So, what do my buddy Rick and I have to do with missionaries in the media? Well, keep reading. It will all makes sense. Trust me.
Were you keeping track of the “ten Baptist missionaries” detained in Haiti in February? An American church group got busted for attempting to transport 33 Haitian children to the Dominican Republic to start an orphanage. I’ll paste a link to one of the many stories about that ill fated mission enterprise. The whole venture got a lot of press up till about a month ago. Nine of the ten American “missionaries” have been released from jail and returned to the US. The group leader, Laura Silsby remains in Haiti awaiting trial for human trafficking. The Fortnight question of the day: Is this a story of Christian persecution or typical missionary exploitation? This one is probably neither. Silsby is a failed business owner in Idaho who was trying to start her own humanitarian enterprise to help children. She was persuasive and charismatic and got a Baptist church in Idaho to sponsor her latest scheme. Unfortunately, it was money badly spent and the ensuing debacle brought the church a lot of embarrassing press coverage.
The lesson from the Laura Silsby blowout: Don’t trust every person out there with a Christian cause and heart rending stories of need around the world. For those of us in the mission’s profession, Silsby was no more a missionary than I am a professional golfer. I own clubs and play sometimes but truly, the real golfers know I’m not one of them. Rick might be able to pull off the deception but definitely not me. Anyway, continue to support missions and humanitarian efforts…but make sure they are legitimate, established organizations. There are plenty of sound, reputable and authentic groups out there. Remember: Just like you wouldn’t pay to watch me or Rick play golf…never pay someone to play at missions. It is a waste of money and will ruin your fortnight.
And really…who wants that? Have a great one.