Testimonies from the island
Developing a Discerning Heart was one of the best things that has happened in my life, after coming to faith in the Lord Jesus. It helped me to gain victory over my fears, my mistakes, and showed me how to heal my wounds, very deep wounds, and how to recognize my cisterns—cisterns that I continue to close—and how to identify thirst that is good. This course taught me to open up to others and to listen; giving me the opportunity to be heard and to unburden myself, to reveal pain that had me in bondage to my past, even after being on the Father’s path. I used to repeat His Word over and over that said, “the old is gone, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17) but felt more and more trapped. When the Lord “gifted” me the opportunity to take this wonderful course, my life took a 180-degree turn. When I began the course, I told myself that I wouldn’t tell my story because no one would be interested. It was a hard battle, but there was Someone who was interested that I open my heart and receive healing, because even though He knew my story, He needed me to speak it out of my mouth and receive freedom as I shared it with the other women in the group.
From the moment I began sharing my story, God started to heal my soul and started to mold me. He hasn’t finished the work He began in me, but I don’t hurt inside now because He is occupying all places in my heart. This course also taught me not to judge others, but to get to know people and not base my judgment on a first impression or opinion. Now I seek to discover what is behind the character of every person and often it is the story of a broken heart. We were blessed to create an atmosphere among us women where we shared in love, true love of which the Bible speaks (Rom. 12:10), and what the Master taught us. I have been transformed in my way of thinking, of acting, of listening, of talking, of feeling … in conclusion, my life is changed and continues to change.
“The greatest assets for a woman of wisdom are knowing the character of God and the Scriptures well, and keeping her heart sensitive and obedient.” - Leya
My name is Yanet and I am 22 years old. I’d like to tell you about my past life. I was a girl who lived immersed in abuse (physical blows, verbal abuse) and constantly experienced how, when my father arrived at home, he would hit us—my five sisters and me. I always questioned why this happened and grew up not wanting to see my father, nor allowing him to embrace me. All these problems were due to alcohol and he kept on drinking more and more each day to the extreme that alcohol became his food and water. On many occasions he would throw us out of the house into the banana grove where it was dark and we had to sleep out in the open. My sisters also saw and experienced these things. These images are fixed in my mind—images of my younger sisters hiding under the bed and my mother fighting with him so that he wouldn’t hit us any more.
But my life experienced a change when I married my husband; when he started giving me love and started understanding everything that had happened in my past. The best part was that he listened to me and I began feeling safer with him because he looked after me and he never left my side. But part of my heart was full of hate, pain and loneliness. These things kept me from trusting people, and sometimes from even trusting my husband. I would treat people poorly because I was mistreated and I thought that I would be hurt by others once again. In the midst of all this process, I was offered the opportunity to take Developing a Discerning Heart, but I rejected the offer. It was because of the fear of reliving my fears and telling other people who didn’t know me and that didn’t appeal to me. But a second opportunity presented itself and I decided to take the course.
I began speaking up a little at a time about my life with the other women and that is how God started working in my life. I began feeling more confidence until I confessed and shared everything that had happened in my life. I experienced total release and relief. A total change happened in me as I started loving my friends and developed friendships. I’ve shared my testimony with other women and have helped them to be free in Christ. I give thanks to God for this course. It has meant so much to me and while I write these words I pray that God will use these words to help other women who feel lonely and don’t have love. Now I am happy with my husband, two sons and a mother-in-law, whom I love very much.
Gaileen serves with a Christian organization in the Caribbean and sent in Leya’s and Yanet’s testimonies. Even as a full-time ministry worker, Gaileen saw her need to become better equipped to serve women. In 2009, she took Entrust’s Facilitating Relational Learning in Colorado. She followed that with Developing a Discerning Heart in 2010 in Texas, and finally, in 2012, Women Serving Women (now called Equipping Women to Serve), also in Texas.
Gaileen applied Entrust’s multiplication model from the start. She offered DDH to two groups of women on the island in 2011, then three DDH groups and an FRL group in 2012.
“My main focus for DDH,” she writes, “was women in ministry—mostly pastors' wives. We then did co-ed FRL sessions three times through our national Bible Institute, including some of the pastors' wives.”
Friend of Entrust Soraya Marin co-facilitated those first DDH and FRL modules with Gaileen. “After the first FRL with Soraya, I used students who ‘got it’ to continue [facilitating] DDH and FRL,” Gaileen writes.”We have progressed to the point that we have lay women leaders in our churches across the country who have facilitated both DDH and FRL. Sometimes I have been part of the team of facilitators, sometimes they have been totally on their own and done well.”
The equipping, the learning, the heart-change, continues to spread island-wide. With tangible, God-glorifying results.