Social Work at Work - An Alumni Update

August 1, 2015

Heidi Kleynenberg graduated from Kuyper in 2013 with a degree in social work. Recently, she wrote to two of her professors—Greg Scott and Judi Ravenhorst Meerman—regarding what she has encountered during her practice.

When God called me to go into the world and help the oppressed and those who do not have a voice, I never dreamed it would pose difficult situations that would force me to examine my own thoughts and practices. After graduation, I moved to a different state and began the process of adapting to a new culture of thought and how things are done, while serving a population with severe and persistent mental health and substance abuse issues—most of my clients suffer from schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorders.

Having learned that empowering someone to manage their symptoms through their God-given strengths is the key to help them unlock their delusional state, I was challenged by a client whose thoughts and actions were manifested in the name of Jesus Christ. This client claimed: “God is talking to me,
and fasting is a tool to hear Him speak.”

I struggled professionally and spiritually with this dilemma, and found myself at a great divide. I thought, “Does God not speak through His living Word, and is not fasting another way to hear God speak? How can I help a client who says the very things I believe in, yet he is called delusional when he does?” That is when I sought the wisdom and guidance from two of my Kuyper College professors who helped me by reminding me of what I was taught and who encouraged me through this situation.

Today, I still hold on to the truth that God hears the cry of the oppressed. I also have come to the conclusion that all of us have some sort of prison that locks us in, and that I must never stop believing that God hears the cries of all people with physical, emotional, mental or spiritual barriers that keep them imprisoned. It is with that hope and gratitude that I continue to help all people find their voice and use the talents God has given them.