Barriers to the Gospel?

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by John of Japan, Jul 18, 2006.

  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    What are some of the barriers to the Gospel in your part of the world, including areas within the US? How do you overcome your barriers and get the Gospel out?

    This morning I went out on dendo (evangelism) with my good buddy Habazaki San. We were in a neighborhood that brought back embarrassing memories (that I can never share on the BB), since it was next to the hospital where I had surgery a couple of years ago. You don't know life until you've been a gaijin (foreigner, literally "outside person") in a Japanese hospital! :eek: :eek:

    Anyway, I tried to give a Gospel booklet to a lady standing in from of her house. She took one look at gaijin me and said, "I can't read it because it is not in Japanese." I explained to her that it actually was in Japanese, and showed her the furigana ("ruby" reading marks) to help her read it fluently. (I suspect she was not well educated.) Then I witnessed to her the precious Gospel of Jesus Christ, though she did not listen closely, and soon began turning away to go inside her house.

    So, there is the language barrier. Many Japanese don't really believe deep inside that a foreigner can actually speak their language. When they do find out that the gaijin can speak their language, they then wonder if he can actually say anything meaningful to them--does he actually understand their way of thinking?

    The way to overcome the language barrier is, quite simply, hard work. We must learn the language to the best of our ability, and keep learning the rest of our lives! And of course, pray! :praying:
     
  2. pinoybaptist

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    If you're not going to yell at me, John, I'm going to share the barriers I have here in Western New York.
    Yes, I do share the gospel when an opportunity to do arises, so don't fall off your chair.
    It's just that I share it and view it differently than you do.
    This part of Western New York where I'm at being much more predominantly white than DC, as soon as I start talking, whoever it is I am talking to starts to go into that facial expression that tells me they're thinking: Oh, goodness, he's not American, therefore, he probably does not understand and speak English all that well, and how in the Lord's name am I gonna talk to him ?

    Some faces light up as soon as they hear me speak their precious English language, with an accent, yes, but, understandable, and continue talking to me.
    Many, especially when they hear the accent, act like your Japanese woman, and the conversation just fades away.

    Yesterday I was at a clinic for my physical as required by my job, and the doctor walks in, sees my face and skin color, and immediately puts on that 'oh, my, not American' kind of face.

    I've seen more subtle racism here than I've seen in the deep South.
    But I guess they're more used to Latino looking guys down there than they are up North.
     
  3. RandR

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    The greatest barriers in my part of the South are empty religiosity, legalism, and combination of the two.

    According to conventional wisdom, the residents of my county consider themselves to be 80% "churched." There are a few hundred Muslims and a few thousand Jews. The rest of that 80% would claim to be "Christian." The culture is very religious and remains proud of its traditionalism. Many people assume that religiosity and traditionalism are the same thing as "Christianity." Which, of course, they aren't. It is difficult to witness to people to think they're "saved" because of the environment in which they grew up.

    We also have our share of legalists. Vocal, at that. It seems that they unwittingly confuse justification with sanctification, because they add their rules to the beautiful simplicity of the gospel, rather than allowing the Spirit of Christ in a person transform their lifestyle by first transforming their life. These folks make the task for the rest of us more difficult.

    The most frustrating phenomenon I observe is what happens when hollow religiosity gets mixed with legalism. Can anything quench the Spirit more than that person who is at the church any time the doors are open, who insists on a particular style of dress, a particular style of music, a particular English translation--and will make sure you know it--but whose life, words, and actions reflect little of the love of Christ to the very people we've been commissioned to reach.

    When people either think they're already "Christians" or have been so turned off by the behavior of certain "Christians"...gaining a hearing for the gospel becomes quite difficult.
     
  4. Mexdeaf

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    How about ... not hearing?

    I do not mean not wanting to hear. I mean just plain cannot hear. As in DEAF. Like me.

    Multitudes worldwide will never hear the Gospel story, unless someone tells them in their own sign language.

    The saddest thing is, the majority of the time when a deaf person surrenders to go to the mission field, he faces an uphill climb in raising support. For me, fortunately, it was not as hard. Although I am stone deaf without my hearing aid, I can hear enough to get by and can talk just fine since I am a 'late-deafened' person. But I have several deaf friends who have struggled for years to get meetings and raise full support.

    Not that it cannot be done, praise God that He ultimately supplies our needs. But I have often said, "If everyone in the world experience deafness for just one day, it would open some ears." Not to mention hearts.

    John, I have had the language thing happen to me also. I can go into a store and ask for something in perfect Spanish and get the 'eye' and 'No entiendo ingles'. Of course, I have done the same in reverse when a Mexican walks up to me and starts speaking English, it takes a few seconds to switch gears.
     
  5. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Thanks for the contributions--you too, pinoybaptist.:thumbs: I'm always happy to fellowship around the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    So how do you try to overcome the barriers to the Gospel you are facing?
     
  6. Mishelly

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    I am originally from Central NY, grew up along Seneca Lake. Sad to say I know what you are talking about. Down South the ignorant are more up front about it, the Northerners do it in more of a condencending way.

    I remember once I took my friend to church with me, hapenned to be black, did not give it a second thought. After all these were the people I grew up with. O my did I learn a thing or two at a young age. I was agast, trying to be polite on the BB :smilewinkgrin:

    My mother's father was of Native American decent, she got my grandmother's looks and you can not tell. Any ways, when her and my father married back in '58 that 'charming country town' was polite when her father and brother would visit but we saw the looks. Her foster parents even called my fathers parents and said "Do you know your son is marrying a *&^&* half $%^&%.

    I really did not know any different because I was used to my Grandpa and all I knew what the he loved us, differences was never brought up. In some ways it was good, another maybe they sheltered me too much.

    My mother still does not like to talk about it, she says to leave the past in the past. I do not know how hard it must have been for her, but probably not as hard if she had gotten Grandpa's complexion, darn pigment :laugh:

    I was always jealous of my cousins, I have to lay in the sun for hours and they just are :tongue3:

    I never heard that story until I was older. A couple a months ago someone said one of my friends was black, I honestly never noticed. Call me strange LOL

    I pray for you and everyone who goes through this.:praying:
     
  7. Mishelly

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    Sorry about getting off topic

    The barriers I face is people tell me all the time "I know what I believe and I don't want to hear it"

    How do you overcome that?
     
  8. Mexdeaf

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    Prayer and fasting.
     
  9. El_Guero

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    mmm ... should
     
  10. El_Guero

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    mmm ... should I ask, or should I pray for ya'?
     
  11. El_Guero

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    PS

    The thought of being placed in a Korean hospital scared the 'devil' out of me so to speak . . .

    I really couldn't get over the smell . . . I could handle it elswhere, but in a hospital was just too much.
     
  12. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    I pray, you pray, we all pray for God's way!:thumbsup:

    A missionary's greatest need is prayer, both of his own and by others.

    Patty and I went out today on evangelism. I talked to two different men, but with both of them there was that invisible barrier. One turned away (with the tract at least), and all the other would say is "Hai" ("Yes").

    I noticed several of you have talked about racism. We run up against racism in Japan, too. Reading my OP you no doubt learned the Japanese word for "foreigner," which is gaijin, meaning "outside person." This is short for gaikokujin, meaning "person of an outside country." The Japanese always think of "us" (inner) versus "them" (outer). The traditional Japanese belief is that they are a pure race, descended from Amaterasu, the sun goddess. This is a big barrier to get across, and oftentimes we can't. However, occasionally bullheadedness will carry the way!

    The most conservative people in Japan are the Sokagakkai radical Buddhist laymen's organization. Once going door-to-door I ran across one of these guys, and he said, "I'm Sokagakkai, so I'm not interested." But that time I just got stubborn and said, "Well, why in the world not?" So he invited me in and we sat on the floor, had some green tea and crossed the culture barrier for a half hour. At one point he told me that Christianity was immoral because Christians dropped the A-bomb. So I said, "How do you know that?" and was then able to talk about cultural Christianity versus true belief from the heart. He certainly didn't trust Christ, but at least he got the Gospel!
     
  13. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    :laugh: :laugh:
    Culture shock with a vengeance!
     
  14. pinoybaptist

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    Can't change the color of my skin, John, unless somebody donates boxes of Glutathione to me.

    My grandparents were pure Spanish, grandma from Barcelona, gramps from Avila, except that he is descended from Moors, and has dark skin, and I took from him, because all my aunts and uncles were fair skinned.

    So, I just try to speak as clearly as I can, with my natural accent. And multi-task by praying in my mind.

    So far, I've met one family who views salvation and the gospel the way I do, and we plan to come together, sing, pray, and worship every Saturday night, and let the Lord add to us as He sees fit.
     
  15. John of Japan

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    How wonderful that God is not limited by man's failures and prejudices!
     
  16. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    It ought to be the exact opposite, in my mind. Churches need to realize the huge need for missionaries to the deaf, and support missionaries who can cross that barrier the easiest! :saint:

    My second (or third--we don't quite know) cousin Bob Himes is doing a wonderful job with the deaf in the Phillipines with the Bill Rice Ranch board. He's not deaf, but certainly loves the deaf.

    Upon reflection, I think that God's love through us for the people we are trying to reach may be the greatest means of crossing the barriers people put up to the Gospel. What do you folk think?

    Yesterday Mrs. U. came over for an hour of counselling about her children, who are having trouble in school. My mind drifts back to the missionary wife who loved her and her family, and brought her from Mormonism into the light. That lady had to leave the field due to circumstances not her fault, but the fruit remains.

    Mrs. U.'s husband got saved after the lady had to leave the field, and one day several years ago Mrs. U. brought all her Mormon books over to the house and said, "What do I do with these?" Of course, being Johnny-on-the-spot, I had a solution for her! :thumbs:
     
  17. El_Guero

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    I don't know that cultural is how I would define that smell . . .

    :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

     
  18. El_Guero

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    Culturally: the Christian Century in Japan; the close of the Christian Century with massive martyrdom for the faith; the Revival of the late 1800's; the reduction of Emporer worship after the 'A-bombs'; the massive Revival after WW2; and the rise of Science & the prosperity that came from scientific industrialization have all worked together (for Satan and his purpose) to bring the average Japanese to a point of spiritual numbness.

    Unlike America, the Christian Century in Japan was a very brief heritage. Unlike America, the Japanese still view the carnage of the a-bombs as both a curse from God and as a curse upon Christianity as a whole. 25 - 50% of the victims were Christians.

    The conservative buddhist sect are descended from the buddhists that conducted the torture campaign starting around the time of Hideyoshi (sp - this is from memorex) - and they will still hold to an almost militant anti-Christian theology.
     
  19. El_Guero

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    And then you have the real cultural barrier of the length of time it takes Japanese to open up and trust some one (even from Japan) before they will consider the Gospel.

    Relationships over time is one way to bridge the barriers.
     
  20. pinoybaptist

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    I guess it's a holdover attitude from old feudal Japan.
    When I was still active in Shorin-ryu Karate a hundred years ago, the first thing my sensei, a Japanese, Yuri Sazaki, drilled into my head was, "do not take your eyes off your opponent's knees and shoulders when you bow".
     

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