THE JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH.
ABCS Leader Mr Jeremaia Nakora at the Suva Prison with Maritza and Ed Khouri
“What God has been saying is only now being actually being proven by Neuroscientists.”
This was the revealed by visiting North Caroline certified Addiction professional counselors and couple Ed and Maritza Khouri who are in the country for two weeks to lecture in Fiji’s first Addictive Behaviour Counseling School in Suva.
The Khouris are the Co-founders of “Equipping Hearts for the Harvest”.
Their mission is to facilitate training, mentoring, networking and personal wholeness for leaders, churches, ministries and workers to empower them to
skillfully serve the addicted and hurting community.
Mr Khouris who is also the co-creator of the new “Thriving: Recover Your Life Program” in an exclusive interview with the Fiji Prisons and Corrections Service Media Cell said that only recently has neuroscience and brain research proving that joyful activities can heal persons suffering from addictive behaviour
Ms Khouri who holds a Master Degree in Counseling from the Cornerstone University also agrees with her partner that joy is the best healer for a brain dented by addictive behaviour.
“Neuroscience is now actually proving what God has said.
“And the joy of the Lord is your strength.
“Joy is what makes the brain heal.
“The best healer is a joyful relationship between the hurt person and their families, communities and love ones with a Christ centered approach.”
On addictive behaviour, Ms Khouri said that addictive behaviour does not stop if the addict is kept away from addictive substances.
“Addiction does not stop when a person goes to prison, because without proper counseling and support from the community and family, the addict once released will tend to do the same.”
Ms Khouri said that she speaks from experience as she comes from a family that experienced addictive behaviour.
“I am a certified addiction counseling professional, but my greatest qualification is 16 years of experience of addiction in my family.”
Another area that the Khouris said that needs to be addressed in the healing process of persons suffering from addiction is substitution.
They said that when an addict is being healed, the addictive person will substitute with another substance.
For example an alcoholic will substitute alcohol with kava, sometimes its food or an alternative substance and this makes the problem worse.
The Khouris who are in the country as visiting lecturers for the Addictive Behaviour Counseling School (ABCS) at Bridge House in Suva also gave free lectures for volunteer counseling under the FPCS Chaplaincy said that they were impressed with the caliber of the volunteers.
“We are very impressed with the receptiveness and motivation shown by the volunteers, their application during the practical sessions was very good,” Mr Ed Khouri said.
As for the Yellow Ribbon Project (YRP), the Khouris both said that YRP is the only way to go.
“What is happening with Yellow Ribbon Project is very exciting, it is very relative, and the inclusion of the community and family in the rehabilitation process while the ex-offender is still an inmate is the way to go.
“You are heading in the right direction,” Ms Maritza Khouri said.
The Khouris told the FPCS Media-cell that they first heard about the Addictive Behaviour Counseling School from ABCS Leaders (Fiji) Jeremaia and Debra Nakora.
“We heard about ABCS two years ago in Switzerland from Jeremaia and Debra Nakora, our trip was funded by out ministry and yes we would definitely like to come back to Fiji,” Mr Ed Khouri said.
The Khouris are part of a group of guest lecturers that are volunteering their time every Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons from 0400pm to 0600pmto hold workshops for FPCS Chaplaincy volunteer counseling.
It is a 12 week programme that began on September 28 and will end on December 18.
The ABCS is a school under the University of the Nations, a ministry of Youth with a Mission.
The school has been invited to be part of the training team of the FPCS Chaplaincy headed by Rev Aporosa Rageci to train volunteers from other faith-based organizations and non government organizations who are working with inmates.