Brave Missionaries Pave Own Way to Iraq Despite Warnings

( [email protected] ) Mar 22, 2004 08:46 AM EST

The door to missions in Iraq hasn’t opened as quickly as evangelical missionaries are hoping with recent killings of eight civilian contractors and aid workers, some of which were from the Southern Baptist Mission Board. However, despite receiving criticism from the officials concerned with international security and anti-American sentiment from Iraqis, some missionaries are still going to do God’s will.

Married couple Norma and Chris Black, missionaries affiliated with the Youth With A Mission team from Denver, Colorado, are planning a trip to from their current mission base Afghanistan to Bosnia taking along their two children. They have also served as missionaries before in Mexico, Guatemala and Russia

The Colorado Springs-based International Bible Society may also be planning to distribute Christian literature but has not publicized the project. Judy Billings, spokeswoman for the organization denied comment.

In the past, the Bible publisher has distributed over 10,000 copies of "Christ Has Brought Peace," translated in Arabic, according to al- Jazeera, the Arab satellite news network.

Todd Johnson, director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston, noted that there are some mission plans that were delayed after the mounting danger of the attacks.

"Different agencies have put forth plans that have not come together, because they probably were not willing to go into a situation that was that bad,” he said.

Some might say the geographic region is too dangerous but the couple believes that martyrdom is secondary to the dire need of the people.

"When you hear news like this, it's heartbreaking and it causes you to grieve," said Norma Black, 29.

"But at the same time, you could really compare us to the military, or to firefighters on 9/11," she said. "Firefighters go into a building knowing full well what could happen, but they believe so strongly in what they're doing. We believe it's worth it."