“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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