SOME DANGERS FACED BY MISSIONARIES IN LATIN AMERICA

IT JUST COMES WITH THE TERRITORY

Evangelical missionaries working in Latin America, including the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Venezuela, encounter a complex web of risks depending on the specific location and context. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of potential dangers:

General Dangers:

  • Crime: Petty theft, mugging, assault, and even kidnapping are all possibilities, especially in areas with high poverty rates. Gang violence can be a significant threat in some urban centers.
  • Political Instability: Latin America has a history of political unrest, protests, and violence. Missionaries may get caught in the crossfire of demonstrations or targeted due to their perceived affiliation with foreign powers.
  • Health Concerns: Access to quality healthcare can be limited in many areas. Missionaries may face exposure to diseases like dengue fever, Zika, malaria, and foodborne illnesses due to inadequate sanitation or unfamiliar food sources.
  • Natural Disasters: Hurricanes, earthquakes and floods are common occurrences in many parts of Latin America. In some places, even volcanic eruptions. Missionaries need to be prepared for potential emergencies and natural disasters.
  • Cultural Clashes: Language barriers, misunderstandings due to differing social norms, beliefs and tensions arising from attempts to introduce the Gospel can create many challenges. Missionaries need to invest time in understanding the local culture and building relationships for their own protection and well-being. When you win them over, many times they are very loyal and thankful and will look out for you.

Variations in Risk by Location:

Big Cities:

  • Heightened Crime: In the bigger cities it is easier to find good schools, hospitals, more availability of medications, car parts and much better variety of food. Unfortunately, crime rates, including violent crime, tend to be significantly higher in major urban centers compared to rural areas. Missionaries should exercise extra caution in poorer neighborhoods and be aware of their surroundings.
  • Social Unrest: Large cities are often the focal point for political demonstrations and protests, which can escalate into violence. Missionaries should stay informed about potential disruptions and avoid large gatherings during volatile times.

Small Towns and Countrysides:

  • Limited Resources: Access to quality healthcare, reliable communication networks, and essential supplies may be scarce in remote areas. Missionaries need to be prepared for these limitations and have contingency plans in case of emergencies.
  • Isolation: Missionaries working in remote areas can feel isolated from support networks and experience loneliness. Building strong relationships with local people and maintaining communication with their home base is crucial for their well-being.
  • Infrastructure Issues: Poor roads, limited public transportation, and unreliable electricity can pose logistical challenges and hinder movement, especially in the aftermath of natural disasters.

Country-Specific Risks:

  • Venezuela: Venezuela’s ongoing political and economic crisis creates a particularly dangerous environment. Food shortages, hyperinflation, and social unrest can significantly impact safety. Missionaries considering Venezuela should carefully assess the situation and weigh the risks before deploying.
  • Haiti: Extreme poverty, gang violence, and a vulnerability to natural disasters make Haiti a challenging environment. Missionaries need to be especially vigilant and have robust support structures in place.
  • Dominican Republic: The Dominican Republic is generally considered safer than Haiti or Venezuela. However, petty theft and many other crimes still occur. So it’s best not to be naive. I have had robbers attempt many times to break into our house, they poisoned one of my dogs that protected us while we slept, the church plant in Santiago has been broken into several times, another missionary friend of mine suffered a home invasion, and they were tied up at gun point and locked in a bathroom with his pregnant wife while they stole everything. I can go on and on, but won’t. But to protect their strong tourism industry, it is likely that you won’t see much of that on the news back home.

(Unfortunately, being an American in any of these locations will automatically make you a target in one way or another by some. Missionaries should be aware of their surroundings and take precautions, especially in the barrios and even tourist areas. But if you left home to serve on the mission field, congratulations, it comes with the territory. )

Risk Mitigation Strategies:

  • Missionary Training: Missionary should receive training on cultural sensitivity, safety protocols, and emergency preparedness specific to the Latin American context.
  • Security Awareness: Missionaries need to be aware of the current security situation in their area and take steps to minimize risks. This may involve avoiding certain areas, traveling with a companion, and varying routines to avoid predictability.
  • Local Support Networks: Building relationships with local people who can provide guidance and support is essential. Understanding the local culture and customs can help missionaries navigate potentially risky situations.
  • Communication Plan: Having a clear communication plan with their home base or support organization allows missionaries to raise concerns and receive assistance in case of emergencies.

By carefully researching their destination, taking preventative measures, and building strong relationships with the local community, missionaries can mitigate many of the dangers they may face in Latin America.

Yet, these are all the more reasons why in many ways it is beneficial to work through the nationals with the proper training and accountability. They know this type of life better than we do, they are usually very used to these risks and already know how to best maneuver through most of these situations.

PASTOR, YOUR WAY OF PREACHING AMOUNTS TO NOTHING

 

PASTOR, YOUR WAY OF PREACHING AMOUNTS TO NOTHING

 

For it is said, “His letters are weighty and powerful, but his physical presence is weak and his public speaking amounts to nothing.” – 2 Corintians 10:10

 

Paul was a man of tremendous intelligence. The mysteries of God had been revealed to him, things that were hidden in times past. His letters and sermons were deep and of great theological weight.

 

However, it was said of him that, “his physical presence is weak and his public speaking amounts to nothing”. Even with the knowledge he had, many did not like his way of speaking or preaching. He said true things, yes, pure words of God, nothing that was not biblical. But he was not as eloquent as other preachers, or even the philosophers of his day. We must remember that when we judge our pastors, or any preacher of the Word.

 

God has given pastors and teachers to His church as gifts to build up believers. At the same time, just like the different authors of the gospels, each one has his own distinct way of communicating the same truths. Some sound better than others, some have more passion than others, some are more eloquent and academic than others, each one is an individual person. And none of them will perfectly please your standard, opinion, tradition, or preference.

 

The question is whether they are faithful in preaching the Bible. Do they love the Word and the Lord and the church? Perhaps they do not preach in the way that you prefer. Perhaps they fail in one point or miss a detail of a text. But the question is whether God is building His people through that man? Does he have his weaknesses? Does he have his struggles and sins? Of course! They will have some theological differences with what you understand from Scripture in certain aspects too, yes! Almost always, at least in something for sure. But it is okay and normal as long as they are not fundamental things of faith where they fail.

 

We must strive to have unity in what is primary, liberty in what is secondary, but love in all things. There is true beauty in that diversity. I fear it is pride that causes us to despise those who don’t do things exactly the way we think they should be done. In many cases, it is something more traditional than Scriptural that we have a problem with.

 

We have several examples in the Scriptures of men who preach or tell stories correctly, but in different ways. Apollos was praised for his eloquence… while others despised Paul. Some include details that others do not, and vice versa. But are they preaching the Word in such a way that it is clear what they are saying in the text, and the brothers in the congregation are being benefited and built up by the teaching? Are they joyful and do they express to you how God has spoken to them and taught them something that they now understand they must change in their lives, giving thanks to God for those same sermons that others despise and judge?

 

They look at the men that God has greatly used in the past and present and compare their sermons. Spurgeon, Edwards, Whitfield, Pink, Tozer, Piper, MacArthur, etc. They all preach the Word, and with excellence! Some with different methods, some with more passion. Not only in the communication of the message, but also in the way it is organized. It is a beautiful thing how God, through different men and in different ways, always does His will through His Spirit to speak to and edify His people. At times, Spurgeon’s sermons sounded more like poetry than anything else.

 

When we cling to one method, and in our futile way try to limit the Holy Spirit of God by saying that only in such a way should a sermon be, and if not, the people will not be edified, we are showing nothing more than a deep pride in our hearts and a certain level of immaturity. The most important thing in any preacher’s message is that Christ is lifted up, that God is glorified,… but there is also much wisdom in the following verse.

 

Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying: “Nothing beyond what is written.” The purpose is that none of you will be arrogant, favoring one person over another.   – 1 Corinthians 4:6

 

It is true that there are better and more accurate methods than others. There are ways to preach more academically and effective than others in that sense. For the record, I personally am a fan of sound exegesis similar to the method of Simeon Trust. I like to examine the Greek and seek to have the confidence that I am saying what the text is actually saying and not something else. But when we set ourselves up as the ultimate judge of these things, especially when we are not a pastor, do not know the inner struggles of each man, the unique way each of us are wired, or when we are not appreciating the time and effort that man gives to be able to preach that message to the best of his ability at that moment, we are doing what the Word says we should not do. Complaining….

 

´ “Do everything without complaining or arguing,” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:14‬ (For the theologians out there- if I understand the immediate context of this text, however, this can easily be applied to every aspect of Christian life.)

 

How easy it is to criticize instead of loving them and receiving the good from the message that was preached. How easy it is to desire another church, another pastor, or a better specific method of preaching, Instead of loving the church we have, loving the pastor we have, and looking for the good in what was preached instead of criticizing with crossed arms like the expert we probably are not. 

 

Please do not misunderstand what I am saying. Sound teaching is important. Solid biblical exposition is important for the health and growth of the church, and I certainly promote both things. But even within the camps of sound doctrine and good biblical expositors, unfortunately it has become a trend to despise local pastors and glorify the celebrities. But while the well known pastors may preach well, they are still sinful men at best. Furthermore, they don’t even know you exist, meanwhile your local pastor regularly prays for you and has probably shed tears before the Lord on your behalf. Let that sink in for a minute.

 

We should be more careful how we treat our brothers, Philippians 2 teaches us that the humility of Christ is what brings unity in His church. And the lack of humility in any member of the church, for any reason, will only bring division and the opposite of what Christ truly desires of us. The same ugly attitude that causes us to complain, the desire for a better pastor, a better church, a better spouse, a better child or a better job are all from the same ugly root of ungratefulness. In other words, without being aware of what we are actually saying, we are thinking that God has somehow not been good to us, and we foolishly think that we deserve more or something better. It reeks of that which caused the fall in the beginning. We should guard our hearts of such things. Let him who has ears, let him hear. Pray.

 

The elders who are good leaders are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching. – 1 Timothy 5:17

 

“Above all, let your love for one another be fervent, for love covers a multitude of sins.” – ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:8‬

 

“Fools do not care to have understanding; they only want to express their own opinions.” – ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18:2‬ ‭

 

“Whoever keeps his words has knowledge, And the one who is calm in spirit is a man of understanding.” –  ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭17:27‬

 

Written by Antonio Salgado

 

Please pray for our BCMS workers serving faithfully in hard places. May the Gospel continue to go forth, to God be the glory.

 

If the Lord so lies on your heart to give back to Him by supporting this ministry, you can easily donate online through PayPal. Click the donate button below to send support of any amount directly to the ministry. This is the fastest option to get funds to the mission field.

 

 

Also,

CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE
P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411
Fax: 281-599-7511
You may begin sending your support to BCMS/Antonio Salgado at any time at the address above. (Checks should be made payable to Central Missionary Clearinghouse or C.M.C.)
You can also now give to the ministry online through the new giving solution called “click and give” at the CMC website. To get started, you just need to click on the link below and register the first time. Just a simple click on the donate button on their page (see link below), and then click the “click and give icon/button”.

 

https://www.cmcmissions.org/donate

 

For tax exemption, you must send your donation through Central Missionary Clearinghouse (CMC) at the address above. PayPal option is the fastest way to get funds directly to the field in case of emergencies. We do not use a sending agency that gets a percentage of the money donated, so you can be sure that your gift goes directly to the mission field. Whatever you decide, thank you so much for praying for us. Grace and peace.

JESUS A FRIEND OF SINNERS

  • Jesus: A Friend of Sinners / Mark 2:13-17
  • “And again he went out by the sea, and all the crowd came to him, and He was teaching them.”
  • For Christ, teaching was important because the Word of God is important
  • The THINGS that were important to Christ, should be important to us (teaching, preaching the Gospel to the lost)

(v. 14-16) And as he passed by, he saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus, sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him. And it came to pass that as Jesus was reclining at table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many of them who followed him. And when the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?

 

  • The PEOPLE who were important to Christ should be important to us

 

(v. 17) And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

  • As followers of Christ, we must follow Christ’s example

 

Additional Notes:

  • The passage highlights Jesus’ willingness to associate with and accept those considered outcasts by society, such as tax collectors and sinners. Although this presents its challenges for some, it is a clear pattern in the ministry of Christ, therefore we ought to imitate the Master in His approach.

 

  • Jesus’ actions challenged the religious authorities of the time, who believed that he should not associate with such people. Sometimes, cold and legalistic evangelicals can be our worst critics. When the critics come, we must be set on being servants of Christ, not servants of men. Christ was often criticized and slandered. Did you think it would be different for us?

 

  • Jesus’ message is one of compassion and understanding for those who are trapped in their sin, and a call to repentance and transformation through faith in Him.

 

  • We are called to follow Jesus’ example by extending compassion in tangible expressions of God’s love to those in need, and hope through the Gospel to those on the margins of society, without condoning their sin and destructive behaviors.

 

Conclusion:

Jesus, in his ministry, demonstrated radical love and invited sinners, extending friendship despite their transgressions. This message challenges us to follow His example, extending compassion and understanding to those on the margins of society, without condoning their destructive behaviors. The grace and compassion that Jesus offered to the most hated and outcasted of society was scandalous then, and is scandalous now.

People who were raised in church and in Christian homes all of their lives with little knowledge of the “world” or the “streets” will naturally fear these contexts to some extent. And perhaps for some good reasons, there is a war going on out there and this is not a game!

Yet, If you aren’t bold enough to take risks for the Lord, you will probably never do anything great for His sake. Self-preservation is a hindrance to the Gospel. Get out of the four walls of your building and out of your comfort zone. Don’t be foolish by any means, but don’t be cowardly either. Pray.

 

For if I preach the gospel, I have no reason to boast, because I am compelled to preach—and woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!
– 1 Corinthians 9:16

 

Written by Antonio Salgado

 

 

Please pray for our BCMS workers serving faithfully in hard places. May the Gospel continue to go forth, to God be the glory.

 

If the Lord so lies on your heart to give back to Him by supporting this ministry, you can easily donate online through PayPal. Click the donate button below to send support of any amount directly to the ministry. This is the fastest option to get funds to the mission field.

 

 

 

 

Also,

CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE
P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411
Fax: 281-599-7511
You may begin sending your support to BCMS/Antonio Salgado at any time at the address above. (Checks should be made payable to Central Missionary Clearinghouse or C.M.C.)
You can also now give to the ministry online through the new giving solution called “click and give” at the CMC website. To get started, you just need to click on the link below and register the first time. Just a simple click on the donate button on their page (see link below), and then click the “click and give icon/button”.

 

https://www.cmcmissions.org/donate

 

For tax exemption, you must send your donation through Central Missionary Clearinghouse (CMC) at the address above. PayPal option is the fastest way to get funds directly to the field in case of emergencies. We do not use a sending agency that gets a percentage of the money donated, so you can be sure that your gift goes directly to the mission field. Whatever you decide, thank you so much for praying for us. Grace and peace.

THE FREEDOM OF FORGIVENESS

 

“bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive.” – Colossians 3:13

 

The Gospel isn’t just for unbelievers; it’s a constant reminder and source of freedom for us believers too. We tend to forget, so preaching the Gospel to ourselves is vital. We need to marvel at the cross, at the depths of God’s forgiveness for us, just as Charles Spurgeon said: 

 

“I have to lie humbly at the foot of Christ’s cross & marvel that I am saved at all.”

 

This pardon humbles us, but it also liberates us. The Gospel reminds us of God’s immense grace through Christ’s sacrifice and the depth of our own sin, far greater than any offense another can commit. Our sin is against a Holy, infinitely Worthy Creator. So, as we contemplate the Gospel, we are disarmed and find ourselves without an argument. It frees us from self-importance and opens our eyes to the slow but sure self poisoning of unforgiveness, often rooted in our pride. We are then humbled by the cross’s grace, which empowers us to forgive others. Struggle is natural, especially with deep hurts or loved ones involved. We might stumble, but the Holy Spirit fosters a desire for forgiveness, which should eventually lead us to true reconciliation.

 

As Christians, forgiveness is a hallmark. When we struggle, meditating on God’s grace towards us and our own sin’s depth helps us forgive. Christ’s sacrifice paid for all our sin, leaving no condemnation for those in Him, including those we struggle to forgive. We‘ve been shown such incredible grace and love.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace!”- Ephesians 2:4-5

 

So pray, forgive, and release the bitterness. Heal and grow from the experience. “Be imitators of God,” showing grace and forgiveness to others, just as God has done so to us in Christ. Because at the end of the day, we too should lie humbly at the foot of Christ’s cross & marvel that any of us are saved at all.

 

We need to hear the Gospel every day, because we forget it every day. – Martin Luther

 

Written by Antonio Salgado

 

Please pray for our BCMS workers serving faithfully in hard places. May the Gospel continue to go forth, to God be the glory.

“I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” – Philippians 1:3-5

If the Lord so lies on your heart to give back to Him by supporting this ministry, you can easily donate online through PayPal. Click the donate button below to send support of any amount directly to the ministry. This is the fastest option to get funds to the mission field.

 

 

Also,

CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE
P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411
Fax: 281-599-7511

You may begin sending your support to BCMS/Antonio Salgado at any time at the address above. (Checks should be made payable to Central Missionary Clearinghouse or C.M.C.)

You can also now give to the ministry online through the new giving solution called “click and give” at the CMC website. To get started, you just need to click on the link below and register the first time. Just a simple click on the donate button on their page (see link below), and then click the “click and give icon/button”.

https://www.cmcmissions.org/donate

For tax exemption, you must send your donation through Central Missionary Clearinghouse (CMC) at the address above. PayPal option is the fastest way to get funds directly to the field in case of emergencies. We do not use a sending agency that gets a percentage of the money donated, so you can be sure that your gift goes directly to the mission field. Whatever you decide, thank you so much for praying for us. Grace and peace.

THE FATHER OF MERCIES AND COMFORTER IN OUR AFFLICTIONS

Let’s face it, everyone has problems they are dealing with. And it can be hard, very hard. Whether it be some bad news about your health, a life changing or terminal diagnosis, or of someone very close to you. It could be behavioral issues of a small child or a rebellious teen, marital strife, loss of employment or some other financial crisis that can seriously compound and worsen any of these issues. To be sure, it can happen in the seemingly safest of environments. How much more will it happen on the mission field, in a different context than your own, far from all that was once dear and familiar. Where stress and dangers are multiplied and difficulty becomes a way of life. It just comes with the territory. These difficulties at times can be rooted in our own sin, neglect or irresponsibility. Or we could find ourselves caught in the crossfire of someone else’s sin. Or it may just be the effects of a fallen world on those closest to us. It can still affect us deeply.

It can be enough to send someone spiraling into depression or some other unhealthy state of mind or spiritual low that feels like an inescapable, dark valley of despair. During those moments, God can seem distant and our prayers and groans of anguish towards heaven can even feel to us as if they go unheard. Thank God that is not the case! But if we are honest, it can feel that way sometimes. As believers, we can be truly trusting the Lord through the storm, but it doesn’t always make it easier, humanly speaking. We may even find ourselves at our wits end, crying out in fear like the disciples did on the boat “Lord save us! We are going to die!”

Even though a season of peace and tranquility may be coming afterward (maybe), at the moment, it can feel crushing and almost too much to bear. Some suffer for a season, some deal with it for a lifetime.

“Even when I go through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4

Many “storms” in life wreak havoc and leave a path of destruction in their wake, just like real storms. And just like in a real storm, it usually takes time to “rebuild” after the damage has been done. Some storms can be life changing and for some, even life ending. Many find themselves in shock and rattled to the core, left only to mourn over their situation and pick up the pieces as they move forward limping from the traumatic and hurtful experience. This happens every day to some people, for different periods of time, somewhere. We should not be surprised. We should actually learn to expect it eventually if we understand what Scripture says about the fallen nature of the world in which we live and the effects of sin as long as we live here.

God does in fact give us more than we can handle. Please don’t be one of those people who say that He doesn’t, or that He only does so because He knows we can handle it (as if were actually so strong in and of ourselves). If we could do it on our own and in our own strength, we wouldn’t need Him. Gideon comes to mind. (And may I briefly say, the popular but often misquoted verse in 1 Corinthians does not mean what you may think it means.)

The Lord brings suffering to our lives more often than we like. But He has His reasons, and we must trust Him through it. We must. Sure, we can know God’s plan and will in general, but oftentimes His plans for us as individuals in the details of our daily lives are not so easy to see or understand. God’s plans for us are often quite different from ours.

But if we find ourselves really struggling while suffering, we should ask ourselves this.  When things get hard, where else can we really go? Where does our help really come from? Sure the Lord will use people as a means to comfort us and help us, but ultimately only He can give us peace. True peace. Where will we find our strength to endure other than in our Lord’s unchanging nature, faithful promises in Christ and loving care?

He is our Strong Tower, our Rock, our Shield and Fortress to which we run to for comfort, shelter and peace. Only in Christ are we truly safe, and apart from Christ we can do nothing.

The Lord is my shepherd;
I have what I need.- Psalm 23:1

I’m reminded of a well known modern hymn that beautifully says:

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

Beautiful moving words right? But the question is, do we believe it?

Do we really believe Him?

Do we really trust Him?

Do we really believe that He is good?

Do we really believe that He is working out all things for good for those who love Him, even when we can’t see it?

It is important to remember that regardless of what we believe, He will be glorified. Even through the seemingly most terrible of circumstances. But we can also rest as we remember that He is a kind, compassionate, unchanging and faithful Father and draw near to Him. We must learn to abide in Christ. His Sovereign hand and love for his people will be the pillow we rest our weary heads on.

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. Therefore my heart celebrates, and I give thanks to him with my song. – Psalm 28:7

The unchanging nature of God is an anchor that keeps us clinging to the Rock that shall never fail us or cast us out during those difficult moments, or ever for that matter if you are in Christ. As I write this, many people who are dear to me come to mind. Close family members and family in the faith who are presently dealing with some of the very things I mentioned at the beginning, or even worse at this very moment. Pray for me and for other missionaries that know of these storms all too well. But also pray for those in your church who are suffering. A neighbor, a friend, or maybe even someone in your own household.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.- 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

To them, I can only say trust Him, praise Him, get alone with Him and His Word and pray. He is the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our affliction. The Lord is our Shepherd, we have what we need. If we persevere, we will be more like Jesus when it’s over. And believe it or not, we will even be thankful for those difficult but transforming storms in our lives. Pray.

I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.- Charles Spurgeon

Written by Antonio Salgado

THE BIBLICAL MODEL PART 6: SENDING AND RECEIVING IN MISSIONS

Where Are Their Missionaries? (The Latin American church and the lack of outward missionary efforts)

The Command is to Send Missionaries, Not Just Receive Them

Is your church a missionary church? Are you committed to praying for, giving to, or possibly preparing a brother or sister from your church to go on a mission trip? Do you have a desire to work in missions?

In many Latin American countries, we have seen great missionary efforts from groups and individuals from various foreign organizations. Many churches have received groups of “missionaries” or have met missionaries personally who work in their town or even in their local church. Many of the people I have met here in the Dominican Republic have been the fruit of these missionary efforts. Of course, what has been done in Latin America has happened despite the problems of the region. In addition, we cannot deny that God has used them despite these many difficulties. But by God’s grace, at the end of the day, the church arrived, and for this reason today we have worshippers of Jesus Christ in Latin America. Does it have its problems? Yes. Is there work to be done? Very much! But we give thanks and glory to God first for that.

However, there is something worrying that happened with the “passing of the torch of the gospel.” The vision fell short in many places, or perhaps the mission was not communicated well in its fullness. When a people recognizes their responsibility to reach their population with the gospel, they are headed in the right direction. But it must be understood that within the mandate remains the element of going beyond, and we cannot ignore it. So we must define the terms.

What happened after the transfer of that sacred truth that is the gospel, when it passed from one distant land to another? Why does it seem that many countries receive missionaries, but generally very few in Latin America have sent missionaries to other places? Many believe that evangelizing their own people is enough and bringing the gospel to other places in their own country is enough to participate in the Great Commission. For many, this is missions.

I have persoanlly witnessed entire “mission” campaigns on a national level of a certain baptist denomination that focused its entire month of missions on trying to get people to go out and share the gospel in their neighborhoods. Where most of their neighbors were exactly like them. I applaud the effort, but it was am emphasis on evangelism, not missions. I was asked to speak at a church who was participating. I was the only missionary there. I was gentle and loving. But I was clear that what was going on that day was much more evangelism than actual missions and that we just shouldn’t stop there. I remember receiving many blank stares after saying that. Their concept of missions was actually evangelism. We must define the terms.

Let’s see what the gospel of Matthew 28:18-20 says:

“Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.  Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Some brief observations:

* Jesus declares his supreme authority before His disciples.
* Based on that authority, Jesus gives orders to his disciples that include:
* Going to other places
* Making disciples of all nations (πάντα τὰ ἔθνη)
(groups with ethnolinguistic and cultural differences, within any nation, and outside in other nations as well).
* Baptizing believers.
* Teaching them to obey Jesus.
* Jesus promises to be with us always.

Generally, any biblical church understands the importance of evangelizing, understands the concept of making disciples by teaching new believers how to follow Christ. And many understand the ordinance of baptism and the importance of growing in knowledge and obedience to the teachings of our Lord.

But for one reason or another, we have failed greatly in a vitally important element of the Great Commission. The mandate includes going beyond, to people different from us. I am referring to an intentionally transcultural ministry, crossing ethnolinguistic and even geographical barriers, intentionally bringing the gospel to people different from us and starting the same process with them as was done when the gospel came to our context. There are some churches that, yes, have managed to send some, but if we are honest in view of the big picture, there are very few.

Where do we begin?

First, the most practical and natural thing is to reach out to people in our families, neighbors, coworkers, etc. But that’s really just evangelism. We need to have a plan to reach out to foreigners and make disciples of them as well. Maybe your church doesn’t have the resources to go, or support sending someone to a faraway land. But have you ever thought about the foreigners who live in your community, in your city? Groups that are usually looked down upon. They need the gospel too. And that would be a perfect example of participating in missions locally.

What would you think if I told you, with great sadness, that I have heard a pastor with my own ears say that he is not interested in reaching out to “those people”? This man then said that, “They can come to my church if they want, but I will not make an effort to reach out to them beyond that.”

“Those people!” At that moment, my heart was broken. This pastor was contradicting part of the mandate of Jesus. The most ironic thing is that if it were not for missionaries from other countries who brought the gospel to his country, he would not have the hope he has now either. Thank God that the brothers who reached this man’s country did not think the same way.

Why it is important to define the terms?

If we do not understand that the Great Commission carries with it the intention of propelling outward and reaching people different from us where we live, and even further to other ethnicities outside our borders as well, we do not understand the concept of missions.

In short, evangelizing is bringing the gospel to our own people and of course evangelism is very important. But, according to the biblical pattern, missions could be better defined as the “intentional way of crossing cultural barriers to evangelize and disciple.”

We are wrong when we only evangelize people of our own culture and think that we are fulfilling the mission, when in reality, it is only a part of the mission. The text does not present us with the luxury of only working here or there, one group or another. It is both things. The Lord with all authority in heaven and on earth said to “all nations, to all the world.” And I repeat, that was a command, not a suggestion. The King of kings has given His orders; period. I agree with John Piper when speaking about missions he says: “We only have three options, to go, to send, or to disobey.” It is key that we can understand this, that missions should not be optional for the church.

Below, I present some evidences that may show that many churches have lost focus, and then you will be able to see some practical suggestions to start taking the Great Commission more seriously in our local churches, even with the few resources that many churches have.

Evidences that we have lost focus of the mission

Churches with growth invest their resources (and sometimes even go into debt) with secondary matters; such as better equipment, larger temples, a multitude of fun activities, etc. But in order not to be misinterpreted, I must clarify that these are good things and none of them are a sin in themselves. I would never say something like that. But, if I ask you to honestly examine our priorities. The budgets of each church reveal a lot about the true priorities of any ministry. If we take the words of the Lord seriously, the Great Commission should be one of those priorities.

Evidences that we have lost focus of the mission:

  • Receiving and thanking missionaries from other countries who come and help, but without having any urgency to understand the need to imitate that kind of sacrifice and dedication for others. What we have received was never only for us.
  • No long-term plan to prepare and send missionaries from local churches.
  • -No funds allocated in the church budget to support some people who are already working in the mission field.
  • No place on your prayer list for missionaries in other countries, or for the Lord to raise up missionaries from your congregation to give their lives in the mission field in another country.

It is time for us to learn to obey the Lord and step outside our comfort zones, my brothers. This is God’s plan, and we should not give ourselves the luxury of ignoring the most difficult parts of following Christ. Let us remember that in the book of Acts, the disciples had to suffer persecution in order to spread the gospel to other cities and nations. We should not expect anything different for us.

Some suggestions for adjusting our focus and beginning to participate in the Great Commission:

  • Firstly, we must pray. Let us pray for missionaries in other countries. Brothers and sisters who give or put their lives in contexts much more difficult than ours.
  • Let us pray that the Lord will put a passion in the hearts of the members of his church to present the gospel in other nations.
  • Let us pray for provision so that we can support missionaries and eventually send others. Faithfulness is more important than quantity, and the people who give offerings and pray for missions play a role of equal importance to that of the missionary in the field.
  • Let us pray and choose a country for which to pray frequently, for the missions and the church of that country. Praying for missions in other nations is participating in those missions. We depend on the Lord, and we cannot do it in our own strength.
  • Let us pray that the Lord will raise up one of his own church to the mission field, possibly it could be you. Would you be willing?**
  • Be intentional in preparing leaders. This should always be a priority in any church. If you have faithful men working in the ministry, who know the Word of Truth, they will be the best candidates. If they are to be effective as missionaries, they must be good theologians.
  • Above all, do the work of an evangelist. Preach to everyone. But you must be intentional in seeking opportunities to build relationships with people from other cultures as well (even if it is with translators), take the time to learn things about them and their culture, with the goal of preaching the gospel to them. This is also participating in missions.

If you open your eyes you will realize that God brings a mission field to your own doorstep. Opportunities abound, Christ has all authority and thank God He promised to be with us. What else do we need? What stops us?

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations… – Jesus

(This article was originally written in Spanish. The context is of the Latin American church and the lack of outward missionary efforts. Written and translated by Antonio Salgado.)

If the Lord so lies on your heart to give back to Him by supporting this ministry:

You can donate to this ministry online with PayPal. Click the donate button below to send support of any amount directly to the ministry. This is the fastest option to get funds to us. Click the link below for that option.

Also,

CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE
P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411
Fax: 281-599-7511

The ministry of (CMC) serves hundreds of missionaries, but they ONLY receive the funds for us and in no way have control over how the funds are to be spent or what we are to do as a ministry, which gives room to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading and the liberty in making needed adjustments.

You may begin sending your support to the BCMS (Antonio Salgado) at any time at the address above. (Checks should be made payable to Central Missionary Clearinghouse or C.M.C.)

You can also now give to the ministry here in the DR online through the new giving solution called “click and give” at the CMC website.

To get started, you just need to click on the link below and register the first time. Just a simple click on the donate button on their page (see link below), and then click the “click and give icon/button”.

https://www.cmcmissions.org/donate

For tax exemption, you must send your donation through Central Missionary Clearinghouse (CMC) at the address above. But the PayPal option is the fastest way to get funds directly to the field.

We do not use a sending agency that gets a percentage of the money donated, so you can be sure that your gift goes directly to the mission field.

Whatever you decide, thank you so much for praying for us. Grace and peace.

THE BIBLICAL MODEL PART 4: THE BALANCE OF FAITH AND FUNDRAISING IN MISSIONS

 A Glance At Both Sides Of The Same Coin

For every person who has ever prayed for me, or donated any amount over the years. Thank you, I appreciate your love for the Lord and the desire to be involved His mission.

Anyone who has followed the work here for any length of time has probably read in a newsletter, or a post on social media somewhere that,

“Those who pray for and give to missions play a role just as important as the missionary on the field.” 

I say it often, especially when doing some speaking back home or talking missions with anyone. I say it a lot because I really believe that. The church or person who gives any amout faithfully over time, or the grandmother who wakes up early every morning to pray for the missionaries that she has pictures of or names of on her fridge. Both play a crucial role in this long term partnership in the Gospel we call mission work.

When it comes to funding a missionary, some would say very simply that if it’s God’s will He will provide, and they take the position of not seeking to share needs or raise money. They firmly believe that in this way they are truly trusting the Lord. That’s fine, if it is their conviction, and I believe that if it’s God’s will then He will provide too. But to leave it so simplistic would really be to miss something important on the other side of the same coin. Something clearly revealed in the Scriptures that should not be avoided.

We understand and believe that God has ordained all things, absolutely. But He has also ordained the means by which to reach those ends. One confession puts it well when speaking on the decree of God. It says that:

“God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein; nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established; in which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree.”

And it wouldn’t take long reading through the epistles before you would start to notice a couple of things:

First, Paul absolutely depended on God and prayed expecting God to answer, and God often did.

At the same time we see other examples of Paul making his needs known to the churches. He also expected the brethren to help him with his needs and the needs of others.

Both are true and they go together.

Yes, at times he worked with his hands out of a conviction and even necessity. In Philippians he writes that at one time

“in the early days of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving except you alone.” (Philippians 4:15)

This is incredibly astounding! Consider the great Apostle Paul, the Apostle to the gentiles, the great missionary. Now consider churches that he himself and perhaps others had planted, unwilling to give or help Paul so that the Gospel may go forth in other places? If we lost all of our support, and only one (fairly young) church supported us, we would have to do the same. I too have had to do quite a bit of tent making  as of late, at least until we acquire some new mission partners to help ease the burden of new needs and to prepare for future plans we have. But that hasn´t always been the case.

One realistic downside of bivocational missionaries to consider, is that it is easy to become overloaded and overwhelmed, and hence comes the possibility of becoming less effective and their longevity on the field may then soon be in play. Unless somehow, they had established in the past a business, or a high paying career before they moved to a foreign mission field, and they were able to somehow keep it going and make money for their family and ministry without sacrificing all of their time. But those are exceptions, and often bivocational missionaries usually end up spending less time working for the Lord (of course everything we do is unto the Lord, but I mean specifically mission work and ministry here) and more time working just to survive and make ends meet.

And as the Lord opens more doors, it also comes with more expenses and needs. In the past, I taught English at another school free of charge for almost two years. We still even recently have helped that school. But there are seasons of life and ministry when you just do what you gotta do. So I  was teaching at another school, but now I am working at the orphanage to make ends meet. I am willing to do it and even enjoy it in many ways. Sure it is a blessing and the opportunities to share the Gospel are many. But, family in that mix of a very demanding work load, both in ministry and another full time job, and you will eventually have a recipe for burnout. Especially on the field where the needs are often much greater when working with the poor, and people aren´t so individualistic and private, but need and desire much more attention and time spent together with them. Often needing more time and resources than you have available, and need more than most Americans do.

It is this way with ministry in many other cultures, it’s just different. And if we are honest, most people culturally as Americans just like thier privacy and in general are better off financially. And that’s ok. I say this to mean that just because something is common and or easily done in the States, it doesn’t mean it will be so in a different setting. And though bivocational ministry is always difficult, it proves to be even moreso where the people are poor, often sick and less educated. In those situations, things usually take much more time, energy and money.

But why do some missionaries seem to always need money?

Well, first we would certainly agree that the most loving thing we can do for a person is to share the Gospel with them and point them to Christ. To this we say yes and amen. Yet at the same time, it would very unloving to preach the Gospel and ignore someones obvious urgent, basic needs, especially if we were in any position to help them. Of course we cannot help everyone, and the “poor will always be with us.” But this is no excuse for not being as generous as possible and we must remember that we were saved not just from something, but also for somethings,

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

Time and time again we see in Scripture the duty of the believer to compassionate, merciful and generous as we saw exemplified in the life of our Lord and the Apostles and the early church. When the other Apsotles extended the right hand of fellowship to Paul and Barnabas as they were getting ready to go off to proclaim the Gospel and make disciples of the gentiles, they reminded Paul of something that was important to them beacuse it was important to God..

“Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.”  Galatians 2:10

In the book “Controversies in Missions,” a compilation of essays written on various controversial topics in missions, a chapter on Carl F. H. Henry’s regenerational model puts it this way:

“The particular eloquence of Henry’s position is this: one need not deny the important biblical commands regarding social justice in order to arrive at prioritism (the Gospel proclamation is the priority), and the way one does this is by understanding the full weight of the doctrine of revelation within Christian theology. When this is done, it becomes clear that there is a direct correlation between the doctrine of revelation and the priority of proclamation. However, such a prioritist position by no means renders what the Bible says about social justice as irrelevant or unimportant. In fact, the opposite is true. A high view of the doctrine of revelation, especially concerning Scripture, also gives rise to a robust social concern because the moral imperatives for God’s people are divinely revealed.”

This is in no way a “social gospel” as some understand it. But rather biblical ministry centered on God’s revelation and the ethical demmands put on those who are transformed by the very same Gospel proclamation. The latter (compassionate generosity) actually gives evidence to and establishes that the first and main thing, (Gospel proclamation and salvation) actually took place to begin with. One is a priority, yet both are necessary and biblical. The author offers a very helpful illustration from every day life to help us understand how both are necessary, while rightly keeping the main thing, namely Gospel proclamation, the main thing.

“I might say that I am going to go to the bank to make a deposit and then to the post office to mail some bills. I furthermore declare that the bank is my top priority because if I do not deposit my paycheck, then the bills cannot be paid. Clearly, one has here a case of priority in which both things remain necessary. I still must deposit my check and I still must pay my bills. Yet one of these takes priority because the second thing depends on the first thing having taken place. It is the same with evangelism and social concern. The gospel must first be preached before converts can be discipled and, indeed, the content of Christian discipleship remains mired in obscurity apart from the proclamational foundations of the apostles and prophets, which is divine revelation. Thus, the logical priority of evangelism does not render compassion as optional. It simply affirms the ultimate place of Scripture and the unequivocal role given to proclamation in the life of the church.”

Consider this text in James:

“If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, stay warm, and be well fed,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself.” James 2:15-17

But now back to my first point on the funding necessary in order to do both of these things:

So we have the Apostle Paul, who was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write and explain the mysteries of God being revealed, praying to the Sovereign Lord, and at the same time He makes his needs known to the churches and seemingly expected them to meet those needs. We see true dependence on God through prayer, AND communicating to the churches his own needs and the needs of others. Why? Because He understood that the means to reach the goal of the church, IS the church. Specifically, the emphasis in the NT is overwhelmingly on the local churches.

God´s people have a mission, to go and make disciples of all nations, baptize and to teach all that Christ has commanded. God´s people also have the real responsibility to be intentional in going, sending, praying for and providing for that mission and showing mercy and compassion to others in the process. There are ethical demmands that are put upon the beliver through the commands in the NT.

It´s not rocket science, but for some at least, its hard to stay balanced. Many people error and fall off of one side of the horse or the other. It just isn’t as black and white as some would like. We live in a tension in this area. Consider the beautiful mystery of God’s Sovereignty and the will and responsibility that man has. His decrees and His means to reach His intended purpose.

Who´s mission is it?   God´s.

Who has He commanded to fulfill the mission?   God´s people.

Who´s doing the calling?   God.

Who´s Word are we preaching and teaching?   God´s.

Who did He choose and inspire to write and preserve it? God´s people.

Who is the one preaching and teaching?   God´s pèople.

Who is forgiving sins and doing the saving?   God.

Who is being saved and who is He using to proclaim the Gospel?   God´s people.

Who is opening the minds of people, illuminating them to understand the Scriptures? God is.

Who does He use to do this?   God´s people.

To Whom belongs the cattle on a thousand hills (and everything else in the universe)?   To God.

Who is doing the praying and who is doing the providing?   God´s people.

Who has He entrusted precious resources to, to be used for His glory?   God´s people.

At the same time, who is really doing the providing and Sovereignly answering specific individual prayers of provision for His people who are doing His will on His mission? God is.

I could go on and on, but hopefully you get the point by now. His plans will be accomplished and cannot be thwarted, no doubt about that. But He has revealed and commanded how it is to be done as well. And we are very much responsible for being about the will of God in the work of the church. He will do it, and He will do it through His people. Paul knew this. But many who lean too much in either direction fall into error and become unbalanced, inconsistent or worse, unbiblical.

To deny the real responsibility we have before Him would be somewhat foolish and would require the systematic focusing on some particular texts of Scripture, while at the same time ignoring of a lot of other texts. Or putting Scripture against Scripture versus putting the two things together. It would be akin to an error as in saying, God will provide for me but I refuse to work. Or that God will cause me to grow in knowledge but I refuse to read or study.

For the above mentioned reasons, we have come to the understanding that it is ok to ask for help and make needs known for us and for others. We simply say “these are the needs, pray about helping.” If the Lord puts in someone the desire to help, then praise the Lord! We have examples of it in the Scriptures and we simply accept it and live in the tension between the Sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. There is no need to even try to reconcile the two, we see both in the Bible and they do not oppose eachother in any way.

Why even address this? I feel the need to expalian this mainly because of critics, who themselves are of an extreme position and choose not to communicate or share needs out of their conviction.

Unfortunately, the same often suffer need more frequently and unnecessarily. God has blessed and given the specific gift of helping/giving to some. (1 Cor. 12:28)  People who desire to see the Gospel taken forth and to help the poor and others. There are people and churches somwhere, right now praying about which mission to give to.

I could testify time and time again about how the Lord in His providence would bring such people across our path through their own prayers in seeking who to help, while at the same time answering our specific prayers for provision. Many of who we have never even met or had any prior contact or a relationship with! The Lord really has provided and answered an innumerable amount of prayers like these. And He always did so through His people, whether a church as a whole or through individual brothers and sisters.

Having said all of that, I am extremely grateful to God and to our mission partners who pray and support. Especially those who have done so faithfully over the years. Without your prayers and donations we just wouldn’t be able to do what we do for as long as we have done it. That’s a fact. Thank you and God bless you.

In Christ,

Antonio Salgado Jr.

Please pray for our BCMS workers serving faithfully in hard places. May the Gospel continue to go forth, to God be the glory.

 

If the Lord so lies on your heart to give back to Him by supporting this ministry, you can easily donate online through PayPal. Click the donate button below to send support of any amount directly to the ministry. This is the fastest option to get funds to the mission field.

 

You can  donate to this ministry online with Paypal. Click the donate button below and you can send support of any amount directly to the ministry. You can choose the option of doing a one-time donation and this is the fastest option to get funds to us. Click the link below for that option.

 

 

Also,

CENTRAL MISSIONARY CLEARINGHOUSE
P.O. Box 219228
Houston, Texas 77218-9228
1-800-CMC-PRAY (1-800-262-7729)
Office: 281-599-7411
Fax: 281-599-7511

The ministry of (CMC) serves hundreds of missionaries, but they ONLY receive the funds for us and in no way have control over how the funds are to be spent or what we are to do as a ministry, which gives room to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading and the liberty in making needed adjustments.

You may begin sending your support to the BCMS (Antonio Salgado) at any time at the address above. (Checks should be made payable to Central Missionary Clearinghouse or C.M.C.)

You can also now give to the ministry here in the DR online through the new giving solution called “click and give” at the CMC website.

To get started you just need to click on the link below and register the first time. Just a simple click on the donate button on their page (see link below), and then click the “click and give icon/button”.

https://www.cmcmissions.org/donate

For tax exemption, you must send your donation through Central Missionary Clearinghouse (CMC) at the address above. But the Paypal option is the fastest way to get funds directly to the field.

We do not use a sending agency that gets a percentage of the money donated, so you can be sure that your gift goes directly to the mission field.

Whatever you decide, thank you so much for praying for us and helping this ministry. God Bless You!