Tuesday, June 20, 2006

 

Responsibilities of a missionary

Missionaries have no choice but to begin by building friendships with the locals. Sometimes this is time intensive, especially if the culture is filled with fears and an overall lack of trust for everyone. Our goal is to gather small groups of lost people together, share Bible stories with them, give them a chance to respond by obedience to whatever God is saying to them. For some that step of obedience may be to accept Jesus as their Lord, and be baptized. For others, it may be to participate in the community of their small group where they can grow in the faith. For others, obedience means that they go out under the supervision of their group leader and start another small group. Our first goal in Paraguay is twofold. First of all, we have to address the identity of God as creator and supremely sovereign over his creation. At the same time, we have to build an openness within the group. Most of the people here are just not willing to open up in a group and share their thoughts, feelings or ideas. These two concepts will either make or break the group.

I started one group recently, and the first day had 6. When I told the first story that God had created heaven and all the creatures in Heaven. Some chose to rebell against Him, so they lost their celestial home and God created a place of eternal torment for them. They will go there when God passes judgment upon the earth. Some in the group were offended and said that they didn't believe in hell, so they dropped out.

Most of the groups that I am involved in meet in government buildings among the workers there. In order for us to meet, we have to get permission from the head of security, which is a large investment in time and patience.

It is a sacrifice on the part of the person who risks failure by inviting organizing a small group. If the missionary does not show, or if what he shares does not meet the felt needs of the people, the person who initiated the invitation may feel rejected by their peers. For North Americans, big deal! We are use to it, after all, we are our own person. Paraguayan culture is very different. The people here do not consider themselves as individuals, but a group. They will do everything to look good to the group.

Comments:
Thanks for this "peek" into what your world is like. It is fascinating to me that, although there are a number of essentials that join us together around the world as missionaries, there are also cultural distinctives that make the work of a missionary very different from that of other missionaries in other parts of the world with other cultural distinctives.
 
Thanks David for the timely word. I was beginning to wonder if anyone was actually reading what I post. I am new at this and haven't found the counter yet. It's more urgent for me to post than read the manual. Maybe with time, I'll figure it out.
 
As long as it doesn't begin to eat into time that should be spent on higher priority things, I think missionary blogging is really great: 1) for other m's, to get a window on what others are doing and thinking, and to dialogue about issues of mutual concern, and 2) to give the people back in the churches that support missions a better perspective on the realities of world missions. All in all, it is a new day with new opportunities.

By the way, I found your blog through your post on the Church Planting Forum. And, if you want to get a counter, I would suggest going to www.sitemeter.com, and reading the instructions. It's free.
 
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