The Art of Healing

By Alexa Heeres on February 19, 2018

Our Heavenly Father is a God of love, healing and justice.

My experience is a testimony to these truths.

I grew up loving people. I felt deep satisfaction and calling to walk alongside those around me through the joys and trials of life. I also loved the creative arts. Music, painting, drama, writing, dance…they were all just hobbies, but it wasn't until recently that I recognized these were gifts and I was to somehow use them in conjunction with my future career path.

The Lord was clear in showing me that, though it seemed a daunting task, pursuing degrees in social work and Spanish were important keys to His purpose. But how could the professional world of social work, the communication opportunities of Spanish and the creative arts come together in one call?

A Call to Higher Education

Because God's leading was so obvious, I ended up visiting only one college before sending in my application. To Cornerstone University, I went.

I enjoyed the rigorous classes, joined the chapel band, participated in the CU Theatre program and took in life on campus. God surrounded me with faculty and fellow students who encouraged, challenged and believed in me.

He gave me opportunities to travel, learn, use my gifts and engage with the world around me.

Cornerstone was a place where my faith was strengthened and where I was better equipped to fulfill the call in my life and develop more into the woman God created me to be.

Struggles to Strength

However, being called by God does not award you with a "Get Out of Trials Free" card.

I experienced intense heartache during my four years, loss, feelings of inadequacy, disappointment and deep pain within my family that sent my world into a tailspin.

But God does not waste our experiences nor our pain. Through His strength alone, I overcame—scarred but more confident in God's power to redeem. Having people walk alongside me and using the creative arts as tools for expression and healing for myself made me realize that God was preparing me to offer the same to others.

The Opportunity of a Lifetime

God revealed this in the mountains of Guatemala.

I had the opportunity through one of Cornerstone's Global Opportunities Trips in 2016 to visit a mission site called the Oasis through Kids Alive International.

There was no way I could foresee how God would use that experience and change the trajectory of everything I had "planned" for my future.

What started as a short-term mission trip turned into a three-and-a-half-month-long internship, which then turned into an opportunity to join the mission team at the Oasis for an entire year.

Never in a million years did I imagine myself as a missionary, but I found that once you surrender everything into God's hands and trust Him to create your future, He will take you places you never expected.

The Oasis Ministry

He took me to the Oasis, a temporary residential program for young girls who were sexually abused. Guatemala is ranked one of the worst countries in the world for violence against women and girls; and in a society where extreme poverty, violence, unemployment and exploitation are common, justice for these girls is not.

This is why the dedicated staff and missionary team at the Oasis offer the girls holistic, faith-based care through legal support, medical aid, counseling and therapy, educational support and most importantly an exposure to God's love through the message of the gospel.

Nothing prepared me to watch an eight-year-old girl testify against her abusers in court or listen to sisters praying for the salvation of the man who sexually molested them for seven years. But with God, physical and emotional scars heal, broken lives are restored, families are reunited, legal justice is obtained in the courtrooms and His name is glorified through it all.

A Hope and a Future

After I graduated from CU in 2017, I was offered the opportunity to join the Oasis mission team and knew this was the next season of growth and learning that God had for me. Walking alongside these young girls through their journeys toward healing, and seeing how powerfully God transforms their testimonies, is etched in my mind and heart forever. What the enemy planned for evil, the Lord uses for good. These girls go on with their lives in new-found freedom and identity in Christ, despite the trauma and pain they survived. They have a new future in Him.

I feel incredibly privileged to contribute to the work God is doing through the Oasis. I will be returning to assist the psychologists during the girls' therapy sessions, implementing expressive arts therapy. Music, dance, art, writing—giving them space and the opportunity to create, express themselves and heal. I am currently raising support and hope to leave in the spring to begin my year-long commitment.

Conclusion

Our Heavenly Father is a God of love, healing and justice.

So here I am.

I couldn't be more excited to begin this next season and see what God will do in and through me during my year serving internationally—using social work, Spanish and the creative arts. Only He is the expert in the art of healing, taking our pain and transforming it into a beautiful testimony of His goodness and love.

Get Involved

I am trusting for financial and prayer partners to join me in this mission by becoming a part of my support team. I would love for you to contribute to the transformation and healing that is taking place at the Oasis.

A way for you to get involved is by helping me return to Guatemala this spring. You can visit kidsalive.org/alexaheeres for more information about the ministry and how to give online.

Email Alexa Heeres