Saturday, August 23, 2008

Religious counselor travels to China

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Trauma is the common ground between the Temple businessman and his Oriental clients.
'The culture and language are so different, but trauma is trauma,' said Michael Haynes, a crisis chaplain who worked Ground Zero at 9/11. The founder of the Faith Based Counselor Training Institute (FBCTI) of Temple was talking about his new relationship with the Hong Kong Institute of Christian Counselors (HKICC).
The HKICC became clients of Haynes' Counselor Training Institute this summer, not long after May's earthquake in the China's Sichuan province.
'People were dying, and people were hurting. There were hundreds who wanted to find out how they could help,' Haynes said. 'They have military, and they have groups who can rescue people trapped under rocks and groups who can feed the hungry. But they don't have people there who can work with their spirits and hearts. Our - U.S. - spiritual care is what they wanted.'

To get the kind of spiritual counselor training that Haynes provides, the Rev. David Yip, president of the HKICC, invited Haynes to be the keynote speaker of a three-day conference that took place earlier this month. Robert Yeung of Hong Kong, the international director of Haynes' FBCTI and the dean of HKICC, had referred Haynes to Yip.
'We in Hong Kong need your training for our pastors, lay leaders and volunteers to assist us in being the most effective ministers possible to the victims of the horrible earthquake that happened in mainland China,' wrote Yip in a June 27 letter to Haynes. 'We need to know how to work with the severely traumatized adults and children alike.'
According to Haynes' conference notes, more than 2,500 people attended the event. Haynes said several of them were Christians but wasn't sure what religion the majority followed.
'I was able to certify 105 people in Crisis Chaplaincy Care,' said Haynes.
Having participated in the Hong Kong event, Yeung said working with Haynes was 'splendid.'
'He suffered from his health issue, but thank God that everything turned out great,' said Yeung. 'So many people in Hong Kong and in mainland China needed the assistance as how to deal with crisis issues.'
Haynes' health issue is bladder cancer. He said his doctors told him he developed it after breathing in the debris of 9/11.
The Temple crisis counselor has potential plans to return to Hong Kong.
'There's talk of me going back for a train-the-trainer type thing in coping skills and grief-and-loss therapy,' Haynes said.
Though Haynes looks forward to a future of training chaplains in Hong Kong, he's thankful for the entirety of his career and the privilege to serve at 9/11.
Haynes was a professional counselor in the Dallas area throughout the 1980s. He's the founder of Crisis Chaplaincy Care Inc., the director of the Faith-Based Counselor Training Institute, and he currently serves as chaplain for Temple Fire and Rescue.

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