Letters to the Editor
I just read through your November-December issue. All I can say is Amen! I have had personal contact with “native evangelists”, and my experience has not been a good one. Our family served as missionaries to an unreached tribal group in the Philippines, so our observations were up close.
I am the Executive Director for FARMS International, Inc. We set up indigenously-run loan programs for Christians in 12 countries. We firmly believe that we can help the church carry out evangelism without the downside of dependency with our approach. The Christian Aid approach is harmful in many ways.…
Knife River, MN
Dear Dr. Winter,
Thank you so much for dealing with the debate regarding the “sending of missionaries” vs. the “support forthe nationals.” I know this has been a legitimate issue for missiologists for a long time.
Personally, I see the need for both. I have also read the pitfalls and criticisms of both extremes. I have also seen the differences of the benefits and shortcomings of both within more than one specific culture…. I appreciate what you wrote and handling it all in one issue for comparison and reflection….
-Darrel L. Anderson
Romanian Missionary Society
We just received the November-December issue of Mission Frontiers magazine, and I was not able to put it down until I had carefully and thoroughly read pages 5-17. My wife and I are retired from serving in SE Asia and several regions in South Asia for 33 years, and we fully support your position regarding missions. We retired in 1993, and we’ve observed the shoddy and dishonest tactics of some national leaders [primarily from South Asia] who are ‘collectors of funds’. Many of the stories they tell are far from the truth, and in most instances the money they collect seldom reaches the field. They become rather quiet and try to disappear in the crowd when I ask for specifics because in most instances I have been in the location[s] they so graphically describe.… You took a big risk in dealing with this thorny subject and you did it well. I will likely use some of your material to share with some churches in our area – some who have been ‘used’ by agencies who have a habit of misleading their donors.
In His tender grip,
-Sidney P. Schmidt, Ph.D.
Dear Dr. Winter,
I want to thank you for addressing the question “Do Some Agencies Mislead Donors?” in the November-December issue of Mission Frontiers. Your response to the opinions expressed by Christian Mission magazine was very insightful and well written.
Your support for the cross-cultural missionary validates the work of Wycliffe and others in the worldwide ministry of Bible translation, and I believe your comments will help us respond to questions about Bible translation strategies.…
President, Wycliffe USA
Great issue of MF! I lead a church-planting team in India and recently read K.P. Yohannan’s book Revolution in World Missions that is essentially the same in nature as Bob Finley’s book. In it Yohannan brow-beats American pastors, resorts to name-calling (referring to western missionaries as modern-day colonizers, which in itself is an unscientific term used to generalize and deride), and shares many half-truths with his readers. He challenges them to only support organizations doing it right, and (by the way) there is a tear-out card in the back of the book so you can get started. Is this not a conflict of interest? More needs to be written on this subject. Aren’t there any current books on the subject? A book entitled Revolution in World Missions Exposed: What Proponents of ‘Native Missionary’ Strategy Don’t Want You To Know would be timely.
Dear Ralph Winter and the Mission Frontiers Staff;
Superb job on the November/December issue! I, too, read the Christian Aid Summer 2005edition and was appalled! You handled it well in this most recent issue. Thanks for your bravery and code of ethics in handling the situation as wisely as you did....
-Steven A. Mowery
Penns Creek, PA
My wife had just finished a deputation talk which described a very tumultuous term of pioneer work in Central Thailand. As she finished, a church member approached her, slipped a crumpled $20 bill into my wife’s hand and whispered, “I am so glad that you went to Thailand ... that means that I don’t have to go myself.” This basic mentality pervades our modern society to the point that in politics, business, and yes, even in missions, all you have to do is throw more cash at a problem to solve it. Writing a check will always be easier than actually rolling up your sleeves and personally sacrificing to get the job done.
Over our 25 years connected to ministry in Thailand we have seen first hand the dangers of this philosophy. After numerous painful experiences, many mission agencies in Thailand are cutting down on direct financial support to national workers. This is not an easy transition, especially when the recipients come to expect their foreign renumeration as their due and are hurt when you suggest they develop their support from local sources. Their true colors are often exposed as the seemingly unending spigot of foreign support is slowly closed down. That is not to say that there are not strategic areas which foreign funds can be used effectively to spread the gospel, but the wisdom of Solomon is needed in order to distribute those funds in the most efficient way.
-Dr. Larry Dinkins