Missionaries have been around since the time of Jesus Christ or perhaps even longer.
A part of missionary work includes educating the natives to read and write in a language not their own. Another element of the process is giving life-saving medical care, teaching agricultural techniques, including the importance of obtaining clean water. In other words, to better the people’s lives.
Back in the days of Columbus and other explorers, the missionaries and the troops accompanying them shared diseases, like smallpox, for which the natives had no immunity. Consequently, many died. Above all else, explorers and the missionaries accompanying them came to conquer the people and acquire land.
Sometimes we wonder whether history will repeat itself when humanity escapes the confines of this planet to colonize other worlds. Will our need to explore end up resulting in the death of aliens?
Take Mars as an example. What if Martians exist? We consider it a planet void of life because we do not see structures. What if they live underground? What if our missionary rockets land and the natives boil out of their underground homes to battle the invaders, us? Not the best first impression.
The interesting thing about missionaries is that many of them proselytize close to home instead of traveling to foreign countries. Although, human beings are varied and at time unusual in their behavior that knocking on the doors of neighbors is almost like going outside your comfort zone.
During the early years of our marriage, Saturday was the only day this writer had to catch up on housework and sleep. Not necessarily in that order.
Inevitably, the doorbell rang around six or seven on almost every Saturday morning.
You stumble out of bed, bleary-eyed and grumbling antisocial comments as you make your way to the front door. A quick peek between the Venetian blinds slates confirms that the zealous neighborhood Jehovah’s Witnesses waited on the other side of the door.
What should one do? Do you open the door and sacrifice a few extra winks for the sake of good manners? Or, do you leave the front door closed and tiptoe back to the bedroom? In most cases, option two was the preferred choice.
But there was that one Saturday morning when this writer woke up early and decided to give herself a facial, which included applying a mask. The directions on the jar said to smear a thick layer on your clean face and let it dry. Then rinse off and prepare to look radiant.
The directions suggested that the mask-wearer relax during the drying process. They also discouraged moving your facial muscles by talking or doing facial exercises. In case, you tended to multitask.
Since it was Saturday, the doorbell rang. A Jehovah’s Witness and her young daughter asked if they could come in to talk. The mischievous imp on the face mask wearer’s shoulder encouraged the invite.
As the two women conversed, the child stared at the hostess’ face. The lady could feel the mask cracking, but acted as if there was nothing unusual about the situation. After the missionaries left, the lady wondered if she had traumatized the child for life with her pale green, cracking face.
You would think living “out in the boonies” would deter door-to-door visitations. It does not seem wise or safe to wander up a country dweller’s driveway to share The Watchtower pamphlet and the message.
Hubby toiled in the garden when two seasoned ladies appeared at the end of the row of okra. (Please note, Hubby removes his hearing aids while gardening to avoid damaging them with perspiration.)
The ladies did their best to convert the gardener who smiled, nodded and did not hear what they said. (One can only hope they did not stoop to flirting with Hubby because this writer does not share.)
Hubby asked them if they liked fresh vegetables. When they replied in the affirmative, he sent them on their way with arms loaded with okra, squash, and two dozen eggs.
In this case, both sides benefited by giving and receiving.