In this video we will cover:

  1. My own story and how I learned about Crisis firsthand.

So how did I get here? Why did I become a chaplain? Why did I get involved in trauma care in the first place? For me, we have to travel back to Christmas of 2011.

We get a phone call in the middle of the night. It says, “Your step-sister’s been shot. Can you come to the house?”
My response is “Of course, yes”. Hanged up the phone, dash out, get to my parents’ house. But only my mom is there, dad’s not there. Where is he? What’s going on? “We don’t know,” that’s what she says. “We don’t know where the boys are,” my nephews. My dad’s gone to the police station. We’re waiting.

The police said to wait, so we’re waiting. We’re confused, we have no idea what’s going on. Phone calls start to come in, going, “Why are you there? Why aren’t you here? What’s going on?” We don’t understand, people are screaming at us on the phone wanting to know what kind of parent you are, what are you doing? So we just get in the car and we go to the police station.

I guess I should have looked back on what was going on. But I was in trauma, we were in the middle of a crisis. You can’t think, you don’t understand, you don’t know, life is spinning out of control.
Seems like hours have gone by and yet it’s only been minutes and sometimes I think something just happened and it happened hours ago.
We get to the station, we’re asking for help, we’re asking for support, we want to know what’s going on, no one’s around to help us and those that do come, they cry. They go “oh my gosh, we’re so sorry.” At this point we don’t even know what they’re sorry for. You see media was involved, it was all over social media and yet us, the family, the intimate family had no clue that my step-sister had been murdered. She had been brutally tortured, taken captive and murdered. We didn’t understand, we didn’t know, we were screaming, literally, for answers in the police station. “Somebody come talk to us, somebody tell us what’s going on.”

Finally someone came down and said “How can I help you?”
“How can you help us? You’ve told us to be here, you need to tell us what’s going on.”
“Oh, well, you know she’s dead, right?”

That was how we found out. There had to be a better way. I watched my family collapse literally on the floor. You know the stories of foaming at the mouth? They’re true, it’s real.
My nephew’s actually had been found, they forgot to tell us. They were in an interrogation room trying to figure out what they knew and what they didn’t know. They finally come running down the stairs. We had told the police, “We want to tell them ourselves that their mom’s dead.” They forgot. We were still wandering around saying “Help us, tell us what’s going on, can you tell us how to tell the boys? Can you tell us how to respond?”
He said “Well, we, we could find you some help.” “Make them be here, please. Give us somebody to talk to.” They didn’t, they couldn’t, it wasn’t available.

It took about 18 months for me to get through the trial, get through other things, help support my family. But, not feeling like I had the tools necessary to give them hope, to tell them what was going on. It’s bad enough that this took place, but the way people treated us, the way they responded to us…it’s not because they didn’t care, it’s because they didn’t know. They didn’t understand what we were going through.

They didn’t know the behaviors that we were exhibiting were normal in this horrific abnormal situation that we found ourselves in.

That’s why we need to be trained, we need to understand what emotional first aid is.
To be able to walk alongside someone, provide the support, to give them the hope that they can get through the next minute, the next hour, the next day.

So what do we do? Me being who I am…there’s gotta be a better way.
If there’s any good that can come out of this, if God really does answer those prayers, “Direct me, Lord, show me the way.”

So after seven years now I’ve become a chaplain, I’ve gotten trained. I have a tendency to go overboard and find out as much information as possible and realized there’s biblical truths and there’s psychological, true hard evidence truths, but they weren’t together. So, I brought them together, to provide hope, to know that God’s promises are real and that we can survive.
Yes, my step-sister was murdered in cold blood and tortured. My families forever changed, but not all families have to go through that.

We’re going to make a difference just by being trained to walk alongside someone and say, “You’re not going crazy. There is support. There is help. Let’s find a way.”