Dos and Don’ts When Doing Missions in Africa
DO come as a learner and humble servant. They may not have all our resources, but as survivors they have a great deal to teach us.
DON'T talk to older people as if they are your playmate or equal. It is offensive. Learn the respectful greeting that they use, and understand that age matters in Africa.
In our region it is not appropriate to ask questions about a person's tribe. That comes out of the genocide in Rwanda and, to a lesser degree, in Burundi and the incessant small scale wars in the Kivu. Congo.
One of the don'ts that we have learned and that probably applies to many areas in Africa is to be careful with typical Vineyard Power Evangelism and doing healing and miracles on the street. Because witchcraft is so prevalent there any miracle or healing can be seen as just another form of witchcraft. More apologetics typically needs to take place first to set the stage for any miracles.
In terms of the do's I think the most basic one is to learn from them as much as we can before we say or do too much. Learn their culture and traditions etc. Also along with this is to build trust. Again very basic but something that has not traditionally been done well in the past.
My top thing to do is to love everyone but work with leaders. It is so easy to give mix messages to people you are working with. The person you highlight on your trip is suddenly given more credibility. This is why I try to only work with the existing leaders. Building a good rapport with them will always go a long way.
Do - Love them; Do - serve them; Do - Pray for and with them. Do Not do the opposite of those.