Stories from the Field

Providing Rest for the Sake of the Least-Reached

Ally* loved the people in the South Asian community where she served, but she wanted to just stay inside. A year filled with intense ministry, loss and grief had left her exhausted. She had become cynical and struggled to have compassion. As a result, her effectiveness in ministry was dwindling. Ally was headed for burnout.

Christar wants its workers to be emotionally, spiritually and physically healthy. So, at the advice of Ellen, the Assistant Director of Member Care, Ally took a two-week break. During her time away, she stayed offline, set work aside and connected with God.

The Lord used this time to renew Ally’s spirit. She shares, “He met me in a special way, and I feel excitement and ambition returning to me. I actually want to be here again and feel compassion and love for people that was lacking for the past few months. … I got away with [God] and continued to seek Him with my brokenness worn on my sleeve. And He met me there.”

Least-reached​ people can’t hear and accept the gospel unless someone shares it with them. But workers who serve in communities where few know Christ often face ongoing setbacks and stressors. Discouragement from lack of visible fruit can be derailing. Overcoming opposition to the gospel can become overwhelming. In the face of continual challenges, it’s not unexpected for burnout to begin to set in occasionally, making workers less effective—and sometimes even causing them to leave the field.

“A lot of energy, resources and training go into preparing workers for field assignments,” Ellen explains. “So we do everything we can to help them do ministry well over the long haul. The context where many Christar workers serve is just grueling to the body and soul. It’s critical they have space to come away periodically to refuel their hearts and minds.”

Setting aside time for rest and spiritual renewal can help workers continue to serve and thrive in the midst of hardships and stress. But finding a place to be renewed and connect with God is often a challenge. In 2010, Christar workers Dan and Hannah founded Cleft of the Rock, a retreat center in the Middle East where workers like Ally can be trained, encouraged and refreshed. Their goal was to keep more workers on the field in locations where ministry is especially difficult.

“We provide a safe place for workers to pull back from ministry and culture to recharge,” Dan and Hannah share. “Restoration occurs through teaching, counseling and rest. Then the goal is to release healthier workers back into their ministry.”

In 2016 alone, Cleft of the Rock welcomed workers from 14 nations, representing over 20 organizations. For many, the retreat center provides an environment where they can find physical, emotional and spiritual renewal. One worker who’s stayed at Cleft of the Rock several times shares, “So many special memories have been created for us as a family when we go to Cleft of the Rock to step aside from ministry. It is truly a place where we go and can really rest physically and be refilled spiritually. Our visits and connecting with Dan and Hannah have helped us keep running along the path of ministry.”

Dan and Hannah will never know what would have happened if these workers hadn’t been refreshed by Cleft of the Rock. But they can see how God uses them and the ministry of this retreat center to help many workers return to the field better able to serve and thrive in places where planting churches is especially difficult.

Cleft of the Rock doesn’t just give workers a place to rest—it helps least-reached people hear the gospel. When workers are refreshed and equipped to thrive, they’re far more likely to continue serving in difficult places. And as workers remain on the field, more least-reached people will have access to the good news.


How can I get involved?

Pray:

  • Praise God that Cleft of the Rock is helping cross-cultural workers thrive in ministry in least-reached communities.
  • Pray for wisdom for the staff of Cleft of the Rock as they counsel colleagues and local believers ministering in difficult places.
  • Pray that workers and teams will remain on the field because of the training and refreshment they receive at Cleft of the Rock.
  • Ask God to provide the funds needed so Cleft of the Rock can expand its facilities.

Give:

Your gift to Cleft of the Rock will help workers and local believers continue to serve and thrive in hard places! As Cleft expands its facilities, your gift will also allow more workers and local believers to be refreshed and equipped for effective ministry.