International Ministries

"Missionaries are old ..." and other myths

April 11, 2011 Journal
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"When I hear that a missionary will speak at our church, I usually find something else to do that night."  This was the sheepish confession of a member of a short-term mission team that recently came to Brazil to serve and learn.  She went on to describe her stereotype of a missionary: a grey-haired, Caucasian person from the United States.  Whether or not that ever was an accurate picture of a typical missionary, we want to let you know that God is doing a new thing!  Let's take a quick look at several myths about cross-cultural mission in today's world.

Myth #1:  Most missionaries are Caucasian.

Fact:  Since over 70% of the worldwide Body of Christ is now found in Africa, Asia and Latin America, you know this can't be true. God is raising up people of all nationalities and ethnic backgrounds to spread the good news of the transforming power of the gospel.  

Myth #2:  Most missionaries come from the U.S. or Europe

Fact:  The number of missionaries sent by the Body of Christ in Latin America, Asia, and Africa is growing by leaps and bounds and may now represent more than 50% of new missionaries.  As a leader in the "New Sending Movement," Brazil has over 5,000 missionaries serving around the world.

Myth #3: Missionaries generally are senior citizens.  

Fact: The average age of our students in JAMI's cross-cultural mission training program last year was around 32 years old.  Most students in this year's training course at JAMI are in their 20's.

Myth #4:  Most missionaries serve "out there" and live in mud huts in the jungle.  

Fact: While missionaries still serve in remote areas with few amenities, ours is a predominately urban, inter-connected world. These days, many missionaries have access to the Internet and cell phones even when they don't have running water.  The majority of missionaries serve in small towns large urban areas ministering to the poor, training up a new generation of church leaders, or providing much needed health or holistic development services.  

Myth #5:  Missionaries are the super heroes of the Christian faith, so they don't need anyone's help.  

Fact:  Your partnership in ministry is absolutely essential.  Each member of the Body plays an important role in carrying out God's mission in the world.  Your loving support and encouragement and your prayers sustain us, enabling us to teach, preach, and reach out to others with the love of Christ.  

Please join us in prayer for:

The young adults in training at JAMI this year from Brazil, Peru, Mozambique, Angola, and Guinea Bissau.

Three families (former students) who are now serving in Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Japan.

That churches in cities increasingly filled with alienated, angry youth would respond in creative ways to offer life and hope. Right now, Brazil is reeling from the news of a mass killing at an elementary school in Rio de Janeiro. How will we respond?

Our family as we prepare to leave our home here in Brazil for a one-year US-Puerto Rico/Special Assignment based in the Bremerton, WA area beginning on June 1st.

With you on the journey,

Ann and Bruce