Eleazar Nzoera (’17) remembers the exact hour he lost his mother. It was January 1, 2011 at 11:00 pm. His mother was an inspiration to him. She was a counselor and a woman of deep faith and prayer who passionately cared for her children and others. But when Eleazar was still in high school, she died unexpectedly from complications related to surgical operation. Her loss was felt deeply by many but it was particularly devastating for Eleazar.
“There were physical and emotional symptoms like headaches and deep sadness. On the relational level, I was lonely,” Eleazar explained.
Eleazar’s grief caused him to spiral into depression and though he was lonely, he isolated himself from others for years. He felt vulnerable and he felt uncomfortable in group settings. So, he lived a life disconnected from others and spent much of his time reflecting on his mother’s life and her departure. He felt stuck in his grief.
Things began to change for Eleazar when he was in his third year at the Université Chrétienne Bilingue du Congo (UCBC). He took the introductory counseling course taught by the Director of Bethesda Counseling Center, Noé Kasali. The course helped him identify the root of his problems and he slowly began to open up to others, including his peers. He began to come to terms with his loss. With the support of his friends, he began to find peace and reconciliation with God. For him, UCBC not only helped him on the intellectual or academic level but it really helped him through his own grief and spiritual growth. He began to thrive and focus on ways he can pour his life into others just like his mother did.
Eleazar originally considered medicine after high school but his own experience with grief sparked a passion for psychology. As he began to consider training opportunities, a friend told him about the Biblical Counseling program at UCBC in nearby Beni.
“I wanted a program that incorporated the spiritual aspect of being human. I learned through a friend that UCBC and that had a program that balanced both science and spirituality,” he shared.
Eleazar found at UCBC both the methods and practices that would equip him as a counselor as well as a community that was particularly concerned with improving the livelihoods of others, particularly those vulnerable in society. Since he was young, Eleazar held particular compassion and empathy for orphans and the elderly. Moreover, he was given the opportunity to help hundreds of individuals facing despair and struggling from trauma when he joined Bethesda as a trauma counselor.
“All of this was possible because of my decision to attend UCBC. I’ll never regret that decision because my dream is being fulfilled today. I am inspired when I see people overcome their trauma. It gives me great joy to see our clients experience healing.”