studies.
The team of 25 faculty, alumni and students deployed to the nation this summer for a dual mission: to offer trauma training to various agencies, and to set up a Green Cross training center, an international, humanitarian assistance organization within the country.
“The wide-open position of the government was amazing,” said Dr. Benjamin Keyes, SPC professor and director for Regent’s Center for Trauma Studies.
Through his prior relationship with those working within emergency management of Trinidad, Keyes and his team saw nearly 100 people come through their initial training process. As a result of their work, the government is requiring its emergency management personnel to engage in trauma training.
“We’ve found time and time again, every place we’ve gone, that when God goes before us, the doors get opened,” said Keyes. “People seem prepared for what we have and are receptive to not only hearing the material, but interacting with us in a way that empowers them and our students.”
Keyes explained this process is crucial to his current students’ hands-on experience, and helps them build on the skills they learned in the classroom throughout the year. He hopes the work they’ve done in Trinidad not only makes a difference, but keeps people connected to therapists, spiritual groups and ongoing support that will continue to help them long after the team returns.
“That’s what we’re about. We’re not a hit and run organization,” said Keyes. “And I am both pleased and proud to be a part of that development and a part of that growth.”
As for the future of Green Cross and the Trauma Team’s efforts, Keyes hopes to return.
“Any time they invite me,” Keyes said with a laugh.
His love for the nation comes from the openness of the people and their willingness to be part of the answer to helping their own countrymen and women. He also desires to offer them hope for a life free from the past that plagues them. For Keyes, that’s the definition of ministry.
“There’s a light I see come into people’s eyes when they realize they’re not stuck – that things can be different,” said Keyes. “For me, that’s demonstrating a Christian witness without having to talk a Christian witness.”