Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ignorance is No Excuse for lack of Cross-Cultural Mission Training

Haitian Judge Bernard Saint Vil made his recommendation a day after questioning the detained Americans, most from an Idaho Baptist group, were charged last week with child kidnapping and criminal association after being arrested Jan. 29 while trying to take 33 children, ages 2 to 12, across the border to an orphanage they were trying to set up in the Dominican Republic.
Group leader Laura Silsby of Meridian, Idaho, explained that the children were obtained either from orphanages or from distant relatives. She said only children who were found not to have living parents or relatives who could care for them might be put up for adoption. However, at least 20 of the children are from a single village and have living parents. Some of the parents explained that they willingly turned over their children to the missionaries on the promise the Americans would educate them and let relatives visit.
This incident would have been less likely to occur had this group been properly trained prior to stepping their foot onto a plane and flying to Haiti. Church missions groups have hearts of gold and good intentions, but cross-cultural training is needed prior to engaging in humanitarian relief in other countries. Upon arrival, the group needed to have been once again briefed on acceptable practice. This group is in jail because left to their own devices Americans will always sidestep what they view as 'red tape' or 'hassle'. In many countries avoiding proper parctice is against the law--apparently in Haiti it an offense serious enough for jail time.

No comments:

Post a Comment