Let it be clearly understood that I have nothing against missionaries. I was raised on the mission field and have served as a missionary, myself. Over the years I’ve met quite a few other missionaries, visited their works and read plenty of mission newsletters. I’ve also read a fair number of mission books, not only historical accounts and biographies, but books about mission theory and practice. So I reckon I know a little about missionaries and what they do. From what I’ve observed, read and experienced, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a high rate of missionary failure and that, to a large extent, the failure is self-inflicted and self-perpetuating.
One of the things which made Jesus’ teaching so effective was His use of the ordinary. He was able to use the common and usual to illustrate profound spiritual truths. The truths had always been there, but nobody had thought of them quite that way before. Or, to put it another way, Jesus gave new meaning to ordinary things. Who could ever look at a flower or a sparrow in quite the same way after hearing Jesus talk about them?
Sometimes we become so used to our environment that we lose sight of the lessons we can learn from the ordinary. It’s only when we are confronted with a different set of circumstances that we realize just how blessed we’ve been. The following tales are adapted from some journal entries I made while on a mission trip.