From a friend of CSPP who wishes to remain anonymous.
Ok, first of all, a shout-out to the doctrine of election and an acknowledgement that none of us can save the world. Jesus does that. We don’t.
Moving on –
If you know a Save the World type who is a single female, please make every effort to curb her enthusiasm. By STW types, I’m referring to those optimistic and generally sincere individuals who leave the comforts of home and move to a developing country where they teach English or feed the hungry or educate women or something. (A side discussion could easily be had about whether any of these efforts are even needed or helpful. Another time, another place.)
The problem with the single female Save-the-Worlders is that they are subjecting themselves to dangerous, hostile environs, and they often think they have some kind of force field around them for going under the name of a Christian sending organization. I am here to warn you: No such force field exists.
The Christian sending organization will not protect you from knife-wielding malandros* lurking at an otherwise deserted metro bus stop as you go on your merry way to church. The Christian sending organization will also not protect you from dreadful illnesses that cannot be understood or treated in the local clinica**. Neither will it not protect you from illegit taxi drivers who are actually there to kidnap your pretty single self. Oh, and the Christian sending agency will not protect you from experimental vaccines that are required in the foreign airports (but your out-of-country immunization record could spare you from this if you have the clarity of mind to produce it in time). Let's not forget angry, violent political demonstrations involving tear gas and loud shoutings of anti-American rhetoric. Oh, and house fires. Those too. Then again, those could happen anywhere. But emergency response time is a LOT better in the U.S.of A.
[Alert! Alert! All of these examples are actually real! And all in the time span of one short year. I am not making this stuff up!]
Here’s the point -- and as you've already gathered, it’s coming from someone who knows: The “mission field” is not a safe place for single ladies. It is not.
And I know I’m being cynical with this talk about the imagined magic powers of the Christian sending agency… We recognize that it is our own heavenly Father who commands His angels concerning us to guard us in all our ways. I know and believe that it is only by the grace of God that I am safe and well today. I was a very stupid young woman and I realize now that things could have gone a lot worse. I am so incredibly grateful. The same hindsight which produces this sincere gratitude, also compels me to urge others to be smarter than I was. I did not need to go to those corners of the world. The Lord has promised that His Word will reach everyone. I could have easily left it in His capable hands and spared myself a lot of calamity and hardship. If my parents had had any real idea of what was going on over there, they would not have slept for an entire year. Thankfully they were a tad on the ignorant/naive side. (Love you, Mom! Love you, Dad!)
Single ladies, please do not think you have to STW to feel good about yourself. Serve the neighbors closest to you. No passport required. And no deadliness, either! I do understand that you may not have the same satisfaction of having done something super glamorous (Since when was living without running water glamorous? We’re all so backward!). But you will be no less a Christian.
If you have a daughter who aspires to STW, please encourage her to use her many gifts and talents in a setting that will not put her in great bodily danger. If we aren’t ok with our baby girls sticking their fingers in electrical outlets, why would it be ok for them to wander alone into a crime-ridden foreign city 22 years later?
* Scroungers. Or a more literal translation: bad men walking.
** Oh wait, that's a cognate. I'm not needed here!