I also agree with your point about the social skills of 19-year-olds (see the first two sentences of the original post). These kids need all the help we can give them (I know I sure did).]]>
I might add that a lot of these missionaries are socially retarded back home as well. (If you don’t believe me have the missionaries over for dinner — odds are pretty high you’ll get at least one well-meaning social oaf.) Why should we expect them to be suddenly socially graceful in a foreign culture?]]>
The Lord may use the weak and simple, but that doesn’t mean we send missionaries out with no language training. There’s nothing wrong with preparation.
The bottom line for me is that there are too many missionaries out there who may love the people they directly teach, but have no respect for the culture. Maybe I’m wrong and this is merely a Latin American mission phenomenon, but I doubt it. It is my contention that we can help this through education, and help the missionaries become better. I think we can all agree on that goal, at least.]]>
I’m not against continual learning and I know that I’m not going to learn everything I need to know about a native people until I interact with them but it just seems silly to pass the buck on this to the missionary committee, mission presidents, etc when there is so much that a missionary can do on his own to prepare himself.
Someone earlier talked about how the GA’s aren’t concerned with fixing the problem with jerk missionaries. Don’t you remember the letter that went out to the church that basically said, if you’re a jackass just stay home?]]>
Also, it would help to read a lot of this stuff in the native language, something we can’t do until we’ve been out in the field a while. I think the learning process should be a continual one.]]>
Your other point about not having study time is pretty weak. You will find time for what is important to you. Maybe you can just go late to the 3rd farewell beach bonfire with your high school buddies.
As for where to go for info, in the pre-internet age you could write, call, get in touch with embassies, UN etc. I did this for a high school project.
Now with the internet not only is it quick but there is a ton of information out there. I was going to go to Zimbabwe and found a lot of information from a British website about behaviors, travel areas, etc that weren’t ok. I found that in about 2 minutes of research.
Of course there is always your local library, if they don’t have the info you need they can order it from another library.
There is so much information out there I just think it’s a cop out to lay the blame at the feet of any one but the misbehaving missionary.]]>