Anger and bitterness once devastated Dalene DeGraaf, a member of Friendship Chapel Christian Reformed Church in Jenison, Mich. In desperation, DeGraaf consulted Rev. Jeff Stam, who founded Set Free Ministries with his wife, Denise, about 15 years ago to address spiritual bondage.
Through Set Free principles, DeGraaf shed unforgiving attitudes and emotional pain, and last year went to Uganda to teach the program.
Dalene DeGraaf and an interpreter at a conference.
After returning to Jenison and writing instructional materials, DeGraaf will go back to Africa in early 2012 to teach women there to train more women.
Those who complete the program physically exhibit their freedom, DeGraaf said. “I see transformation on their faces, from guarded to soft. They stand up and start praising God.
“One woman forgave her husband, and he could tell what it had done for her. He asked, ‘What is different about you?’”
Shedding bitterness is a tall order for Kenyan women, many of whom have suffered abuse, deaths of loved ones, or rejection. DeGraaf, a psychologist and nurse, addresses feelings of hopelessness, fear, guilt, shame, despair, abandonment, and entrapment.
Using an interpreter at conferences, she instructs women in recognizing and overcoming evil’s power, and includes testimonies from those who have walked similar paths.
In her writings, DeGraaf describes forgiving as “Remembering the incident; feeling the hurt emotions; releasing the right to revenge; relinquishing the bitterness to God; blessing the (offending) person through prayer.”
Rev. Stam had witnessed spiritual warfare while in Central America for Christian Reformed World Missions. Back in the U.S., he developed a system whereby trained counselors walk people through unresolved painful issues and release them.