David Lerseth got a phone call from an excited pastor in Minnesota shortly after he started working for the ELCA Division for Global Mission eight years ago.
"He said he had just met with his council, and they wanted to support a missionary in Tanzania," recalls Lerseth, director for global mission support. "He paused and then added, ‘But only a real evangelist missionary.’
"I told him I had good news, and I had bad news. The bad news was that we didn't have any evangelists in Tanzania. The good news was that the Tanzanians have thousands of them."
For anyone for whom the word "missionary" conjures up images of Stanley and Livingstone, there is, indeed, good news and bad news. The image of the intrepid missionary trekking into the jungle at great peril to "bring the gospel to the heathen" has been turned upside down. Today's missionary inhabits a brave new world.
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