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Missionaries in training

The risks are great, but so are the rewards. For over 100 years Canadian Christians have been building schools, healing the sick and feeding the hungry in developing countries. These missionaries honoured their faith by expressing the message of Christianity through humanitarian work. Despite local conflicts and cultural difficulties, missionaries in recent decades have served in the field with courage, humility and the desire to make a difference.

Before they leave for Papua New Guinea, Nepal or Latin America, missionaries from Canada and the United States come to Bolton, Ont. They're here to learn how best to share Christianity with people in developing countries, and it boils down to one concept: mutuality. It's the idea that missionary work is a give-and-take exchange where cultures learn about each other. In this CBC clip, a participant says today's missionary is far from the image of the man in a black cassock wielding a Bible. 
• Missionary training differs according to church and mission. Some missionaries may learn how to effectively spread the message of Christianity, while others learn practicalities such as basic dentistry. Language training and learning how to adapt to new cultures are standard for most.
• Many agencies require missionaries to have a minimum of 30 hours of formal Bible study, as well as other preparation, before they embark on a mission.

• Missionary training centres in Canada offer courses lasting from two days to as long as three years.
• Missionaries are generally sponsored by church agencies. They are paid a living wage but are ideally debt-free or owe less than $10,000 before they qualify for service.
• Terms for missionary work can vary from just a few weeks to many years or even a lifetime.

• According to Gateway Missionary Training, a centre for would-be missionaries in Langley, B.C., about 1,750 missionaries return home to North America each year without completing their missions. This can be due to "inappropriate character traits, attitudes, interpersonal skills or lack of adequate preparation."
• Because Canadian missionaries come from a wide variety of churches with a range of missions, it's difficult to estimate how many go overseas each year.
Medium: Television
Program: Take 30
Broadcast Date: Nov. 19, 1979
Guest(s): Neil Anderson, Arturo Chacon, Yasuko Kamuro, Judith Ray
Host: Harry Brown
Duration: 7:32

Last updated: March 9, 2012

Page consulted on March 17, 2014

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