"For the Sake of the Name: a letter to new missionaries in the Arab world" by Abu Daoud

I am pleased to share with you that I have recently published this article in St Francis Magazine (Vol 11:1).

I had the privilege of being part of the training and mobilization of this couple, and shortly before they moved to the Arab world, I wrote this letter to them. I thought it was worthwhile enough to share with a wider audience.

Here are a couple of the points of advice I offer:

  • learn from the ancient churches
  • remember that you are Americans and don't try to hide it
  • apply yourself to language acquisition above all
  • learn the history of the people and the country

And others. But read the article which contains a lot of other good stuff.

Read it all. Download the PDF from St Francis or check it out on Academia.edu.
But before I get to that, let me share with you my favorite Bible verse about missionaries, and I commend this to you: “For they went out for the sake of the Name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles [that is, non-Christians]. Therefore we ought to support such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth” (3 John 7, 8). This might seem like the kind of verse you would use when fundraising, but I like it because it reminds us of who we are and what we do at the heart of our vocation: that we have gone out– out from our culture, from our homeland, from our language– and that this has been done for the sake of “the name”. Jews in the 1
st
 Century (as today) often did not want to pronounce the divine name (YHWH) because of its overwhelming holiness, so they would say “the Name” or “ha shem”. (May I note that the Hebrew 
shem 
 and the Arabic 
ism 
 are cognates?) But here John the elder means not God, but God as revealed in Jesus– 
Jesus 
 is now 
ha shem 
 or “the name”. There is much more one could say on these two brief verses, but let us move on to the heart and soul of this letter.

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