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  1. Having grown up on the mission field, raised on stories of glorious conversions and a times of tragic misfortune, I agree that Chau’s death was a hard topic to consider. My mother was part of the first team of Brazilian missionaries to to work in Guinea Bissau. She’s been through poverty, civil wars, hunger, to name a few. Yet, her reflection on the “suffering” is always positive and spells out an unshakable faith.
    My experience was different. if anything I came to think of the “adventurer” missionary life style as outdated and condescending approach. I understand that missions’s primary tenet is that Christ’s truth is The Truth. Beyond the merits of Christ’s Truth, I always wondered how important is it for someone to be able to pray if they have more pressing needs?
    In highschool, I participated to outreaches where we built churches and offered a message of peace to the people who welcomed us. But to this I feel uncomfortable with the fact that we approached them not for their humanity, but as a mission to win their souls.
    Your reflections are well phrased, and I do see parts of my life reflected in them.
    My conclusions before, and after Chau’s death have been the same: mission work should cease. I’m reminded of the proverbial mantra “preach the gospel always, use words when necessary”, but I think it’s perhaps time to stop thinking that belief will “spiritually civilize” the un-reached, and demonstrate concern while maintaining dignity. For instance, rather than building churches perhaps fund local schools where teachers are locals etc. The more I missionary work I witnessed, the more skeptical I became of its results.

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