Our StoryChris and Dawn Phillips
The Birth of Selah International Counseling Ministries
Dawn and I have been in full-time Christian ministry for the last thirty years. I served as a high school administrator before we sensed a specific call from the Lord to become church planters on the foreign mission field. The Lord allowed us to minister in Costa Rica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. We praise the Lord for the fruit that He continues to produce in those ministries where we were privileged to serve.
In 2005, we left the DR and landed in a mission house of a local church in Charleston, SC. My wife was extremely sick with an autoimmune disease and we were emotionally, physically, and spiritually depleted. She received immediate treatment at MUSC in Charleston and we began to regain our bearings and begin again. As full-time missionaries, we were accustomed to serving 24/7 and we often suppressed and ignored the negative emotions in order to serve our church members and accomplish our mission. We did not maintain a healthy balance of self-care and ministry, nor did I “tune in” to the warning signs of burnout and emotional and spiritual depletion. Honestly, most of the “breaks” that we had taken during the brief furloughs through the years were centered around a packed traveling schedule that involved speaking in many churches. We praise the Lord that He got our attention before it was too late, and we were able to regain our footing and continue in ministry. He has not only provided our every need, but He also allowed us to establish La Iglesia Bautista Victoria in Charleston. The Lord has poured out His mercy and grace on our marriage, our ministry, and in the lives of our children. All of them are currently serving the Lord in full-time ministry…Only by His grace.
The direction of our marriage, our personal lives and our ministry was transformed by Biblical Counseling during those crucial times in our story. Our experiences have directly shaped the passion we have for this new ministry and have compelled me to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree in Biblical Counseling. Dawn and I are convinced that it is time to help ministry leaders, churches, and Christian families normalize biblical counseling as a good thing, as a necessary part of ministry life, not just what one does when everything falls apart. So often counseling is viewed as the remedy for extreme crisis situations, but every believer, including church leaders, needs someone to speak truth into his or her life and encourage them along the way.
Our greatest joy is to see the “weak hands and feeble knees strengthened and the limbs that are out of joint healed.” (Heb. 12:12-13). Over the last fifteen years serving here in the U.S., God has providentially fused our mission of planting a Hispanic church on American soil with this great need for solid, Biblical counseling. This fusion has produced a stable foundation, maturity in the believers, and a burning desire to influence others for Christ. One tremendous opportunity which truly transformed the spiritual growth within our membership was the honor given us to pilot the translation of the Spanish Biblical Counseling Certification Program for BCC (biblicalcounselingcenter.org). Twenty-two of our church members completed the two-year lay-certification process. This experience not only impacted the culture of our church but ignited in our hearts the seeds of our future ministry. We thank the Lord that IBV now has installed their own national pastor and God has miraculously provided property for the church.
Through the ministry opportunities God has given Dawn and I over the past 30 years, our passion has been to see souls saved, solid churches established, to encourage church leaders, see marriages restored, parent-teen relationships healed, child-rearing methods improved, and generations impacted by solid, biblical counseling…Only by His grace.