Hope to The Nations - May 2016 scroll down to read

"Are You Christians?"

The following account is real. The names have been changed.

"My friend Robert lives here," said John as we pulled up to the run-down house. Trash was littered everywhere, matching the other yards around it.

As we walked up to the front door John discretely pointed to an empty can of paint thinner on the ground. I wouldn't have thought anything of it had he not told me just a few minutes earlier that people will dilute and drink the stuff in order to get high.

A tall, skinny, longhaired man holding a bag of chips came to the door. "Robert, what's happening man?" John enthusiastically greeted him. Robert didn't say anything; he just nodded and shook John's hand. "This is my friend Thomas." I stuck out my hand, and Robert gave it a short shake then handed me the bag of chips. I smiled, and said "thank you," ate a chip and handed the bag back to him.

Immediately a burning smell hit me. I looked over to see an older man sitting at the kitchen table smoking. Across from him was a middle-aged woman. We said hello to both of them and got a subdued "hi." Neither of them made eye contact.

"Are you Christians?" the lady at the table asked, still not making eye contact. "We're followers of Jesus Christ," John answered, carefully wording his response so as to distinguish between a true believer and one in name only. "Yeah, me too," she said looking away.

The walls were decorated with a hodgepodge of items. Pictures of Jesus were hanging everywhere right next to animistic charms, superstitiously used to manipulate the spirit world.

"Are you Christians?" the lady at the table asked, still not making eye contact. "We're followers of Jesus Christ," John answered, carefully wording his response so as to distinguish between a true believer and one in name only. "Yeah, me too," she said looking away.

Two younger guys were in an adjacent room watching TV, one sitting in a chair the other laying on a couch. Again, we said hello, and got a "hi" with little interaction.

We stayed and talked for about 15 minutes, mostly just general subjects. Robert's demeanor began to soften a little. He even brought out a bedbug he had caught that he wanted to show us (in a zipper bag of course).

After we left John told me, "That guy on the couch was Carl. He calls me a lot when he's high and talks my ear off then asks me to pray. Robert says he's a monster, that he's molested boys." I looked at John, shocked. "Is it true?" I asked. "I don't know. Probably. Stuff like that goes on all of the time here. People just don't report it or talk about it."

This is a real community, and these are real people. Lives are broken and people are spiritually dead in need of transforming grace found only in Jesus Christ. And it's this message of grace that our missionaries want to communicate to these people. But it's often challenging, frustrating and slow work, which can all lead to discouragement.

My time visiting with our missionaries on the field is usually short. So for my brief visits I try to take in as much as possible – the sights and smells of my surroundings, the looks on people's faces and the sound of their voices. I don't pretend to know how to interpret all of it. But it gives me a glimpse of some of the challenges our missionaries face and helps me to better understand how to serve them and pray for them. And it helps me to better communicate their stories to other people with hopes that they will pray, give and perhaps even go.

Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."

Luke 10:2

Personal

  • Isaiah's Leg - Thank you for praying for Isaiah. We're happy to report that his leg has healed well.
  • Louisiana - I took an unexpected trip to Baton Rouge in April to see my family. My mom experienced another stroke. She had one two years ago and has recovered quite well from it. This one happened in a different spot. I'm thankful to report that she's doing much better and is on the road to recovery, but I know she would covet your prayers.
  • Town Home - Our house in Mississippi is going back on the market. We're working with a new realtor and hope it will sell quickly. Please pray that our home would sell within 90 days!
TOP (L-R) - Lily at 9 months • Nadia at the Portland Zoo • After running the Vancouver B.C. half marathon. MIDDLE - Cristy and Lily at the Zoo • Isaiah enjoying some ice cream! BOTTOM - Isaiah cooling off at the splash pad • Nadia seeing her first polar bear.

My office at work. Sometimes you just need five computers on your desk =)

Publications

  • Photo Sessions - I recently was in Canada visiting with our missionaries for about a week. One of the challenges I've frequently faced in my job is having pictures of people that we can use. We deal with so many privacy-related issues that we often have to resort to using stock photos. But thankfully we got permission from two friends of InterAct from the First Nations community that allowed us to use their pictures in our publications! This will be a huge help to our ministry, and make my job a lot easier.

Stewart Budd, a First Nations Cree man and friend of the mission, allowed us to do a photo session with him. We will be able to use these photos in our publications to represent the people groups among whom we serve.

Productions

You may remember me telling you about the new 360˚ video camera we have now. One goal on my recent trip to Canada was to get some video tours with a few of our missionaries where they talk about their ministries. Most of these videos for security reasons can only be shown privately, but I've edited one of them so that you can get an idea of what it's like.

Click and drag within the video below to get a 360˚ view!

  • Russia (July) - The last two weeks in July I hope to be in Siberia. I will be helping our field director there with our summer internship (EnGage!) team and getting some photos and video footage.

I plan to travel to Russia the last two weeks in July. If you'd like to help offset some of the extra cost of this trip you can donate below.

People

  • Canada - I had a great time in southern Alberta, Canada visiting with some of our missionaries. I was able to spend time getting to know them better, listen to their stories and see first-hand a little bit of what they deal with day in and day out.

Jenelle is a young Cree woman who allowed us to do a photo session with her. Here she is with the city of Calgary in the background.

Prayer

  • Praising God that Isaiah's leg has healed
  • Praising God for a safe and productive trip to Canada
  • Praising God for his protection of my mom.
  • Please pray for a surgery Isaiah has coming up on May 31st. This will be to implant a device called a Vagus Nerve Stimulator (VNS) that will help control his seizures.
  • Please pray for our town home in Mississippi to sell before the end of June.

Please keep us in your prayers. And we'd love to hear from you!

Partner With Us

We are so thankful for the generous support and prayers from our ministry partners like you. If you are not part of our support team and would like to join, please click the link below.

An InterAct Ministry

InterActMinistries.org

Created By
Thomas Slawson
Appreciate
Created with images by jayneandd - "Wheat" • falco - "moscow russia historically"

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