Real-Life Stories

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters (Isaiah 55:1).

MISSIONARIES AND CHURCH PLANTERS

I have been in Europe for the past two weeks meeting with international mission workers and church planters. My first stop was to speak at the Crossroads Saint Genis, a daughter church to the Crossroads Ferney Voltaire that we planted some years ago. My message was on “The God of Genesis 1-3…and the rest of the Bible.”

Justus, Ian, and Traci
Justus, Ian, and Traci

Here I am pictured with Justus Heyman who is the church planter/pastor, and two others who are part of the new church.

RETREAT FOR INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN WORKERS

My next stop was to be part of the counseling/coaching staff for a retreat for“at risk” Christian Workers called “TRACTION” led by Daniel Hahn. Here are some of the issues we were there to help with:

  • Balancing too many demands
  • Feelings of discouragement or depression
  • Team conflict
  • In country turbulence, fear of being evacuated or visas getting denied
  • Physical, emotional, and spiritual stress
  • Transition
  • Weight and exercise issues
  • Helping kids with“Third Culture” issues
  • Marital conflict
  • Lack of safe friendships, accountability
  • Spiritual apathy, feeling disconnected from God, loss of motivation
  • Anger and resentment
  • Differences in culture and communication
  • Health problems
  • Stress of constantly being watched
  • Fear of being ineffective
  • Not having enough support
  • Singleness issues on the field

AHH, BUT THE GOOD NEWS

International Christian workers face lots of challenges but we were encouraged by the fact that 40 plus men were encouraged by our time together. Here are some comments we received following the retreat:

  • “I’m so encouraged to realize that I’m not going through my struggles alone.” (E. Asia)
  • “My life had become a dry river bed. TRACTION pointed me back to the source of living water. Because of the atmosphere created by the TRACTION staff, I’ve opened up to confront some crucial issues.” (Turkey)
  • “Loved the balanced schedule of thoughtful input and individual processing time.” (Middle East)
  • “Traction provided an opportunity to decompress, to release a heavy load with people who really listened, to refocus for the way ahead. (Africa)
  • “No other place like this—with time to be genuinely encouraged in the company of other men who get what I’m going through.” (Turkey)
  • “TRACTION is about re-centering upon Christ. It reminded me I’m not alone. I’ve been loved, listened to and found myself able to laugh again.” (India)
  • “I’m returning to Africa a better man of God, husband, father, and leader. God has renewed me here.” (Africa)
  • “The culture of TRACTION embodies the love of Jesus.” (Cambodia)
  • “TRACTION provided space for God to do some critical work in me that I desperately needed. Thank you!” (Europe)
  • “An oasis in the chaos of my life … a chance to be honest in an environment of understanding. It has been completely transforming for me.” (Thailand)
  • “The counselors helped me so much with some personal issues. Loved the time of worship and input. Loved the space to meet with God.” (Bulgaria)

A follow up email I received by a worker in the Middle East said: “Dear Linus, Thank you for the time we had together. You are a great blessing”

THE SKINNY AND THE FAT SHEEP

It is such a privilege to train leaders such as we are in Africa and Latin America, but it also awesome to play a role in what God is doing through his workers in so many other places too. One of the missionaries we worked with told me the story of a Muslim he met who had a dream of two sheep. The Muslim recounted:

“The one sheep was skinny and when slaughtered contained no blood. The other was fat and when slaughtered bled everywhere.”

My Christian worker friend asked this Muslim what he thought the meaning of the dream was, to which he replied:

“The skinny sheep is Islam. It has no life in it. The fat sheep is Jesus. His blood has life in it.”

So the good news of Jesus is spreading everywhere. What a privilege to be part of it. Thanks for being a part of it with us.

With great gratitude,

Linus and Sharon

"Singing (to God) in the rain"
“Singing (to God) in the rain”

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