Joel and Josephine are Dutch and Spanish, and have two sons (Joel Jr. and Robin). Josephine is active as a Social Services Technician and Joel is a Tourism Tour Leader. Both have training and experience as Family Counselors.
Since they were young they have actively served in different churches in Madrid (Spain), with a strong pastoral calling. A few years ago they moved near Oviedo in the north of Spain where they are currently involved in two projects that create safe spaces for restoration, healing and freedom. One project is a social aid and the second is a Faith Community:
1st project: Josephina tells her inspiring story as sexual abuse survivor, who has found freedom through a powerful healing process. Children who have suffered sexual abuse face many consequences as adults, such as depression, eating disorders, addictions, relational conflicts, isolation, marginality, low self-esteem, suicide, promiscuity, among others.
1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 7 boys are victims of some type of sexual abuse (Unicef).
As the silence around abuse breaks down, society finally begins to be aware of the existence of this problem. However, awareness is only a first step. The next is asking, Who offers a safe space and tools for the recovery of those who have been hurt?
In 2014 Josephine and Joel, founded a non-profit organization to help survivors of sexual abuse in childhood who have experienced trauma and need healing.
They give seminars, give testimony in churches, run peer support groups and offer training workshops for professionals in the social sector. It moves them deeply when they see the many people that have found healing and freedom through the process.
2nd project:Two years ago, they felt the Spirit leading them to form a Community of Faith. It started little by little and now there are 5 committed couples with their children and some young folks. This faith community is called: “El Llar” is the hearth typical in the rural houses in Northern Spain around which the family would gather. They want to be a missional church focused on being “out there” and reaching people where they’re at. Loving them and gaining their trust. Spanish people have been hurt by the church power abuse and there’s a big distrust of anything churchy. Their mission is to create a safe place where people can meet a living and merciful God, where they can be who they are without feeling judged.