In a previous post, I shared that my new book Brazilian Evangelical Missions in the Arab World had been released. In the first of a few posts about the book, let me share some of my personal motivation for doing this . Below is an excerpt from p. 4:
For me, this study began very personally over fifteen years ago in a North African souk (market). At the time, I was serving as a transcultural worker in the region and I was hosting Julio (not his real name), who was in the process of moving his family from Latin America to join our work in North Africa. While visiting the souk one day to buy gifts for his family, I was struck by how the shop owner largely ignored me (even though I was
translating for Julio) and wanted to communicate directly with him. It was only after a half hour that he could be convinced that Julio was not North African. Standing there in the souk that day, I first became curious about the Latin-Arab connection, including the implications it might have for mission. Since that time, I have observed and admired the work of many Latin American and Brazilian evangelical [workers] serving in the Arab world. At times, I even found myself jealous of these friends whose “look” allowed them to blend in so well and who seemed to have far fewer barriers adapting to Arab culture than I did as a North American.
While part of my appreciation for Brazilian transcultural workers is due to differences between my [North American] culture and theirs and how those differences impact ministry in the Arab context, I also feel a sense of commonality with them. First . . . I would also identify myself as an evangelical . . . [and second] . . . after ten years living among and ministering to Arabs, I can intimately relate to the process of language acquisition, cultural adaptation, ministering in another culture, and generally living and functioning in the Arab world.