I will be reading the following paper next weekend (March 23-24) at the Southeast Regional Evangelical Missiological Society meeting at Southeastern Seminary (Wake Forest, NC).
"Missional Hospitality: Reflections from Brazilians Ministering among Arabs"
In a mid-sized city in Southern Brazil, home to the largest concentration of Arabs and Muslims in South America, a Brazilian pastor and his wife open their home and prepare a meal for Arab guests. In the midst of this encounter, which could last for several hours (no one is keeping an eye on the clock), the couple offers a model of a Christian family and verbally communicates the Gospel while showing hospitality. After interviewing 45 Brazilian missionaries in 2009 and 2010, I found that this scenario was not an isolated one; rather, Brazilians serving around the Arab world are naturally and intentionally ministering to Arabs through this shared cultural value. More than a mere cultural value, hospitality is a biblical value that is also a requirement for church leaders in the New Testament.[i] In the context of global ministry, it is a vital element for intercultural mission work as it creates an environment for relationships, authentic evangelism and discipleship, and Christian fellowship.
In this article, I have a few modest goals. First, through surveying the relevant cultural literature, I will examine how Arabs and Brazilians regard and generally practice hospitality.[ii] Second, based on survey responses from 45 Brazilian missionaries serving in Arab contexts, I will discuss how Brazilians perceive hospitality in the Arab world. In part, this will reveal some significant cultural proximity between Brazilians and Arabs toward the shared value of hospitality as well as show how Brazilians are using hospitality in mission to Arabs. Finally, I will conclude briefly by discussing the missiological implications for Brazilian hospitality in the Arab world.
Read the rest of the paper HERE.
[i] See 1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:8; also 1 Peter 4:9.
[ii] It should be noted that I define Brazilian as a member of an affinity bloc of the cultures that make up the country of Brazil. With some 291 ethnic or cultural groups, the Brazilian mosaic is composed of indigenous, Portuguese, African, European, and Asian peoples, as well as some cultures that have resulted from the intermarrying of these peoples. While a great deal of cultural diversity exists, a degree of cultural cohesiveness can also be observed. Similarly, I define Arab as a member of the affinity bloc of Arabic-speaking peoples that reside in the twenty-two Arab states of North Africa and the Middle East. My paradigm for regarding Brazil and the Arab world as affinity blocs is based on the thought of Patrick Johnstone. See Johnstone, “Look at the Fields: Survey of the Task,”in J. Dudley Woodberry, ed., From Seed to Fruit: (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2008), 14-17.