See also today's opposing view, "'I Feel Betrayed' | A son-in-law of one of the murdered missionaries says the casting was a mistake."

Last week I skipped out on work a bit to have an extended lunch with my friend Ron. He and his family got the boot by the Venezuelan government for being New Tribes missionaries. Apparently the Venezuelan government has a hard time telling the difference between missionaries and CIA agents, but that's another story. We chatted about the recently released movie End of the Spear, which tells the story of a group of missionaries who were murdered by Waodoni tribesman, the same tribesmen who later became Christians as a result of evangelistic efforts by the murdered men's families.

I was reminded of my buddy Mike, a slightly crazy guy who also happens to be a missionary with New Tribes. Once, when he was home trying to get over his latest battle with the malaria mosquitoes he patiently walked me through the process the mission uses to reach those who have not heard the gospel. Ron and I reviewed how it works over lunch.

Assuming they survive the initial contact (which no one takes for granted anymore) the missionaries spend a great deal of effort to learn the tribal language and culture. They work at building relationships so that when it comes time to share the Good News, people listen instead of chasing after them with machetes. Apparently food and medicine help a lot with this, at least according to the movie.

Okay, so once they understand the language and culture and have built relational bridges with the people, they begin to share the message of salvation. Now comes the interesting part—during this process, behavioral issues are very low in priority. Rather than being "sin police" the ...

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The Wrong End of the Spear
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