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InterACTION - December 2017 Give The Gift of C.A.R.E.

The following story has been compiled from real events in the lives of actual missionaries who have served around the world. While names, places and circumstances have been changed to avoid specific references to any one person or persons, the story faithfully represents real-life struggles that take place. - Editor

Eric sat at the kitchen table sipping his coffee, mindlessly playing with his phone. He glanced out of the window at the snow as the dawn’s light was just beginning to bring the pale glow of morning. It was 11 a.m. and the sun was just now rising. It would be up for only a few hours before the deep winter darkness would return mid-afternoon, not that the daylight hours really mattered. The thick gray layer of clouds that seemed to never break ensured that “daytime” would never be more than a dim sleepy haze.

Waking up in the winter was difficult. It seemed that no matter how much sleep he got he felt perpetually tired.

He had been waking up later and later, always intending to get up and spend time reading his Bible and praying, but the energy and motivation just weren’t there. Several weeks of this had left him exhausted physically, mentally and spiritually.

He squinted to see the temperature on the round dial thermometer nailed to a post outside the window. It was around -30 C, actually a little warm for this time of year; a good day to get some work done and visit some people. But the thought of putting on all the heavy winter clothing to go outside seemed agonizing.

The cold and darkness weren’t the only things weighing him down. It had been a winter of tragedy. Two days earlier he had received yet another text message in the middle of the night telling him there had been one more death in the village. A young girl, just thirteen years old, had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. This made eight in the past six months. He remembered how five years earlier when he had moved to the village each suicide would leave him an emotional wreck for weeks. Now he didn’t feel anything. He wished he could mourn, but when he opened the door for grief nothing was there. A year earlier he had begun to notice that each suicide left him more and more numb to the pain. He felt guilty about this at first, but even those feelings of guilt faded over time. Now he just felt empty.

As he sat a question kept repeating itself over and over in his mind. “What am I doing here?” He had come with the best of intentions. Since high school he had felt a deep burden for the lost and was passionate to take the gospel to some isolated place where Christ wasn’t known. Being from Florida, he wasn’t much of a cold weather person, but over time he believed God was calling him to the remote North. Now he was doubting that call.

During Eric’s five years in the village nothing had gone like he thought it would. He had dreamed of building friendships with people, sharing the gospel and planting a church. He carefully wrote monthly prayer letters the first two years. That turned into every other month, then about three times a year. Eventually he stopped writing them, figuring that no one was reading them anyway. He hadn’t sent one out in over a year. Each month his support dropped.

Of course, there had been some encouraging moments, but they seemed to pale in comparison to the struggles and defeats. It felt like for each step forward in ministry, he took ten back. Five years and no converts, no indigenous leaders, no church plant.

Eric stared out the window, these thoughts rolling through his mind. “I’m a failure,” he said out loud, “I’ve failed God.”

Dale Smith, Executive Director

Help Us Provide C.A.R.E. for Our Missionaries

Thankfully, spiritual victory and effectiveness are usually the norm for our InterAct missionaries. But the reality of life “on the front lines,” whether in urban centers, rural towns or isolated villages, is a daily stress and challenge greater than most of us will ever know. Missionaries are people. When they need the encouragement of a retreat, the ear of an understanding counselor or financial assistance at a critical time of need, InterAct desires to have the resources to help.

Our C.A.R.E. initiative (Critical Assistance for Respite and Encouragement) was established for situations like Eric’s. This fund is reserved to provide help for missionaries facing urgent needs.

This brief story about Eric is fictional, but sadly not fictitious. The good news is that Eric doesn’t need to stay here! Your gift provides InterAct with the means to assist a struggling missionary to bear fruit once again. Will you help us provide critical support to our most important asset – our missionaries and their families? As you prepare to give gifts to loved ones this Christmas, please consider a donation to our C.A.R.E. initiative. Your gift will posture our organization to be able to come alongside our missionaries in time of need and better love them like Jesus. The result – greater impact for the Kingdom!

InterACTION is a monthly publication of InterAct Ministries

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Created with images by aharden - "IMG_2968" • Dávid Sterbik Photography - "untitled image"

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