By George Siapu
The United Church of Solomon Islands has launched its trauma counseling and pastoral care programs for the affected areas of the western province in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami which had left a long trail of destruction and human suffering.
The church has mobilized three groups of church personnel's who are equipped with skills in trauma counseling and pastoral care to be dispatched to the affected islands starting today.
According to one of the Team leaders, Rev. Milton Talasasa, one group will be covering affected villages on Simbo, Ranongga and South Vella; second group will be covering Gizo, North Vella and Mono, and the third group will be sent to South Choiseul.
"Each team will be spending up to two weeks in each village", Rev. Talasasa said.
Rev. Talasasa explained that the teams would be visiting each single village and camps in the hills on these islands.
He said that the teams would also train those in the communities in trauma counseling skills and pastoral care so that they could take over from them and continue on in helping their communities redirect themselves and rebuild their lives.
"The United Church stands ready and prepared to help its church members redirect their lives", Rev. Talasasa added.
He said that despite the great loss of properties and human lives, the church asks church members to remain intact in their faith and to see the disaster from a positive point of view.
"People should take this as a challenge to change direction and return to God", Rev. Talasasa stressed.
He drew attention to the important duty of each and everyone to remain faithful in their Christian-walk, attend church worship and activities, and read the bible, which is God's word.
Rev. Talasasa explained that the motto for this mission is to "carry one another's burden", adding that, " in times of disaster we should all give a helping hand".
He said that the second phase of the mission would start in May and it would involve women's groups, youth and Sunday school teachers.
Meanwhile, the United Church in Solomon Islands has extended its profound appreciation to the overseas countries, Non-Government Organizations and Donor Agencies that have provided disaster relief assistance to the people of Western and Choiseul provinces.
Rev. Talasasa called on those who have provided assistance not to concentrate only on the relief supply phase but to start devising ways of rehabilitating the people in this affected areas so that they could rebuild their lives and look ahead optimistically.