Missionary Myth-Busting

Discussion in 'Missions / Witnessing / eVangelism' started by John of Japan, May 10, 2010.

  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Missionaries and other friends of world-wide missions: what things are mistaken, yet widely believed about missionaries, missions, and the countries we minister in?

    I plan in this thread to debunk both myths about missions and myths about Japan, where I serve Christ.
     
  2. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    First of all, some actually think that people become missionaries because they are not qualified to do much in the homeland. Nothing could be further from the truth. With few exceptions, the missionaries I've known were well qualified for various careers in the homeland: pastoring, teaching, car repair or whatever. What we need for the mission fields of the world are the brightest and best the churches in the homeland have to offer.

    FM, who recently retired from Japan, was an intelligence analyst and Russian linguist for the U. S. Air Force when young. TT, who will be preaching in our church this month, is a former Green Beret and a rocket engineer who was the project engineer for the orbital maneuver engine of the space shuttle, believe it or not. MM, who will be arriving in Japan for his first term soon, is a linguist who taught Greek and Hebrew at a seminary and is fluent in European languages. Dr. MT, a Japanese missionary to a Muslim country, is the leading eye, ear, nose and throat surgeon in that whole country. I could go on and on!

    Missionaries are very often qualified medical doctors and linguists Historically speaking, missionaries have very often been the first to open a modern clinic in a country. James Hepburn did so in Japan, as well as formulating the first romanized system of reading Japanese. Missionaries are also very often the first to formulate a writing system for a country. Adoniram Judson did so for the Karen language, I believe. He also wrote the first ever grammar and dictionary for the Burmese language. John Batchelor did the same for the Ainu language here in Japan.
     
  3. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Let me bust a myth about Japan: that it has very little crime. A young man recently visited us who had been in Japan a few months going to college, and was surprised when I locked my car door. He said, "Aw, this is Japan, you don't need to do that." I told him there is are gangs of thieves operating in our city stealing out of cars and I get the police reports by email to prove it. Such gangs operate throughout the country.

    There is a ton of white collar crime, many con games going on, lots of bribery. Often in the paper there are stories about public officials getting caught taking bribes, and something called amakudari ("descent from Heaven"), which is the practice of companies hiring former government officials to gain access for bribery and influence-peddling.

    But you say, there is very little violent crime in Japan. The truth is, there is a lot of unreported violent crime: domestic violence is very seldom reported unless there is serious injury or death, child abuse of all kinds is epidemic, and there is much violence in the schools ("bullying") which goes unreported, with the school officials handling it without the police: rape, molestation, assault, etc. The wife of our former co-worker here in town used to teach English in the high schools, and once in awhile she'd come to our dinners together and say, "Something terrible happened in school today, but they swore me to secrecy and I can't tell you what it was."

    I know personally a yakuza (Japanese mafia) member who is trying to get out of the mob--a difficult thing to do. Crimes he has told me about participating in are: drug pushing, insurance fraud, weapons crimes (went to the pen for that one), porno, con games (preying on the elderly in particular), extortion, etc. All of this goes on all the time right here in our city: his particular branch of the yakuza has 200 members in our city!
     
  4. Jim1999

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    I am very pleased to see this type of post about both countries and missionaries.

    I have the highest regard for missionaries, their training and their work in the field, often without reward. I have seen missionaries devote every penny the get in the field and never complain.

    One of my Bible colleges, formerly Toronto Bible College, was dedicated to missions and training missionaries. There was no slack in academia just because they were going to "foreign" mission fields.

    My brother-in-law's sister spent 12 years training to go with the China Inland Mission before she could even see the field. That takes dedication!

    Keep going, mate, this needs to be told.

    Cheers, and bless,

    Jim
     
  5. Revmitchell

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    No what we need are those who are called by God. Period


    1Co 1:25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
    1Co 1:26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
    1Co 1:27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
    1Co 1:28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,
    1Co 1:29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
     
  6. abcgrad94

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    I think one myth people believe is that missionaries are "super Christians" who can accomplish more for God that "normal people" could. I think in general we Christians tend to place pastors and missionaries on pedestals instead of realizing they are just people like we are and we, too, can accomplish things for God if we are just willing.

    I also think we expect much more "success" from overseas missionaries than we do those on US soil.
     
  7. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Well of course they should be called by God. Did I say anything different?? :confused:

    Now if one of the brightest and best from your church is called by God to become a missionary, I hope you don't discourage them as some have done by saying, "Don't waste your talent on the mission field," or, "We need someone with your gifts at home."
     
  8. John of Japan

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    Thanks for the encouragement, Jim. :thumbs:
     
  9. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Well said! We missionaries put our shoes on the same way anyone else does. And we can get discouraged and downhearted, too. We greatly need the prayers and support of the believers in the homeland.
    This one is hard for someone working in a "Gospel-resistant field." When we go back on furlough and haven't built much of a church on the field, it's a real struggle as to what and how much to say.
     
  10. John of Japan

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    I just wanted to comment on this again. It might be just an error instead of a myth, but some take the position that we shouldn't send missionaries to "Gospel resistant" fields, but only to responsive peoples. Some in the "church growth" movement and some missions "strategists" take this position. But if we follow that advice then we are not heeding the Great Commission: "every creature," "every nation."

    My own evangelist grandfather discussed with me my preparations to come to Japan once and said, "Why do you want to go to Japan? You can win many more to Christ here in America than there." I was tongue tied, and the only answer I could give him was, "God called me."
     
    #10 John of Japan, May 11, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 11, 2010
  11. Jim1999

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    If we look at the early missionaries, they went to totally lost nations and ministered for years before they saw their first convert.

    Then consider the five young men who were instantly killed in South America trying to reach a heathen tribe. Results came through the confirmed efforts of a wife and sister. Eventually the entire nation came to Christ.

    We may preach to large crowds, but it always comes down to one on one. I recall the Jewish lady who came to Christ, and eventually her son followed. Her husband remained outside. He drove her and son to church, and he remained in parking lot. She went to synagogue with him and didn't preach to him other than by her life. Some 13 years later the husband came to Christ. It was a mission field of one.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  12. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Well said. As the title of the little book by Clarence Sexton says it, Won by One.
     
  13. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Another myth I occasionally run into is the idea that countries and peoples without Christ are still somehow moral. A lady in a church in the States one time said to me, "The Japanese are very moral people, aren't they?" My jaw dropped and I couldn't say anything for a few seconds, then I replied, "They most certainly are not!"

    She answered, "But aren't they strict and don't they have a lot of rules?" I said, "Yes, but that certainly doesn't mean they are moral." The Japanese have twice the abortion per capita as the US. Nobody thinks drunkenness is wrong, and there are no laws against public drunkenness. Adultery is common. They have a history of turning a blind eye to child molestation. (Laws were only recently passed on this.) Filthiness is rampant--dirty books in every bookstore, so they have no need for specialized bookstores.

    The samurai warriors of Japan's past were extremely immoral. They were allowed to cut the head off a commoner for "due cause," which might mean just being jostled in the streets. Homosexuality was common among Buddhist priests and the samurai. For just one example, check out the history of the last samurai militia, the Shinsengumi, noted for fighting to the death in the 1860s to keep the shogun in power.

    Then there are the so-called "noble savages" in the tribes around the world. Just read one book by a missionary living with one of those tribes and you'll learn that such tribes live with a casual attitude towards the worst immorality.

    And these things are why missionaries will be needed until Christs comes back. People only learn to do right when they trust Christ as Savior and the Holy Spirit indwells them!
     
  14. abcgrad94

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    Very interesting. I never knew all this. What we see portrayed of the culture is much different.
     
  15. TennisNE1

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    I think missionaries go to foreign fields just to get away from deacons!

    Cindy
     
  16. John of Japan

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    Well, you see, the Japanese are very good at propaganda, or at least portraying their culture with as little chance for embarrassment as possible. Remember the term "saving face." They do it not only as individuals and groups but as a country!
     
  17. John of Japan

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    Well, I've known deacons it would be worth travelling awhile to get away from! :laugh:
     
  18. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    I think my pastor did it the opposite way, I was a deacon and he was VERY supportive of us going to the field :)

    Don't know if I even want to start about misperceptions about Ireland :)
     
  19. abcgrad94

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    Oh please do start a thread on this! I would love to know all about Ireland.
     
  20. abcgrad94

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    Several years ago friends of ours hosted a foreign exchange student from Japan. Of all the exchange students in the group (Italian, Finnish, etc.) this gal from Japan was the happiest, sweetest of the bunch. We all really liked her. The funny thing was, the Japanese man (who was the contact person for Japanese exchange students) apologized to the Americans for sending her because she was overweight and therefore an embarrassment to his country. We were all very surprised at his attitude, because this girl was the best behaved of all the students!
     

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