Back to main magazine page now!!

Cultural Barriers
By Justin Hayes
When missionaries arrive on the field, they
experience a deluge of emotions. First is
exhaustion. They have spent two to three years
traveling around the United States, raising
support in order to fulfill God’s calling on
their lives. Next is excitement. Moving to a
new country brings with it a new culture, new
foods, new language, and new opportunities,
all exciting at first, but then reality sets in. This
is not a vacation. There is no going back. This
is their reality now. On a personal level, this is a
heavy realization that can often bring fear.

discontent with the food and opportunities.

The language is a barrier everywhere they go,
and it is difficult to understand why this culture
does not just do things the way it is done in
their home country. You know, the right
way. At this point, the missionary is at a very
pivotal moment in ministry. What he is about
to do will either hinder or help his ministry.

The ability to adapt is one of the missionary’s
greatest attributes. However, he does not know
if he can adapt until he is in a position where
he needs to adapt.

The real work begins when the missionary
determines to learn how to live and minister
in this foreign culture. All of those things that
once brought excitement are now frustrating
and difficult to deal with. They can become
One of the greatest barriers to the Gospel
a missionary will face is the culture. This
is not just a modern problem. As we study
the ministry of Jesus, we see him adapting
his approach to presenting the truth of the