Thursday, January 12, 2012

Will Miss #406 - missionary results

As someone who grew up in a small town with small minds and a white bread Christian mentality, I'm very familiar with the negative aspects of Christianity. It's also easy to point an accusing finger at a lot of societal turmoil, war and suffering and hang the blame on Christian fundamentalism. However, not all Christians are militant and many do a lot of good in the world. Back home, this seemed to be limited to local help for the hungry, homeless, or poor on a temporary basis. If you live abroad and pay attention, you can see that it's more than bake sales, free soup, and bible school. In Japan, I've seen the fruit of missionary efforts planted a long time ago. I'm not talking about conversion or conformity to Christian morality, but rather about things which are concrete and beneficial to everyone in society regardless of spiritual beliefs. There are many hospitals and educational institutions which exist in Japan as a result of missionary work. While Japan is now a wealthy country that seems fully capable of organizing such things themselves, the current institutions were put in place when the situation was very much the opposite. What is more, many of those institutions support continuing education of Japanese people on the church's dime in whole or in part. This includes, but is not limited to sending doctors to the United States to learn new techniques.

I will miss seeing the concrete evidence of the positive side of missionary activities and witnessing first hand that they are not all about converting the local heathens.