2008 to 2018
As Exile International celebrates 10 Years of Healing, let’s look back at why and how EI got started.
Where We Began
EI’s founder, Bethany Williams, was (and still is) a counseling psychologist whose life took on a radically new direction in 2008 — after a volunteer opportunity in Congo.
Sometimes a bit of back story helps.
Bethany’s path to becoming a psychologist had been colored by her own journey through trauma, depression and disappointment. But, thankfully, God is in the redeeming business.
It was Bethany’s own healing process that led her to relationships which would later introduce her to the lives of rescued child soldiers and children orphaned by war.
In August 2008, on a short-term service trip to help facilitate a program for victims of sexual abuse in DR Congo, Bethany would encounter a darkness unlike any she had ever seen before. Child soldiers and orphans who asked her to be their mother, victims of chronic, repeated sexual violence, children so traumatized they no longer displayed emotion, and even mothers who attempted to give over their children — in hopes that someone could give their child a chance to survive.
Visiting with men, women and children living in displacement camps led to a realization that these people were not only living in geographic exile, but in emotional exile as well.
Looking away. Forgetting. Not doing something.
These were simply not an option.
Compelled by the urgent needs witnessed there and inspired by her faith, the seeds for Exile International had been sown. In 2008, Bethany founded Exile International with a passion and belief that change… healing and hope were possible if the right care programs could be provided.
From vision to reality
In response to the needs Bethany had witnessed and research on the devastating wars in D.R. Congo and Uganda — where more than 150,000 children have been abducted and millions more orphaned — Exile International was born.
Since 2008, EI has provided life-changing care to over 4,300 war-affected children!
Through holistic care programs addressing the needs of the spirit, mind, and body — rescued child soldiers and orphaned children are being restored. Additionally, young survivors are being empowered to become leaders for peace through education, discipleship, and leadership development.
Today — program graduates include university graduates, engineers, counselors, pastors, skilled professionals, and community leaders — some of whom are now leading care programs in their own communities.
No longer constrained by the traumas of their past — these youth are becoming the leaders who will heal and transform their communities for Christ!