Entering “creative access” countries
From LS, 2004
Interview with MD (2/12/04) by LS
You can’t just enter into a closed country. They went in with Christian friends who send aid to tuberculosis hospitals. They were able to have no contact with ordinary people and were highly restricted by their government guide and by their strict schedule
Interview with EB and PB, by LS:
One of the struggles is that you can’t gather people at all and street corner evangelism is also forbidden. People have entered by working with nutrition programs. Also there are some there working with ESL.
There is some importance to meeting people’s physical needs in this situation and knowing how to wait. He says essentially it is waiting on God.
The government would check to make sure they were being honest. .
Interview with EB (March 23, 2004) by LS:
EB said that in many countries there were visas for missionaries. Nigeria was trying to encourage missionaries. The quota was 150 missionaries for one missionary organization in Nigeria, and the LCMS had only 40. Now the quota is 10, so things have changed.
There are about 80 of the countries that are closed countries, they do not have missionaries. No one can go to that country in order to be a missionary.
EB said it seems that in my generation every single missionary needs to be equipped in some way as a doctor, as nurse, engineer, professor, whatever it may be, so that they will have access to other parts of the world.
The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod needs to be very intentional about preparing people for creative access mission work. Concordia is well placed for this.
The key to working in a creative access country, working in a country that isn’t open, is closed country, is relationships.
Often in Creative access countries missionaries do better because in open countries they don’t feel they need to build relationships. People that like a missionary won’t want to see them get in trouble and they would stand up for a missionary if trouble came.
If you come into a country because you are qualified for something and you look around and are sensitive, there are about 20-30 other places you can make contribution. If you start doing that, you will become indispensable and people will say we need him back. So doo good work on closed mission fields.
Ideas from MM, 2003
I know that there are certain countries that will not allow certain people into their borders because of the beliefs of the government. I think that these types of governments are primarily oppressing governments.
To get into a country for an extended period of time you have to get a special visa.
Getting into a closed country would only be half the battle. If a government doesn’t want you there, then maybe their people don’t either. It is dangerous. Many places, and much info would be off limits
You may be able to get into a closed country through another trade, such as teaching.
In closed countries you may be watched by secret police. In closed countries you may not have any form of privacy. Letters, emails, packages may all be looked over before entry/departure.
Creative access countries
The key to working in a creative access country is relationships. Often in Creative access countries missionaries do better because in open countries they don’t feel they need to build relationships. People that like a missionary won’t want to see them get in trouble and they would stand up for a missionary if trouble came.
If you come into a country because you are qualified for something and you look around and are sensitive, there are about 20-30 other places you can make contribution. If you start doing that, you will become indispensable and people will say we need him back.
Info from textbook Stepping Out: A Guide to Short Term Missions–
Tentmaker: a cross-cultural witness who works at a paying, usually secular, job overseas. Often the are able to gain entry into “closed” countries which restrict traditional mission efforts. Tentmakers rarely make tents for a living, like the apostle Paul did, but they all should have the intention to further God’s work. 57
Before you go, find out as much as you can about restrictions in the country to which you are going. Every situation is unique and changing. Never assume that the place you’re going is free of restrictions. 157
Don’t assume missionaries want to be known by you. 157
If you know that you’re not going to follow instructions, most missionaries would greatly appreciate your distancing yourself from them, their converts, and their contacts. 158
Red-flag words to avoid include convert, evangelism, mission, crusade, the Gospel, and many more. 158
Many short-termers are advised to be non-specific about their destination. If the Lord guides you to return to the country in the future for a longer term, you’ll be glad that you worked to keep a low profile. 159
Because of secret police plants missionaries should work with their leadership and be sure they have authority to welcome them to meetings or give them names and addresses of believers. 159 . LS
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