I’m reading a lot of Cuban history in Moon’s Handbook on Cuba, and I came across the following story (pg 27) that can teach us a lot about missions and Christianity.
The Spaniards’ reputation for conquering had preceded them to Cuba. So, when they arrived in Cuba to conquer the indigenous people there, they were met with fierce resistance. One of the leaders of the resistence was a chieftan named Hatuey. Eventually, however, the Spaniards captured Hatuey and burned him at the stake on February 2, 1512. While the flames were being lit, the Spanish priest Juan de Tesin offered to baptize him, promising heaven to him if he permitted the baptism. Hatuey asked the Spanish priest if there would be Spaniards in heaven, too. Wehen the priest replied, “Yes,” Hatuey told him that he did not want to go to heaven where “such cruel and wicked people as Christians” would be.
To me, this story repeats itself in modern culture. Many people would not want to be where there are such “cruel and wicked people as Christians.” We have a no better reputation than the conquering Spaniards. We do many things to make people hate Christianity, and then we wonder why they would not want to be where we are. It doesn’t do us much good to only preach about the love of God or of His way of life. We must live it out in our daily interaction with others.