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Missionary Style

I grew up in an evangelical Christian church where my father was a reverend and my mom taught Sunday school. Evangelical Christians are those real pushy Christians who think that everyone else but them are going to hell, even Catholics and Jews.
JW
Κείμενο Julia Wertz
1.6.08

I grew up in an evangelical Christian church where my father was a reverend and my mom taught Sunday school. Evangelical Christians are those real pushy Christians who think that everyone else but them are going to hell, even Catholics and Jews. They are largely responsible for field missionary work and getting all up in your face about pre-martial sex. I followed their beliefs with 100 percent conviction until I got beat with the logic stick when I was 16 and dumped the whole thing for drinking, fucking and doing drugs. My life has vastly improved ever since.

One of the imperative events behind my changed outlook on Christianity was the last of four trips I took to Mexico to do missionary work. Every spring break, hundreds if not thousands of churches load up vans and shuttle their youth groups to Mexico to build churches, play soccer with kids, and ultimately try to convince them that Christianity is better than whatever heathen devilry they're practicing (generally Catholicism). I recently pulled out my diaries from my time below the border and boy does it contain some chestnuts. Enjoy! "While getting ready to leave for our trip at 5 AM to Mexico, we all stood outside the van, joined hands and prayed. Stacy did most of the talking and I really felt like it was God speaking through her. She said that we should focus not on trivial things from back home like homework and our friends, but should focus on saving as many children as we can during our time there. I feel inspired and ready to leave my life behind for a while and try to make things better somewhere else and hopefully in the process I can feel closer to God." These trips are the pinnacle of blind arrogance, wasting time, money and energy that could actual be of some use back in the US. It is also a front for the fully anticipated “spiritual rejuvenation” that follows exposure to poverty stricken cities and the stupid, stupid fucking idea that you’ve successfully saved some poor, doomed Catholic child’s soul. "We arrived in Mexico around 6 PM where we ran into trouble with border patrol. They stopped our U-Haul and threatened to make us empty all 50 bags unless we gave them money. We gave them $160 and went on through. They just put the money right into their pockets!" First of all, I never saw them put the money into their pockets. I can only imagine that I assumed they did because I thought all Mexicans were crooked thieves. This doesn’t make much sense since I grew up in a town where half the population was Mexican, but obviously stronger thinking prevailed. Also, how fucking smart are they? They must have made BANK every year when hordes of naive Christians came ambling across their border. "Every time I come to Mexico I’m saddened by the poverty and the barefooted children with big brown eyes running along the streets along next to the van, jumping over broken glass and trash. Shambled houses line the streets, build out of cardboard and crates. Dirty, unkempt dogs and cats roam aimlessly around the roads, frequently getting hit by cars. It’s all so sad." This part is funny because I grew up poor. I was always running around barefoot, and we had tons of animals that were always getting hit by cars. We were on welfare for fuck's sake, and owned about a dozen cats, many of whom were wild and unkempt. This passage also proves that I believed all of Mexico looked like Tijuana. "As we crossed the boarder, I noticed a city bus with a tired driver steering with one hand and smoking a cigarette with the other. As I looked into the interior of the bus, I saw a 'no fumar' sign. In California, you’d get a hell of a fine for doing that." Heavy stuff. "We’re having some problems with the men in our village disrespecting our girls. I was offered money to take my skirt off and I’m watched wherever I go and random men always try to talk to me." Ha ha! Mexico is like one giant shitty nightclub without the social lubricant that would actually makes all those things completely acceptable. "One of the boys in our village had a seizure while playing soccer so we took him to the hospital. It turned out he had a blood clot in his brain and he’d been in the hospital before but his parents didn’t have the money to pay for medicine. The hospital told us that his parents were abusive and drug addicts. We took a collection and got him even more money than he needed. When we gave it to his parents they seemed angry and ungrateful but I know we did what was right and that we probably saved his life." This story perfectly illustrates how uninformed these missionary trips are. Shortly after we left Mexico, his parents blew the money on drugs and the kid died a few weeks later. At the time we were so fucking smug in our benevolence that it didn’t occur to anyone that giving $1,000 in cash to drug addicts was a bad idea. Mind boggling. "We’re leaving Mexico today. Despite all the garbage, broken glass and discarded crap everywhere, I think I’m really going to miss this land. There’s something more natural and calm about the way people live here, with a stronger emphasis on family and friends. They have so much less than us, but seem a lot happier. Their struggles are greater but I feel like they are stronger people who love their home and country more than any of us in America do." Wait a minute… I’m totally right about this part. Mexico is fucking awesome!