The Petra Institute in White River, Mpumalanga, has trained people from many countries in children’s ministry, but for Samantha Purchase, a trained teacher and missionary in Burundi, it was more than just another training course. It totally changed the way she dealt with children.
She did several of the courses at Petra Institute, but through the Walking with Wounded Children, a course which aims to equip lay people to assist traumatised children, she experienced God’s healing and restoration of many of her own issues.
Purchase now wants to assist children and colleagues from a point of healing. “I’m not a broken, vulnerable adult running around anymore; but a person God healed. I want children to have this same healing, this same life and I so badly want people to feel and experience this completeness in their lives,” she says.
Purchase, who is relocating to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, says she wants to train early development teachers, as well as those working with pre-schoolers. “My whole aim is for them to realise that they actually hold a child in the palm of their hand. They can make or break them by their behaviour. I became so aware of a child’s needs and that as an adult I have an impact on their lives. And my behaviour has an impact. So I made a commitment when I’m with a child that my behaviour should be worthy to look up to,” she said.
Though Purchase prefers to work in a Christian setting, God started stretching her into other areas where there is no Christian influence. “When you walk in a path of wholeness and healing, you portray Jesus to everybody. You don’t have to use His name, you can just show them His love and they will know who He is. It’s all about building relationships,” she explains.
“I want to teach this to the children and teachers as I have seen many amazing things happen when engagement takes place with children and when time is spent with them. If you teach teachers to become friends with their children, you see them take this into their own homes, and from there it multiplies into the community. Parents become friends with their children and start to take better care of their children. When people understand that what they do impacts another life, they change their way of living,” she says.
More information on getting involved with Petra and on its courses is available on their website (www.petra.co.za ) or by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling them at 013 751 1166/7. The Western Cape branch can be contacted by calling 023 356 3636 or emailing email@example.com.