"I had a great time during the weeks of Equip To Serve. It was something I always look forward to at a start of a week. And I always left feeling good and having achieved something. I met really nice people. People just like me who have the same beliefs and values spoke a lot to me. I enjoyed the whole process of going through the manuals and also the role plays.
As a Counsellor, it helped me a lot in how I relate to clients, not being judgmental but speaking the truth in love and caring for people in Pregnancy crisis and any other crisis situations. Also it gave me the tools in having the right communication skills; how I communicate with clients, colleagues and my family at home. Thanks to Equip to Serve, I not only listen properly, but I ask good questions and give out the necessary feedbacks. " Selassie Nzeneu
"Your program has empowered all of my counsellors on staff at Baby Safe. We work directly with abandoned, abused, and neglected babies, but most of our work is with desperate and poor expecting mothers and new moms. I have two social work degrees that were rooted in counselling but as a ministry, using volunteers, Equipped to Serve has made it possible to train and utilize those with no background in counselling. We are very thankful for this. Because Equipped to Serve is so widespread, I have even been able to have volunteers coming from the US, complete the course there, so they can jump in immediately when they arrive. We do the pre-abortion counselling at our local hospital and we have women cancel their scheduled abortions on a regular basis, our clients also are finding hope and Jesus through us, and I will continue to require all my volunteers to complete your course. I look forward to your visit."
Bethany - Baby Safe - Cape Town, South Africa
"The Equipped to Serve Course taught me SO MUCH about Communication Skills, particularly listening and body language and asking good questions. This training has been invaluable to me not only in counselling clients but also when conversing with friends, family and people I meet along the way.
Another aspect of the course which spoke to me so clearly was that we are not there to rescue people. I think ever since I became a Christian I had felt that it was my responsibility to be the solution to peoples’ problems which was a huge burden. I still have to check myself but always come back to that phrase "It is not my job to rescue people". It was probably the most significant skill I learned on the course.
Having said that, the whole course was so informative and mind opening and I am so glad I did it and that I got involved in counselling and I have loved working for Pregnancy Help Centre."
"Personally, the Equipped to Serve training programme help me a lot. Before the programme it was hard for me to share or talk about my life issues. I used to keep quiet and pretend everything is okay.
Equipped to Serve training programme was great and helpful. I learn a lot. I learn how to open your heart to deal with the issues and how to trust your friend, counsellor, family member to share your story or to talk about your life issues or any issues. I also learned how to deal with the crisis around your life, and how to express your feelings.
Working as a counsellor, the Equipped to Serve training programme equip me very much. I know how to deal with people in a crisis situation and I know how to speak and how to listen. Also, I learned how to share the Gospel with our clients and how to serve/understand people within their culture and religion."
Mavis - Options Pregnancy Center,
George, South Africa
Testimonies From Trainers:
"We use Equipped to Serve to train all our counsellors at Choices Pregnancy Centre in Somerset West, South Africa. We also have a schools (abstinence-based) sex education program which we present in our local schools and all our presenters do the Equipped to Serve course.
This is a life changing course and over the past 10 years that I have been training we have only had good reports from our trainees. We had a business man on our last course, who came along with his wife, and he said it was the best course he had ever been on.
A pastors wife came on the ETS course and said she had been on many "pregnancy crisis courses" and she was horrified at what some of the courses teach. She told all on the course with her that Equipped to Serve counselling course was by far the best one that she had been on. I wish everyone could have an opportunity to do this course."
Heather Boyce, Training Manager - Choices Pregnancy Centre
"My life, I think, would have been very different had I not had the privilege of doing the Equipped to Serve training course written by Cyndi Philkill 10 years ago. Doing the initial counseling course empowered me and gave me confidence to start counseling at Pregnancy Help Center in Wynberg, Cape Town. Later I also was able to have the amazing experience of participating in a Train the Trainers Course of Equipped to Serve and then also become, for a period, a trainer myself. The course is full of amazing examples and interactive training exercises as well as many practical tips and guidelines for doing pregnancy crisis counseling. I highly recommend this course and find it an amazing tool doing exactly what it’s name says, equipping people to serve."
Gill Bowley - Cape Town, South Africa
"I remember my first interaction with "Equipped to Serve" when Cyndi came to Johannesburg to train Youth for Christ Options staff and volunteers in 2001. At that time Options in George had been going for several years and we were still in the baby stages of our ministry. Throughout the first day of training I was so excited about what Cyndi was sharing with us. I was also devastated as I started seeing all the mistakes I had been making during those first years. In fact, I felt discouraged and overwhelmed. As I began to talk to the Lord about it, His words to me were, "That’s why you are here!" I began to realize that it was an opportunity to learn, grow and become more equipped so that our ministry would become more effective. We are still making mistakes, growing and learning, and I love training Equipped to Serve. We see God use it in the lives of people who are caring in the areas of pregnancy and HIV crises and others who are reaching out in our community. It is changing lives and families. I am so thankful for the privilege of being entrusted with Equipped to Serve and I am at the stage where it will be significant to take the next step and learn to train trainers because of what the Lord wants to do in this part of the world!"
Laurie Edwall – Executive Director, Options Pregnancy Centre - George, South Africa
"The Equipped To Serve (ETS) training has been a catalyst in my life for so many things. Both as a counsellor, and subsequently as a trainer, I revel in the amazing way the content opens people up to who they can be in God, and puts tools in their hands to offer the same to others.
Numerous trainees from all walks of life express their delight, either during the course or at it’s conclusion, at discovering how effective the skills are in enhancing their communication with others. There is also the regret expressed, sometimes by professionals such as doctors and experienced counsellors, that they were not able to undergo this training long before. One of the key aspects of ETS is its practical component in that trainees can immediately start using their communication skills and discover the benefits in how they can relate to friends, family, colleagues. In addition, the adult learning environment is refreshing and stimulating for the class setting. It provides encouragement for those who are unsure if they should be entering a volunteer counselling activity, when they discover how much they have learnt from life experience and to what extent they have been able to contribute to the discussions and exercises that form a major part of each training session.
Finally, as a trainer, it is exciting to know that the ETS training, for both Crisis Pregnancy and for general crisis counselling, can be a blessing to people in all areas of ministry and service. The biblical principles that form its foundation, bring life, freedom and grace to all who receive the training, and of course to those who benefit from the ministry of those trained on an ETS course."
Norma Trautman - Connect Network - Somerset West, South Africa
"Cyndi’s ministry and her Equipped to Serve training has had a huge impact on my life in general and my work as a counselor. I think back to the early days in the Pregnancy Help Centre when we got hold of one of her manuals and realized it was much better than what we were using. The Equipped to Serve manual held together so well and it made all the concepts so easily teachable.
Then there was all the excitement of hearing that Cyndi was coming to South Africa and we decided by hook or by crook we were going to get to Joburg to attend the training! That was a real turning point for me because not only did we make a very dear friend, but the training was truly excellent and we realized what an amazing tool it was in spreading good quality pregnancy training across the country.
We began to use Equipped to Serve at our Centre and became advocates for ETS every where we went. Very quickly other Pregnancy Centres began to see its value. Cyndi’s trips back to South Africa really encouraged us and she helped us to become better trainers when she introduced the train the trainers course.
I would often find, when I was running a particular training, that one of the trainees would approach me to tell me how much the training had helped her in communicating with her friends and family. She would say something like "I thought I was coming here to learn counseling skills but I am learning skills for doing life!" I would love it when they said that because that was just how it had affected me.
Now that I am no longer involved in pregnancy counseling as much and am doing general pastoral counseling, I have found the generic ETS to be even more useful. We have trained HIV counsellors, pastoral care workers, schools life skills facilitators, and many different people with the ETS training material. A few months back we ran a small training course here for our pastoral workers and one of our Elders/Pastors attended the course. He has been very busy using the skills he learnt, for marriage counseling and many other crises. Just the other day he was singing ETS’s praises and saying how much it was helping him in those situations."
Gillian Frame - Jubilee Church - Cape Town, South Africa