I want to talk about something very real. It is one of those dirty secrets for missionaries: Xenophobia.
What exactly is Xenophobia?
According to Dictionary.com
an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange.
I believe most times that is fear, not hatred. One of the hardest thing a missionary deals with locals that are fearful or freaked out. That is what we call Xenophobia.
Historically, this is why we have many martyrs like Jim Elliot. Most people we call martyrs in missions didn’t die for the faith. They actually was killed over this issue of Xenophonia.
John Williams is a great example. After bringing revival to Samoa, he went to Erromango in Vanuatu. It was their the local made him supper. They freaked out and killed him….then eat him.
My brush with Xenophobia
Yesterday morning, I was looking around villages in Kalinga that need the gospel. This is one of the hardest areas to reach. Tribal fighting has been going on in the last decade and the military and rebels got into a firefight as recent March.
I was talking some picture of a field for a crusade possibility. Next thing I know I am 10 feet down the mountains laying against a tree with blood on my face.
Everything is in place but my memory card.
The Philippine National Police ask me to leave the town. (not legal for them to do so) After contacting the military, I head back to Baguio.
What do I make it of biblically?
I don’t. I could say that it was a spiritual attack that manifest in the natural. I don’t think it was though.
I think it was as simple as these people, known to profit from being rebels and drug trade, saw a big white guy with a DSLR. It freaked them out and they attacked me.
There was no way in the natural they knew I am a missionary or even a believer.
I believe that xenophobia is very real and that xenophobia is something that no one wants to address.