October has come and gone during which Chris Hanak traveled to both Paraguay and Peru to continue FOH training and leadership development. The women there are growing spiritually as they continue to facilitate FOH courses in their own countries. Below are Chris’s words about her time in Paraguay.
Thank you so much for your prayers for the trip that Luisa (Peru) and I made to Paraguay to give further training to Focus on the Heart leaders there. There are three new, promising leaders in the group and we spent our three days looking at ways that being defensive hurts our most important relationships and sharing how the FOH concepts have changed our lives. We practiced opening our hearts to the Lord through appreciating ways He has worked in our lives in the past. We also practiced actively listening to the Lord speak to our hearts.
As we shared experiences of living what we teach, we learned from each other! For example, one of the leaders shared that recently a family member had been very rude to her while her brother was dying. She was angry with the woman and expressed her anger by refusing to talk to her. Then she recognized that her coldness was a defense provoked by her fear of being humiliated. Once we recognize the fear, it is so much easier to deal with it! She forgave the other woman and asked God’s forgiveness for her own behavior. Then she realized she needed to ask the other woman’s forgiveness. Knowing what we should do is so much harder than actually doing it. She expressed it this way, “The gap between knowing what to do and actually doing it is very small; but it’s so hard to take that step to cross it!”
But she was able to cross it, to ask the other woman to forgive her for treating her coldly. Once she started, she discovered it wasn’t as hard as she thought. She felt compassion for the other woman. Another relative overheard the exchange and afterwards commented, wondering how she could forgive what the other woman had done. This experience underlined two lessons for her: we don’t have to live with defenses because it is the Lord who protects us, and we never know who is watching and listening to our choices.
Then for two days we went out to the rural western part of Paraguay to the Benjamin Aceval church to meet with a group of women who have been taking FOH courses for a couple of years. One of the joys of working with a stable group is that from visit to visit we see growth and hear how God has been working in answer to our prayers.
We can’t always see directly how our prayers make a difference in the lives of those we don’t know, but we have God’s assurance that they make a difference. Thank you again for sharing in the work and the blessings of this ministry!