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  • Writer's pictureW. Austin Gardner

What to accomplish in the first two years 7


Love is not enough; you must learn to respect them. It is not difficult to respect them if you look for their many good points. They usually have high standards of morality and social norms. They are courteous; they respect their elders, value family, are loyal to their community. Their endurance, hospitality, and friendliness put Americans to shame.

They have high aspirations for their future, just as you do. Another way to develop respect for them is by putting yourself in their place. Why do they do the things that they do? Could you do things better? Often not. Why do the nationals react the way they do? Can you imagine what the loss of a buffalo or goat could mean to a very poor farmer?

Build trust

Is what you are doing, thinking, or saying building trust, or is it undermining trust? Learn to accept others. It is not long before the nationals begin to realize that they are not welcome in the missionary’s home. Just remember they are not inferior or less valid-- just different. “It is not difficult for others to discern whether or not the missionaries accept them as persons. Their attitudes and actions soon give them away.”


Empathy is a crucial attitude that will allow the missionary to truly enter into the lives and feelings of the people as an equal and as a friend.

The only way to achieve this love and respect is to pray for it. It is not something that I can do but what He does in me. I need the Holy Spirit to love through me.

Be careful not to have the attitude of paternalism and superiority.

It is a manifestation of pride.

It lowers the person towards whom it is directed.

It prevents that person from developing.

You must remember that you are but unworthy servants and that all you have is of God.

That you are merely beggars showing other beggars where to find bread, then the paternalism issue will largely disappear.

The thing that the missionary must remember is that he is a representative of Christ, not an advocate of his home culture.

“It is very easy for Western missionaries to adopt an attitude that communicates the feeling that the way you do things here at home is the right and proper way to do so, whatever it may be.”

The other error is to refuse to see anything wrong with the host culture, and you treat them like spoiled children. You must speak the truth in love. You need to show them natural respect based on mutual understanding. No pampering, no patronizing, the nationals are our equal just treat them naturally.

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