Editorial: April 2019

Missionary or tourist—what’s the difference?

In today’s socially conscious world, the line between missions and tourism has become blurry. In our society at large, conspicuous consumption is now passé unless it is overlaid with virtue signaling, so overseas Kodak photo safaris have given way to Instagram ecotourism and live-tweeted travel philanthropy.

Mission-minded Christians today are understandably wary of participating in trendy superficialities, so they search deeply and with a critical eye for mission ministry that brings true and lasting value. And this search brings many to Adventist Frontier Missions.

AFM missionaries consecrate a major part of their lives—often a decade or more—to bringing the gospel of Jesus to unreached people. This long-term commitment to living and loving among unreached people is the only way to build relationships strong enough to serve as bridges for the gospel.

The fruits of this deep and lasting commitment are not always visible, but sometimes they manifest in surprising ways. On p. 38 Joshua Lewis describes his amazement at the unexpected outpouring of love and care from dozens of his village friends and neighbors among the Great River people. Missionary tourism could never build love this strong. No, this village has seen Joshua’s life commitment to serving them. They have seen his love, and so they count him as a blood brother in their joys and sorrows.

This is what it means to be an AFM missionary.

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