The Church is empty, except for the pulpit and some metal chairs in a circle position. This is where we meet a sweet young married couple, Dunia Ardon (34) and Victor Santos (35). They serve at the church as Sunday school teachers and have been transformed by the Raising With Tenderness training, a Christian Discipleship methodology provided by World Vision.
Dunia recalls, ¨I grew up in a house were my mom had left us and I ended up growing up with my dad who was very aggressive. Many times, all I wanted was his approval and love but ended up getting beaten.”
Many Honduran generations have grown up with harsh physical discipline that creates violence within the home, and is often replicated again to their children like an endless cycle.
Dunia remembers that her mother was nurturing and loving towards her and her younger brother. When she left, Dunia felt all goodness had left her side and her heart was only left with the aggressions of her father. “I remember I always received the bad side of my father. He would be hostile towards me by the smallest words… sometimes he threw small things like cassettes. He would hit me with the broomstick, followed by harsh words towards me,¨ she remembers. Dunia never felt loved by her dad. She felt pressured and at one point, attempted suicide. She had bottled every word her dad had said, but she did not know how God was about to start a healing journey in her life.
Dunia was invited by her pastor to join a workshop about raising children with tenderness, since she was involved with Sunday school and the church child care during the week. The World Vision Christian Discipleship Project builds on a network of established church partnerships, helping churches revitalize their ministries to children and create an environment that allows youth to explore their faith as they serve in their churches and communities. Dunia was trained on how to listen to others, how to speak with love and tenderness. But the most important lesson that she learned was to forgive herself and her father. She says, ¨It was life changing what God did to my heart and mind during the work-shop¨. As tears of joy came down her face, Dunia was finally able to forgive the years of abuse from her father, the resentment towards her mother for leaving her at such a young age and acknowledge that God had always been her loving father.
Now, because of the Raising With Tenderness methodology, she is impacting the children and others around her, including her husband Victor. ¨She used to be very angry and she would be triggered by anything but now she has become more loving, caring and forgiving towards others,” says Victor. “Even I, her husband, am grateful for the workshop because it gave us as a couple the tools on how to break an abuse cycle and give love to our children, whenever we decide to have some,” he says. “I thank World Vision for bringing such wisdom to us,¨ Victor finishes as he hugs Dunia with a big smile.