“And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me'” (Matthew 25:40 NKJV).

I recently served on a panel for a missions training program where we were asked the question, “Why is it important to develop relationships with locals in the mission field?”

When it was my turn to respond I began by supposing that if a certain former late night television host was a Christian missionary, he might answer the question with a list. Here then is my suggestion of what such a list might include:

The Top Ten Reasons Why One Should Develop Relationships with Locals

Reason Number Ten: “Locals know the good places to eat.”

Reason Number Nine: “Loneliness is no fun.”

Reason Number Eight: “It is uncomfortable to be a stranger.”

Reason Number Seven: “There is strength in numbers.”

Reason Number Six: “Everyone needs someone to watch their back.”

Reason Number Five: “Locals can vouch for us to our audience – they are our best references.

Reason Number Four: “Locals know how to deal with local conditions – laws, customs, and environment.”

Reason Number Three: “Relationships make us want to go back.”

Reason Number Two: “People are important; one cannot have too many friends.”

And the Number One Reason: “The Matthew 25 principle – when one makes a friend of Jesus’ people, one makes a friend of Jesus.”

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Michael Brooks

Since 1988 Mike and his wife Brenda have been involved in foreign missions in South America, Africa, and South Asia. Beginning in 1999 they devoted full time to missions, primarily in Bangladesh and Nepal.

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