|Kizuna Bridge. Kampong Cham, Cambodia (Greg's Photo)|
Sometime in the past, one missionary lamented on the attitude of nationals towards missionaries in Cambodia. Speaking about his denomination, he said, “Cambodia spit more missionaries out than any other countries in the world.” The focus of the comment, however, was the nationals' negative attitude and action towards missionaries. “Cambodia is really a different field,” others grieved. What struck me though with the comment was if Cambodia spit out lots of missionaries, the blame should not be put on them entirely. I wonder if we, missionaries, and I am including myself, should take the blame as well. Something never changes: we never seem to learn our lesson-we kept repeating the same mistakes our predecessors or contemporaries made. When will we ever learn? When it comes to cross-cultural ministry, we are supposed to build bridges not walls.
Not long ago, I came across with an article about Western Missionary Mistakes. I had been wanting to write a similar one from Cambodian perspective but writing an article is no longer necessary after reading what Evangelical Romanians think about American Missionaries. Although the survey was done in Romania, my eight years of missionary presence in Cambodia convinced me that the Romanian-survey resembled the animosity among some Cambodian nationals towards missionaries. This is not to say that all nationals think the same towards missionaries nor all missionaries are the same. Many missionaries are love lavishly by Cambodian nationals. In fact, I know several missionaries in Cambodia who are here for more than a decade or two. They have been here for years, yet still loved and needed.
The one in bold letters resembled what I personally saw in Cambodia.