I think we have been conditioned to think people always should get better as a result of ministry. I think we have also grown to believe that ministry should not result in suffering. But that is not really what scripture says. I Peter 2:20-21 says, if you suffer for doing good, you were called to this. It could be that if you are suffering because of the degree to which you have entered into the suffering of others, you should not be surprised. You should rather rejoice that you are following your calling.
The woman who told me of her neighbor was an intelligent person whose tears could have easily been eliminated by simply rejecting her neighbor.
Instead, she embraces her neighbor, fulfills her calling of suffering for doing good, cries for her neighbor's suffering, and is driven to desperate prayer for her neighbor. None of these things would happen without her obedience in seeing her neighbor (like the Good Samaritan) going to her and suffering for doing good through entering into the suffering of her neighbor. But this does not make it easier.
These interactions leading to suffering are chosen interactions not necessarily imposed interactions. Obviously one can also suffer for doing good in others lives that was not chosen but rather imposed by life. This is not to demean that form of suffering for doing good at all. However, there is something special about choosing interactions with people that will lead to our personal suffering because we want to be obedient. We help others, but we also help ourselves. We are driven to humble dependence in God; a place where wants us to go. We say, " Lord, I want to go to the place of humble dependence so I will choose to enter into suffering FOR MYSELF and my relationship to you." Both me and the person whose suffering I am sharing are blessed, are benefitted in ways pleasing to God. This happened because by faith I submitted myself to my calling.