A friend of mine sent me the following quote from an article called “Anachronism and Adventurism: Recent Mission Trends“:
Most of the volunteers I have observed in the Dominican Republic and elsewhere have arrived on the field with the desire to work with, not for, the nationals. However, many volunteers lack even minimal cross- cultural sensitivity or knowledge of their own denomination’s understanding of mission. Such people are apt to repeat the mistakes of the past. On one occasion a group of American evangelical volunteers traveled to Barahona to spend two weeks “working with the youth.” After they returned to the U.S. I asked the president of our youth group what he thought of the volunteers’ work. He replied: “They said that they had come to us with a mission, but they took no time to understand our mission. They should have come to share with us. It’s as though they felt we had nothing to give them. They spent a lot of time on the beach handing out tracts and lying in the sun. Evidently this made them feel good.”
This is a good admonishment and warning to anyone attempting to work with people from other cultures. However, I think this warning also applies to those who are seeking to minister to people within their own cultural context.
Do you think it applies? How?