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The Amazing Influence of British Missionaries Worldwide

The Spectator, one of Britain's leading weekly newsmagazines recently ran an article entitled "Amazing Grace," Journalist Colin Freeman wrote about his surprise at the large number of British Christian missionaries still working in foreign lands.

He noted the medical doctor David Donovan and his wife Shirley. They were kidnapped along with three other British missionaries on October 2017 for 22 days in Nigeria while doing medical work and preaching the gospel. Freeman describes them as "foot soldiers of a less fashionable and largely forgotten wing of aid work—Christian missionaries … it struck me that these were people of a sort I'd never encountered in two decades reporting on Africa and the Middle East. Here were white Christian missionaries, talking unapologetically about God."

Freeman had assumed, because of Britain's colonial past, these people were extinct. The chairman of Global Connections told him there are "several thousand British missionaries working through various church organizations worldwide today." Donovan had also been briefly kidnapped in 2009, their boats were stolen twice, and rats devoured their walkie-talkies. The writer summarizes their work in the rural community of Enekorogha, Nigeria:

Dangerous as it was, though, the work that the Donovan's and their companions did in Enekorogha made a difference. Prior to their arrival, the village had a child mortality rate of around 45 percent. When measles and cholera cases spiked, as they did at certain times of year, the resultant infant death toll was known locally as "the harvest." The missionaries helped reduce mortality to around two percent—a fact not lost on the local witch doctors, who had been hostile to the clinic when it first opened, but who ended up seeking treatment there themselves. The village idol keeper, a burly figure from whom local militants would ask for blessings, told the Donovan's "the god you serve is greater than the god I serve," and asked them to read the Bible.

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