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 Parry Sound/Muskoka

Coming alongside Indigenous People to find pathways to wholeness together.


Johan Strydom, Ministry Staff with Rising Above, serves Indigenous communities in the Parry Sound & Muskoka, ON area through Grief Recovery, faith circles, support groups and leadership development.



Imagine communities where people are coming alongside one another in their brokenness to find pathways to wholeness together. Wounded healers journeying with others in community, living lives of respect, humility and truth. This is the mission and work of Johan. What is the impact? Here is one example:

“My life was a series of events dictated by my addiction. What did I need to do to get money to get that next fix? My family was fractured, my children were gone and my life was a mess.  I hadn’t spoken to my mother for years.  Having a chance to work through unresolved issues in my life, I have begun to make connections again.  My life used to be one of isolation but now I have people in my life who support me and walk with me as I journey toward wholeness.”   ~ Cynthia ~

“In my own journey,” testifies Johan, “I have had to face many different hurts. I have used many different tools and have had the help of many different individuals to bind my wounds and find healing. One of the most profound tools I have been introduced to is the Grief Recovery Method. It still amazes me to see the encompassing impact grief can have on a person and the Grief Recovery Method addresses nearly the whole spectrum. It also teaches a person to bind their own wounds so that healing and completeness do not stay a distant dream or just a fleeting moment.”

Using The Grief Recovery Method allows groups or individuals to walk through the process of healing by bringing completeness to unfinished relationships.

Johan explains, “I have seen individuals find traction in their lives on the road to healing in the Grief Recovery work I have been involved in for Rising Above. It brings a practical and action based response to the crisis the community and individuals face. I have seen this process help in the recovery of grief associated with abuse and addictive behaviors, breaking the power of the destructive force of isolation and conflict and bringing healing to broken relationships.”

Once the isolation is broken and healing begins, relationships can begin to grow. People who have started that journey can then begin to walk alongside others and become part of their story as well. As Henri Nouwen says, “Since it is your task to make visible the first vestiges of liberation for others, you must bind your own wounds carefully in anticipation of the moment when you will be needed. You are called to be the wounded healer, the one who must look after his own wounds but at the same time be prepared to heal the wounds of others.”

Such is the story of Tracy (not her real name). “Once I completed my grief recovery course, I realized that I now had something that I could share with others. I could come alongside them, encourage them and we could continue our healing journey together.  I’ve been called a Wounded healer and I like that thought.”

Grief recovery groups, faith circles and support groups provide a place for people like Tracy to share their stories and begin to build relationships with others who are on the road to healing.

Our hope and prayer is that by providing resources that educate, equip and empower, such as a grief recovery program, support groups, and faith circles, we can come alongside individuals like Cynthia and journey together towards wholeness, resulting in communities being transformed.

Johan Strydom, a South African, came to Canada in 2008 with his wife Kerrie, a Canadian. Loving different cultures, Johan started to learn as much as possible of Canadian culture and society. He soon started to discover not all is as it seems and a realisation slowly grew that many communities were hurting.

In 2014, he and his family moved to Parry Sound ON to work among the Indigenous communities in the region. Johan joined the staff at Rising Above in 2017.


To read more of the Grief Recovery Method in Parry Sound area please click here.


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    Some of the books we use in the Grief Recovery Program are:

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