Equipping Organizations To Prevent And Respond To Sexual Harm
An 8-week education course.
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Karen grew up near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and graduated with undergrad degrees in Bible and Church Music from Cairn University (formerly Philadelphia College of Bible). She studied Biblical Counseling at Misio Seminary (formerly Biblical Seminary) before she and her husband Gary were called to serve in San José, Costa Rica in 1998 with Latin America Mission. Beginning in 2000, Karen worked in member care, writing curricula to provide various levels of orientation and re-entry training to Missionary Kids and their parents, both in the home office and on the field. In 2011, she was invited to join the faculty at ESEPA Seminary in Costa Rica, where she began teaching Pastoral Counseling as well as other courses.
As Karen learned of the prevalence of child sexual abuse in many Latin American countries and saw how her students and other church leaders were desperate for resources, she was burdened to become more involved. She studied the topic, interviewed local church and parachurch leaders, and began studying trauma counseling at Liberty University online.
She founded Levanta La Voz, a multi-cultural organization committed to training faith communities to confront sexual harm through prevention, proper response, and community engagement. The first step was creating an 8-week program for training church leaders how to prevent and respond appropriately to sexual abuse, and the first cohort began in San José, Costa Rica in February 2020 with 12 people around Karen’s dining room table. Halfway through, Covid quarantine forced the group to switch to an online format, which instantly exploded its reach to worldwide! It is now available in an 8-week format, either in-person or online, and either in Spanish or English.
A year later she launched a 9-month seminary certificate program through ESEPA in Spanish. This program covers everything church leaders need to know, as well as the opportunity to walk them through actually setting up culturally appropriate policies and procedures within their own organizations during the course of the program.
Karen is on WorldVenture’s Child Safety Team as liaison for the Americas region. As such, she is an active member of the Child Safety and Protection Network, co-leading a monthly member training group called Table Talk and facilitating other trainings at CSPN events.
Levanta La Voz has recently launched social media in both English and Spanish and will have their website up and running soon.
Karen can be reached at KSHOGRENLLV@GMAIL.COM
Born in Rhode Island, Gary was raised in a Christian family. He accepted Christ at a Good News Club and, at the age of 14, felt a powerful call to ministry. After receiving his theological education at Cairn University, Misio seminary, and the University of Aberdeen, Gary pastored a church near Concord, New Hampshire before becoming a seminary professor.
After many years of ministry in the United States, the Lord called Gary and Karen to learn Spanish and begin to minister in Latin America. They moved to Costa Rica in 1998 and the following year Gary began to teach at Seminario ESEPA in San José. He is still a professor there, teaching virtually. Just as North America enjoys a huge financial wealth, so too North America is rich in theologians, Christian writers and seminaries. Latin America is an area where it is difficult to get a sound Bible education, even when the student is motivated. Part of the Shogrens reward is to work in a field where there is this greater need.
For Gary, the most exciting aspect of mission work is working with people who love the Lord and who come to the table hungry for His Word.
Gary’s books include commentaries on Thessalonians, Romans, 1 Corinthians; the Greek of the New Testament; and guides to practical Christian living. They can be purchased on Amazon and on Logos.
He also serves as a Bible consultant for Wycliffe Associates,, writing Bible commentaries for translators and doing the final edit of the Old Testament in SUN, an entirely new language for the deaf and deaf-blind.https://bibleineverylanguage.org/processes/sun/
Gary and Karen have 4 adult children and 1 grandson, and live in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, while continuing to teach world-wide online.
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