Missionary Reflections in Guatemala

On July 1, 1959 Ralph Winter got together with this friends Dale Green and Bruce Macadam to have what they call “Missionary Discussions” in Guatemala, taking notes as they chatted. They begin by addressing the meaning of salvation, which they agree is reconciliation and health for the individual and the family and physical needs being met, specifically food and economic. They list six points under stability and prosperity for the community and/or family.

  1. Christians helping other Christians.
  2. Christians in states and Guatemalan Christians benefitting each other.
  3. Paul’s missionary journeys involved taking up a collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem.
  4. “The hand cannot say to the foot, I have no need of thee.”
  5. Christians in states can help “native Christians” to prosper whereas the natives can help stateside people in spiritual matters.
  6. If Winter and his friends concern themselves with the full salvation of the Christians now existing, the initial stage of salvation is mostly taken care of by those Christians. In the United States, this is noticeable when the pastor “feeds” his people. “In the more economically backward areas, it also takes the form of the pastor feeding his people only in a more literal sense.”

The men go on to say that in the present times, the Great Commission has much less geographic significance and more of a mission in depth approach. There are few people currently who are not within the evangelistic territory of some church except in areas where organizations like Wycliffe work. Yet most of Wycliffe’s work is within areas that have churches. The Great Commission is to go, teach, make disciples and baptize. “Teach means teaching in every area besides Biblical truths. The Great Commission is not fully fulfilled when a person just becomes a believer.” In lands outside of the U.S.A., the church is to operate in a community sense, meaning it must carry the burden of all phases of life.


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