Thoughts on Traveling With a Missionary Group

(To Christianize the Heathen)Someone once asked me about traveling with a missionary group, and if I thought it was a good idea.I generally try to be a positive and upbeat person, and my tone, in responding to her, may have been a bit less than positive. The person who emailed me had an email address of proudjesusfrk, and I felt it really necessary to make her aware of some things when I responded to her.My personal experience with her particular religion had been quite negative. I had a friend go to a private college (run by this religion) where she was constantly told she was going to hell because she was a Christian Scientist. Another experience I had with this particular religion was at an amusement park in Denver a few years ago, and three teenaged girls of this religion had asked my brother and I if we were Christians and believed in God. I said that I believed in God, and my brother said that he didn’t know and didn’t care. My brother is one of the nicest and most genuine people you will meet, and they proceeded to tell him that he was going to hell because he didn’t believe in God. They then asked me if it made me sad that my brother was going to hell. So, all that having been said, I do realize that there are probably plenty of people, or all religions, who don’t try to cram their belief systems onto other people, but that hasn’t been my personal experience with one religion in particular.My advice on traveling with any religious or missionary group is that if the group is going with the intent of converting people to Christianity (which much of the group usually is) then I would be cautious. I’m not saying don’t go, but just be aware that open preaching with the intent to convert people is illegal in many places in the world. Take for example the country of China. I don’t know that anything would happen to you if you, as an American, were discovered preaching with the intent to convert people, but China has good reason to want to keep Christianity subdued in their country. Look at the negatives of what Christianity has meant for people throughout history (the Salem Witch Trials, Spanish Inquisition, the Crusades, the slaughter of thousands of Native Americans via Manifest Destiny, partially responsible for segregation in South Africa, the wars in England and Ireland, the list goes on). In the larger cities in China, there are some Christian churches which are well attended I believe, but the Chinese government doesn’t want people, well-intended as they may be, coming in and doing to their country, what has happened to hundreds of thousands of people throughout history. Also, they would like to have people continue to believe in the power of the Communist state of China. That is also understandable, if you look at Communism in China in light of Chinese history.My advice on missionary work is this: Missionary work is awesome, and I think it’s an awesome and noble goal for your life. You must realize though, that no matter where you are in the world, you do missionary work by example. You must show your selfless giving and not try to convert people to believe what you believe. Rather, you walk your talk. Or better yet, just walk your walk. Live a life of service. Help other people. Then let them come to their own decisions about what your life of service means. And you must be okay with it if they decide that your life of service doesn’t have anything to do with God, because in the end, some of them will decide that your life of service doesn’t have anything to do with God. But you will still have done them the service that we are all put here on earth to do, which is to love your neighbor as yourself.

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