I was reading an article in “Today’s Christian Doctor” (which on the internet is only reached by a member password) and came across the following quotes.
Realizing that our North American missionaries will always be limited in their acceptance in certain cultures and countries, the most effective long-term efforts will be in the hands of those we train and who are salt and light in the world where they find themselves.
Nationals can go to areas Western missionaries simply can’t access. They already know the language and the culture, so they don’t have to spend their time in language school or learning to connect with the local people.
I am finding these statements to be true. Foreigners are only accepted to a point. In our town to be a “gringo” is a pretty big barrier to friendship. You can still make friends for sure, but there is a preconceived notion that most Quechua have of us that makes friendship difficult. And if you are an American it can be even a little more difficult because of the weird political relationships that the US has had in South America and because of the way South American governments exploit those difficulties to manipulate public opinion. (You would be impressed with some of the things that our kids have heard their teachers say in class about the USA.) And can I, a well off North American from Dallas, TX, really understand what it is like to live on the edge of extreme poverty with dirt floors, dirt walls, and to be one crop failure away from destitution. But people who grow up here can understand it. And they can understand what the gospel of Jesus can mean to these people in ways that I never will. I am glad we have the school as part of our mission. I believe it is the most important thing we are doing. Maybe someday there will be residencies in the hospital so that Peruvian physicians will come to understand what it means to be on mission as a physician, even in your own country.