UPDATE 3/7/2018: Fern and Audrey now have their own non-profit ministry. Please donate to Discovering MErcy!
Last year (September 26, 2015), I interviewed “Fern and Audrey,” a team of counselors whose focus was victims of ritual trauma and trauma-based spiritual-psychological captivity. For those who have read my novels (The Facade, The Portent), one of the characters (Fern) in the latter is based upon the “Fern” of this team. The interview with Fern and Audrey is, to date, the most-listened to episode of the Naked Bible Podcast. If you haven’t listened to the interview, please do so. It will help frame the nature of the trauma this campaign seeks to address.
The response to the podcast interview has been both unexpected and overwhelming, and has prompted this funding campaign. Fern and Audrey have been contacted by over a dozen survivors from across the country who “heard their own story” in what Fern and Audrey were able to communicate about their unique ministry. They expect that number to grow. The hope is that Fern and Audrey can add these contacts to the appointments they already have scheduled (this year and beyond).
Readers of The Portent also know that MIQLAT, the name of my new 501c3 non-profit, also comes from that novel. MIQLAT is a community of like-minded believers, no longer content (or able) to do ministry through “official” channels (churches, denominations, etc.). Part of that issue arises from the nature of those whom they have targeted to help. It’s in that same spirit that this first “special project” has been born. It’s an ambitious one. We’re taking the long look. The hope is that the campaign will pay for clients who need the financial help over the course of the next two or three years.
As listeners learned in the podcast episode, Fern and Audrey do what they do full-time. They have no other employment. Their real names and location were not revealed on the podcast as precautionary measures. Their ministry has operated this way for the 11 years it has existed. I have known them for six of those years. As one would expect, counseling / therapy time with Fern and Audrey involves expense: travel, room-and-board, and payment for counseling sessions. Since they operate off the radar, they are unable to accept insurance money for the costs involved. Some clients are able to pay their own way. Most cannot. Christian friends, family members, and even strangers are frequently the source of funding for client expenses.
Fern and Audrey describe the need this way:
“Little is done in the secular and Christian community to undertake the journey to walk with these precious people. The type and amount of trauma endured, understanding their multiplicity, compounded with the cost for ministry, becomes overwhelming for many of them. Survivors have lived under the control and dominion of spiritual beings and/or human beings their whole lives. Ministry to them is a therapeutic process that includes addressing dissociation, attachment fears, developmental trauma, as well as addressing spiritual captivity. The journey continues with offering tools to understand the body’s responses to trauma and to help relieve the trauma stored in the body. Work then can begin to rebuild relational skills and skills to live life without defensive posturing. This type of ministry is not once and done; it is a journey. The need is ongoing and urgent.”