Hope breaks down the barriers
No connections by accident
The wide “net” we’re spreading with a big presence on the Internet in 12 major languages means we attract all kinds of people. For the hurting, it’s attractive as a beacon of hope. For critics, it’s attractive like a lightning rod. Both kinds of responses give us opportunities. We never want to miss one—especially as the faith so many have had in the status quo is melting away.
“I pray the rosary every day and yet my life is worse. Why is that I feel very depressed?”
[Pray that I may] “Overcome depression and anxiety over the loss of my husband to COVID and waiting upon the Lord to make decisions on what to do as in selling this condo and where to go and when…amen?”
“I am a Christian who has lost his way. I am tired, weary, exhausted. I want to come home.”
“Why is the world in the shape it's in? Why are so many people suffering ?”
“I really needed to see this I am homeless and in recovery from COVID-19.”
“What you tell me is the standard interpretation, most of it came from a false prophet named Paul, and St John 3:16 never came from God.”
“Maybe if you stopped saying fags like me are going to hell I'd be interested.”
Mostly, we receive obvious cries for help. A few express sarcasm, criticism or try to share a false gospel. All create opportunities for sensitive Online Missionaries.
One such sensitive Online Missionary is Molly, who is 83 years old (“going on 45,” as she says) and serves in the Suicide specialty community.
Destiny in Nigeria recently wrote to Molly: “I really need Jesus Christ because my life has been misery I don’t go church anymore nothing is working for good sometimes I feel like killing myself I just don’t know where to start no grace, no Mercy, no progress. I’m just here like a lost sheep pls help me.”
There’s such division in our own nation right now that it might be hard for us to imagine a young woman from Africa being able to relate to a grandma in Texas, but I’d like you to read the compassion with which Molly answers Destiny:
“I am so sorry that your life has been so sad. I want to help you know about the best friend you can ever have and a Savior who loves you more than you will ever know.
I am so glad your e-mail was sent to me. It is not by accident, because I am the one who will get the blessing of telling you more about how much God loves you. I hear the pain and feeling of loss in your words. Your frustration is understandable. We all feel that way when we are hurt. You are having normal reactions. I am so praying that you will let God and me help you get through them. There truly is a sweet life on the other side of the hurt.”
By the way, Molly knows a little about hurt. Widowed twice, she lost her oldest son to a heart attack in 2015, suffered a ruptured appendix in 2017, a broken femur in 2017 and 2018, and spent time in the hospital in 2019 for multiple serious infections. Ask her how she’s doing and she’ll tell you she has to stand on tiptoe to keep from drowning in her blessings. On her 3rd Sunday at a new church 11 years ago, someone approached her: “I have been asking God to give me someone to introduce to GMO who would be a blessing to His people. The first day I saw you, God said, ‘There she is’.”
Like Molly, I don’t believe the assignment of a specific contact to is “by accident.” Alone in a room together, a depressed young African might not admit to an American grandma that she has problems—but the environment in which we minister isn’t one of accents, skin colors, age, physical ability, but ideas, spirit and hope. As our founder likes to say, it’s ministry at the point of need, with the advantage of anonymous intimacy. A risk-free way to admit their true hurts and fears to someone like Molly who is full of hope and answers.
“It seems for every setback I have, God puts someone in my path that I can have empathy for and help them a little because they are going through what I just went through. It has been a tremendous blessing,” writes Molly. I’m asking her to help me write our step-by-step discipleship manual for other Online Missionaries to accompany our PATH system’s release. Will you please pray for her ministry with us and for all efforts relating to our move to a new response system?
Molly and so many of our Online Missionaries so exemplify 1 Peter 3:15, “…always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”
Sometimes people question in ways that sound like Gideon’s complaint: “if the LORD is really with you, why then has all this happened to you? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us…?” (Judges 6:13) Molly—and you—know where hope comes from.
What Peter had in mind came from his statement a couple of chapters earlier: “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3)
Where is our hope? It’s in the resurrection of Jesus! The very power that raised Him from the dead is what gives us this life! (Romans 8:11) May all God’s people celebrate like those who have reason to hope this Easter Sunday! He is RISEN! Thank you for your prayers and support of our ministry! Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15)
Love, in Christ,
One Day Closer!