Bringing the Text to Life
Know anyone who is a missionary? Do you support any missionary outreach program? Those who don't many times harbor outdated, fictionalized stereotypes of both missionaries and their missions.
Popular writer James Michener portrayed the classic "bad-news model" for proclaiming the Good News with his Abner Hale character in his novel Hawaii. Hale despised the native Hawaiian's culture and traditions and sought to change them, not so much into Christians, as into 19th century New Englanders. Failing that, Hale became embittered and spiteful, finding everything about the people and history of that South Pacific paradise repugnant.
In real life, however, it seems the most heard comments made by people in foreign mission fields are about the unique beauty and fascinating lives and cultures of the people with whom they work and live. More than one sensitive missionary has confessed almost guiltily, "I learn so much more from them than they do from me." Of course, a few Abner Hales slip...